Pregnant or just had a baby and struggling with your pelvic floor? Our new Perinatal Pelvic Health Service is here to help


Pregnant or just had a baby and struggling with your pelvic floor? Our new Perinatal Pelvic Health Service is here to help

For anyone who is pregnant or has just given birth, incontinence and other pelvic floor issues can be common – but it is completely treatable and avoidable, with the right support.

Somerset’s new Perinatal Pelvic Health Service (PPHS) has been set up to help reduce the number of people living with long-term pelvic floor problems. The service has introduced early screening for dysfunction in antenatal appointments, training for midwives and health visitors to provide pelvic floor education, and has created online resources and printed information for patients.

The team consists of physiotherapists, who specialise in treating conditions related to the pelvic floor. They work with patients to give advice and support on exercising the pelvic floor muscles correctly, having the right diet and fluid intake, and how to monitor progress.

Amrit Bhambra, PPHS lead, explains why setting up the service has been so important: “There are many different symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction – involuntary leakage of wee, poo, or wind, vaginal/vulval pain, pain during sex, or a prolapse in the vagina (when organs in the pelvis slip down from their normal position and bulge into the vagina).

“Many people are told different things about these symptoms, but contrary to what most might believe, they aren’t something that you should simply ‘put up with’ because you’re pregnant or postnatal. We want anyone with symptoms to get clear advice from their midwife or health visitor as soon as possible and have access to physiotherapy. For most people, the solution can be as simple as a routine of pelvic floor exercises to help manage or treat your symptoms.

“Incontinence products and other solutions can be helpful, but we would still recommend a review by a pelvic health physiotherapist for anyone experiencing issues like incontinence (leaking) and prolapse. Our physiotherapy teams can provide support via telephone, video, or face-to-face appointments, as well as group classes, to help reduce the symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction. The majority of symptoms are preventable and treatable, and we are here to help provide that support.

“Perinatal pelvic health services have been set up across the country, as part of the NHS Long Term Plan’s commitment to improve the prevention, identification, and treatment of pelvic floor dysfunction. Our team in Somerset has been working hard to develop the service, with the long-term aim of reducing the number of people living with dysfunction postnatally and later in life.”

If you are pregnant, or within 1 year postnatal, and you’re experiencing these symptoms, you should talk to your healthcare professional, such as a GP, midwife, or health visitor, who may refer you to the service so that you can get the help you need.