A time when it is imperative to feel the support by those around you.
A time to build a team of health professionals working with you that bring knowledge, empathy, and strategies to your care.
A time to make sure your obstetrician, your midwife, your doula, your friends and family, and a pelvic floor physiotherapist fits perfectly into this support system.
As a pelvic floor physiotherapist, I love my assessments with my pregnant clients. I share their excitement and spend the time to listen to how their body is responding to such a momentous time in their life. Sometimes pregnancy can feel fantastic and other times pregnancy can feel like it is making your body go haywire. Yes, pregnancy can cause aches and pains but it doesn’t mean you just have to suffer through it. And whether you feel awesome with pregnancy glow or feel like you’ve been hit by a truck, you will still benefit from a pelvic floor physiotherapy assessment.
Pelvic floor physiotherapy still has some misconceptions associated with it. Let me walk you through what is involved and what a pelvic floor physiotherapy assessment can do for your pregnancy.
A pelvic floor assessment addresses 5 things:
- Posture and Pelvic Alignment: The way we hold our bodies all day long directly affects whether or not we are allowing our muscles to optimally engage and support us. A growing baby changes our centre of gravity and can cause us to adopt really poor postural habits that will create increased pain and stress on our muscles and ligaments in various areas throughout our body.
- Movement Patterns: I look at how you get up from bed, how you get up from a chair, how you pick up objects, and other movements preformed in every day life. We perform these activities daily and are often not very mindful of the way we do it, especially as ones body changes with pregnancy. I help to guide you on ways to perform these movements that will support your body and optimally engage your core muscles.
- Pelvic Floor Muscle Activity and Tone: I am specially trained (and registered with the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario) to internally assess the strength and tone of your pelvic floor muscles (it sounds scarier than it is). The assessment involves educating you on understanding where your pelvic floor muscles are and what exactly they do. Many of my clients are told to “just do Kegels”. However, without a proper and thorough internal assessment, you can never be truly sure that you are doing them correctly and even for some women, “doing Kegels” is not appropriate at all and can make their pain or pelvic issues worse.
- Current Pelvic Issues: If you already have issues with frequent trips to the bathroom, urinary or bowel leakage, constipation, pelvic pain, and/or painful sexual intercourse, pregnancy will likely make these conditions worse. Pelvic physiotherapy is a means for addressing these conditions and providing you with guidance on how to help resolve them.
- Preparing your body for labour and delivery: Pelvic physiotherapy provides you with manual techniques, exercises, and positions to help prepare your body for when you actually go into labour. This helps to empower you so you have tools in your toolbox for when the big day arrives!
The above assessment and assessment findings will allow me to put together a plan of care to allow you to feel better, stay healthy, and optimize your pregnancy. I am available to discuss, educate, and continue to work with you throughout your 9 month journey. It is a pleasure and a privilege to work with my pregnant clients during such an exciting time in their lives.
Once you have your baby, your journey with a pelvic floor physiotherapist does not end there. Oh no…this is only the beginning. Stay tuned for a follow up blog on what to expect for your pelvic floor physiotherapy journey post baby.
By Leeanna Maher
Leeanna Maher is a Registered Physiotherapist in Ontario. She is accepting new clients for pelvic floor physiotherapy. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to book an appointment.