Having a baby is one of life’s truly remarkable experiences. At Sydney Pelvic Clinic we have watched many of our patients take this journey and we have shared with them the joy and excitement of this wonderful time. Pregnancy and delivery (vaginal or caesarean section) are also major events and bring about much change to your body and your life. These changes impact mothers in different ways and to different degrees. For optimal postpartum recovery, it is critical to understand how the process has affected you. This enables you to rehabilitate your body properly, especially your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles.
It is very common for post-natal women to experience pelvic health conditions, and appropriate exercise and treatment effectively rehabilitates the majority of symptoms. To determine your rehabilitation needs, Sydney Pelvic Clinic offers a Physiotherapy Post-Natal Assessment which will include key assessments, as outlined below:
Pelvic Floor Muscle (PFM) Assessment
Your PFM plays a major role in continence, pelvic stability and sexual function and these vital muscles are impacted through pregnancy and delivery. We assess the impacts of pregnancy and birth on your pelvic floor muscles and determine the strength, endurance and coordination of your PFM. This is important after both vaginal and caesarean deliveries.
A pelvic floor muscle assessment may be performed via an internal examination or real-time ultrasound. Throughout this assessment your physiotherapist will also assess for the presence of pelvic organ prolapse. This is where one or more of your pelvic organs (bladder, uterus, or bowel) have less support and drop into the wall of the vagina. It is estimated that approximately half of all women who have ever had a baby will experience some degree of prolapse. However, not all women will experience bothersome symptoms.
The post-natal examination will determine your safety to return to specific forms of exercise. Rest assured, if you do have bothersome symptoms, your physiotherapist will provide you with a rehabilitation plan to place to safely facilitate your return to exercise and sport.
Pelvis and Abdominal Assessment
Pregnancy and childbirth result in impact to many muscles around the pelvis and abdomen. Your physiotherapist will complete a thorough assessment to determine the impact this has caused on your individual body.
A normal physiological change that occurs in pregnancy is the stretching of the abdominal wall. In some women, this results in a Rectus Abdominus Diastasis (RAD). This is where the supporting fascia/ligament that runs between the rectus abdominus (6 pack muscle) is stretched. This can result in there being a gap between the edges of your muscles. We measure the depth and width of any separation you may have developed in your pregnancy.
From this assessment we will prescribe appropriate management strategies, which may include:
Prescription of a specific/individualised PFM program to correct, prevent and manage any symptoms you may be experiencing post-birth.
Appropriate post-natal exercises, including abdominal rehabilitation to speed up your recovery to better support your back and pelvis and reduce chances of developing back pain.
Bladder or bowel management and advice.
Advice on return to exercise, including timing and appropriate choices for you.
Treatment management plan if there are any musculoskeletal issues found.
Application of an abdominal binder to manage a significant Rectus Abdominis Diastasis.
When Do I Book In?
Physiotherapy Post-Natal Assessment is highly recommended at 4-6 weeks post-delivery but can still be relevant for up to 12 months.
Health Fund Rebates
Your Post-natal Assessment is eligible for a Private Health Insurance rebate depending on your individual fund and level of cover. Please check with your fund prior to booking to avoid disappointment.