Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy

Pelvic floor physiotherapy is instrumental if you are preparing for childbirth and efficient postpartum recovery. The pelvic floor consists of layers of muscles and tissues stretching from the pubic bone to the tailbone, supporting the pelvic organs like the bladder, uterus, and rectum. These muscles are fundamental for proper urinary and fecal continence, sexual function, and stability of the pelvic region. This therapy involves building connection to the core unit and your body as well as incorporates  exercises designed to support your pelvic muscles, and core which are crucial for both labor and recovery phases. The support from scientific research underscores the effectiveness of these exercises, detailing how they can enhance childbirth experiences and reduce recovery times.

How Can Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy Help During Pregnancy and Postpartum?

Pregnancy Concerns

During pregnancy, women undergo profound changes that significantly impact the pelvic floor. Hormonal shifts, particularly in the levels of relaxin and progesterone, soften the ligaments and muscles to accommodate the growing fetus and prepare the body for childbirth. This relaxation, combined with the increasing weight of the baby, places intense pressure on the pelvic floor, leading to potential issues such as incontinence and pelvic pain. Effective management includes targeted pelvic floor exercises (often referred to as Kegel exercises), which strengthen these muscles, supporting the uterus and bladder, and reducing the risk of discomfort and prolapse. Research shows that the pelvic floor’s strength and functionality can be significantly impacted by pregnancy. Hormonal changes and the physical weight of the baby can strain these muscles. A study published in the International Urogynecology Journal highlights that approximately 50% of women experience pelvic floor disorders due to pregnancy and childbirth

Postpartum Recovery

The postpartum period presents unique challenges for pelvic health. After delivery, whether vaginal or cesarean, the pelvic floor muscles may be weakened or damaged, especially if there was prolonged labor or use of forceps. This weakening can result in symptoms like urinary or fecal incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, and diminished sexual function. Specialized physiotherapy focused on pelvic rehabilitation can significantly aid in the recovery process, restoring muscle tone and function. Such therapy typically involves a combination of manual therapy, education on proper pelvic floor activation, and a personalized exercise regimen. By addressing these issues promptly, women can enhance their recovery and reduce the likelihood of long-term pelvic health problems. The postpartum period demands significant attention to pelvic floor rehabilitation according to the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, tailored pelvic floor exercises post-delivery can reduce the risk of prolapse and urinary incontinence.

When is the Right Time to Get Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy?

The right time to engage in Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy is crucial for optimizing women's health before, during, and after childbirth. Ideally, treatment should begin in the first trimester, specifically between weeks 8-12. Starting early allows for an initial pelvic floor assessment that sets the foundation for a tailored exercise regimen designed to accommodate pregnancy-related changes. This early intervention is not just about strengthening; it's also about learning the proper techniques for pelvic floor awareness and core engagement, which are vital as the body prepares for childbirth. Continuing treatment through the second and third trimesters integrates more focused preparation techniques, including breathing strategies and exercises specifically aimed at easing labor and delivery. Postpartum, the focus shifts to recovery and rehabilitation, ideally beginning 5-6 weeks after delivery and continuing with regular sessions to ensure a safe return to pre-pregnancy activities and overall long-term pelvic health. Initiating Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy early in pregnancy and maintaining it post-delivery offers comprehensive support for childbirth preparation and recovery, enhancing a woman’s physical well-being throughout her maternity journey. 

What Should I Expect from My Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy Appointment?

During your Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy appointment, you can expect a comprehensive assessment of your pelvic health, including a detailed discussion of your symptoms, medical history, and lifestyle factors. Your physiotherapist will perform a physical examination to assess the strength, flexibility, and coordination of your pelvic floor muscles and may use specialized techniques such as biofeedback or internal pelvic floor assessment.

Based on your assessment, your physiotherapist will develop a personalized treatment plan tailored to address your specific needs and goals. This may include exercises to strengthen and coordinate the pelvic floor muscles, manual therapy techniques, education on bladder and bowel habits, and strategies to optimize posture and movement patterns.

Throughout your treatment, your physiotherapist will provide ongoing support, guidance, and education to empower you to take an active role in your pelvic health. They will monitor your progress closely and make adjustments to your treatment plan as needed to ensure optimal outcomes and long-term pelvic health and wellness.

Acupuncture Menopause and Women's Health

Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy can effectively address a wide range of pelvic health conditions, including:

  • Pelvic organ prolapse
  • Urinary and bowel incontinence
  • Diastasis Recti Abdominis (DRA)
  • Pelvic pain
  • Postpartum musculoskeletal issues
  • Painful intercourse
  • Endometriosis
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
  • Interstitial Cystitis
  • Lichen Sclerosus that affect pelvic health