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Womens Health

Womens health, Pregnancy and post natal care

Pregnancy and early motherhood is a time of great excitement, wonder and enormous change, both in terms of the demands made on your body and also on your time!

Whilst all mums undergo the normal changes associated with pregnancy, such as an increase in weight, a change in posture and centre of gravity, the stretching of abdominal muscles and a relaxation of ligaments supporting the joints, everyone's experience is individual and different. For some Mums, symptoms such as back pain or pelvic girdle pain will mean that they require some advice or treatment to help them to have a more positive pregnancy and post-natal experience. The good news is that with early support and specialist management these symptoms are treatable and recovery is possible!

At the Bristol Physiotherapy Clinic we offer both ante natal and post natal treatments with highly qualified staff, all of whom have post graduate training or Masters degrees in manual therapy and between us we have many years of experience in working with women both during and after pregnancy. We have physiotherapists specialising in ante natal and post natal pilates, in the treatment of hand symptoms and in the treatment of musculo-skeletal conditions both during pregnancy, and postnatally. We have completed research into the best management of women with pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain and since several of us are parents of small children ourselves, we also understand the additional pressures that a busy family life can bring!

Treatments offered at the Bristol Physiotherapy Clinic.

Ante-natal Care

  • Advice on posture correction, joint protection, ergonomics or suitable exercise programmes to promote physical fitness and prevent symptoms arising
  • Advice on relaxation techniques, breathing and positioning in preparation for labour
  • Treating pregnancy-related back and pelvic girdle pain, including symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD)
  • Assessment and treatment of pregnancy-related musculoskeletal symptoms including
    • back pain
    • pelvic girdle pain and symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD)
    • sciatica
    • rib flare pain
    • carpal tunnel syndrome
    • divarication ('gapping')of abdominal muscles
  • Ante natal pilates - Pilates is a form of gentle exercise designed to improve the muscle function of your deep stability muscles, or core muscles. This form of exercise is known to reduce episodes of low back pain and pelvic pain and prevent problems from arising. It is particularly useful during pregnancy where the ligaments are becoming more lax in preparation for birth and the joints are therefore more vulnerable to stresses and strains. Pilates lessons are currently available on a ratio of 1:1, 1:2 or 1:3 and take place under the careful supervision of our specialist physiotherapists within our well equipped pilates studio at the clinic.

Post Natal Care

  • Advice on lifting, bending, correct postures for feeding the baby and suitable exercise programmes can all help to prevent symptoms and assist with a return to pre-pregnancy fitness
  • Advice on appropriate exercises to assist recovery following a caesarean section
  • Assessment and treatment of pelvic girdle pain and back pain
  • Exercises and advice to promote the recovery of a divarication ('gapping') of the long abdominal muscles
  • Pilates individual treatment sessions or up to a ratio of 1:3 can be arranged within the pilates studio at the clinic at various times during the week. Alternatively, after your 6 week check you can attend our new post natal pilates classes being held at a local dance studio. Babies welcome! 
  • Use of the Ultra sound scanner for reliable assessment of abdominal muscle recruitment


Additional useful sources

For further information on the various conditions associated with pregnancy and ideas on how to help yourself the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Women's Health is a really useful source, providing advice to mothers and health professionals alike
For women suffering from pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain

For other issues relating to pregnancy and baby care