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Pregnancy Pelvic Health Let's Start the Conversation

Pregnancy is a time with lots of changes to every aspect of your life. This period puts a lot of stress on your body and can cause many different issues. Complaints such as incontinence, pelvic girdle pain and abdominal separation are common during pregnancy. During delivery you may sustain injuries such as levator ani avulsion, prolapse, or tears to name a few.

Urinary incontinence is an issue that affects many women during and after pregnancy. It also becomes more prevalent when you have had more than one pregnancy. 69% of women will experience incontinence in their third trimester, this rises to 80% in following pregnancies. As you can see, this is common problem during pregnancy, but it is not normal, and it can be treated.

The statistics relating to symptoms post-natal vary depending on the type of delivery. Focusing on vaginal delivery, 35% will experience incontinence 6 weeks following delivery, this drops slightly to 31% at 6 months. 11% will report faecal incontinence at 6 weeks, dropping to 8% at 6 months and lastly, pelvic organ prolapse is reported at 29% at 6-12 months.

The most common symptoms women notice during and/or after pregnancy include, leaking urine, urgency to use the toilet, constipation, difficulty fully emptying bladder or bowels, faecal incontinence, heaviness/dragging in vagina, pelvic pain, and pain with sexual activity. These symptoms can be treated and improved with physio, and it is important to note that you may develop new symptoms or notice worsening symptoms as your start returning to exercise post-natal.

These issues have been normalised as part of being a woman, but they shouldn’t be. They can affect sport and social activity participation, reduce quality of life and lead to poor mental health. Following having a baby all the focus is on your new-born, but you need to focus on yourself too, your body has been through a lot!

Pelvic health therapy involves using exercise and other techniques to manage symptoms. We know coming to an appointment like this can be intimidating, we take these sessions at your pace, and you are always welcome to bring a support person. From 1st October 2022, ACC has started to provide cover for maternal birthing injuries. While not all the conditions mentioned above are covered, many of them are. Please visit the ACC website or talk to us if you want more information regarding this.

Here at Physio HQ, Alex creates a safe space for you to talk about your pelvic health concerns in a non-judgemental, supportive environment, and will help give you the tools you need to manage your symptoms and return to your normal activities. Email her directly on, to ask any questions and find out if we can help you!


Davidson, M. J. (2020) “Investigation of pelvic floor muscle properties during pregnancy and post-partum.” PhD, University of Auckland

Madsen, A. M., Hickman, L. C., and Propst, K. (2021) “Recognition and Management of Pelvic Floor Disorders in Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period” Obstetrics & Gynaecology Clinics. 48(3) p. 571-584

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