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Perinatal Pelvic Health

This page was last updated: August 10th, 2022

Pelvic health wellbeing is important throughout life.

The Perinatal pelvic health service has been set up to share information to support prevention of pelvic health issues during pregnancy and birth and ensure accessible support, advice and treatment for those with perineal or pelvic floor concerns in Cornwall and Isles of Scilly.

We are a team of midwives and physiotherapists here to provide additional support you if you experience pelvic floor dysfunction symptoms or a perineal tear or episiotomy during birth. We provide information, education and individualised care and treatment to protect your postnatal pelvic health.

What is Pelvic health?

It is important to maintain positive pelvic health routines. These include bladder and bowel habits, healthy diet, good fluid intake and regular exercise including pelvic floor muscle awareness.

Some common pelvic health concerns include the following (Information on all conditions available further down):

  • Stress incontinence- Leaking of urine (wee) with activities including coughing, sneezing, lifting and exercise.
  • Urinary urgency – Sudden need to pass urine (wee) and/or unable to get to the toilet in time
  • Flatus incontinence – Uncontrolled passing of wind (farting/gas)
  • Prolapse – Change in the position of your pelvic organs which may cause a heavy or aching feeling in the pelvis and/or lump/bulge within the vagina
  • Faecal incontinence – Leaking of faeces (poo) with activity, unable to get to the toilet in time or staining in your underwear.
  • Dyspareunia – Pain and discomfort during sexual activity
  • Pelvic girdle pain – Pain or discomfort within the joints that make up your pelvis (Hips, back, pubic area) that starts during pregnancy and may continue postnatally.
  • Abdominal diastasis – Separation of the stomach muscles during pregnancy and postnatally causing pain, discomfort or doming of the abdomen during physical activity.
  • Perineal injury – A tear, graze or cut to the genital area (perineum, vagina, labia, anus or surrounding areas) during childbirth.
  • Constipation – Finding it hard to poo or going to the toilet less often than usual for you.

How common are pelvic health issues during pregnancy and birth?

What support can the PPHS offer?

  • An inclusive, kind and experienced team approach
  • A safe space to talk and share your experiences
  • Signposting to accessible information for prevention and treatment of pelvic health concerns
  • Support and education for service users and healthcare professionals
  • Specialist midwifery support for wound care and management after birth
  • Specialist physio support for pelvic conditions, pelvic floor exercises and relevant lifestyle advice
  • Ongoing community based pelvic floor rehab and treatment for up to 12 months postnatal

Signposting or referral to specialist perinatal support in Cornwall including:

  • Birth Reflections
  • Perinatal Mental Health
  • Infant Feeding
  • Specialist Physiotherapy
  • Bereavement care
  • Urogynaecology services

Who can access support through this team?

Anyone experiencing:

  • Episiotomy
  • Third or fourth degree perineal tear
  • Readmission to hospital for perineal wound complications
  • Fistula
  • Suspected wound breakdown or infection
  • Female genital mutilation or cutting
  • Manual removal of placenta
  • An instrumental delivery (forceps, ventouse or assisted delivery)
  • Breech delivery
  • Shoulder dystocia

Anyone with single risk factor from following:

  • Instrumental delivery
  • Greater than or equal to 4kg baby
  • Prolonged second stage (pushing for more than 1 hour)

Where to go if you don’t meet these criteria

Speak to your GP and/or midwife if you have concerns about your pelvic or perineal health. There are a range of alternative support services available including specialist physiotherapists, bladder and bowel services and urogynaecology services. We work closely with these teams and will endeavour to find appropriate support for anyone with symptoms. Please don’t suffer in silence, help is available.

How to access support?

The PPHS service aim to identify and contact anyone meeting our service criteria soon after birth. If you feel you meet the criteria but have not been contacted you can self refer with the form below or speak to your Midwife, GP or Health Visitor who can refer you into the service.

You can self refer by filling in the form below. You will be sent a more detailed form to provide an overview of your concerns within one week
Self Referral Form – to be added.

The team

Our Perinatal pelvic health service is run by our specialist midwife and specialist physiotherapists and they are supported by a consultant urogynaecologist, obstetric consultants and community physiotherapists.

Information for maintaining positive pelvic health routine

Information about perineal tears

Information for pregnancy – Links to leaflets, videos, infographics

Information for preparing for birth – Links to leaflets, videos, infographics

General support for Pregnancy, birth and postnatal period

How to feedback about the service

Clinical guidelines relating to pelvic health

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