Practitioner Profile | Rachel Natoli

"I am grateful that I get to connect with so many strong and resiliant women of all different ages and cultures - all on their own health and wellbeing journey."

What drew you to do this work?

For as long as I can remember, I have had on my heart a desire to inform, inspire and empower women on their health and wellbeing journey. The last three years of my practice have been dedicated to obtaining a Master's of Women's Health Medicine... and can I say, they have been the most empowering and fulfilling years in clinical practice.

After the last 2.5 years of lockdowns and limited access to pre/postpartum services, I feel even more inspired and encouraged to be a source of support for women during their prenatal years.

What do you enjoy the most about your work?

I am honoured to know that for many expectant mothers, I am usually one of the first people they get to share their exciting news with - that is pretty awesome! I am grateful that I get to connect with so many strong and resiliant women of all different ages and cultures - all on their own health and wellbeing journey.

What is the most memorable thing you can tell someone about your job?

It's the text messages + emails from new mothers sharing photos of their beautiful new bubs. I feel blessed to be a small part of their journey into motherhood! I love that I get to be a support to new and expectant mothers during such a vital time - when they are looking after their new bubs, I love that I am able to look after them!

It's extra special when you get be apart of their journey... for the second or even third time round!

Based on your area of expertise, what can you share with our followers around postpartum care?

1. See a women's health osteopath/ physiotherapist for a postpartum biomechanical assessment, (ideally within the first month postpartum) as physical and hormonal changes persist after birth. Your practitioner can help your body adapt to these changes and may also be able to advise on breastfeeding ergonomics, stretches and pelvic floor exercises etc.

2. Prioritise your rehabilitation. I can appreciate that there are not enough hours in the day to do it all, especially with a new bub. Your 'rehab' doesn't need to be a rigid structure, however ensuring you are stretching, releasing, activating and engaging vital muscles (think pelvic floor, glutes, abdominals, upper body etc) is essential so that you can be the best (and pain free) version of yourself! Your time allocated for 'rehab' is likely limited, so invest in someone who knows what you need, and will be able to formulate a individualised program for you!

3. Don't be frightened by the terms abdominal separation. It's common during pregnancy and in early postpartum. Seek guidance from your trusted women's health osteopath/ physio who will be able to guide you through an individualised program to address these concerns.

4. I strongly believe all women should seek to learn more about their pelvic floor (and not just after they have had a baby!) Book an assessment with your trusted women's health physio/ osteopath to conduct a pelvic floor examination. Understanding the cues that work for you or whether you have a weak or overactive pelvic floor is essential for you becoming more proactive in your recovery.

5. Returning to running is not just a matter of getting the 'all clear' at your 6 week pelvic floor check up. There are so many more elements that go into being able to efficiently run (core stability, glute endurance, single leg balance, middle back mobility etc) - so find a women's health osteopath/ physiotherapist to guide you through their journey.

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