Physiotherapy’s Role in Maternity Care

CSP members have contributed to a new educational guide that highlights the vital role physiotherapists and other allied health professionals (AHPs) play in maternity care.

Health Education England (HEE) published the guidance, titled Allied Health Professionals and psychologists in the maternity care pathway, to raise awareness and understanding about the roles of the wider healthcare workforce involved in the maternity pathway.

It provides details about the input of physiotherapists and other AHPs during the pre-conception period, the antenatal stages and the post-natal care of mothers and their babies.

CSP staff and members of the professional network Pelvic, Obstetric and Gynecological Physiotherapy (POGP) submitted evidence to the new guide, to provide profession-specific insight into the multidisciplinary planning, development and delivery of maternity services.

Katie Mann, chair of POGP, told Frontline: ‘We were delighted to be part of this document which showcases the wider role of the specialist physiotherapist in the maternity pathway.

‘Current awareness of the role of physiotherapy in obstetrics is limited but this document demonstrates how physiotherapists play an important part of the whole maternity cycle from pre-conception, through the antenatal period, preparation for birth and through to the post-natal and beyond.

‘This document will help clinicians when they are planning or developing services to guide commissioners and managers. POGP patient information leaflets are also referenced in the document and are a useful aid to physiotherapists, as they are peer reviewed and evidenced based.’

An influencing tool that supports the NHS Long Term Plan

Shan Aguilar-Stone, CSP professional adviser for workforce development, also contributed evidence to the guide.

She told Frontline: ‘This guidance will be of interest to CSP members when they are seeking to influence commissioners and workforce planners as it highlights the essential role of physiotherapists across the maternity pathway, and includes examples of good practice.

‘It also supports recommendations within the NHS Long Term Plan, which call for improved access to postnatal physiotherapy as part of a maternity multidisciplinary team.

The NHS Long Term Plan acknowledges thatphysiotherapy is the most cost-effective intervention for preventing and treating mild to moderate incontinence and prolapse.’

As a result, earlier this year CSP and POGP produced a briefing on the NHS Long Term Plan and pelvic health rehabilitation