To help improve physical comfort during and after pregnancy, to improve outcomes after gynaecological surgery or to avoid surgery altogether, I often recommend my patients to see our physiotherapist, Belinda Matthews.
As part of our antenatal package, I would like all my pregnant women to see Belinda for a physiotherapy screen. During this first appointment, Belinda will look at musculoskeletal issues you may be having, she will give you handy hints on issues such as exercise during pregnancy, sex during pregnancy, abdominal bracing and pelvic floor exercises. Our receptionist will organise a time for you to see Belinda when you are about 16 weeks pregnant.
Often women are only focused on growing their baby and tend to put up with aches, pains, leaky bladder and pins and needles in their hands. There is, however, much that can be done to make your pregnancy more comfortable.
Beginning with knowing how to do your pelvic floor exercises!
Research has proven that an individualised pelvic floor exercise program, under the guidance of a specifically trained physiotherapist, during pregnancy and after the birth of your baby is effective in preventing or reducing urinary leakage.
Consultations for pre and post natal visits may include:
Assessment of pelvic floor strength
Assessment of neck, upper and lower back, groin and buttock pain and function.
Postural re-education while sitting, lying and walking
Specific physiotherapy treatment and exercises for muscle and joint dysfunction
Assessment of symptoms such as pins and needles, numbness or burning in hands and fingers, thumb and wrist pain when picking up heavy objects, such as your baby!
Abdominal separation (a gap between the stomach muscles) and rehabilitation after birth
TENS for pain relief during labour
Belinda is also able to discuss with you the use ofTENS during labour for pain relief. She will help you become familiar with its set up and use the TENS before your labour. The TENS machine can be hired from TENS Australia. Please check with your health fund if you are able to receive a hiring rebate, for more information contact us.
Just like an orthopaedic surgeon would recommend physiotherapy before and after a hip or knee replacement, the same applies before and after gynaecological surgery. This helps to ensure your best health outcome and fastest path to recovery. Women who have seen Dr Pat due to poor bladder control, a prolapse or who have been recommended surgery generally will be recommended to see Belinda. Your GP may also refer you to Belinda however no referral is needed. You can see Belinda anytime without seeing Dr Pat or your GP first.
Patients who see Belinda Matthews before and after their surgery are taught pelvic floor strengthening as well as techniques to help minimise pain and promote recovery. You are also given appropriate exercises and types of activity to help in your return to health.
Your first appointment, which is generally about an hour, will be an assessment of your symptoms and include the creation of a treatment plan to get you on the path of recovery.
Most patients require a review consultation where your progress will be assessed and any tweaks to your treatment plan made. These are usually half hour appointments.
For all patients and depending on your symptoms, Real Time Ultrasound (RTUS) and/or an internal assessment (with your permission) can be used to assess your pelvic floor muscle health giving you a real time picture of your pelvic floor function.
On your first appointment
Please arrive 5 -10 min early to complete initial information forms
Wear loose fitting clothing
Have a near full bladder, drink 500mls prior to your visit (this is needed for the RTUS)
Bring any referrals, relevant x-rays or reports with you
All pregnant women will have an appointment with Belinda as part of their antenatal package. All other fees are paid on the day and if you have private health insurance extras your fund claims are processed on the day of your visit via the HICAPS system so you only have to pay your out of pocket costs at the time of consultation. For more information please contact us.
Some patients are eligible for a Chronic Disease Management (CDM) physiotherapy plan and rebate. Please ask your GP if you are eligible.