How Motherhood Changed My Physiotherapy Practice

melanieDysmennorhea, dyspareunia, exercise, General health, Healthy Lifestyle, incontinence, Low back pain, Pelvic Floor, Physiotherapy, Pregnancy, self care, Women's HealthLeave a Comment


There are many skills I need to acquire for my job: knowledge, manual skills and conversational skills to name a few. The most profound skill, however, is empathy. To be able to accurately assess, diagnose and treat my patients, I have to first put myself in their shoes. And of course, I have no problem doing this. From the series of questions I ask I am able to get a pretty good idea of how they are feeling. I say ‘pretty good’ because there was always one small factor holding me back from fully connecting with some of my patients; I was not a mother and I did not have a child.


That may not seem like a big deal to you but it was to me. I wanted the advice I gave to my patients to be relatable and not just learned from a textbook. I wanted to be sure that the treatment I prescribed was manageable and fit into their everyday lives. Just like I expect my
dentist to floss their teeth everyday, I wanted to be able to tell my patients that their prenatal and postnatal pelvic health really IS a priority. I wanted to be able to say, “I’ve been there.”

Fast forward to 10 months ago when I had my first child. I remember about 6 weeks postpartum deciding I was going to start doing my pelvic floor exercises. “I’ll start with a simple 10 minutes while my baby naps, right after I take a very quick shower and eat a quick snack”. I think I may
have gotten to the second rep of the first set when my baby woke up from her awfully too-short of a nap. I thought, “okay, no problem, I’ll put her in a carrier and continue the exercises while she’s on me… oh, she won’t let me sit down….how do I even do my kegels while bouncing?….Forget it”

It was like a ton of bricks hit me. I immediately got flashbacks of all the naive and ridiculous ways I used to tell my patients to do their exercises while having a newborn. Here are just a few…

What I used to say: Your due date is in 6 weeks. Let’s start perineal massage and talk about diastasis recti healing, C-section scar management, and postpartum recovery.
What I say now: How are you feeling? What type of education would you like to focus on in the next few weeks?

What I used to say: Do 3 sets of 12 reps, 2-3 times daily
What I say now: Aim for 2-3 sets of 10. Start once a day and see how that feels.


What I used to say: Do your exercises when the baby sleeps!
What I say now: Use baby’s nap times for your well-being. Your body needs to be relaxed to focus on your exercises.


What I used to say: Make sure you’re laying down to do your exercises
What I say now: Let me teach you the exercises in different positions. Laying down will be the easiest but that’s not always possible with a baby.

What I used to say: How’s the baby doing?!
What I say now: How are YOU doing?


To all my former patients, forgive me for being naive about maintaining your pelvic health while caring for both yourself and a newborn. To my current and future patients, this is my testimony: to continue to focus on my empathy.

Help me understand what it’s like to live YOUR life and I
will help you achieve your goals.

SANDRA GHALY

Pelvic Floor & Paediatric Physiotherapist

Sandra graduated from Dalhousie University with a Masters degree in Physiotherapy after completing her Bachelor of Kinesiology degree with honours from McMaster University. She has worked with a variety of clientele but has developed a true passion in working with both the paediatric and women’s health populations. Sandra has extensive experience assessing and treating a variety of paediatric conditions and most recently has become certified as a pelvic health physiotherapist. She also has additional training in acupuncture and kinesiotaping. Sandra finds great value in guiding each individual through a tailored rehabilitation program to optimize their function and quality of life. In her free time, Sandra enjoys yoga, pilates, traveling and spending time with family and friends.

If you have enjoyed this blog and would like to learn more about health and wellness from our team of expert practitioners, sign up for our mailing list or follow us on facebook and Instagram.

Leave a Reply