Are you thinking about postnatal physiotherapy, either due to a GP referral or simply because you’re curious about what it could do for you, but aren’t really sure what it might entail? Then this blog post is for you! Pelvic health physiotherapist Lucy Allen explains what to expect from your first postnatal physio appointment.
This is a question I get asked regularly and it can be a daunting experience even more so if you don’t know what is going to happen.
At the beginning your physio will start with asking you questions about your symptoms, how things have changed from your normal i.e. pr-pregnancy/delivery, childbirth details and also explore how it’s affecting your health and overall wellbeing. We will also ask a bit about your medical history as there can be things from the past that are relevant to symptoms you may now have.
After the initial conversation your physio will offer an assessment of how you move with a spinal/pelvis assessment if you are experiencing any back/pelvic girdle or coccyx pain. We will also assess your abdominal muscles for diastasis recti if you are post natal or following surgery.
You will also be offered an internal examination either vaginally and or rectally depending on your symptoms. This is completely your choice and can always be completed at the next appointment if you don’t feel comfortable on the day, weren’t expecting it or you have your period and would prefer to be examined another time. Your physio won’t be judging you on whether your legs are shaved, your wax is fresh and there’s colour on your toenails! However we do want you to feel as relaxed as possible so book an appointment at a time that suits you. Internal examinations allow us to check things have healed, assess the pelvic floor muscle strength, coordination, size, areas of tenderness and signs of prolapse and scar tissue.
After the assessment your physio will explain any issues or findings so that you understand what’s going on. This is followed by going through your rehab/treatment programme and timeframes so you know what to expect! Everyone’s journey is different and the types of rehabilitation offered for you may be different to a friend. Our bodies vary greatly and healing times alone will be completely individual.
For me, the first appointments are about hearing your thoughts and concerns and working out a way of helping you achieve whatever goal it might be. Sometimes you only need to see a physio once, other times it might be over a few sessions and again, how often the appointments are depend on you as an individual.
If you have any concerns or questions before your appointment please contact your physio who will be able to answer any questions.
I am a part of the CARiFiT 4 ALL team and you can access expert support and advice for free at https://www.carifit.co.uk/carifit4all