Most women attend ante natal classes to prepare their bodies for pregnancy and labour, but very few, if any, attend a class for post natal health! I know, as a new mother, we often neglect our bodies, and may feel that a little pain or incontinence is “normal”. This is NOT the case. The impact, both pregnancy and labour have on the body, should not be ignored. Many post natal women have no issues, however others continue to experience low back or pelvic pain, incontinence, prolapse or sexual dysfunction/pain long after delivery.
Abdominal muscle and pelvic floor anatomy are altered significantly by pregnancy and delivery, and early restoration of function is essential in preventing future problems.
Research now suggests that there should be “routine screening post natally and early discussion of bladder/bowel habits and proper muscle techniques”.
The post natal screen allows you to ensure your body recovers fully after pregnancy, whether it is in preparation for the next, or for return to work or play. Women who are 6-8 weeks post delivery are suitable for screening.
The screen includes assessment of;
- Alignment, mobility and strength of the spine, pelvis and hips.
- Presence of Diastasis recti, which is a separation of the rectus abdominis (6pack) muscle.
- Pelvic floor screen, correct pelvic floor contraction (over 50% of women do these incorrectly when taught verbally)
- Advice and education regarding return to sport/fitness
- Advice regarding posture when feeding, as well as healthy bladder and bowel habits.
- Brubaker 2002 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1123200/