Antenatal and Postnatal Pelvic Floor Assessment
Antenatal and Postnatal Pelvic Floor Assessment

The pregnancy and birth of your baby can place a great deal of strain on your pelvic floor muscles.  For this reason, at Alana we encourage all women to have a pelvic floor assessment at some stage throughout their antenatal period.  The optimal time to have your assessment is between 20 and 26 weeks, however our Alana Physiotherapists are able to perform an assessment at any time after your first trimester of pregnancy has finished (12 weeks).

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What is an antenatal pelvic floor assessment?

An antenatal pelvic floor assessment with an Alana Physiotherapist allows you to make sure you are progressing through your pregnancy with reasonable strength in your pelvic floor muscles and adequate support of your pelvic organs.  This is advantageous in identifying any early pelvic floor weakness.  If weakness is identified, then your Alana Physiotherapist is able to discuss with you ways to strengthen your pelvic floor and minimise risks of developing symptoms.  In addition, if you are already suffering from pelvic floor symptoms, an assessment will assist you in considering options for management in the pre and/or postnatal period.

The assessment involves an internal examination of your pelvic floor muscles.  The initial appointment will comprise of a physiotherapist explaining where the pelvic floor muscles are located and how to contract these muscles.  This is then followed by an assessment to determine your baseline pelvic floor function.  Objective measurements are useful in considering realistic goals for progression throughout your postnatal recovery.

Will an assessment minimise my risk of pelvic floor issues in the post-partum period?

Pregnancy and birth are both highly variable events, and there is obviously no way to guarantee that a woman won’t sustain some pelvic floor trauma during birth.  However, many pelvic floor conditions which women may be at risk of in the post-partum period, are more successfully treated when early detection is possible.  Identifying if you are at risk prior to the birth of your baby allows us to monitor changes and implement intervention where necessary, resulting in more favorable outcomes.

Frequently Asked Questions

When should I have my antenatal pelvic floor assessment?

The best time is when you are between 20 and 26 weeks gestation, and we will always do our best to schedule your assessment alongside one of your antenatal appointments with your Alana Obstetrician.  If you are not seeing an Alana Obstetrician for your pregnancy, you can still come in and see an Alana Physiotherapist for pelvic floor assessment at any stage after the first trimester.

When should I have my postnatal follow up assessment?

It is normal to experience some bleeding similar to a period for up to 6 weeks post-birth, we therefore suggest a follow up appointment for an assessment of your pelvic floor muscles at approximately 6-8 weeks post-partum (when your bleeding has ceased).  This enables the earliest commencement of your pelvic floor recovery whilst also minimising any chance of infection.  For your convenience, we can schedule this assessment alongside your postnatal appointment with your Alana Obstetrician.

Is my pelvic floor assessment covered by Medicare or Health Insurance?

Most insurance policies include some cover for physiotherapy services, however you would have to check this directly with your health fund.  Medicare may cover part of the cost of a physiotherapy appointment, but you must be referred under a GP Management Plan to be eligible.  Please contact our friendly staff for more information.