In our 3 pregnancy, post natal & pelvic health physiotherapy clinics we have for a long time looked after many new and experienced mums from the Birmingham, Solihull & West Midlands areas. We also commonly have women travel from other parts of the UK to see us.
We closed our clinics very early on for face to face appointments, but we have been busy supporting our existing and new patients via online appointments and we have had great feedback on these. Rachel one of our new post-natal patients has also just done a 5 * google review for us on our online physio clinic. She had her appointment via Zoom.
Lots of our mums have been asking us how the COVID-19 crisis will affect either their post-natal recovery or their post- natal condition. We have therefore put some top tips together. If you want information on the medical risks of COVID-19 during your pregnancy or how it may affect you post-Nataly or your baby please consult the Royal College Obstetricians and Gynaecologists website ( we have put the link below ). It is important at this time of anxiety to consult reliably and trustworthy sources of information.
Here are some tips that we feel you may find useful at this challenging time.
1.Your normal parent and toddler groups will have been closed by COVID19 as have the coffee meet ups and trips out to meet other new parents. This is tough to accept as it will feel like some or lots of the joy has been taken away. It’s not the same but give virtual groups online a go like. There can almost be too much choice online, but we recommend connecting with a group that is local to you with local parents that you can then meet face to face when this all fades.
2.Having family visit and friends visit or going to visit them has been dramatically affected by COVID-19 and this is hard to accept as it’s difficult to share your new baby or older children with loved ones. Virtual meet ups are not the same but currently they help us to keep in touch and share that joy of a new baby with those dearest to us.
3 .Exercise is always important but especially post-Nataly. This is now difficult as we are only permitted to leave our homes daily to exercise. It can be so busy at home with a new baby or new baby and other children that days slip by without getting out of the house. It’s an effort but important to get out and try and get some time if there is someone else at home to get out on your own. This is tough to do but worthwhile even it is only once or twice a week that you emerge on your own.
4. COVID-19 has produced high levels of anxiety, stress, concern and uncertainty. We know that all these things make conditions such as pelvic girdle pain, low back pain, urinary leakage, prolapse, pelvic pain worse. It may be that your symptoms will flare at times for no reason or it may be that your recovery will be slower but that is ok considering the enormity of what we are living through.
5.Tummy gap healing or rectus diastasis needs good sleep (always tricky anyways), good nutrition, good levels of exercise & lower stress levels. COVID-19 isn’t helping with any of these so it’s likely your recovery may be slower than normal but that isn’t your fault.
6.Stress incontinence or urinary leakage or overactive bladder is common post-Nataly and is sent crazy by anxiety and this is an anxious time. What will help with your bladder problems is finding some way to get some relaxation time and Head space (Check out the App store) is very good for this. Meditation is great as is trying to find time for you.
7. Bowel issues post-Nataly are common especially if you have had a forceps delivery or a grade 3 or 4 tear. They are also more common after a prolonged or traumatic birth or if you have suffered with constipation. One common bowel symptom that mums get but don’t like to talk about is loss of control of wind. Although we are socially distancing, trips to Aldi or Waitrose now can involve a lot of standing in a que and this can be difficult for a new mum with loss of bowel control.
8. Pelvic floor muscle exercises (fast & Slow ones) are not easy to do post-Nataly for many reasons but often because life is so busy. We are now in the habit of hand washing a lot more. Try doing some pelvic floor exercises after your hand washing and link them together. It’s worth a go and will get you doing them in standing which is were they really need to be done.
9. We are also a specialist clinic for pelvic pain and over active pelvic floor patients. It may be that you feel pain on intimacy, perineal pain, pain on bowel or urinary activity. It may be that you find you just can’t do pelvic floor contractions or that that area feels tight or contracted. Stop the pelvic floor exercises and start doing some belly breathing or abdominal breathing to try and calm those muscles down. We know that anxiety and stress drive pelvic floor spasm so COVID-19 will make this worse.
10. C Section during COVID-19 will pose lots of challenges as you may not now have the help you were relying on. The C Section scar will benefit from gentle self-massage as will your tummy or abdomen. Better to leave scar massage till approx. 6 weeks when it has healed well.
11. We have great guidelines on return to post-natal exercise but let’s put them on hold and move them back a bit due to COVID19 to take pressure of you. Now there is no need to put added pressure on you to get back running or exercising as soon as the guidelines said. We normally say to wait 12 weeks till running and that is if everything has gone well. But with COVID-19 we would recommend pushing that back even longer.
12. Prolapse is another common condition especially if you have had a traumatic birth. Look for a sensation of dragging or pressure into the vagina when doing more strenuous activity. With COVID-19 we can feel under pressure to get lots done at home or in the garden if you have one but it’s ok to not do that and look after yourself. Prolapse will commonly settle with treatment but it doesn’t like strenuous exercise or activity that is bringing on those sensations.
13. Your nursery is closed or you or your partner is going out to work as a key worker and you may have other toddlers at home doing some variation of home schooling. This is not an easy situation to be in at any time particularly with a new baby of toddler . Try and sleep when they sleep and as hard as it is try and allocate some time to prioritising you whether that is rest, Netflix, listening to music , a bath or shower or just being with yourself. Your body and mind need rest and recovery to look after you, your baby and your family.
All of the conditions we have mentioned may be common but are definitely not normal and specialist post-natal physiotherapy can sort most of them out getting you back to where you want to be and able to do the things you want to do.
We are a specialist group of pregnancy, post-natal and pelvic health physiotherapists and even during COVID-19 we are here to help you via our online physiotherapy clinic. Feel free to contact us with any queries and we will help in any way we can.
Stay home, save lives and Protect The NHS
Gerard & Team