• Caroline

Postnatal A-Z: Understanding your (pre- & postnatal) body

In today’s Postnatal A-Z I cover the letter U for Understanding your (pre- and postnatal) body.

With understanding and knowledge comes power. There are a few things that you may not be aware of before having your first baby:

❤️ You have the right to choose which hospital you give birth at (and you also have the right to change your mind - I changed hospitals at 37 weeks pregnant with my second child as I was unhappy with the care I received at my chosen hospital) 

❤️ You cannot be forced into having a specific type of birth or be induced against your will

❤️ You have the right to request a copy of your maternity notes as well as a debrief with a midwife if you for example suffered a traumatic birth and want to know what happened and how your case was handled

Upon leaving hospital, there are so many things I wish new mums would be taught: how to safely lift car seats etc, how to prop yourself up to avoid unnecessary strain when feeding your baby, how to correctly do your pelvic floor exercises, how to massage your C-section scar, how to avoid hernias, what exercises are safe to do and when and what exercises to avoid, what can cause a prolapse, how postnatal depression can manifest itself and what might help etc. I appreciate not all of this falls under the NHS but I’m pretty sure that lots of issues could be prevented if mums received better after care... 

At least there are now many private women’s health physios, postnatal coaches and trainers, doulas, breastfeeding and sleep experts, osteopaths, therapists, NCT groups etc who are able to fill in some if not all of the gaps. 

But my wish is that one day the NHS will invest more in maternal research and care so that each new mum receives an internal examination and a tailor-made postnatal physical and mental wellbeing programme for her to recover as soon as possible.

If you can afford to pay, I would recommend you at least see a women’s health physio. Locally in Chiswick, I refer mums to Jade at the Chiswick Physio. Six Physios (various west London locations) are also excellent. Buggyfit HQ works closely with Meg Vickers Physio so if you are local to Clapham, she is another great option. If you are further afield, you can contact your local Buggyfit trainer to ask who they work with.

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