Q & A with a Womens Health Physio:

Q & A with a Womens Health PhysioQ & A with a Womens Health Physio


About me:

My name is Laura and I am a women’s health and musculoskeletal physiotherapist based in Sydney @physiohilly. I love educating and empowering women to take control of their bodies, health journeys and achieve their goals.

Sooo what actually Is a women’s health physio?

Great Question! Simply, it is a physiotherapist that has undergone extra training to specialise in conditions that affect women. This extra education helps us to further understand the female body and what it needs throughout all stages of life including pregnancy, post-partum and perimenopause/menopause.

We commonly treat conditions such as: Prolapse, Incontinence, Pain with sex, Musculoskeletal injuries (SIJ pain, Hip Pain etc), prenatal care and postpartum return to training.

Q & A with a Womens Health Physio


Why should I see a women’s health physio during my pregnancy?

Many people think that you only need to see a physio during pregnancy if you have pain/a problem. Of course if you are having any symptoms YOU SHOULD see a women’s health physio ASAP. However, it is also really great to see a Women’s health physio for a pre-natal check even if you feel wonderful.

I would recommend making an appointment with a women’s health physio at around 25 weeks as this is a great time to begin your prenatal journey. We will first conduct a thorough history to fully understand your body, goals and plan for your birth if you have anything in mind. We will then assess your WHOLE body including your pelvic floor. From this assessment we can then help you to:

  1. Prepare your body and pelvic floor  for birth including teaching you how to push.
  2. Teach you different birth and labour positions
  3. Help you to develop pain management strategies for labour including movement, breath work, the use of TENS
  4. Help you manage any current pain you may be having
  5. Teach you perineal massage
  6. Help to manage and adapt your exercise and training throughout.


Why Should You See a Women’s Health Physio postpartum?

Seeing a Women’s health physio at 6 weeks postpartum is just as important (if not more ;)) as seeing your GP or OBGYN. Our role and focus here is on your recovery and determining if you are ready to exercise and what that looks like. We have more time and will go into a more in depth assessment of both your pelvic floor and abdominal well to help determine what you are ready for and carve out a structured path to get you back to where you want to be! Whatever that is.

During this check up will take a detailed story of how your birth went. We will then do a full assessment of your pelvic floor and abdominal wall and address any concerns or symptoms you may be experiencing.


What does the return to exercise look like and how do we help?

It is important to remember that no one’s birth story is the same and therefore neither is their recovery or return to exercise. Your journey needs to be completely individualised and is based on multiple different factors. Even better if you can also be guided by a professional such as an exercise physiologist (EP) with this return alongside your women’s health physio. Below, I will try to generalise and show you a very rough timeline for how things may look.

Weeks 0-6: Rest and recovery.

Regardless of the type of birth you have, the first 6 weeks really is a time to let your body heal. Rest and recover and listen to what you need. You will want to apply compression to your abdominal wall with tubi grip or post-natal high waisted tights, this helps with the abdominal separation healing process. It’s important to keep your fluids and nutrition up for bowel and bladder health and your energy if you are breastfeeding!

Things you can do in this time include:

  • You may begin to slowly build up your time and distance walking as you feel able.
  • Breath work
  • Gentle stretching and yoga poses – you may need to be careful with certain stretches if you have had a C-section
  • Pelvic floor exercises if previously taught by a physio and feeling comfortable to do so.

Weeks 0-6: Rest and recovery.


Weeks 6-12: Building strength and foundations

This is where we see you for your 6 week check and we can start to rebuild the fundamentals of your core and pelvic floor. This program will be individualised to what YOU need and what YOUR goals are. So it does look different for everyone.

You will likely have:

  • Some pelvic floor strengthening exercise
  • Some core/abdominal work
  • General strength geared to what you want to do e.g squats. Lunges etc
  • Some mobility work to help target any areas of restriction and support your return to gentle strength

This is about meeting your body where it is at and bringing in some slow progressively load. We are usually still avoiding high impact activities such as running or jumping as the tissues are generally not ready for that load in this time.

Weeks 6-12: Building strength and foundations


Weeks 12 onwards: Returning to high impact.

YAY! The 3 month mark. Now this can be a huge milestone in peoples head in terms of recovery. It’s important to remember that it is OK if your recovery is slower and it is also important to note that 3 months does not signify you returning to “normal”. However, it is generally a time when our pelvic floor muscle and fascia are often ready for some high impact loading in a lot of cases.

We will test your strength again and run through high impact activities to look at technique, quality of movement and to see how your body and pelvic floor responds. If you pass all the tests then we can start to bring in some impact activities to help guide that return.

Again, some people may be ready before 12 weeks and some may take longer, no two journeys are the same. Seeking help from a Women’s health physio in this process is vital so that you can continue to move your body the way that you want and not risk further injury later.

Weeks 12 onwards: Returning to high impact.Q & A with a Womens Health Physio


For more information on the Physiotherapy programs at my-health visit our website https://www.mtphealth.com.au/

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