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originally published: July, 2015

birmingham health physiotherapy
Pilates and Women’s Health: From Singapore to Monaghan!

Susan McDonnell

Following WCPT 2015 in Singapore, Susan McDonnell is preparing to launch her inaugural Post-Natal Reconditioning Programme in Monaghan, Ireland in September 2015. This 6 week Pilates led programme invites mother and baby to a 90 minute session of exercise, consultation, social interaction and advice. The exercise component which has a strong pilates foundation will focus on aerobic activity, flexibility, core stability training and relaxation components. Coming from a strong clinical research background the programme will be audited over the next year to quantify improvements in quality of life, urinary incontinence, BMI and post-natal depression. The emphasis really is seeing if a pilates based programme impacts on quality of life.

Susan Final WCPT Poster 2015 PPI (3)

Susan is very passionate about Post-natal Rehabilitation. She recognises the importance of all new mothers getting timely expert advice and guidance during their post-natal recovery. As health resources become more stretched, it is important to look at innovative ways to provide high quality healthcare which may also be cost effective. She has fused her Physiotherapy & Pilates background and experience as a mother to develop and innovative pilates approach to post natal restoration. Susan was successful in having a poster on her research accepted for WCPT 2015 in Singapore. Presenting in Singapore allowed her to spend creative and fun time with leading Pilates/ Women’s and Men’s health clinicians and Physiotherapy researchers such as Joanne Millios ( Australia) Craig Phillips ( Australia) Darren Brown ( UK) & Seth O Neill ( UK ) . She also had the honour of attending an official reception in the Irish Embassy in Singapore to celebrate the election of Dr Emma Stokes as President of WCPT.


Susan is a strong advocate of blending best evidence, clinical experience and patient preference to make a positive impact on the patient. Culligan (2010) conducted a RCT and demonstrated similar improvements in pelvic floor muscle strength in a 12 week Pilates versus Pelvic Floor Muscle Training programmes in nulliparous women. Kari Bo (2014) states that evidence for the use of Pilates to treat incontinence has yet to prove its strength. Susan is very keen to undertake future research to test this hypothesis. It is important to monitor current available evidence and recognise gaps in the research.

Susan is currently preparing the programme for ‘Pilates for Women’s Health’ course at Barefoot Clinic, Birmingham on 3rd October 2015. Having worked for 5 years in Leicester, Susan is looking forward to returning to the Midlands. She is also hoping to deliver her course in Singapore and Australia having had a lot of interest from both places in it.

Pilates in Womens Health Physiotherapy

Susan Mc Donnell is a Women’s Health Physiotherapist in Ireland who blends her Physiotherapy and pilates backgrounds to deliver innovative post natal restoration programmes.

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