What is the Birth & Beyond Programme?
The Birth & Beyond Programme (previously the Mummy MOT) involves specialist physiotherapy assessment following the birth of your baby. It doesn't matter what type of birth you have experienced, or if you have any symptoms or not. The aim of the Birth & Beyond Programme is to help women return to all the things they want to following childbirth. It's best to book at about 6 weeks post natal. However, if you have any concerns, feel free to book in earlier than 6 weeks to discuss your questions with Gillian.
How can the Birth & Beyond Programme help me?
Following assessment, you will work out a bespoke training and treatment plan to help you achieve your goals. It doesn't matter if your goal is to be able to take your little one for long walks, or if you want to get back to running or even if you want to prevent problems such as back and pelvic pain. You make the goals and Gillian will work with you to make sure you achieve them.
What does the assessment involve?
- Initial Discussion
At first, we will discuss your birth history, how your pregnancy went, what your concerns are and also we will plan out your goals for future rehabilitation
- Postural Assessment
We then move into the physical side of the assessment. I will ask you to stand up in front of me so that I can look at your posture. I will identify any potential issues and we can discuss how to improve any problems you may have.
- Breathing Assessment
It is so important to breathe correctly and so many women following childbirth will have an altered and dysfunctional breathing pattern. Learning to breathe well is a vital foundation of your recovery and rehabilitation following childbirth.
- Abdominal Check
Separation of the abdominal muscles known as Diastasis Rectus Abdominis (DRA) is very common following pregnancy and childbirth. You may have noticed a doming of your tummy in pregnancy when getting up out of bed or you may now be experiencing a weakness of the abdominal muscles. Sometimes, DRA can prevent your abdominals from returning to normal after childbirth. With the right exercises you can get that tummy back. The Birth & Beyond programme will assess your gap (if there is one) and advise the best way of reducing it and improving your abdominal function.
- Pelvic Floor Muscle Assessment
Whether you have delivered vaginally or by caesarean section, you are at risk of pelvic floor muscle dysfunction. You may not have any symptoms at present but it is really important to have the peace of mind that you are doing your pelvic floor exercises correctly and completing a specific muscle training program that will help you get on track for good strong muscles in the future.
What happens after the assessment?
The assessment is designed to identify problem areas that you need to work on to restore normal function and activity. Following the assessment, Gillian will discuss the assessment findings with you, and together you can organise a plan of action. If you would like to continue the rehabilitation program with Gillian, you can book a Mummy MOT Programme which consists of 6 follow up appointments to review and progress your exercises, provide treatment and encourage you on your journey. If you would like to find out more about this program.
Here are some statistics about issues that may occur following childbirth
50% of women experience pelvic organ prolapse with symptoms of bladder and bowel dysfunction. (Hagen et al 2004)
50% of women who have had children have some degree of symptomatic or asymptomatic pelvic organ prolapse. (Hagen & Stark 2011)
In women with vaginal prolapse, 63% will experience urinary stress incontinence. (Bai et al 2002)
And my top three stats on why we should have post-natal rehab for every mum
Training post birth after experiencing pelvic girdle pain in pregnancy using a specific stabilisation exercise programme, results showed significant reduction in pain and 50% reduction in disability. This tells us that specific stability exercises are useful for reducing pelvic girdle pain after pregnancy. (Stuge et al 2004)
Retraining muscle after injury is essential as inhibited muscle does not automatically reactivate and retrain. (Stener & Petersen 1962)
A survey of 115 postnatal women found that after 8 weeks the gap between the rectus muscle - the inter recti distance or recti diastasis - will not change without intervention. (Coldron 2008)
Urinary incontinence during pregnancy nearly doubles the likelihood of urinary incontinence at three months post baby (regardless of delivery method, so Caesarean section or vaginal). (Eason et al 2004)
Women who are incontinent before pregnancy are 5 times more likely to leak after birth than women who are continent before pregnancy. (Sampselle et al 1998)
52% of women with lower back pain during pregnancy were found to have pelvic floor dysfunction (Study by Pool-Goudzwaard et al 2005)
A study of 1004 women with pelvic organ prolapse showed that straining on the loo is associated with anterior vaginal wall and perineal descent. (Kahn MA 2005)
52% of women with a pelvic floor dysfunction (stress urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse) have a Diastasis Rectus Abdominis. (Spitznagle et al 2007)
66% of women with a diastasis recti abdominis have a pelvic floor support dysfunction (stress urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse) (Spitznagle et al 2007)
45% have urinary incontinence 7 years post natally. (Wilson et al 2002)
36% have rectus diastasis abdominis 8 weeks after delivery. (Boissonnault 1988)
Prevalence of stress or urge incontinence and intravaginal prolapse was 42% in women with one or more vaginal deliveries as opposed to 35% in women who had a C-section delivery. (Sakala 2006)