Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy Postnatal Care
The pelvic floor is a group of muscles, tendons, and ligaments deep within the body that helps with bladder and bowel control, supports the organs, and stabilizes the hips, low back and abdomen. As the body changes during pregnancy, there is additional impact and pressure on the pelvic floor, leading the muscles to lengthen and work harder, which is what they are meant to do.
However, if women face issues such as leakages, urinary urgency/frequency, abdominal separation, and pain with intercourse, Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy may help reduce and eliminate these concerns.
What is Pelvic Physiotherapy?
Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy is the assessment and treatment of the pelvic floor by a trained Pelvic Physiotherapist. Depending on the concern, it may include hands-on therapy, exercise prescription, and patient education to address specific conditions, prevent pelvic floor issues, and prep for labour and delivery.
Pelvic Physiotherapy may help address the following signs, symptoms, and conditions:
- bladder leakages
- bladder urgency + frequency
- bowel leakages or incontinence
- bowel urgency
- abdominal separation
- pelvic girdle pain (vaginal, low back, hip, pubic, groin, tailbone)
- pain with sex
- pelvic organ prolapse
- chronic constipation.
Furthermore, seeing a pelvic physiotherapist during pregnancy may help prevent pelvic floor issues prenatally and post partum. During pregnancy, the focus is on lengthening the muscles to prep for labour and delivery, strengthening the core, learning how to push and addressing any existing concerns. Your physiotherapist may teach you different breathing techniques, perineal massage, and kegels as well. Post partum, the goal is to return to exercise and activity safely, while maintaining a strong and healthy core. Each patient receives an e-mail after the appointment with the exercises and homework that was discussed with the physiotherapist.
Frequently Asked Questions:
When should I book my appointment during pregnancy/post partum?
During pregnancy, please book after the first trimester (12 weeks) and post partum at 6 weeks. It is never “too late” to book and appointment during pregnancy and your therapist can help you even if you are late into the third trimester.
What does an assessment include?
The assessment is 60 minutes and includes taking a detailed medical history, assessment of the appropriate areas, and treatment. Externally, the physiotherapist may assess your low back, hips, and abdominal region including movement and strength. The only way to adequately assess the pelvic floor is via an internal examination, vaginally and/or rectally, depending on the areas of concern. An internal exam is performed with patient consent, draping, discretion, while taking into consideration comfort at all times. Proper precautions are taken for hygiene and gloves and lubricant are used in accordance with Health Canada guidelines.
How many sessions will I need?
The amount of sessions will be determined by your specific concerns, treatment goals, and the assessment performed by the therapist. There is no cookie-cutter approach as you are a unique individual.
Is Pelvic Physiotherapy covered by insurance?
Pelvic Physiotherapy is covered under regular Physiotherapy for most insurance plans. Please check with your coverage provider.
If I am having a planned cesarean or have had a cesarean delivery, do I need Pelvic Physiotherapy?
The pelvic floor works with the abdominal region, and research suggests that women who have had a cesarean delivery may still be at risk for pelvic conditions such as bladder leakages. A pelvic examination pre-natally and post-partum may ensure optimal health of the pelvic floor in these cases.
Nav Grewal, BSc, MSc, PT, Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist
We offer Pelvic floor physiotherapy out of our South Clinic location. Please call 403-455-8029 for more information.