Portishead is a beautiful Somerset town full of young families lucky to have outdoor space to enjoy such as the Lake Grounds, the beaches, the marina. There are ample activities to do with young children whether you’re a mum, dad, granny, grandad or professional childcarer including the lovely Airhop where children can jump around freely without a care in the world….however us ladies may feel differently!

Being pregnant has this week been likened to an athletic endurance test https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jun/08/pregnancy-endurance-test-human . 50% of us are women and many women go through pregnancy and childbirth. Do all these ladies understand what is happening to their body? At school we are taught about stretching our hamstrings, how babies are conceived, and that exercise is good for us. But nothing is mentioned about the pelvic floor…the secret and invisible group of muscles that control our everyday bowel movements, our urinary continence, help with posture and back support, enable sexual pleasure and the only group of muscles whose job is to keep organs up and inside of the body! Back pain is such an enormously prevalent problem, causing time off work and a lot of discomfort and worry, it would be good for people to understand how to prevent it and how to look after their core muscles well.

Women are often told to wait until their 6 week check with the GP before doing exercise after having a baby…but do all women have an internal examination by a specialist in pelvic health at this stage? Are all women asked the questions about pain during sex, leaking urine when on trampoline or jumping/laughing, whether their tummy domes in the middle, feelings of heaviness or bearing down in their groin, problems straining when on the toilet, or told how to return safely to impact exercise? In France women see a specialist physiotherapist on prescription as standard aftercare from birth. In the UK most women don’t talk of the symptoms to friends, family or their GP and often go diagnosed and untreated for many years.

Urinary incontinence, prolapse, pain during sex and diastasis recti (where the tummy bulges from weakness in the core muscles and the split of the fascia between the rectus abdominals – the 6 pack) are NOT NORMAL! They are common, but not normal. These post-natal symptoms can be treated.

So ladies, no matter how long ago your birth was, please, please talk to your GP or self-refer to a women’s health physiotherapist for an assessment to get you on your way to recovery sooner rather than later.

Severn Physiotherapy offer physio-led post natal exercise classes which are not about being super fit or thin, they are about safe exercises you can do after having a baby, a class for mums to meet up and also have a relaxation time at the end to switch off and connect with their surroundings. These are held at the beautiful Lake Grounds in Portishead at 9:30am-10:15am every Friday morning with Kelly. As this is led by a physiotherapist there is a careful screening process and each exercise is adapted for conditions discussed in this article as well as any other aches and pains. It is a drop-in class for £5/session. Please join the Facebook group Lake Grounds Fitness on the Severn Physiotherapy page.

There are other post-natal, safe exercise classes happening in Portishead too, such as Core and Restore (and physio-designed post-natal course) with Ali Burlingham at the Walnut Grove Clinic (01275 818303).

So if you want to enjoy Airhop without the fear of leaking, come along to one of our classes on a sunny or rainy Friday morning, or try signing up for a Core and Restore course near you, or see your GP.

Severn Physiotherapy also offer strength and balance classes at Walnut Grove clinic 10am-11am Thursday mornings for anyone with balance issues which can range from having an ankle injury from a sport which they need to rehabilitate, to someone who has fallen over, fractured their hip and needs to build confidence and strength again. Please contact Walnut Grove on 01275 818303 or www.severnphysiotherapy.co.uk for further information).