A Blog by Team MUTU’s Kay – Mama to Baby Henry.
In the weeks after I gave birth I kinda knew something wasn’t quite right with my pelvic floor. Not just your average “I just pushed a watermelon sized human out of my vagina” feelings, no, it was something more than that and the symptoms never went away. After a few months, I managed to get a referral to a Women’s Health Physiotherapist (or Pelvic Physical Therapist, depending on where you live).
I’m incredibly lucky because I like in the UK where appointments like this are funded by the NHS, and if you know what to ask for, you can be seen by some really specialist physios, who really know their stuff. Alternatively, we also have an incredible bunch of private physiotherapists if you want to be seen quicker and more regularly. I will list below MUTU recommended therapists and physios, all of whom recommend MUTU System to their patients.
I want to be really open about my experience of being treated by a Women’s Health Physio, in the hope that the many women who are too embarrassed, want to bury their head or don’t think their case is “bad enough” to be seen, might feel confident enough to get the help they need and deserve.
So I’m going to be blogging about my journey and I hope it helps shed some light on what to expect, what it’s like and what happens during appointments. This might vary depending on where you live, what your symptoms are and which hospital or practice you are visiting.
What do Women’s Health Physiotherapists or Pelvic Physical Therapists do?
They deal with obstetric and gynecological issues such as pelvic floor dysfunction, incontinence, prolapse, pelvic pain… The list goes on. See the full lowdown and find out when you should see one here.
After I received my appointment letter in the post, I felt a huge sense of relief. I actually felt weight lift off my shoulders because this was a step forward. I was so keen to start my recovery and get back to the sports and hobbies I loved, and to enjoy pain free sex again! This finally felt like it was in my reach. I’d had mixed thoughts about whether or not to push for a referral, as I was worried my symptoms weren’t ‘bad enough’ and that there were women far worse off than me. Which is true, and generally there’s always someone worse off than you, but that doesn’t mean your symptoms mean any less or that you should have to put up with them.
My appointment day came and I was slightly anxious as I had NO IDEA what to expect, what my physiotherapist would be like or if they’d take me seriously. So many emotions!
I arrived at my local hospital and booked in at the physiotherapy desk. I was so relieved to find a smiley medical receptionist who couldn’t have been more lovely and reassuring. Also it’s worth pointing out at this point, there’s no arrow above your head saying “she’s here about her vagina”! I was surrounded by people who were attending various appointments within the same department.
I waited… Then I was greeted by my Physio, Lynn!
FYI – Lynn is awesome! I already love her.
We went into a private room and had a lovely chat about everything that’s been happening over the last few months. From birth to peeing habits, we covered it all, and not once did I feel like I was saying too much. It is a total TMI free zone. In fact the more information the better where these appointments are concerned.
The thing that stuck out for me and actually made me cry, was a question when Lynn asked me what my goals were, ideally where I wanted to be. This wasn’t just about getting me in and getting me out. The question was ‘where does this woman want to be and how can we help her get there’.
For me it’s being able to go back to my old yoga class. I love yoga and it was a huge part of my life before I gave birth. I want to be able to do strong poses again, do a headstand, hold a plank. I want to go for a run with my girlfriends again without causing more damage to my pelvic floor. I want to be able to jump and pick things up and be a strong mama for my boy.
Lynn listened and she told me I can do all of those things again, if I’m happy to take a huge step back and take things slowly, rebuilding the foundations first. Which of course I am happy to do.
This first appointment was a chance for Lynn to learn everything she needed to about me. Next time I will have a full examination and tests on my pelvic floor. I must point out that Lynn told me that if a patient doesn’t want to be examined internally, they can actually perform other tests externally, and even through tight fitting clothing like yoga pants. I’m totally happy to be examined, but some may not be and this must be reassuring.
So I went away from my first appointment (armed with a bladder diary to track my peeing habits) feeling so positive. I finally felt like things would change and I had hope that I could get back to normal again, feel better and banish symptoms.
If you think you need a referral to a Women’s Health Physiotherapist or Pelvic Physical Therapist. You can find out more right here.
HOW TO FIND A WOMEN’S HEALTH PHYSIOTHERAPIST
Private practitioners in the US we know and love:
Tracy Sher MPT, CSCS AKA ‘The Pelvic Guru’ of Sher Pelvic Health + Healing in Orlando, FL, MUTU Pro Medical Advisor and Board Director of IPPS is a wonderful medical practitioner and source of information.
Deena Goodman PT, WCS, BCB-PMD, the Founder and Director of Goodman Physical Therapy, Inc in West Los Angeles.
Stephanie Prendergast MPT and her team at the Pelvic Health Rehab Centre have clinics in Berkely, San Francisco, Los Gatos and Los Angeles, as well as in Waltham, MA.
Jessica Drummond MPT, CCN, CHC, Founder and CEO of The Integrative Pelvic Health Institute in Houston.
Amy Stein DPT, BCB-PMD, IF and her team at Beyond Basics Physical Therapy in NYC
NHS | You can request a GP referral to a local Women’s Health Physio.
Website for the Chartered Society’s Pelvic, Obstetric and Gynaecological Physiotherapy (POGP) – Formerly the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists for Women’s Health ACPWH
Chartered Society for Physiotherapy Member Directory (choose ‘womens health’ from the drop down). We’ve found that sometimes this hyperlink is blippy… please copy and paste the full URL instead http://www.csp.org.uk/your-health/find-physio/physio2u
Private practitioners in the UK we know and love:
Camilla Lawrence B.SC (HONS), MCSP, MPOGP at SIX Physio Women’s Health | SixPhysio clinics across London
Helen Keeble BSc (Hons), MCSP at Helen Keeble Specialist Physiotherapist | Clapham Junction and Fulham, South West London
Lucia Berry MCSP, ACPWH, APPI at The Women’s Wellness Centre | Chelsea, London
Claire-Anne Rutherford B.SC HONS, MCSP, MACPWH at Central Health Physiotherapy | Chancery Lane, St Johns Wood and Chelsea, London
Sue Lewis MCSP, SRP, MACPWH at Sue Lewis Antenatal | Wimbledon, London
Emma Brockwell BSc (Hons), MCSP and Lisa Few BSc (Hons), MCSP at Women’s Health Physiotherapists at London Bridge Hospital | Tooley St, London
Our friend Kim Vopni at Pelvienne Wellness Inc has put together a comprehensive directory of Pelvic Specialist Physios right across Canada! Click the link to find one near you.
Continence Foundation of Australia service provider directory
We also love to work with:
Lori Forner BScH, MPhtySt, APAM at Lori Forner Physiotherapy in Brisbane QL
Please let your Physiotherapist or Physical Therapist know we sent you!
We make no claim to providing a definitive or exhaustive list of practitioners, nor do we make any assumption whatsoever to endorse or ‘approve’ the organisations or individuals listed. We are are a private postpartum-fitness company, not a medical database or accrediting body.
The aim of this page is to direct visitors in need of more specialist medical help than we can offer, to whose who can provide it.