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“Most women attend at least 12 medical appointments during pregnancy, then once the baby arrives, the average woman receives just one postnatal check-up with their GP or obstetrician.”
For many women, it can be intimidating to transition from the hospital to home with their newborn. While it’s a joyous experience, it can also be overwhelming, with some feeling unprepared — even where the birth has been medically uncomplicated, because for every mum, there is recovery involved.
From bleeding and pelvic floor dysfunction to postnatal depression, lots of women struggle with the adjustment — not just with the physical, but the emotional challenges that occur.
This is where chartered physiotherapists and specialists in women’s pelvic health Aoife Harvey (@womenshealthdublin)and Eimear Lynch (@thephysiogirl.ie) hope to help new mums navigate through postnatal recovery with their recently launched app, MoCo Health.
With a combined 20 years of experience helping women after childbirth, both experts believe that “women deserve better.”
“As experts in postnatal care, we are also mothers who have been through this journey and understand how vulnerable and unprepared you can feel. Pregnancy and delivery take a toll on the body. But when baby arrives, mum’s recovery often takes a back seat,” says Aoife.
“Most women attend at least 12 medical appointments during pregnancy, then once the baby arrives, the average woman receives just one postnatal check-up with their GP or obstetrician. Meanwhile, the physical and emotional consequences of childbirth can be debilitating for some, if unmanaged.
“Basically, a woman’s body changes so much in one day, from pregnancy to postnatal, with nobody to support or even explain to them what’s going on. All the while trying to look after a tiny human 24/7 — and that’s usually with little or no sleep.”
“Many women feel isolated, vulnerable and somewhat deserted by their medical team,” adds Eimear.
“For many women, becoming a mum is their biggest life-changing event. We hear all the time, ‘Ever since I had my baby...’ or ‘Why did nobody tell me...’ Postpartum, women needlessly suffer with unbearable symptoms when they don’t have to, and it can profoundly affect a woman’s quality of life.”
So what exactly is the aim of the app, and what can women expect to learn from it?
“We want to reach all women, at a low price point, so finances do not discriminate (against) those who can access the information and support they deserve,” explains Aoife.
“No topic is off limits, including constipation, sex, leaking, hormones, prolapse, farting, diastasis, back pain and return to exercise. We discuss each of these openly and honestly to normalise what women may experience after birth, and offer practical and professional advice that many mums need after delivery.
“We open up the conversations that need to be heard, with the whole team of professionals included,” says Eimear.
“Obstetricians discussing stitches care, types of tears, smear tests, haemorrhoids. A birth trauma expert, psychologist for postnatal depression, GP for contraception, nutrition to support healing and recovery, lactation consultant for feeding support, dermatologist and midwife for postpartum bleeding.”
The sad reality is that many women do not know that female and pelvic health physiotherapists even exist — something both experts want to change.
“Hopefully with the app we can begin to help all these wonderful mums get back to the activities they love and feel like themselves again.”