Pregnancy & Women’s Health

Pregnancy is a time of immense change to a woman’s body; both physically and psychologically. Fluctuating hormone levels and postural changes from a growing baby can result in aches and pains. These changes can also cause issues with bladder and bowel control, and many women are unsure of what exercise they should be doing during their pregnancy.

Through thorough and individualised assessment your Physiotherapist can assist with managing any aches and pains you may have as well as provide individualised treatment and advice for any continence concerns. We can also help you prepare for labour and delivery and optimise your recovery in the postnatal period.

Common pregnancy-related conditions we treat include:

  • Pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain (PRPGP)
  • Pelvic floor assessment and exercise prescription
  • Abdominal separation (DRAM)
  • Continence assessments and advice (urinary and faecal incontinence, constipation and pelvic organ prolapse)
  • Birth preparation advice including preparing your pelvic floor for delivery

Pelvic health conditions don’t just affect women in the antenatal and postnatal periods. In fact, symptoms such as urinary incontinence, pelvic pain and pain with sexual intercourse can affect women at any stage of their life.

Your Pelvic Health Physiotherapists at Ramsay Health Plus take pride in individualising their assessment and treatment of these conditions based on the woman coming to see them and their goals. All women are treated with compassion and empathy, as we recognise these concerns can be deeply personal and affect a women’s quality of life immensely. Common conditions we treat include:

  • Urinary incontinence (leakage of urine)
  • Faecal incontinence and constipation
  • Pelvic organ prolapse (POP)
  • Persistent pelvic pain (including Endometriosis)
  • Pain with sexual intercourse
  • Post gynaecological surgery rehabilitation
  • Pelvic health and exercise through peri-menopause and menopausal stage

Our aim is to improve a women’s quality of life by maximising her pelvic health and to help her live her life to the fullest!

We recommend the Jean Hailes Foundation and Beyond Blue as wonderful supplementary sources of information for women in pre- and postnatal periods.

Frequently Asked Questions

Your Physio will start by listening to your story and taking a comprehensive history of your symptoms. From there you will be offered different assessment options, based on your concerns. For the majority of pelvic health concerns, an internal vaginal exam is the most comprehensive form of assessment. Your Physiotherapist will discuss this with you at the time of your appointment and offer other options if appropriate. Following your assessment, your Physio will tailor a treatment program specific to you addressing your concerns and taking into account your goals and preferences.
In short, whenever your pelvic health symptoms are bothering you. Physio’s can assist with improving your symptoms no matter where you are on your pelvic health journey, keeping in mind the longer you have had symptoms often the longer it takes to improve them. If you have recently had pelvic surgery your specialist may recommend you wait until 6 weeks to see a Physio. During pregnancy for a pelvic floor assessment we often see patients after 12 weeks gestation, and post-partum at 4-6 weeks after baby is born.
It is recommended that pelvic floor exercises are commenced as early as possible during pregnancy, or prior to falling pregnant. A strong pelvic floor can help with the post-birth recovery process.
Pelvic organ prolapse is descent of one or more of the pelvic organs (bladder, bowel, uterus) into the vagina with corresponding symptoms. Symptoms may include vaginal heaviness or bulge, incomplete bladder emptying, incomplete bowel emptying or a dragging/low back ache.
Yes, we can still do an assessment if you have your period. If you are having pain or not comfortable having an internal examination we can offer other assessment options and start working on your management plan. Alternatively, you are welcome to reschedule your appointment for another time.
This depends on contributing factors; how long you have had incontinence for, how bad it is, and what treatments have been tried already. There is evidence that pelvic floor exercises (called ‘Kegels’ in some countries) can reduce the symptoms of incontinence in many cases but it is recommended that you first get assessed by a women’s health physiotherapist who is an expert in this field.
As with any muscle strengthening, any initial improvements seen (i.e., in the first one to two weeks) are usually due to motor control changes, through improved efficiencies in the messages from the brain to the muscles. True changes in the size and number of muscle fibres is often seen by six weeks, when most people notice some improvement in pelvic floor symptoms. It can take three to six months to see a major change and often when completing a pelvic floor strengthening program after childbirth, small improvements in strength can continue to be seen up to one to two years post-delivery.
Most women with uncomplicated pregnancies are able to continue the exercise they enjoy with minor modifications. It is important to discuss this with your care provider prior to continuing or commencing an exercise program. Your Physiotherapist can guide you on appropriate exercise throughout your pregnancy and provide you with an exercise program to keep you doing the exercise you love.
Yes. In most cases, abdominal separation, also referred to as diastasis recti abdominal separation (DRAM), can improve with an individualised exercise program and advice on ways to prevent the separation from worsening. This is best done through an assessment by an expert in the field such as a women’s health physiotherapist.

In Australia, a referral is not required to be able to see an allied health professional such as a physiotherapist, although it is often helpful for you to bring as much information about your health history as well as any specific medical or surgical details that relate to your reason for seeing a physiotherapist. There are a few exceptions to this, where you will need to obtain a referral from your GP prior to attending our clinic. This includes:

  • Workers Compensation Claims
  • CTP (Third Party) Road Accident Claims
  • Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) Claims
  • Medicare Claims (e.g. Chronic Disease Management referral)

Services used in this treatment plan include

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If you are seeking prenatal or postnatal care, see us today for a personalised treatment or management plan to ensure a healthy, happy pregnancy, birth and postnatal experience.