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Help us to take the next step in our 'Stickmum' campaign...

Posted by Madeleine Speed, the Pelvic Partnership, June 2016

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Please take a look at our new Stickmum video (see below under 'the next step') and pass on the link to others. Together we can reach many more women and healthcare professionals to improve the care of women who have pregnancy-related Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP).

The Pelvic Partnership ‘Stickmum’ Campaign - the story so far
Our mission as a charity is to improve the care offered to women who have PGP and although the Pelvic Partnership has been providing information about PGP for over 14 years, we regularly receive evidence that confirms that this condition is still poorly understood in the UK. Without prompt diagnosis and suitable treatment, the symptoms of pain and immobility can be needlessly prolonged.

So, we found an ambitious and effective way to raise the profile of PGP. At the end of 2015, the Pelvic Partnership produced and distributed over 100,000 'Stickmum' leaflets to frontline healthcare professionals throughout the UK by including them in GP, midwifery and physiotherapy professional journals. A generous individual donation coupled with a Big Lottery Fund’s grant of £10,000, enabled the charity to launch the campaign.

The aim of the leaflet is to inform healthcare professionals and women with pregnancy related PGP about what PGP is and how it can be effectively and quickly treated with manual therapy (you can see and download the leaflet here). At a time when services are continuing to be reduced or cut, our objective is to provide a clear and accessible resource for healthcare professionals so more women with PGP are diagnosed quickly and offered effective manual therapy to treat their symptoms successfully.

We also asked visitors to our blog, like you, plus women with PGP, our members and friends of the charity to continue to spread the word about PGP by encouraging everyone to visit our website, to learn more about the campaign and to download a copy of the leaflet (you can see and download the leaflet here). In this way, increasing involvement in the campaign can help us all to pass on the good news about PGP and how it responds well to treatment through manual therapy. We have suggested that members of the public take a copy of this information leaflet to the healthcare professionals caring for them or to their local GP surgeries, midwifery units, and physiotherapy departments. In addition, healthcare professionals can pass on the leaflet to colleagues and trainees so that the leaflet is used as a resource to maximum benefit. 

Positive feedback since the Stickmum launch
Since the launch of this project, the Pelvic Partnership team has received a wealth of positive feedback and we are delighted that healthcare professionals have welcomed this initiative. Below are some examples:

‘I wanted to thank you for your article in Frontline. I am a MSK physio who had the fortunate experience during my junior rotations working with amazing physios who treat PGP with manual therapy. We had a service that would regularly see pregnant women and the results of specific manual therapy to the sacrum or pubic symphysis was very successful. Now, eight years later I have treated many, many women with PGP before and after pregnancy with very good results. In fact I have seen a lot of people who have PGP for years and when treated it immediately reduces implying that the pelvic girdle is the issue not "chronic pain" as they had been previously told.’

‘Thank you so much for sending me some of the Stickmum leaflets!! Such a great resource!! Even my husband (GP) has been exposed to them at work so you have hit the marketing right! Would love to provide them as routine at work.’

‘I received my Practicing Midwife magazine and was delighted to see your organisation's work to help pregnant women with PGP. I am a midwife with 34 years’ NHS service and it is definitely on the increase, never used to see so many women on crutches. Your article and booklet are extremely informative.’

Our Stickmum leaflet appeared in Dr Chan’s minor ailments forum on YouTube – ‘this video explains what pelvic girdle pain is, or SPD (symphysis pubis dysfunction) and its management in pregnant ladies. I have also included the information on a new charity called the Pelvic Partnership for the viewers to get more information on this conditions and for support: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LK7xtLvBdiY

‘Congratulations to the Pelvic Partnership for continuing to raise the profile of Pelvic Girdle Pain and the effective treatment thereof. Your website is a wealth of useful and sanity-saving information and advice for women struggling with this debilitating condition. Keep up the good work and we will continue to promote and support your cause.’

We have also continued to receive requests via our website and telephone helpline for Stickmum leaflets from healthcare professionals many of which also enquire about how they can learn the effective manual therapy techniques to treat PGP. This is the first time we have had so much interest from healthcare professionals as previously we have had funding mainly to enable us to reach out to and support women with PGP.

The next step
We want to capitalise on the success of the initiative by launching a campaign video on our website and also on YouTube. So here it is! The aim is to reach more healthcare professionals and women with PGP who access information regularly via video footage online. The campaign video features our likeable Stickmum characters again and the key messages from the leaflet and aims to appeal to anyone who appreciates the immediacy and simplicity of accessing video data via their laptop or computer.

Here is our NEW 'Stickmum' campaign video:



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How you can help us spread the word further...
Just as you have responded so well to our request to download and distribute our Stickmum leaflet, please can you view and pass on the link to this video?. Again, talk about the video and forward it to family, friends, your GP and other healthcare professionals (health visitors, midwives, physiotherapists) so you can help us all to spread the word about PGP and how it can be treated successfully through prompt diagnosis and treatment. Do let us know what you think about the video and pass on any comments and feedback to us. Thank you!

Are you getting what you want? Part 3: Realising your goals

Posted by Madeleine Speed, the Pelvic Partnership, April 2016

Exploring techniques and approaches that could help

In Part 2 of this blog (see below), the focus was on what questions to ask frontline healthcare professionals to get what you want and starting to frame questions that might prompt a positive response. In Part 3 we look at approaches and techniques that may help you to realise your goals concerning pelvic girdle pain (PGP) particularly if you are currently expecting a baby.

What will help me get the kind of birth I want?

The Pelvic Partnership believes that women have the right to make their own informed choices about how and where to have their babies and this is certainly a right that the NHS upholds. PGP symptoms can result in pain, limited mobility and difficulty opening your legs. There are ways to reduce pain and avoid putting further stress on painful pelvic joints. Although PGP does require careful management during labour and birth, this doesn't necessarily limit your options, they are just altered. There are lots of ideas for ways to give birth with PGP which you can discuss with your midwife. Having PGP should not prevent you from considering giving birth at home, in a midwife-led unit or a hospital - it should be about what feels right for you. It's worth discussing the options with your midwife before choosing so you know what is involved. Do make time to talk to friends, family and professionals as well as to research the options available to you. By being aware of your needs and the choices open to you, you are more likely to find a way forward that suits you best.

Birth PlansWriting a birth plan

A birth plan can be very useful in helping you to get the kind of birth you want. It can be helpful while planning what sort of birth you want, to pull together information about PGP (to avoid compromising your pelvis). It can then be used by those who are caring for you in labour and to guide your midwife and carers about your preferences. The birth plan can take any form and work best if they are easily read, specific and not too long (click here to see an example birth plan) . Discuss your ideas and options with the team looking after you so everyone is clear about them ahead of when you go into labour. For example, discuss any strong views on what you want or don't want whilst still maintaining some flexibility to adapt to the baby's needs as labour progresses (because births are sometimes unpredictable and don't always go to plan). Include details such as any pain relief you want, the extent of your 'pain free gap' (ie when opening your legs), whether you would prefer to give birth 'on all fours' or on your side, or have a water birth, whatever feels right for you. Include details about the help and support you will need after you have had your baby. If you are in hospital, you may need to ask for specific help with your mobility, feeding your baby, moving around the ward or feeding yourself. Get extra copies made so you can have one in your notes, one each for all key staff in the team and a few extras in case there is a change of staff.

If you don't feel you are being heard or supported

You and your midwife will both want the same goal: the safe birth of a healthy baby. However, if you find your midwife doesn't seem to be sympathetic to you needs or supports your birth choice, then you may want to call on the services of the Supervisor of Midwives (SoM). SoMs are there to ensure that care is safe and woman-centred. Their role is independent of the hospital in which they are employed with the aim of ensuring that midwives are following the Nursing and Midwifery Council rules and also following national guidance as well as making sure that care is centred around a woman’s individual choices. A SoM is on call for every maternity service 24/7, and is available both to you and to midwives. You can call her to help with discussions about birth options with PGP between you and your midwife at a very early stage or to come and help if you are having difficulties in getting heard when you actually go into labour.

Who can you turn to when things don't go to plan?

Sometimes, despite good birth planning and everyone's best intentions, emergencies arise and things don't go well. These situations can be very difficult for all involved and you may find you need extra help and support afterwards. There may be physical issues for you to manage or emotional or psychological factors and with all of these, it is possible to find specialist support groups and people who will listen and help you - both within the hospital or outside. Whatever has happened, you may need to speak to someone straight away if you felt you haven't been listened to or have not received the good care you were expecting.

Most hospitals have a counsellor on site so you can talk things through although you may have to wait for an appointment. You might also want to speak to The Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) which offers confidential advice, support and information on health-related matters including how to make a complaint. You may feel that you want to raise your concerns with the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for your area and also the Chief Executive of the hospital. It may be that through no-one's fault, you have had a traumatic birth experience and would welcome one of the team to go through the notes about the birth with you, to answer any questions. Most hospital have a Birth Afterthoughts Service (although it may have a different name) and you can get in touch to go over your hospital notes, to help you understand what happened and to assist you if you want to plan another pregnancy but are worried about how to cope with going through pregnancy and birth again. There is a wealth of organisations geared to help with coping if the birth did not go to plan (whether you had your baby at home, in a midwifery unit or in hospital); the Pelvic Partnership website includes a number which members have found particularly useful: www.pelvicpartnership.org.uk/links

PP committeeWhere to go from here?

There's no doubt that 'Getting what you want' can require a large amount of effort and time to find people, information and resources that can help you to assess, treat and manage your PGP, give birth and then progress towards a good recovery. However, once you have gathered the information you need to feel comfortable about who to see and what to ask them, you should feel more confident about getting what you want. Once you are well informed about your options, there really are approaches and techniques you can adopt to nudge you away from failures and towards greater opportunities for success.

The next step in achieving greater success with your PGP symptoms is to have a good look at the Pelvic Partnership website and to see the topics we have made available to help you. 

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Please note, the Pelvic Partnership consists of volunteers who have had Pelvic Girdle Pain and wish to support other women. We aim to pass on information based on research evidence where available. We are not medical professionals and cannot offer medical advice. The Pelvic Partnership takes no responsibility for any action you do or do not take as a result of reading this information.
 
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