Niggling pregnancy complaints are common. Studies indicate 70% of women will suffer from some level of back or pelvic pain during their pregnancy, and 80-100% of women will have some form of abdominal separation by the end of their pregnancy. In this appointment we will assess and treat these conditions, as well as give you movement strategies and exercises to help manage them throughout the pregnancy. Pregnancy exercise is discussed, and modifications can be made to programs if required.
Education is the key to informed decision making during your birth, and your pelvic floor anatomy, function and recovery will be discussed at length during this appointment. On labour day for a vaginal delivery your pelvic floor muscles need to be able to relax and let go, and in the postnatal period the correct technique for your pelvic floor exercises is crucial. The length of your perineal body may also influence your risk of significant perineal tears. In the appointment a vaginal examination is undertaken to assess for over-activity and inability to stretch for labour day, correct exercise technique for pregnancy and the postnatal period, and your perineal body length will be measured. The resting tone and strength of your muscles will be objectively measured so we have a baseline, which will guide goal setting in the postnatal period. Perineal massage will be taught, as well as advice on the EPI-NO and postnatal recovery shorts.
All births are special, and either vaginal deliveries or caesarean sections require preparation. In the first stage of labour, pain management will be your main goal. Your Alana Physiotherapist will discuss your options for pain management as well as mindfulness techniques to keep you going. With a vaginal delivery, the optimal technique for your second stage will be discussed and practiced. Positions for first and second stage labour are also practiced and discussed. For a caesarean section we will review what to expect, and the movement strategies required in the early recovery period.
Early postnatal recovery
In your prenatal appointment we will discuss your rehabilitation plan for the first 6 weeks following your delivery. This will involve a pelvic floor rehabilitation program, as well as exercise advice.
The best time to schedule this appointment is when you are between 20 and 26 weeks gestation as this gives us time to address any issues prior to your delivery. 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.