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I am writing this entry to mourn my grief and loss of the recent passing of a very dear patient I have been working with closely, for the past 2 years.


I have been a physiotherapist for all of my professional life. Throughout my journey as a physiotherapist, I have had the greatest honor of serving people who need help, many of them at their most vulnerable periods of their lives.


Having served the public hospitals, private practices, and now serving patients under my own practice, the drive that motivates me has not changed — to help people.

I’ve had the privilege to learn and practice through various disciplines in healthcare, such as post-surgical rehab, stroke rehabilitation, musculoskeletal rehabilitation, geriatric rehabilition, post-partum women’s musculoskeletal health and rehab, Scoliosis management, ICU physiotherapy and Cardiac-Pulmonary rehabilitation. I’ve had the best clinicians who mentored me, and inspired me to provide clinical excellence to anyone i help. I have never felt like I needed to stop learning or growing, because I love what I do everyday.


Healthcare is a strange profession. We love to help people. However, many of us get burnt-out, or emotionally drained as we go along. As a result, we sometimes appear apathetic about the overwhelming needs of every single human being we work with. It ends up with ‘touch-and-go’ of our patients on these days that we experience a burn-out.


Many times we can be very objective about a patient’s prognosis, and we can foresee or predict the decline or progress of a person. Sometimes we get surprises, but for some patients, we are mostly fighting against time. In the last decade of being a physio, I have learnt that we can only support a patient’s decision, we cannot make a decision for them to live their lives, whatever the outcome we think it will be. This has given me a very valuable lesson in parenting as well — that we cannot lead our children’s lives for them, we can only support them.


When I learnt about the passing of this very dear patient, I was heart broken. I did not expect to feel so emotionally involved in the patient’s death, and I was scheduled to see the patient to review his condition.



I was reminded that as a healthcare professional, albeit we work for a living and use it to make ends meet, it was never ‘Just a job to make ends meet’. When people approach us with a need, we treat them with dignity and respect. We get them back on their goals, to help them live as dignified humans. We respect their inabilities, and we work harder towards finding out what is limiting their progress and compliance, beyond thinking they are just lazy people not doing exercises. Even when the goal is to ‘sit up just to have a meal’, ‘be able to start having intimacy with partner again after a cardiac surgery’, or ‘return to competitive sport’, physios are extremely privileged to work with them towards their needs and dreams. And when they do reach their goals, it’s life-changing for them, and absolutely gratifying for myself.

Once we genuinely understand their barriers to change, we can make a difference in their lives, and ours.




To all my fellow healthcare colleagues, thank you for all your passion to give every vulnerable human being a dignified presence. To young and evolving physios, I hope you will find that deep, genuine pursue in humanity to make the world, and the lives of humans, a better place.



love,

Mummyphysio

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If you need to justify why Pilates will be helpful after your pregnancy and labour, here you go!



  1. Self love

Mothers tend to prioritize everything and everyone over ourselves. Start loving ourselves again, so that we can ‘fill’ our loved ones’ cups. The family is only as happy as a healthy mama.


  1. Look sexy, feel sexy again!

Being able to reconnect with our bodies makes us confident to do most tasks. Confident women are the sexiest!


2. Improve your core stability, because strong is the new beautiful!


Pilates serves as a strong foundation for your body to work the essential muscles, especially after going through life-changing pregnancy and labour. This will allow us to return to most sports and activities safely as it addresses the necessary muscles needed to support your core stability. Pilates guided exercises allows you to work in all aspects of your core stability in a systematic manner, from breathing, to abs, butt, thighs!


3. Improve your posture, build your confidence.


Pregnancy and effects of labour, breastfeeding and pumping breast milk makes us hunch over a lot more than we know. The effects of pregnancy is no simple feat on the maternal body. Months of stretched abdominals, postural and muscular adaptation from the changes in body mechanics does not naturally resolve on its own. Stretching and strengthening the affected muscles helps us to stand straighter, and look fresher.


4. Get stronger to care for your growing baby


Our babies only get heavier! Mothers can be stronger to carry your babies for longer.


5. Prepare your body for another pregnancy!


Subsequent pregnancies will continue to test the mother’s physical limits. Getting your body in a better position after each pregnancy will help you go through the process better.


6. Recondition your core, arms, back and legs to safely return to exercises you love


Pilates can be delivered in a systematic manner to train your body from head to toes, arms to legs. The progressive training can be tougher than it looks, but your efforts will surely pay off.


7. Continue to lead an active lifestyle as we enter motherhood and be role models to our kids


Life doesn’t come with a manual, it comes with a mother. When we have the ability to engage in physical activities and enjoy them, our kids will be able to do that for themselves when they get older. The best gift we can give to our kids, is a healthy and happy mother.


8. To be physically and mentally strong to fulfill our roles as mums, wives, daughters, caregivers


Pilates and being physically active has benefits to our mental health, not the mention the physical benefits on our bodies. As we play our social roles in our family units, the multiple roles we carry are demanding of our mental and physical capacity.

A study (1) has shown that Pilates home exercises are an effective, healthy and feasible method for reducing post-partum fatigue. The reduced fatigue can reduce the risk of depression in post-partum women.


9. Add Life to your years, not just years to your life!


As we live longer, we want to continue to move well and do the things we love. Having a better body also puts you at a better start to menopause well!




Our Registered Physiotherapist is also fully trained in Pilates. A full assessment and history taking is done with every new mother, to address your needs and goals. Speak to our Physiotherapist to learn how you can get stronger with your post-baby body! You may also find the article helpful: https://www.mummyphysiosg.com/post/core-stability-after-pregnancy-part-iii-the-best-exercise-program-to-a-strong-start




Reference:

(1) Effects of Pilates exercises on postpartum maternal fatigue (2015) Singapore Med J. 56(3), pp. 169-173. Ashrafinah F., Mirmohammadali M., Kazemnejad A., Haghighi K.S. & Amelvalizadeh M.

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Running has been a mainstay in my life since my teenage years. From 2.4km to Cross-Country 3.5km trail runs, I was inspired by my eldest sister to take part in 21km and 42km marathons Since 17years old. Running was an instinctive sport for me once I started working, since it’s a solo event that I didn’t need another partner to complete the activity with.

During the second trimester of my first pregnancy, I continued to hit the gym for simple workouts using the stationary bike, rowing machine and treadmill for brisk walking and light jog. Hence going back to my running routines were a no-brainer for me, since I have been running all my life, right?

However, after the birth of my first child, I was taken aback by the physical changes that nobody, nobody at all, told me about. My posture, abdomen, hips and pelvic floor strength absolutely changed. I tried going back to running after 6weeks post-partum, and immediately felt the difference in the control of my pelvic floor strength, and the difficulty engaging my core to run fast enough.



Pregnancy and Labour is no chicken-feat

Our bodies goes through tremendous adaptations throughout pregnancy and labour. For a person who has a simple knee surgery, a minimum of 3-6 months of rehab is warranted before returning to sport. For mothers, how should we expect our bodies to spring back to youthful days in a snap of a finger? The struggles of all runners: We just tend to put on our shoes and run, without conditioning our bodies to do so.


For mums who are keen to start running again, here are some essential muscle groups that are important to train before going back to running:

The Quadriceps

The muscles in the front of our thighs are the largest contributor to braking and supporting our body weight during running.

Hamstring

Upon contact with the ground, the muscles at the back of our thighs need powerful contraction to push us forwards.


Calves

These muscles that support the ankle appears to be important for propulsion and supporting the body weight during running.



Hips, groin and buttocks

(Gluteus maximus and medius, inner thighs, pelvic floor muscles)

These muscle groups around our pelvis work the hardest after the foot hits the ground, to stabilize our trunk and knees

The pelvic floor muscles, that forms the base of the pelvis, holds the rest of the organs up. After the labour and pregnancy, our pelvic floor muscles often need some work before returning to impact sports such as running.


Arms and Trunk

Arms did not contribute to propulsion or support, but the momentum of the arms counterbalanced the momentum of the legs via the trunk of the body. This means the stability of the trunk (ribs and abdominals) has to be strong, for more efficient force transfer between arms and legs.




When do I know if I am not ready for a run?

If you have any forms of incontinence (urine or bowel leaking), heaviness feeling in the vagina with impact activities, have an assessment by a pelvic floor physiotherapist before starting your exercises.

Having a bulging abdomen months after your baby is born is also not normal, and we recommend you to have yourself checked for Diastasis Recti of the Abdominal by our physiotherapist. The presence of any joint pain- commonly reported joints such as knee pain, pelvis or lower back pain, needs to be resolved prior to returning to running. Our physiotherapist will be able to assist you back to running, or refer you to a pelvic floor physiotherapist if necessary.



A pre-run exercise period is essential to prepare your post-partum body to get to a baseline of core stability, so that you will minimise any possible injury due to muscular-skeletal changes after having a baby.

Before you hit the roads, be sure your body is ready for the run! Read our 3-Part series of Core Stability after Pregnancy to know how you can prepare yourself for running!





Love, MummyPhysioSG



Reference:

Samuel R. Hammer, Ajay Seth and Scott L. Delp

Muscle contributions to propulsion and support during running

Journal Biomech 2010 vol. 43(14), pp. 2709-2716


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