When should you go and see a pelvic floor physiotherapist?
While seeing a pelvic floor physiotherapist is not necessarily common practice in Canada, and is only covered by extended medical care, in many other parts of the world, a woman’s pelvic floor health is considered imperative. In France, pelvic health is viewed as so important, that at four-six weeks’ postpartum, every single woman who has delivered a baby, (either by C-section or vaginally) gets up to 12 paid-for visits with their doctor and a pelvic floor physiotherapist, at the same time. Together as a group, the patient, doctor, and physiotherapist come up with a treatment plan.
Marcy Dayan a registered physiotherapist and clinical specialist in women’s health, who has a practice in Vancouver said, “It’s important to go and see a pelvic floor physiotherapist postpartum because the pelvic floor has been carrying a heavy load for several months and it’s had a baby go through it, and there are most likely nerve muscle and fascial changes. What we know is that you can get stress incontinence not just from delivery, but it can happen during pregnancy, and even if it resolves by itself, there is a higher risk that it will return.”
She also says, “If you don’t address it, it can also get worse as you get older, as more things change in your body.”
Both Nerreter and Dayan agree although seeking help postpartum recovery is a good idea, if you are a pregnant woman, getting advice in the prenatal period is even better.
Who should go and see a pelvic floor Physiotherapist?
Nerreter says, “I treat all age ranges of women. I see young girls who are gymnasts and cheerleaders, I see kids with continence issues, I see new moms and then I have patients who are all the way up past menopause. It’s very important no matter where you are in life to find solutions that work for your pelvic floor. Because the alternative is surgery and it has a very high failure rate.” Nerreter also said that it’s important to receive guidance from a specialist because treatment plans are not one-size-fits-all; since we all have a unique set of problems concerning our pelvic floor health. “We go into pregnancy with a story, and with that in mind, every woman is going to have a different experience of pregnancy.”