What is pelvic health?
Pelvic health wellbeing is important throughout life.
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 or 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, Llaking 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.
The Perinatal Pelvic Health Service
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.
Our Perinatal pelvic health service is run by our specialist midwife and specialist physiotherapists supported by a consultant urogynaecologist, obstetric consultants and community physiotherapists to provide additional support 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 support can the Perinatal Pelvic Health Service 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?
- third or fourth degree perineal tear
- readmission to hospital for perineal wound complications
- 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 4 kg 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 by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
How to feedback about the service
- If you have given birth within Cornwall or Isles of Scilly or if you have had contact with the Perinatal Pelvic Health Service, please complete our Maternity Survey and Perinatal Pelvic Health Service survey
- Care opinion
- Learning from excellence
Maintaining positive pelvic health routine
- Bladder Health
- Bowel health
- How to do your pelvic floor exercises
- Urinary tract infections
- Bladder and bowel incontinence during pregnancy and after having a baby
- MASIC Foundation guides
- Pelvic Organ Prolapse
- 3rd and 4th degree perineal tears
- Episiotomy & perineal tears
- Pelvic floor muscle training
- Pregnancy, birth and postnatal pelvic health
- Exercise in pregnancy
- Bladder and bowel incontinence after having a baby
Preparing for birth
General support for pregnancy, birth and postnatal period
- Birth Trauma Association
- Postnatal depression awareness and support
- Postnatal depression and perinatal mental health
- Tommy’s pregnancy hub
Local clinical guidelines relating to pelvic health
Page last reviewed: 19 April 2023