What to expect when you see a Pelvic Floor Physio?

Initial appointment

Your first appointment will involve a general chat about your pelvic floor, what muscles are involved & how to activate these muscles properly. In this appointment the Physio is likely to use an ultrasound machine (much the same as when you have a scan to see your baby) to show you your pelvic floor muscles. With the ultrasound focused on these muscles, you will be able to see your activation & release.

In this appointment the Physio will give you some exercises to do at home & request you come in for a second appointment (mine was scheduled for 10 days later).

second appointment

Appointment two involves the vaginal examination. Yes, this might sound intrusive, but it is the only way to determine the strength of your pelvic floor muscles & ensure you are fully activating and releasing them in your exercises. Stay tuned & I will update this post after my second appointment.

Welcome to the world of childbirth - where all modesty goes out the window!

UPDATE: I have now had my second appointment, which involved the vaginal examination and it was exactly what it says on the packet. This part of the appointment was very quick (less than 5 minutes). The Physio asked me to remove bottom half clothing & gave me a towel to cover up. She then tested the muscles from the outside (with gloves on) before putting some pressure on the different sides of the pelvic floor muscles internally. This helps you to understand where the muscles are and make sure you are activating them properly. Finally she asked me to complete a few of my exercises while she had a gloved finger on the muscles to test the strength & release of the muscles. That's it. It was very quick, simple and clinical. Personally, I'm willing to try anything that is going to help get this baby out & minimise the chances of tearing during, & incontinence after, birth.

The rest of the appointment was spent adjusting the exercises she had given me the previous week.

After your first two appointments you should be all set to work on strengthening your pelvic floor at home. It is recommended that you do your exercises 2-3 times a day. This can be reduced to once a day once the muscles are considered strong. 

Some Physios might combine the above two appointments, so just ask when booking your appointment if the initial appointment includes a vaginal examination or not so you can feel prepared.

Follow up appointment

Follow up appointments recommended for those wanting a vaginal birth:
My physio also recommended an appointment at 34 weeks to discuss perineal massage (this is optional). Perineal Massage involves preparing the outlet of the birth passage for the stretching and pressure sensations during the birth of your baby. The physio can show you how to do this (with your partner present if you want). 

The final appointment will be 6-weeks following the birth. In this appointment any further treatment or appointments can be discussed.

Check out our post on "5 tips for strengthening your pelvic floor" for some example exercises you can try at home.

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