Hills Physiotherapy offers a multitude of solutions for women during or after pregnancy, including for pre and post natal pelvic issues, and prophylactic care.

My name is Vanessa- I’m the practice manager of Hills Physiotherapy.

I’d love to share a bit about my second pregnancy with our son Griffin – as my first pregnancy was pretty uneventful until my Caesarian Section, which I swore I wasn’t having. I know now that had I been going to Pilates regularly (yes, during pregnancy) that I might have curbed some of my late stage pelvic pain, and improved my recovery after the birth.

Pregnancy can be a daunting time and for me this started prior to being pregnant as I had to undergo IVF treatment. I have endometriosis and adenomyosis, and thankfully I was referred to my specialist Dr. Jim Tsaltas at Melbourne IVF.

women standing holding pelvis

A Caesarian Section is major surgery; despite this it is possible to get back up and running pretty quickly if you have the right team of professionals at hand, and you do a little work up front. Pilates, Pilates, Pilates- before, during, and after, and yes- even way after. This was a complete game changer between the two pregnancies. I was coming off of two rounds of hormones and pelvic issues, and one major surgery just to get pregnant, so by the time IVF was successful, I was a mess. A few short weeks into my pregnancy I started attending a group Pilates class with Ben – only stopping at 37 weeks. It was advised that I’d have to undergo another Caesarian due to birth risks, so I was going to give it all I had to strengthen up prior to this. What a difference this made. I was up and out of bed on the same night and although still an arduous recovery the down time was shorter and I was certainly stronger. After about 6 weeks I began a postnatal Pilates class with Amy Isaac, a few other Mum’s and all of our babies. The class is challenging, but certainly don’t be intimidated by it. There were lots of laughs, a few baby tears, a few feeds in the reception area/treatment rooms and more than a few babies crawling away while we had class. Don’t worry, they don’t get very far. Between my weeks of Pilates with Amy, a bit of treatment from our Physios, and Remedial Massages I was getting into my new life as a busy working Mum of two boys.

There is so much that Physiotherapy and Allied Health can offer for support while you’re growing your family. We have Alysia Raftery- who is a Myotherapist and Naturopath. She’s your “go to” for support while you’re thinking about getting pregnant, if Naturopathy is indicated in IVF support. Alysia even has a new line of teas (Cheeki Tea) that are all Naturopath created and designed for emotional support and wellbeing. Daniel Smit is a Physiotherapist AND Chinese Medicine Practitioner, so if your specialist has suggested that Acupuncture might help – he’s your guy. He should know- he has 4 little ones of his own, and calming is one of his specialities. He’s also a highly skilled Physiotherapist, and can support that familiar back/pelvis pain of pregnancy, and the shoulder/lower back pain of feeding and carrying babies when they have arrived. Amy Isaac is our Pre/Postnatal Pilates expert. Amy is also a highly skilled Myotherapist, and she’ll take you through you Pilates classes before and after baby is born. I always loved that when something felt “weird” or “hurt” -with Amy’s training I knew that she could explain what was happening (and what was normal or not), and whether I was being overly cautious/ when I could push my battle weary body a bit further.

What we’ve been searching for to strengthen the Hills Physiotherapy Women’s Health team is a fully certified Pelvic Health Physiotherapist. Varsha Bhikha has completed a Graduate Certificate in Pelvic Health and fill the gap in this type of service in the Outer Eastern Suburbs. For those situations where more complex assessment of pelvic-floor function is required, this higher level qualification is a necessity. With my ongoing endo and adeno issues, Varsha is a great clinician to have on call. Here’s her bio and what a typical assessment might involve- here goes!

Smiling woman standing on fence

Varsha is a musculoskeletal physiotherapist who completed her bachelor degree at Monash University in 2013 and furthermore completed post graduate studies in pelvic floor physiotherapy at the University of Melbourne in 2016. Currently working at Hills physiotherapy where her main focus is Women’s Health and pre and post pregnancy related issues.

Being a specialised pelvic physiotherapist allows Varsha to assess pelvic floor muscles and provide you with an individualised exercise program to aid with issues such as :

  • urinary incontinence
  • pelvic pain
  • prolapse
  • pain during pregnancy

A trained pelvic floor physiotherapist such as Varsha, can assess your muscles to confirm if your issue is being caused by weak muscles in your pelvis. This is done by a visual examination, ultrasound or internal assessment. The assessment allows the physiotherapist to gain a thorough understanding of what your muscles are doing or not doing that may be causing symptoms.

After this she can provide an optimal exercise program that is tailored for the individual needs of a specific issue. For example, if muscle strength is an issue- she will provide a specific program tailored to increase the force and power the muscle can generate.

pilates during pregnancy

Another major issue for people who report doing their pelvic floor exercises, is not quite understanding what needs to be done to get an effective “squeeze”. Pelvic floor physiotherapists are trained to show you exactly how to contract the muscles appropriately to achieve the most effective results

If you are suffering from any of the symptoms mentioned above, we recommend seeing Varsha who is trained in this specialised area.

Ok ladies. So there it is. The guide to what we have to offer (some of it, anyway!) for your before, during, and after baby bod. It’s a journey for sure, and if you’re anything like me you’ll need a few professionals on hand to help you sort out what your body is doing!

– Ness