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Do you have Oooops moments?

Wait! This is too subtle.

We need to shout and yell the question.

Do you wee yourself when you move suddenly, cough, laugh, jump or sneeze? Let’s take it further? Do you pass wind or even poo when you move suddenly, cough, laugh, jump or sneeze?

Personal questions I know but they need to be asked.

We are all led to believe that it’s normal to wee yourself occasionally and that it’s even something to expect after having a baby BUT IT’S NOT NORMAL. We are led to believe that sometimes it gets better if you’re lucky and sometimes it doesn’t and that’s just something you then have to live with.

IT IS NOT NORMAL! IT IS NOT TO BE EXPECTED AND IN MOST CASES IT CAN BE RECTIFIED.

If you jump, sneeze, cough, laugh, move suddenly you should not have to “prepare yourself”,  your pelvic floor should be able to step up to the mark without even thinking about it. You want to be able to run and jump and laugh with your little ones without worrying about wetting yourself or even giving it a second thought.

Sooooooo what do we do about it?

Hundreds of kegels????? The squeeze and release of your pelvic floor that your midwife and GP gives you?

No! No! No! Nooooooooooo!

Kegels are great initially as post birth they get the initial connection going again. If you continue doing them you will end up with an overactive pelvic floor which will also make you leak. Yes you heard correctly. A pelvic floor that is too tight is a sign of pelvic floor dysfunction just as much as one that is weak and you get some of the same symptoms.

Ok lets take a step back and work out exactly what the pelvic floor is.

Basically it’s a hammock or sling of muscle fibres and connective tissue and nerves that supports your bladder, your uterus and your bowel. Your urethra (where the wee comes out), your vagina (where your baby comes out) and your anus (where the poo comes out) are all surrounded by your pelvic floor. Your pelvic floor is attached to your pubic bone at the front and your coccyx (tail bone) at the back and they span across your sitting bones too.

During pregnancy the weight of the baby and size of the baby push your bladder and rectum out of the way and of course enlarge your uterus all of which put huge pressure on your pelvic floor. During labour pushing causes huge pressure on your pelvic floor and then when the baby crowns during a normal birth the pelvic floor muscles, fascia and nerves are stretched to the fullest to allow the baby passage through. During a normal delivery your pelvic floor can be damaged especially with a prolonged pushing stage. This damage and trauma is increased hugely with an assisted birth using ventouse or forceps.

Right so we know all about what the pelvic floor is now and where you find it. So when you activate or lift your pelvic floor you are aiming to pull your pubic bone and coccyx closer together and lift your pelvic floor up inside of you. This is basically what kegels are.

Ok so after giving birth we expect everything to go back to its correct place. If we can activate our pelvic floor we do our kegels as we’re told to. We still leak a bit but “hey that’s normal” so we do a few more kegels and then more etc etc but don’t actually get it investigated further. If we can’t activate our pelvic floor we again just believe “hey that’s normal” and often joke “I don’t have a pelvic floor” and again don’t seek further investigation. So weak or strong our pelvic floor is still not working optimally.

Let’s go back again to what our pelvic floor is supporting – bladder, uterus and bowel and it surrounds our urethra, vagina and rectum so helps assists passage of urine and faeces. So if our pelvic floor isn’t working properly it means it’s not supporting these structures and organs properly. Add in incorrect breathing and poor posture – again a totally normal but correctable result of pregnancy. Couple this with incorrect breathing during exercise so you’re actually bearing down on your pelvic floor and Inappropriate exercise – so anything that makes you leak, pass wind or faeces or gives you a heavy dragging feeling in your lower stomach or bottom or anything that causes you to feel a bulging down below. If you put continued repeated pressure on a dysfunctional pelvic floor you are in danger of developing a prolapse of bladder, vagina or rectum. It won’t just suddenly go away or get better.

Scary stuff hey?

Is this you??

If it is visit your GP asap . Get a referral to a woman’s Health Physio straight away. Speed up the process and book an immediate appointment with a specialist private woman’s Health Physio. It is far easier to correct a small issue using simple exercises than one that we’ve ignored and may end up needing surgery.

With regards to exercise it’s super important to find a post-natal exercise specialist. It’s super important to really listen to your body at all times. Within Buggy Bootcamp Bedford I always offer all levels of exercise but you have to keep yourself safe. You have to listen to your body at all times. Be mindful when you do anything that involves any impact – running, jumping, skipping, star jumps etc. When moving if you experience any leaking, or it makes you pass wind or faeces or you feel a low dragging sensation or bulging STOP immediately and let me know. Breathing correctly during strength work is imperative so you don’t bear down on your pelvic floor. At Buggy Bootcamp you learn how to make your exhale work so that you are activating your core and your pelvic floor (remember those kegels) as one automatically, not working against it all. This all needs to become a habit that we carry over into everyday life when we’re lifting, pushing, squatting, lunging, jumping, bending, twisting etc and doing all of it with a baby or toddler or child in tow often pulling us in the other direction!

The cells of your body, therefore all of your tissues including your core and pelvic floor, are constantly being renewed which means by doing the correct restorative exercises and including brilliant nutrition you can really help yourself to restore your core and pelvic floor health and by keeping these good habits you will maintain your pelvic floor health. Mirroring this if you keep doing things that make you leak etc and couple this with poor nutrition those tissues will actually get weaker and weaker. This means that if even if our pelvic floor is ok now it can weaken with poor posture, poor breathing technique both in rest and during exercise, poor lifting technique, smoking, poor nutrition or even a really bad prolonged cough.

The long and the short of it is that if something about your body feels wrong or different then it probably is. You know your body better than anyone. You know what is normal for you and just because you have had a baby (however many years ago) doesn’t mean that you should learn to accept a new normal. Seek help to restore your own ‘normal’ whatever that is.

I know it’s personal but don’t put up with it SPEAK UP ABOUT IT!

Jo.x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



I know I keep harping on about Women’s Health Physios but do you know what they really do and when you should go and see one?

A Physiotherapist treats injuries using physical methods such as massage, heat treatment and specific exercise. A Women’s Health Physiotherapist is a specialist in treating injuries / changes / problems with the pelvis and pelvic floor.

Why should we all see one after giving birth…..

During pregnancy there are of course many physical changes made to your body. These include changes to your posture, breathing, shortening and lengthening of various muscles and of course increased pressure on your pelvic floor.

During labour your pelvic floor is put under tremendous pressure especially with a long pushing stage and when the head crowns your pelvic floor is stretched to it’s widest to allow the baby through. With an assisted birth with forceps or ventuose this damage and trauma to your pelvic floor is increased massively.

After birth we are sent away with Kegels to do and we expect everything to return to normal. We expect a little more from our 6 week post-natal check but we don’t know the right questions to ask about what is normal and what isn’t. We are then either left in limbo feeling that something isn’t quite right or just generally wondering if everything is ok but in both cases just not knowing who to see or ask for advice.

Many other countries place much more importance on Women’s post-natal health with automatic physiotherapy sessions to check that everything is ok and to ensure pelvic floor and core health is restored. Unfortunately in England we don’t automatically have that service offered but it is available with a MUMYY MOT from a registered Women’s Health Practitioner.

“About the MummyMOT

The MummyMOT is a postnatal detailed physiotherapy assessment of the abdominal and pelvic area. It will check your posture, breathing, tummy gap and pelvic floor strength. You will receive a report of the findings on the day. Following the assessment an appropriate safe exercise programme will be prescribed.” www.themummymot.com

This is the link to the national site where you will find lots more information about the MummyMOT. This is a carefully designed assessment and only Physiotherapists that have the necessary training and skills can offer the MummyMOT.

Alex at Enliven Health www.enlivenhealth.co.uk is our fantastic Women’s Health Physiotherapist and MummyMOT practitioner for this area. I’ll let her introduce herself and tell you a bit more about the MummyMOT…..



Welcome to Buggy Bootcamp!

I just want to introduce myself and of course Ollie and Kat and tell you a bit more about Buggy Bootcamp Bedford. Be warned that the video is manic so be prepared for chaos because Kat and Ollie help a lot!

 

So you should now realise that Buggy Bootcamp is just a name. It’s simply an outdoor exercise class that you can come to with your babies and children. Hopefully you can see from my lively video with my 2 little helpers that I’m not a scary military type instructor who shouts constantly for an hour making you exercise harder and harder. Instead the focus is on safe pre and post-natal exercise which is hugely important.

Pregnancy and birth are so hard on your body and pelvic floor and then looking after baby with the sleepless nights is truly amazing, isolating and stressful all at the same time. I know as I’ve got 4! It’s also the time when we truly have to properly USE our body. Squatting, Bending, Pushing, Pulling, Twisting, Lunging, Lifting, Balancing which is where Buggy Bootcamp is priceless.

Functional Exercises. Motherhood Movement. Learning how to move properly. Learning how to breathe properly when moving. All of this strengthens our core again and ensures that our pelvic floor works optimally both activating properly and relaxing fully.

My classes are designed with all of these movements in mind.

It’s not all about the exercise though. It’s about getting together with lots of other mums and babies and children. We chat and laugh throughout the class and that’s the whole point, as long as you’re moving safely I don’t mind how many reps you do. I have had post-natal depression with all of my children and being out in the fresh air, doing a little exercise and most importantly talking and meeting other mums is a lifesaver.

Before starting you will need to complete my online questionnaire. This just highlights any issues I might need you to revisit your GP or a woman’s Health Physio for and also what level of exercise is safe for you to begin with.

My mission is to get everyone moving and moving safely. During the classes we have pregnant ladies, working alongside 6 week post-natal mums working alongside mums perfectly capable of doing burpees with 3 year old little ones running around. Every exercise I give has many alternatives which enables you to work safely and build strength and movement slowly.

Each class is slightly different but in general we warm up, play games which get you moving without realising. We do various types of strength and movement work using bodyweight and resistance bands. We do concentrated core work and we stretch. You don’t have to run. You don’t need a specialist Buggy. You just need a picnic mat and a drink and anything needed for your little one. That’s it nice and simple.

I think that about covers it so thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed my video with my two little helpers! It’ll be lovely to welcome you along when you feel ready.

Jo.x