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Antenatal and Postnatal Physiotherapy

Experienced physiotherapists with a special interest in women's health assist with various musculoskeletal changes that occur in the child-bearing year. Basic antenatal or postnatal exercise programs are designed for each patient. In addition, further strategies are used to effectively treat:

  • Antenatally
    • Low and mid back pain
    • Sacro-Iliac Joint pain (+/- sciatica), Pubic Symphysis pain
    • Piriformis muscle spasm
    • Difficulty/pain with movement
    • Rectus diastasis (abdominal bulging)
    • Bladder control problems or constipation/straining
    • Carpal tunnel symptoms
  • Postnatally
    • Back, shoulder and neck pain
    • SIJ, pubic symphysis or piriformis pai
    • Rectus Diastasis
    • Abdominal bulging during movement
    • Post caesarean pain (after healing)
    • Perineal pain and discomfort
    • Bladder/bowel control difficulties and constipation/straining

These conditions are often greatly relieved with various strategies including pain relieving modalities, deep massage and other manual therapies, core-stability muscle strengthening, postural stretches, specific muscle balancing and co-ordination techniques (including retraining, positioning and patterning) and sometimes external supports and splints.

Baby Handling

Early postnatal parent education

The incidence of Plagiocephaly in infants has rapidly increased during the last ten years, after the introduction of SIDS guidelines for positioning babies on their back for sleeping (early 1990’s).

Increasing numbers of babies have developed asymmetry of the cranial bones, resulting in functional, orthodontic and cosmetic problems requiring intense paediatric intervention within the first few years of life.

As a response to the escalating demand for “Plagiocephaly” management (including physiotherapy attendance at clinics), preventative education of mothers in the early postnatal days has commenced. Education includes providing simple advice, demonstration and guidance regarding alternating head position in supine lying and developmental handling suggestions.

Practical group sessions have been introduced to Mater Mothers’ Hospital inpatients via a twice daily interactive 30 minute physiotherapy class (an information leaflet is also provided to each inpatient).

The “Baby Handling” DVD has been developed to provide all mothers with important, practical knowledge, and simple demonstrations of the guidelines in a useful, time and cost-efficient method.

Early Inpatient Postnatal Mobility (post caesarean birth and post vaginal delivery)

Postnatal inpatient education before mobilising

Moving correctly post-delivery will reduce pain and other complications in postnatal women, both after caesarean and vaginal delivery. Patients can be educated antenatally regarding movement patterns that reduce strain and intra-abdominal pressure (important for caesarean wounds, stretched perineums and vulnerable pelvic joints), but need modified on the spot guidance as they start to mobilise after birth.

This DVD uses simple language, demonstration and practical guidance to take the early postnatal patient slowly and clearly through each step of moving well, including:

  • moving in bed
  • getting in and out of bed
  • getting up and down from a chair
  • breastfeeding positioning in bed and chair posture and back care with baby.

Early Inpatient Postnatal Mobility—post vaginal delivery

Early Inpatient Postnatal Mobility—post caesarean birth

Gynaecological Surgery

Patients scheduled for gynaecology surgery

There is strong evidence to suggest that patients benefit from physiotherapy if commenced preoperatively, before admission for gynaecology surgery.

This DVD has been produced, containing basic guidelines, demonstration sessions with “patients” and education, to reinforce the program covered at the class, or to provide “remote” access for all patients scheduled for gynaecology surgery, allowing them to commence, or to reinforce, a suitable basic home program before surgery.

Clinical research suggests that routine inpatient postoperative care for these patients may not require physiotherapy if pre-operative physiotherapy is routine, and individualised post-operative and post-discharge physiotherapy can be accessed as required.

Physiotherapy in antenatal education

Your Changing Body, Lifeskills and Labour

Antenatal class participants

Women and their partners are encouraged to attend the Birthing and Babies Workshops, provided by midwives and physiotherapists, for education and training regarding practical skills and strategies for assisting pregnancy, birthing and the early postnatal period.

The DVDs provide information and skills, through demonstration and clear guidelines, to facilitate:

  • increased body awareness of movement, exercise and posture, breathing and physical relaxation
  • basic techniques for moving, stretching and finding comfortable working and resting positions during and after pregnancy
  • ideas for massage, partner support during labour and how you can break a “panic cycle”.

Your Changing Body

Lifeskills and Labour

Health and wellness during pregnancy


Level 1, Mater Corporate

Services Building

Raymond Terrace

South Brisbane Qld 4101