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Women’s Health

Tips for Optimising Postpartum Care

The birth of a new child is a joyous occasion that sees many families happily adjust their lives to prioritise their newest addition. But while the focus generally remains on the newborn, it is crucial not to overlook the care required for the mother. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 80% of women who gave birth accessed antenatal care throughout the first trimester of their pregnancy. However, there is a lack of records for the later stages of pregnancy and during the postpartum period, suggesting that postpartum care is often overlooked. After nine months of physical, emotional, and hormonal changes, a woman’s body and mind go through a significant transformation that continues to affect them post-childbirth. Therefore, providing proper postpartum care is of utmost importance to ensure the well-being and recovery of the mother.

Postpartum care is not limited to medical check-ups but must be done consistently at home, too. As such, below are some postpartum home care tips to ensure the smooth recovery of any mother.

Take a break from household work

Focusing on their recovery and establishing a bond with their newborn baby is essential during the postpartum period, and this necessitates a break from household work. During recovery, the new mum’s partner and other family members can help share the burden of household responsibilities such as cooking and cleaning. This division of tasks will help prevent the mother from feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. Aside from asking for human assistance,  domestic service robots might be another tool to consider. These types of robots help with home maintenance and running errands. With a built-in semi-automated or fully-automated control system, they are designed to perform manual labour and are used for strenuous, menial, or repetitive tasks that can easily be accomplished by technology. Utilising these robots, such as Roombas and Neatos, can greatly help alleviate the strain on postpartum women and reduce the risk of injury.

The Body Refinery studio Pilates Mummy and Me

Seek support from other mothers

One of the greatest advantages of seeking support from other mothers during the postpartum period is the opportunity to exchange experiences and gain valuable insights. With each mother having a unique journey, hearing stories and perspectives from others can offer a wealth of knowledge. This can be invaluable in helping new mothers navigate uncharted waters.

Through local or online support groups such as MumSpace, mothers can have discussions regarding breastfeeding, sleeping patterns, and coping with feelings of being tired. Engaging in such conversations creates a safe space to express concerns, fears, and frustrations without the fear of judgment or criticism. In addition, support from other mothers allows new mums to find solace in knowing that their feelings are valid and shared by others. Empathy from fellow mothers can do wonders in alleviating feelings of isolation and lowering the chance of them experiencing postpartum depression.

Take up some exercise routines

The postpartum period is a crucial time for a woman’s recovery and well-being. Among the various measures to enhance postpartum care, a personalised home exercise program is an effective way to restore pelvic strength and function, especially for those dealing with pelvic girdle pain. These exercises offer numerous benefits, including improved bladder control, prevention of pelvic organ prolapse, and enhanced sexual satisfaction.

The Body Refinery offers various Women’s Health appointments with our Physiotherapists and Exercise Physiologists as well as postnatal classes to help new mums rebuild their strength and confidence.

Article contributed by Ruth Jentson

Pregnancy-related Pelvic Girdle Pain

Pregnancy-related Pelvic Girdle Pain women's health physiotherapy new farm

What is Pregnancy-related Pelvic Girdle Pain (PrPGP)?

Pregnancy-related Pelvic Girdle Pain is a pain in and around the pelvis that can occur during or after pregnancy. It is reported that approximately 44% of pregnant women will experience some type of pelvic girdle pain throughout their pregnancy. It can persist into the postpartum period, but in most cases, it does resolve on its own after birth. It can be felt in the front or back of the pelvis, sides of the hips, buttocks, and groin and may radiate into the thighs.

Pregnancy-related Pelvic Girdle Pain women's health physiotherapy new farm

What Causes it?

During pregnancy, the pelvis changes to accommodate the growth of the baby. There is an increased load on the pelvis and associated postural changes to accommodate this growth. Pain can then occur due to the new position and change of tension on muscles and ligaments across the joints and in surrounding areas. In the past, the hormone Relaxin has been implicated in causing pain by creating g ligament laxity, however, current research has indicated that although ligament laxity occurs during pregnancy, Relaxin does not play a role in this or the PrPGP experienced.

Some positions and movements can aggravate PrPGP, by increasing the load through the joints, including:

  • Sitting cross-legged
  • Walking up stairs
  • Walking fast with long strides
  • Standing with weight on one leg
  • Getting out of the car or bed
  • Rolling over in bed
  • Standing on one leg (e.g. getting dressed)


Sleep is a big contributing factor in all types of pain. Disrupted sleep can create increased sensitivity throughout the whole body, and change how pain is perceived. This means that if sleep is disrupted during pregnancy, due to pain, feeling unwell, or difficulty finding a comfortable position with changes in the body, pain levels may increase, and may feel harder to manage. In such cases, it is important to manage sleep patterns, and seek advice on improving sleep.

Pregnancy-related Pelvic Girdle Pain women's health physiotherapy new farm

How can Physiotherapy Help?

Physiotherapy can assist in the prevention and reduction of PrPGP, through a multimodal approach.

Exercise programs, specifically tailored to each stage of pregnancy, have been shown to reduce pain and associated incapacity. This is important during pregnancy, to maintain activity levels for the health of both mother and baby. Physiotherapists and Exercise Physiologists are able to tailor both pilates-based programs as well as Strength and Conditioning programs to address PrPGP, both antenatally and postnatally, for pain reduction and prevention. Stretches, mobility exercises, and strengthening can also be provided for self-management of PrPGP.

Other treatment options for PrPGP include manual therapy for pain management, as well as fitting a pelvic girdle belt and Dry Needling or Acupuncture.

Our Women’s Health Physios are trained in the treatment of Pregnancy-Related Pelvic Girdle Pain.  Call 3358 3915 to book a Women’s Health appointment.


Blog written by physiotherapist Nykeela

De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis: A Painful Challenge for Mothers

De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis physiotherapy can help new farm

Motherhood is a journey filled with challenges and rewards. Amidst the sleepless nights and unconditional love, there’s an unexpected hurdle some mothers face: De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis. This condition affects the tendons in the wrist and thumb, causing pain and discomfort.

Understanding De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis

De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis is a condition that primarily affects the tendons in the wrist and thumb. It’s characterized by inflammation of the tendon sheath, resulting in pain, swelling, and limited mobility in the affected area.

The symptoms of De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis can be quite debilitating. If you’re a mother dealing with this condition, you might experience:

  1. Pain and tenderness at the base of your thumb
  2. Swelling and inflammation
  3. Difficulty gripping or pinching objects
  4. A “catching” or “snapping” sensation when moving the thumb
  5. Pain that can radiate up the forearm

De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis physiotherapy can help new farm

The Relationship with Motherhood

De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis can significantly impact mothers due to the demands of caring for a baby or toddler.

How it affects mothers:

  1. Holding and Feeding: New mothers spend a lot of time holding and feeding their babies, which can strain the wrist and thumb.
  2. Nappy Changing: Changing the nappy, especially while holding the baby’s legs with one hand and using the other to clean and fasten the nappy, can stress the affected tendons.
  3. Lifting and Carrying: As children grow, mothers often need to lift and carry them, which can be challenging with De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis.
  4. Household Chores: Mothers often juggle household chores alongside child care, which can further strain the wrist and thumb.

Preventing and Managing De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis

Preventing and managing De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis is crucial in order for mothers to remain active and involved in their child’s life without pain.

Here are some strategies:

  1. Rest and Immobilisation: Give your wrist and thumb the rest they need and use a splint to immobilise the thumb.
  2. Ice and Anti-Inflammatories: Apply ice and take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling and pain.
  3. Ergonomics: Pay attention to your posture and hand positioning when holding, feeding, or carrying your child. Use proper techniques to reduce strain on your wrist and thumb.
  4. Physiotherapy: We can provide exercises and techniques to strengthen the affected tendons and improve mobility.


Motherhood is a beautiful experience, but it can be challenging, especially when dealing with conditions like De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis. Prioritising self-care, seeking medical advice when needed, and adopting strategies to manage and prevent the condition is key.  A healthy, pain-free mother is better equipped to care for her little ones and cherish every moment of motherhood.

If you have any further questions, feel free to give us a call on 07 3358 3915 to book an appointment with one of our Physiotherapists who can help.

Written by Cathryn Prout

Why should you see a Women’s Health Physiotherapist after birth?

see a women's health physiotherapist after birth

During pregnancy, many changes are occurring in your body, including an increase in abdominal diameter and weight in your pelvic floor due to the growing baby. These changes could affect your abdominal muscle strength and your pelvic floor muscle endurance and coordination despite the mode of delivery.

What symptoms might you have after birth? 

The most common symptoms after a vaginal or cesarean delivery are:

  • Urine leakage: having involuntary loss of urine when you cough, sneeze, or lift your baby, etc. This is called stress urinary incontinence (SUI) and it can range from a single drop of urine to a full gush. Also, not making it to the toilet and having some drops of urine before you sit down is considered urge urinary incontinence (UUI).
  • Vaginal heaviness: feeling like a badly-positioned tampon is inside your vagina or the sensation of something coming out or a bulge is a symptom of pelvic organ prolapse (POP). This is more likely to happen after having an instrumental birth (such as forceps delivery) or giving birth to a baby weighing more than 4kg.
  • Pain during intimacy: having stitches, either in your abdomen or perineum (vulva or vagina area) can leave this area more sensitive than before. Hence, you might experience discomfort, or even pain, while being intimate with your partner.

exercise physiology gym new farm


How can this impact your life?

  • Returning to exercise or work: some women find it difficult to return to their preferred sports, especially if they include jumping and running, as they leak during their training sessions or games. Also, women who have to lift weights at work find it hard to return to their usual roles.
  • Relationships: experiencing vaginal heaviness or pain during sexual intercourse can be very challenging and results in some women avoiding intimacy with their partners. This can put pressure on a relationship or how couples interact with one another.

postnatal exercise with women's health physiotherapist


How can a Women’s Health Physiotherapist help you? 

Just as you would go to a physiotherapist for rehabilitation of any other muscle weaknesses and pain, you can visit a women’s health physiotherapist who has further training in women’s health issues.

Some things that a Women’s Health Physiotherapist can help you with, include:

  • Identifying if there has been any perineal trauma, such as tears or muscle detachment, and tailor a specific exercise program for your pelvic floor muscles.
  • Assessing abdominal separation and abdominal strength to guide you on your way back to fitness classes.
  • Treating any painful areas including scars from perineal stitches or abdominal stitches, and soreness/stiffness of the neck or back from feeding or carrying your baby.
  • Helping you with self-management strategies.
  • Helping you reach your fitness goals.


The economic cost of pregnancy and childbirth can be significant. However, what is being recognised (and thankfully discussed) more and more by new mums, is the long-term financial and personal costs that can result from a delayed return to work, exercise, or intimacy due to the changes that many women experience following childbirth.

To encourage new mums to take positive action towards recovery after childbirth, The Body Refinery (located in New Farm) has created a Postnatal Pack that makes visiting a Women’s Health Physiotherapist more affordable and accessible to all Brisbane women; including 1 initial assessment, 1 one-on-one Exercise Physiology session and 5 pre/postnatal classes.


Written by Women’s Health Physiotherapist, Pilar.

Women’s Health Week: Day 2 – Menopause matters

Women’s Health Week - Day 2 - Menopause matters

Perimenopause is the lead-up to a woman’s final menstrual period, the menopause. Perimenopause usually happens between 40 – 45 years of age.

Menopause is a woman’s final menstrual period. Most women reach menopause between 45 and 55 years of age – the average age of menopause for women in Australia is 51 – 52 years.

Both perimenopause and menopause are a part of normal and healthy ageing.

Due to changes in the levels of oestrogen and progesterone hormones, women may experience the following symptoms:

  • hot flushes or night sweats
  • joint and muscle aches and pains
  • vaginal dryness and pain during sexual intercourse
  • mood swings, which may include low mood, anxiety or irritability
  • sleep disturbance, including insomnia
  • crawling or itchy skin
  • headaches
  • lower libido
  • forgetfulness
  • weight gain, especially in the tummy region  

It is recommended that you maintain a healthy and physically active lifestyle to support your body during these changes. It is also important to look after your emotional health.

See your GP if you are troubled by less regular periods, have symptoms of menopause that interfere with daily life, or have any symptoms of depression or anxiety.

Our team of Women’s Health Physiotherapists and Exercise Physiologists are here to support you and can help you to manage some of the symptoms of menopause.
For more information:

Women’s Health Week: Day 1 Check me out – Health checks for women

Women’s Health Week - Day 1 Check me out - Health checks for women

Regular health checks can help with the early detection of illness or disease.

Here is a quick guide to what health checks you need and when:

  • Cervical screening test: This has replaced the Pap smear as the standard screening test to detect cervical cancer. Every five years from age 25 to 74. Screening starts two years after you were first sexually active.
  •  Breast health: Early detection of breast cancer increases the chances of treatment success. It is important to conduct a monthly self-examination. Get to know the normal look and feel of your breasts and speak to your GP if you notice any unusual changes. A breast cancer screening mammogram should be performed every two years from age 50 to 74. Women with a higher risk or family history of breast cancer may need to screen earlier / more often.
  • Bone health: Once a year from age 45 or post-menopause. Depending on bone health and risk of fracture or osteoporosis, your GP may suggest a bone density scan (DEXA) every two years.
  • Heart health check: At least every two years from age 45 (age 35 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women).
  • Blood pressure check: Every two years from age 18, or more often if at increased risk.
  • Cholesterol check: Every five years from age 45 (age 35 for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander women), or earlier / more frequently depending on family history and personal risk factors.
  • Bowel cancer screening: Bowel cancer is common, and if detected early has a good recovery rate. A test is recommended every two years from age 50. This can be done at home with an easy-to-use self-test kit. Women at higher risk may need to screen more often and with other tests.
  • STI screening: for sexually active women of all ages, speak to your GP about how often to screen for sexually transmissible infections (STIs). Women under 30 may need screening at least once a year.
  • Mental and emotional health: If you are experiencing symptoms such as intense sadness, irritability, fatigue, anxiety; have had changes to your eating or sleeping habits; or have any other mental health concerns, speak to your GP as soon as you can.

Women’s Health Week is a reminder to make your physical and emotional health and well-being a priority. If your health checks are not up to date, make an appointment to see your GP today.

For more information:

What is Endometriosis? How can we help you?


What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a chronic inflammatory condition, affecting every 1 in 10 women.

When uterine tissue starts to grow in other areas outside the uterus along the abdominal wall, attaching to the fallopian tubes, ovaries, bladder and bowels.

This atypical growth of uterine cells causes scarring and plaque formation. When these tissues thicken and bleed as they would normally behave in the uterus, they can cause excessive pain and bleeding.

Symptoms can vary from;

  • Heavy bleeding
  • Pelvic pain
  • Bladder and bowel dysfunction (diarrhoea, constipation, frequency of urination)

Some women never experience pain with endometriosis. However, around 50% of diagnosed individuals have chronic pelvic pain and 70% of women will experience pain only during menstruation. Heavy periods and pain to follow are not always ‘normal’ responses to a menstrual cycle.

If you feel like your symptoms are atypical, listen to your body and speak to your GP or OBGYN about your symptoms.

Risk factors:

  • Increasing age
  • Alcohol use
  • Early menarche
  • Family history of endometriosis
  • Infertility
  • Low body weight
  • Prolonged menstrual cycle
  • Short menstrual cycle (Peterson et al., 2013

The average time frame for a diagnosis of endometriosis is  8.6 years (Bontempo & Mikesell, 2020). The longer endometriosis goes diagnosed, the longer accumulation of inflammation occurs and the potential severity of symptoms as the body attempts to manage the condition. The scarring of tissue can further perpetuate symptoms of infertility in patients diagnosed with endometriosis.

The alleviation symptoms (typically coinciding with a menstrual cycle) through exercise have been shown to drastically reduce the incidence of pain and heavy bleeding.


Endometriosis is triggered by excessive inflammation in the body at a cellular level. A sedentary lifestyle places pressure on the vascular system of the body, reducing the body’s ability to circulate the blood effectively with the nutrients it needs to stimulate healing processes via endorphin release. Exercise actively decreases the number of inflammatory markers in the body by the reduction of adipose tissue.

Pain and discomfort are positively reinforced by the brain when muscles contract in an attempt to “guard” the area causing pain sensations. With the help of a trained exercise professional, we work to rewire the body systems to relax overactive muscle groups to interrupt the pain signals sent to the brain via muscle guarding.

Pelvic floor dysfunction is a common result of pain stemming from endometriosis. When the body is in pain around the pelvis, the musculature surrounding the tissue can become overactive or spasm. This further perpetuates chronic pelvic pain or pain during a menstrual cycle. Exercise has been proven to significantly decrease maladaptive postures stemming from endometriosis pain response, as well as significantly decrease the intensity of endometriosis pain after following a structured and consistent exercise program (Awad et al., 2017).

Exercise is one of the most effective courses of treatment to reduce symptomatic endometriosis, while increasing energy levels, boosting mood and building a stronger, more resilient body. 

At the Body Refinery, our women’s health Exercise Physiologist, Tori, will assist you in managing your diagnosis and symptoms of endometriosis.

Tori is available every Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday morning at our New Farm location.

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Awad, E., Ahmed, H., Yousef, A., & Abbas, R. (2017). Efficacy of exercise on pelvic pain and posture associated with endometriosis: within subject design. Journal of physical therapy science, 29(12), 2112–2115.

Bontempo, A. C., & Mikesell, L. (2020). Patient perceptions of misdiagnosis of endometriosis: results from an online national survey. Diagnosis (Berlin, Germany), 7(2), 97–106.

Peterson, C. M., Johnstone, E. B., Hammoud, A. O., Stanford, J. B., Varner, M. W., Kennedy, A., Chen, Z., Sun, L., Fujimoto, V. Y., Hediger, M. L., Buck Louis, G. M., & ENDO Study Working Group (2013). Risk factors associated with endometriosis: importance of study population for characterizing disease in the ENDO Study. American journal of obstetrics and gynecology, 208(6), 451.e1–451.e4511.