Over the last year we have refined our focus at Evolution Health Services to bring a voice to women’s health issues. It’s something I’m passionate about as the owner of the business, but it’s a passion that my team share. While we have male staff that may not fully understand women’s health, they have wives, sisters and daughters who will be impacted by different issues and it’s important to be aware. We have always been about more than providing just a massage or having you just come in for a workout. Why we care about women’s health comes down to adding value to our services and discussing issues which impact the people we care about most, our clients.
Benefits of Caring for Women’s Health
The Impact on the Whole Family
How often do we, as women, put other people first? We make sure our kids have enough after school activity for their physical and mental development. We see our partners take time for themselves at the gym or playing golf with their mates. We prioritise spending more time at work caring for clients or customers, instead of taking that time to care for ourselves. We say yes to friends when we would prefer to be home taking the rest we need. I’ve even seen female clients book their husbands in for a massage before they look after their aches. Often it’s the wife that books her husband in too.
When we see our female clients start to take care of their health first, we see the knock on effect it has for her family. We see her living life with less pain and doing more with the family. We notice her confidence increase and stress decrease. Her family see a role model for health and want to follow in her footsteps. Her friends and extended family or community see the changes and benefit from how much more she is able to give or achieve. We believe that focusing on the woman will ultimately help the whole family.
Opening up the Conversation on Taboo Topics
I have lost count of the number of times women have said “I just thought that was normal” or “why didn’t anyone tell me that?”. We see this most in our pregnant clients. Women are sharing the movie version and horror stories of labour but often we forget to talk about the more intimate or embarrassing parts. Many women still believe that’s it’s just a part of having children that you will now experience incontinence. It’s a common effect of childbirth but there is help available so that it’s not an issue long term.
Another common topic is period pain. Women believe it’s normal to be in pain each month. Painful periods are a sign of something going on in our bodies that should be investigated. One in ten women are now diagnosed with endometriosis which can be a cause of these painful periods. Opening up on taboo topics, helps women seek medical advice and realise they don’t have to live like this forever.
Enjoy a Better Pregnancy Experience
Sometimes Pregnancy Sucks! We see the images of glowing women with perfectly round baby bumps, clear skin and luscious locks. Unfortunately, the pregnancy experience can be much different for some women. We often don’t know how to manage the pain, the changing body or the hormonal symptoms that occur. We feel that we just have to deal with it and don’t know where to get help. It’s also a time of high anxiety, fear and misinformation. There are some health providers who will not touch a women in her first trimester for fear of miscarriage. There are others who will only provide gentle pressure to aching muscles which does not provide relief. I’ve heard the flip side where pregnant women are getting treated while laying on their stomach without support.
I’ve spent plenty of hours and continue to learn more about pregnancy and the postnatal period. Personally, my pregnancies have been tough so I’m passionate helping women experience a more comfortable pregnancy period. I support mums-to-be by providing firm massage with safe positioning to relieve muscular aches and pains. I
Understanding How to Have a Safe Return to Exercise
Post Natal recovery is poorly represented. Women look at other women ‘bouncing back’ and feel that their body should be doing the same. Our bodies need time to rest and recover. Every body is different so for some, it will be easier to return to exercise and for others it will take some more TLC. I am very passionate about making sure women know what can be done following pregnancy and how to prevent any long term pelvic health issues. Following my own post natal recovery experience, I did a lot of study (and continue to do so) to understand what was happening with my body and how to heal issues. I experienced abdominal separation, recovery from a c-section, pelvic pain residual from pregnancy, breathing difficulties and migraines. All of these were able to be managed with corrective exercise, remedial massage, foam rolling, self massage and giving my body more time to recovery before returning to intense exercise. Sharing what happened in my own body helps other women know that there is help available. I also hope to prevent women from rushing back into exercise without retraining some areas of the body changed through pregnancy.
Connecting us Together
I care about women’s health so much and was sick of seeing so much rubbish being pushed into social media for women. I created a private Evolution Health Mums Facebook Group to allow a space to exist where women could connect about health related issues. I also invited other health professionals to join in including a Women’s Health Physiotherapist and Counsellor to share their expertise about pelvic floor health and post natal depression. I share information about pregnancy, including my current experience, as well as how I’m managing Gestational Diabetes and a busy life. I don’t believe in telling people what to do but I want to show what is available and possible. I want to set a positive example through my own actions and it’s not about being perfect. The group connects on many topics and while some don’t share in the group, it opens up conversations with me in private. It’s helping women connect and share even the most embarrassing issues.
If you would like to discuss any women’s health issues with myself or one of the team, please Contact Us today. We are here to help with Pregnancy Massage, Remedial Massage, Mums & Bubs Fitness and Women’s Health Coaching Services. Online Bookings also available at www.evolutionhealthservices.com.au
We often receive questions about the post natal body. When are women no longer considered post natal and is it too late to make any changes to our bodies? Well the simple answer is once you have had a child you are always considered “post-natal”.
By no means does this mean you are forever broken and you won’t be able to return to activities you previously enjoyed. It just means you need to be cautious and consideration needs to be given to your personal circumstances and experience in pregnancy and childbirth.
Following your pregnancy and childbirth, there are considerations we make when programming our fitness sessions, as well as care taken with Remedial Massage.
Considerations for the Post Natal Body
Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
The pelvic floor refers to all the connective tissues that support the pelvic organs in the body. These include the muscles, ligaments, and fascia. It’s common following pregnancy, even with c-sections, that you may experience some form of pelvic floor dysfunction. This could be a pelvic organ prolapse, incontinence or pelvic pain. And while this is common, it’s most definitely not normal and can be treated. In our Mums & Bubs program we ask questions about your circumstances and refer to a Women’s Health Physiotherapist when appropriate. We design our workouts to help you learn correct alignment, breathing and core activation to support your pelvic floor which helps to prevent issues in later life.
*** Did you know: Up to 50% of women who exercise will experience incontinence. Many more will probably never report it due to the embarrassment they feel around it. Don’t be embarrassed, there is help available ***
Whether you make the decision to breastfeed or not, immediately after childbirth your body is still working out the hormones it needs in your body and to support your child. In the early stages, care needs to be taken with a slow, low impact return to exercise. If you continue to breastfeed, hormones present in your body while breastfeeding keep your tissues soft. Soft connective tissues lead to a higher risk of injury to any joint in the body, as well as pressure on the structures of the pelvic floor. This will continue while you are breastfeeding and take some time to settle again once your baby has weaned.
*** Myth: Have you ever heard that intense exercise or massage can cause ‘toxins’ to be released into breastmilk? This is false. Normal cell byproducts are filtered by the body and are not a danger to breastmilk and massage doesn’t release toxins. ***
Abdominal separation or Diastasis Rectii is a normal part of pregnancy. It involves the connective tissue between your rectus abdominus muscles called the linea alba relaxing and expanding to allow for your uterus to expand as your baby grows. Once you give birth, it takes time for the abdominal muscles to come back together. Exercise should focus on alignment, correct breathing and connection with the pelvic floor. The worst thing you can do for a separation is crunches and sit ups. They cause the area to bulge as the tension in the linea alba has yet to return.
*** Tip: During and following pregnancy, learn how to get up from lying position to prevent putting too much pressure on your abdominal separation. From lying, roll onto your side, use your hand to push up into a seated position. This is how you should get up from a massage table too. ***
As a mum, we are tired. All. The. Time. Especially in the early stages when our sleep is constantly broken by the needs of your bub. Even 4 years after having my son, I’m still having broken sleep and trying to juggle full time work. When you are already fatigued, your workouts should be focused on giving you more energy, as opposed to draining you. Strength training with bodyweight exercises, resistance bands, kettlebells and dumbbells are a great way to build a stronger body without exhausting you.
Years after having children, our bodies go through the change of life and we enter menopause. This time of life involves a change in hormones again. The lack of Oestrogen in the body causes a weakening and thinning of the supporting structures of the pelvic floor, resulting in pelvic organ prolapse. The body may not show the stresses caused from a vaginal delivery until menopause so it’s important to be aware of the changes in our bodies and seek help when we are concerned. With exercise, low impact, strength training with a focus on changing position to reduce the pressure on your pelvic floor is needed so you can continue exercise well into menopause.
*** Did you know: 50% of women who have had a baby will have some degree of prolapse in their lifetime ***
It may seem like pregnancy really does a number on our bodies, but there is hope. Referral to a Women’s Health Physiotherapist can help to complement your training program and provide treatment suitable for pregnancy experience. We offer Mums & Bubs Fitness Classes to educate you on the most appropriate activity for the post natal body. We provide exercise suitable for the new mum but also suitable for any mum of any age to get started. If you would like to try a class for free, we offer a free trial. All you need to do is book your class online here: Mums & Bubs Fitness Bookings
Contact Us with any questions about your post natal body and how to get started with fitness or massage.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and it is a month all about being aware of what breast cancer is, how to detect it and where to seek help if you find a lump. So we want to know have you checked your puppies? I saw the featured picture on Facebook for a wonderful business, Heavenly Curves. Maria Silvestri is the owner of Heavenly Curves and is passionate about early detection of breast cancer. She runs a lingerie store in Wetherill Park for all shapes and sizes but she has a specialised skill for fitting breast prostheses for women after having a mastectomy. Maria reminds all of her Facebook Fans at the beginning of every month to check their breasts for lumps or changes. This picture is a funny reminder that you should check your breasts no matter what the size. Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women in Australia and early detection is vital. The National Breast Cancer Foundation is predicting that in 2020 an average of 47 women PER DAY will be diagnosed with breast cancer. So what should you be looking for when you check your breasts.
- A new lump in your breast or armpit
- Thickening or swelling of part of the breast
- Irritation or dimpling of the skin of the breast
- Redness or flaky skin in your nipple area or breast
- Pulling in of your nipple or pain in the nipple area
- Nipple discharge other than breast milk
- Any change in the size or shape
- Pain in any area of your breast
Checking your breasts should be done in the shower, while lying down and also in front of the mirror. Be confident enough to stand there and look at them. You need to be aware of your normal to notice the changes. Since I was 17 years old I have had a lump inmy breast. At the time I was so scared that I had breast cancer so young but after a breast ultrasound it was diagnosed to be a ‘Fibroadenoma’ or what is sometimes referred to as a ‘breast mouse’. It is a cyst that swells with hormonal changes throughout my cycle. I have it checked every 2 years and today I went to have a follow up. I am so used to the process but still lay there hoping for another normal scan. It doesn’t take long to check and if needed, please don’t be scared to speak to your doctor. Tell your best girlfriend and get her to hold your hand. That’s what best friends are there for. For more information about breast cancer head to http://www.nbcf.org.au or https://www.bcna.org.au
Women like to talk and share many things with one another but it I have discovered there is one thing that is still a little taboo to talk about. I want to look into some secret women’s business and get women talking about this important topic, incontinence. We have seen the silly ads for incontinence pads and know that sneezing, laughing or coughing can result in leaking. But do you know if your best girlfriend is suffering in silence? I discovered someone close to me had been suffering through this for over 10 years. Even when she started training with us, there was never any mention of how bad it was or how long she had been experiencing issues. She had spoken to her GP about it before but was told that there was nothing she could do. I was horrified when I heard this as I knew there was most certainly something you can do. It became my mission to locate a specialised Womens Health Physiotherapist in the area to get the girls some help. I came across Paige Beveridge from Bounce Back Physiotherapy on Facebook. I chatted with her and exchanged emails. She offered to provide the group with a free information session about the pelvic floor and how she can help. We all received a wonderful goodie bag with important information about women’s health. All of our clients who come into Personal Training or Outdoor Group Training are required to complete a pre-exercise questionnaire which covers the topics that Fitness Australia and our insurer deem to be appropriate. I go beyond the form and ask questions about their pregnancy and recovery. Tt has always been a passion of mine to ensure that women recover well from pregnancy. I have heard horror stories and see so many women expecting to head straight back into what they did before and how they looked before. Reality is not always fun and pretty but there is the right help available. If you experience any issues with incontinence, whether it is during exercise or when you sneeze, please ask for help. If you get the right advice early, it can save you years of frustration. Speak to your GP for a referral to a Women’s Health Physiotherapist. If you are local to Narellan, please see Paige. Bounce Back PhysiotherapyPaige BeveridgePh: 02 4648 1669e: [email protected]