Anyone can be affected by pelvic health problems during or after pregnancy

  • 1 in 5 pregnant women experience discomfort around the pelvic region
  • 1 in 3 experience urinary incontinence (leaking wee) after having a baby
  • 1 in 10 experience faecal incontinence (leaking poo) after having a baby
  • 1 in 12 experience pelvic organ prolapse (bulge or dragging sensation in the vagina) after having a baby

However, a lot can be done to reduce or prevent the chance of experiencing issues. Please do not suffer in silence.

The Perinatal Pelvic Health Service aims to provide support and information for women around pelvic health during and after pregnancy. On this page, you can find out about the support you can get from the service, along with more about how your pelvic floor works, what happens to it during pregnancy and birth, and problems you may experience.

About your pelvic floor

Your pelvic floor is made from muscles and ligaments. It should support your internal organs and help control when you go to the toilet.

The growing weight of your baby during pregnancy puts your pelvic floor under strain. Birth can also weaken the pelvic floor. This may cause problems such as accidental leakage of wee or poo, difficulties with sex (for example, pain or reduced sensation), and a bulge or dragging sensation in the vagina.

Symptoms of pelvic floor problems

It is often difficult to know what changes are normal, or when you should seek help. If you experience any of the following symptoms, we advise you to seek help from a health professional.

  • Urinary incontinence (leaking wee, for example when you are standing, sitting, running, coughing, sneezing or jumping)
  • An overactive bladder (urgency to go to the toilet often and without warning)
  • A bulge in the vagina, or a heavy dragging sensation (this could be a prolapse where one or more of the pelvic organs comes down into the vagina)
  • Anal incontinence (accidentally leaking poo or wind)
  • Problems with sex such as pain, discomfort, or reduced sensation

Information and resources that can help you

Evidence shows that starting pelvic floor exercises as early as possible in pregnancy can reduce the likelihood of you experiencing symptoms later in pregnancy and after birth. However, it is never too late to start.

Take a look at these links to see how you can improve your pelvic health.

Pelvic health videos

This series of pelvic health videos (available in several languages) offers help and advice during and after pregnancy.

Topics include:

  • Pelvic floor health and exercises
  • Exercise during pregnancy
  • Back and pelvic pain during pregnancy
  • Perineal massage
  • After birth pain management, bladder care and return to exercise

Pelvic health video series in other languages

Our patient information leaflets

‘Your Pelvic Floor and More’ – free physiotherapy-led pelvic health sessions

You do not need to accept poor pelvic health as an untreatable result of pregnancy and birth. 70% of women and birthing people who do pelvic floor exercises during and after pregnancy improve their symptoms.

Our pelvic health sessions provide support and information to prepare you for your body’s journey during pregnancy and after birth. The sessions also provide an opportunity to discuss any issues you may be experiencing with a physiotherapist.

The free 1.5 hour group session will cover:

  • What your pelvic floor is, why it is important and exercises you can do
  • How you can improve symptoms such as leaking wee or poo, vaginal changes or pain, bulging or heaviness in the vagina, or pain when having sex.
  • How to treat back pain and pelvic girdle pain
  • When and how to seek further help

To book a place for your preferred session date, please email ghn-tr.womenshealth.physio@nhs.net or phone 0300 422 3053. Dates are listed below.

Forest of Dean area

Antenatal pelvic health classes

Wednesday 8 May 2024

  • 9.30am – 11.00am Lydney Rivers Children’s Centre, Naas Lane, Lydney GL15 5AU
  • 11.45am – 1.15pm Cinderford Hilltops Children’s Centre, Latimer Road, Cinderford GL14 2QA
  • 2.00pm – 3.30pm Newent Holts Health Centre, Watery Lane, Newent GL18 1BA

Postnatal pelvic health classes

Wednesday 22 May 2024

  • 9.30am – 11.00am Cinderford Hilltops Children’s Centre, Latimer Road, Cinderford GL14 2QA
  • 11.45am – 1.15pm Lydney Rivers Children’s Centre, Naas Lane, Lydney GL15 5AU

Stroud area

Antenatal pelvic health classes

Monday 13 May 2024

  • 10.00am – 11.30am Dursley Treetops Children’s and Family Centre, School Road, Dursley GL11 4NZ

Monday 20 May 2024

  • 12 midday – 1.30pm Stroud Maternity Unit, Field Road, Stroud GL5 2JB

Postnatal pelvic health classes

Monday 13 May 2024

  • 10.00am – 11.30am Dursley Treetops Children's and Family Centre, School Road, Dursley GL11 4NZ

Monday 20 May 2024

  • 10.00am – 11.30pm Stroud Maternity Unit, Field Road, Stroud GL5 2JB

Cheltenham & Tewkesbury area

Antenatal pelvic health classes

Monday 20 May 2024

  • 6.30pm – 7.30pm Parentcraft Room, St Pauls Wing, Cheltenham General Hospital

Postnatal Pelvic Health Classes

Tuesday 14 May 2024

  • 1.30pm – 3.00pm Hesters Way Children and Family Centre, Dill Avenue, Cheltenham GL51 0ES

North Cotswolds area

Antenatal and Postnatal Pelvic Health Sessions

Thursday 2 May 2024

  • 10.00am – 11.00am George Moore Clinic, Bourton on the Water

Thursday 16 May 2024

  • 10.30am – 11.30am North Cotswold Hospital, Moreton in Marsh

Gloucester area

Antenatal Pelvic Health Classes

Monday 13 May 2024

  • 10am – 11am Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, Physiotherapy Outpatients

To find and book on to a class near you please contact: 0300 422 3053 or email: ghn-tr.womenshealth.physio@nhs.net

Further Physiotherapy Support

Pelvic Health Physiotherapy Service

We encourage anyone who is pregnant or has had a baby in the last 12 months to attend one of our Pelvic Floor and More sessions. However, if you are experiencing pelvic health issues and can’t attend a session or would prefer a private appointment[RD1] , you can access the Pelvic Health Physiotherapy Service by:

Perineal Clinic

The Perineal Clinic is for women who have had a tear or episiotomy (surgical cut) during birth. To access this clinic, please ask your GP, midwife, health visitor or physiotherapist to refer you.

Active mums

Gentle exercise classes lead by physical trainers are being set up around Gloucestershire. They are aimed at people who have recently had a baby. Would you like a gradual introduction to moving more and building physical activity into your life, as well as connecting with others in your local community!

https://wecanmove.net/join-in/health/active-mums