Rural Farm life and Babies
Life can be pretty tough for a woman living in the bush. Super early starts to meal prep for work staff and begin daily chores of feeding animals plus long days teaching our own kids, running errands around the property, all in between late nights maintaining the household. Often our location isolates us from family and friends, living hundreds of kilometres from town with no mobile telephone service and no neighbours in sight. Then imagine having to travel 1000’s of kilometres to access basic maternity care. By the time we get to our postpartum period with a baby in our arms, we are all but spent, physically and mentally.
Prolapse in the Bush
After returning to life on the farm after the birth of my 3rd bub, I prolapsed. For those of you who don’t know what a prolapse is, it’s where the bladder, uterus and/or bowel slip down from their usual position inside your pelvis and bulge into the vagina and sometimes in more severe cases, outside of the vagina. One in two women experience prolapse after childbirth, yet no-one is talking about it, especially in the bush. When it happened to me, I spent most of my days crying, questioning “Why didn’t anyone tell me?”
4 things I wish I had known
- A rushed birth, a long pushing phase, an instrumental delivery and/or a big baby puts you at a greater risk of prolapse.
- When the Drs and nurses tell you to rest, they mean it! It’s crucial healing time and allows your body the best chance of recovery. Your core and pelvic floor have just experienced major trauma.
- You need to go through a rehabilitation period post-partum. Working with a Women’s Health Physio is paramount to your success.
- You can recover from prolapse. It’s not all doom and gloom like Dr Google may tell you.
What you can do to start your prolapse recovery
- Make an appointment to see a Women’s Health Physio (they can assess, diagnose and prescribe exercises to help you recover).
- Avoid lifting anything heavy (even your baby can feel too heavy. If someone can help you let them).
- Lay down as often as possible (take the pressure off your pelvic floor by getting horizontal).
- Maintain a high fibre diet to prevent constipation (we do not want to be straining to poo! It only puts more pressure on your pelvic floor. Get yourself a squatty potty to get you in the optimum position.
- Practice your pelvic floor exercises (check with a Women’s Health Physio to make sure you are doing them right).
Prolapse in the bush can be a very lonely, terrifying time, but can be helped when we understand the diagnosis and have the right tools to support us. Living rurally, I understand that access to a Women’s Health Physio is limited. If distance is a barrier, seek out a Women’s Health Physio that offers telehealth appointments. Find a Women’s Health Physio near you on our website.
Melissa runs Rural Women’s Exercise delivering safe and effective online exercise solutions to the women of Rural Australia. Melissa has been a Personal Trainer for over 5 years and became a MumSafe™ Trainer in 2020 after realising the importance of providing specialised exercise advice and support for women through all stages of motherhood.