NHS launches new clinics in Milton Keynes for women suffering incontinence after pregnancy

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The problem affects one is three new mums

New clinics specially or women suffering pregnancy-related pelvic health issues such as incontinence have been launched in Milton Keynes by the NHS.

The move comes after research shows one in three new mums suffer urinary incontinence in the first year after having a baby.

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The clinics will help thousands of women by offering access to specialist physiotherapists as part of the maternity care team.

One in three women suffer urinary incontinence in the first year after having a babyOne in three women suffer urinary incontinence in the first year after having a baby
One in three women suffer urinary incontinence in the first year after having a baby

Soon every woman receiving maternity care will be able to access the service throughout their pregnancy and for up to a year following the birth.

Physiotherapists will work with women who access the service to teach specialist exercises for pelvic floor muscles, both to relieve symptoms and to help prevent problems from developing in the first place.

They will also offer advice on diet and fluid intake, as well as helping women to monitor their own progress.

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Chrissie Edley, perinatal pelvic health service clinical lead for Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes, said: “Research shows that one woman in every three experiences urinary incontinence in the first year after having a baby and, without advice and/or treatment, many of these women would continue to experience this for years after giving birth. Around one woman in seven experiences bowel incontinence, and one in 12 has symptoms of prolapse.”

She added: “We know there is a demand for a specialist service, so I’m delighted that patients in Milton Keynes can now get the help they need. This is a service which was promised as part of the NHS Long Term Plan, so women across England will soon be able to benefit from high-quality advice from a range of professionals.

Patients in Luton and Bedfordshire will be able to take advantage of the new service later this year.

Chrissie said: “Crucially, if you have pelvic girdle pain, lower back pain, urinary incontinence, bowel incontinence and prolapse which are new in your pregnancy or in the first 12 months after your baby’s birth, you can self-refer to the service, so you don’t need to feel embarrassed at seeking help. We will also be able to offer more accessible care for those with these and other pelvic floor problems, who can be referred by a GP or other health professional.”

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Paula* (not her real name), who used the service earlier this year, said: “I wish this service had been available following the birth of my first baby – a normal vaginal delivery with an episiotomy – which resulted in the wound getting infected and weeks of hospital visits. After this, I struggled to return to sex without pain, which has affected my relationship significantly.

“I have also struggled for years with controlling my wee: I thought it was normal but, if I’d been told earlier after the birth or even during my pregnancy that simple exercises could have stopped the problem, it’s likely I wouldn’t be thinking about surgery now in my mid-40s.”

If you are under the care of Milton Keynes hospital you can contact the service, and view videos and other information about these health topics, on the service’s website here.