I believe that education is gold. I believe that no one should ever make your mind up for you, or force you to do something. But I do believe that when someone has education and experience in a particular area, they have a responsibility to share their knowledge with others, so that they may choose what is right for them.
I have long stood by the belief that every woman that ever has a baby has the right to all of the information and education she needs to make the best decisions for herself and her baby. It is with this conviction that I share these words with you today, that I know could make a difference in your life, and prevent pain down the track.
We have had many conversations about postnatal mums visiting a Women’s Health Physio (and we’ll surely have those again) but for today I want to talk about the pregnant women amongst us. I believe that every woman, both pregnant and postnatal, should visit a Women’s Health Physiotherapist so that they are properly informed about what is happening on the inside – around the things that we cannot see.
Let’s explore a real life example.
Meet Anna –
“I’m pregnant with my second baby and started training with Jen before Christmas. Her first piece of advice (and something I’ve heard her repeat many times to all her new members) was to see a Women’s Health Physio for a pelvic floor check.
After having a caesarean with my first baby, having no real pelvic floor issues, and life being generally busy with a toddler and work, I added it to my never ending “to do” list. It took me until February to finally follow Jen’s advice. By then I was 25 weeks pregnant and generally feeling great but starting to get a bit of pain in my lower back and one of my glutes.
I was really surprised when the physio discovered that one side of my pelvic floor was overactive. I couldn’t effectively release it on the left hand side, and the constant tension in the muscle was what was causing my back and glute pain.
After three weeks of physio and a whole lot of pelvic floor exercises, all the pain has gone and I am feeling great again. We still aren’t quite sure why it started in the first place and whether the pain will come back but now I know what to do and where to go for help if it does.
More significantly, it’s also given me something else to think about in making the decision as to whether to have another caesarean, or to try for a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarian). I now know that an overactive pelvic floor can make a vaginal birth a whole lot harder. I’m still on the fence about what to do on that front but fortunately I have a bit more time to make that decision.”
So you see that through Anna visiting a Women’s Health Physiotherapist and having multiple conversations with myself, her physio and obstetric care giver, she now has more information – crucial knowledge – to make important decisions that could affect her birth and postnatal recovery outcomes. With this education, Anna knows this decision is so much more than just what she thinks she might like to do: try for a VBAC or opt for a second C-section.
Knowing she might run the risk of increased pelvic floor trauma in the process, and because she has already had a C –section, she might decide to go down that road again. With the great physio work Anna is now doing, the overactive side of her pelvic floor that needs to be able to release to help push her baby out may be released and then she can make an educated decision about the birth of her second baby.
There is no right or wrong in pregnancy, childbirth or life but I know that making sure you are well informed, educated, can make a really big difference in your experience.
As Kofi Annan, Nobel Peace Prize laureate said, “Knowledge is power. Information is liberating.”
Mum-focused author, educator and business owner, Jen Dugard is on a mission to ensure every woman is safely and effectively looked after when she becomes a mother. She is a highly qualified trainer and fitness professional educator and has been specialising in working with mums for over a decade. MumSafe is the go-to place online for women to find mum-focused fitness services that are all accredited, experienced and partnered with women’s health physios so you know you are in very safe hands.