Recommended Podcasts and Books

Recommended Podcasts:

Bits of MeA podcast about women’s bodies, all the things we should know about them, and all the stories behind them.

At Your CervixAt your cervix is a podcast dedicated to pelvic health issues such as incontinence, pelvic pain or sexual dysfunction affecting both men and women. Shrouded in stigma, these issues are often poorly understood and considered embarrassing or taboo resulting in a delay accessing help. Gráinne Donnelly and Emma Brockwell are two pelvic health physiotherapists on a mission to myth bust, empower and educate the public, health and fitness professionals about pelvic health. Join as they converse honestly and authentically with a variety of interesting guests on the taboo topics others don’t discuss.

Why Mums Don’t JumpHonest chat about incontinence, prolapse and pelvic pain. Not a trampoline in sight. Helen Ledwick meets other mums who are struggling with pelvic floor dysfunction and hears from the health professionals who live and breathe pelvic floors.

Recommended Books:

The Day My Vagina Broke by Stephanie Thompson 

The Day My Vagina Broke tells the story of Stephanie Thompson’s journey to motherhood, and of medical professionals who dismissed her fears and concerns. The author writes openly about her traumatic birth, and the ongoing physical, emotional and physiological impacts of her injuries. But it is also a story of hope, courage and heart that explores ways to adjust and live with a new reality, and to finally find a way to begin to heal. It’s essential reading for all mothers and the professionals charged with caring for them.

Why Did No One Tell Me? by Emma Brockwell

For too long, women have been told that debilitating conditions following pregnancy are normal, to be expected, and something to just put up with. Emma Brockwell is on a mission to change this. Having been through two difficult pregnancies herself, Emma combines her expertise as a specialist women’s health physiotherapist with personal experience to create a warm, honest, informative and essential handbook to help pregnant women and new mums take control and care for their changing bodies. Find out how to:
-Protect your pelvic floor
-Heal effectively from birth – both vaginal deliveries and caesarean sections
-Tackle common – and TREATABLE – post-birth problems
-Exercise safely after birth
Every woman has the right to be informed and this empowering guide gives you all the tools you need to look after your amazing body throughout motherhood.

PMSL: Or How I Literally Pissed Myself Laughing and Survived the Last Taboo to Tell the Tale by Luce Brett

When Luce Brett became incontinent at the age of 30, after the birth of her first son, she felt her life had ended. She also felt scared, upset, embarrassed and shocked. How the hell had she ended up there, the youngest woman in the waiting room at the incontinence clinic?

Luce Brett is a writer and health advocate who lives in the UK. She started writing about women’s health, bodies and taboo after the birth of her second baby. Like many women born in an analogue age her sex and body education was a combined effort – she learned about her nether regions from magazines, other peoples’ big sisters and Tampax leaflets. This meant she wasn’t brilliantly prepared for the realities of childbirth.
Passionate about feminism, healthcare, and smashing the stigma around women’s bodies she has spoken about her condition, and also the wider impact of taboo in women’s healthcare, and become a respected spokesperson on the issue of incontinence that affects around 1 in 3 women in the UK. Part memoir, part best friend, part stigma smashing call to action PMSL is her first book.

After Birth: What Nobody Tells You – How to Recover Body and Mind by Jessica Hatcher-Moore

While there is a wealth of advice for new mums on caring for their babies the same is not true for postpartum health. Fulfilling this vital need, After Birth is the ultimate postnatal primer for women facing changes to their bodies after having a baby. Addressing issues great and small – from hair loss and stretch marks, to bladder and bowel leaks, painful sex, diastasis recti and mental health – researcher and writer Jessica Hatcher-Moore brings together straight-talking advice on preparation for childbirth, healing, and recovery in the weeks, months and even years that follow. She also offers insights for partners, whose role is often overlooked at this critical time. Blending knowledge from the full spectrum of modern and traditional therapies with honest experiences from mothers, here is balanced advice with no agenda. Taking a broad look at what we can do for ourselves at home, and also when to seek expert help, After Birth will reassure, inform and empower women to reclaim their post-birth bodies.

Your Pelvic Floor by Kim Vopni

This is the first pelvic floor health book aimed at ALL women, including trans women, outlining the importance of understanding your pelvic floor and how it impacts on overall health, fitness and wellbeing for life – not just around pregnancy and childbirth. This book outlines symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction, and shows you how to fix them.

  • What is pelvic organ prolapse which 50% of women will experience and can it be prevented?
  • Urinary incontinence is treatable with physio. Women on average suffer symptoms for 7 years before going to a healthcare professional which has a huge effect on mental health.
  • Pelvic floor issues are often only talked about in relation to pregnancy and childbirth. This is not just a ”mum issue”: high impact exercise (running, HIIT, CrossFit) affect the pelvic floor. Young athletes/gymnasts who have never had children are highly likely to suffer from incontinence.

Women should not accept dysfunction as a ”normal part of being a woman”, but instead need to prioritize their pelvic floor health – this book shows that it is never too early and, crucially, never too late to do so.

Birth Shock: How to recover from birth trauma – why ‘at least you’ve got a healthy baby’ isn’t enough by Mia Scotland

Perhaps you had a difficult birth. Hopefully, you have a healthy baby. That, after all, is the most important thing. Or is it? So why are you struggling to move on? Why do you keep thinking about the birth or replaying it in your mind? Why do you feel guilty when other people say ‘at least you have a healthy baby’? In Birth Shock, perinatal clinical psychologist Mia Scotland explains clearly what can be harmful about birth, how birth trauma can affect mothers, fathers and health professionals, and why it seems to be on the rise.

If you are suffering from the effects of a difficult birth, even if the birth doesn’t sound bad to others, then this book is for you. Perhaps the birth was really bad and your baby isn’t okay. Perhaps you are a partner who feels traumatised, or you are a midwife or a doctor. In these pages you will find:

  • a clear, concise, psychological explanation of what birth trauma actually is
  • discussion of what causes birth trauma
  • clear tips and advice on how to put yourself on the path to recovery

Birth Shock draws on what we know about trauma, PTSD and the nature of birth and maternity systems to show how you can take steps toward letting go of any guilt, self-blame or confusion that you may be feeling.

Heal Pelvic Pain: A Proven Stretching, Strengthening, and Nutrition Program for Relieving Pain, Incontinence, I.B.S, and Other Symptoms Without Surgery by Amy Stein

If you suffer from an agonizing and emotionally stressful pelvic floor disorder, including pelvic pain, irritable bowel syndrome, endometriosis, prostatitis, incontinence, or discomfort during sex, urination, or bowel movements, it’s time to alleviate your symptoms and start healing–without drugs or surgery. Natural cures, in the form of exercise, nutrition, massage, and self-care therapy, focus on the underlying cause of your pain, heal your condition, and stop your pain forever.

This book gets to the root of your disorder with:

  • A stretching, muscle-strengthening, and massage program you can do at home
  • Guidelines on foods that will ease your discomfort
  • Suggestions for stress- and pain-reducing home spa treatments
  • Exercises for building core strength and enhancing sexual pleasure

The stats speak for themselves.
More women are affected and need support…

85%

of women with severe birth injury said it impacted on their relationship with their child

78%

were affected by traumatic memories of the birth

52%

stated they were embarrassed by the symptoms of their injury

49%

of women affected said they doubted their ability to mother

45%

suffered postnatal depression as a result of their injury

24%

of women affected regretted having a child because of the injuries sustained