I recently spoke to a new mum, which got me thinking. She mentioned that she was really grateful to be able to attend pilates online, because it was so much cheaper than her usual face to face pilates, which she couldn’t do anymore because she wasn’t working.
This really did make me think about our current economic climate and how, as pregnant women and new mums, what is happening with our economy might impact us years down the track.
We know that global activity is experiencing a sharper than expected slowdown. Inflation has risen, cost of living has risen. There are many factors here. The war in Ukraine, the lingering COVID pandemic. In Australia, there have been floods.
There are many reasons why the cost of living has increased.
But what does all this mean?
Everyone is in a different situation. But ultimately, many people do reduce or review their spending.
So what does the economic downturn mean for women who are pregnant, or who’ve had babies recently?
Ok let’s think about it from purely a physical perspective for a minute.
As a pelvic floor physio, a mum of 3, and someone who has helped 100s of women recovery strongly after birth, there are certainly quite a few ways to help support, protect, and restore the changing body during this stage of pre & postpartum.
So, during lean times, pregnancy health and postnatal recovery might be viewed as a luxury.
For example, people might cease in person pilates classes, exercise groups / gym memberships and so on.
Or, they might consider they can wait to see a physio for a post birth checkup.
And this is another common scenario, if someone is experiencing, for example, leaking with coughing or during a cold.
Whilst they are leaking, this issue might be at the forefront of their mind, at the top of their ‘to-do list’. They might be really focussed on wanting to get their pelvic floor muscles stronger.
However, when they are feeling better again, and no longer unwell, it is very easy to forget about our pelvic floor health. Out of sight, out of mind, and it easily drops down the ‘to-list’ of priorities.
As mums, we always have a lot of tabs open, so I’m sure we might be thinking about it, but we do tend to just leave it a little bit.
However, pelvic health issues might creep up on us.
Perhaps it’s months postpartum when you’re starting to play tiggy with the kids at the park and perhaps you are going for a run and you experience leakage.
Or perhaps it’s when you fall pregnant for a second or third time and you start to notice a heaviness in your vaginal/ pelvic floor area.
Or perhaps it creeps up on you when you hit your mid 40s or 50s, and experiencing menopausal or peri menopausal symptoms (which, by the way, requires a whole new blog post, which I will do shortly).
One in three women who’ve had a baby had some sort of incontinence after having a baby, and one and two women have prolapse, according to the Australian Continence Foundation.
And these symptoms often arise pre-post pregnancy. And then there is another spike of these symptoms that occur around menopause.
So, if you’ve kept your symptoms at bay for awhile, you’ve not really prioritised your pelvic floor health, and then you reach menopause… you might be in for a surprise, and not a fun one. There are a lot of changes that happen with menopause, and pelvic floor symptoms can become more apparent and common during this stage.
This is when women I’ve seen in the clinic say to me “I wish I had focussed on this when I was having babies”, or “I wish I had done this sooner”.
So, getting back to another sobering fact. Incontinence is one of the most common health conditions affecting Australians with an annual cost exceeding $67 billion.
Incontinence is a huge issue. It’s a huge financial burden on the healthcare system. And we are only talking about money here, we are not even discussing the mental health impact that it can have on people, which again is a whole other discussion we need to have on another day.
So my question to you is where do you see your pregnancy and postpartum health in all of the economic uncertainty?
If you do need to cut costs, can you do this in a way that isn’t going to jeopardise your long term health?
And I really think this is something that every woman needs to consider around this stage of pregnancy and postpartum, and this is where COVID has actually made a really positive impact in terms of fast tracking everything that is happening online.
So at the physio clinic where I used to work, in person pilates with a physio would cost easily $35 to $40 a class, and this is where I’m excited because FitNest Mama, my the online program, offers physio created online Pilates, amazing quality tailored to your stage of pregnancy and postpartum for $37 a month.
So instead of paying $37 for one class, you could be spending $37, but 30 classes a month. And in fact, if you get a six month membership, it’s way less than $37 a month as well.
So I’m not just discussing FitNest here, but online access means we now have access to hypnobirthing, midwife classes, childbirth preparation classes. These online programs have enabled a low cost for easy access to so many types of pregnancy and motherhood support.
Last year, for FitNest, it was all about providing safe workouts from the comfort of home during COVID lockdowns when women couldn’t leave the home, or they didn’t want to get COVID with a newborn baby or while they were pregnant. And moving forwards with economic uncertainty. FitNest Mama offers you that same ability to access quality support without breaking the bank, and from the comfort of your home.
So to wrap this up, moving into 2023, I encourage you to think about your household expenses, if you need to review them, And if you do need to cut costs, is there a way of doing so in a way where you can still get access to the support you need (and deserve).
Is there an alternative way to access the support you need?
There will always be a space and a role for in-person assessments and classes. But rather than cutting costs and not getting the support you need, which could have potential long term effects, are there alternative ways that you can access that same information at a lower price, without necessarily compromising on quality.
So with that said, this month, on the FitNest podcast, it’s all about preparing for birth. There is a great episode next week on Optimal baby positioning with a Melbourne midwife, so stay tuned.
And if you would like to come and join us inside FitNest Mama, so help set you up with cost effective quality workouts so that, when you are in your 60s, 70s and beyond, you can run around with your grandkids, go on those long hikes, then join us for a free 7 day trial inside FitNest Mama with quality physio-created workouts that are tailored to your stage of pregnancy and postpartum.
Head to www.fitnestmama.com for your free 7 day trial.
** This podcast has general information only. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health or medical condition.