Manchester Mum who felt like 'insides were falling out' opens up conversation about post baby health

  • Report by Jennifer Buck, ITV News Granada Reports

A Mum of two from Manchester who says she felt like 'her insides were falling out' is calling on other women to ask for help and talk about their health problems.

Helen Ledwick started a podcast after having her second child that answers the question "Why Mums Don't Jump"

Helen suffered a pelvic organ prolapse after the birth of her second child Credit: ITV News

Helen suffered a pelvic organ prolapse, but says while many women are in the same situation few were getting the help they needed or talking openly about the issues.

She said, "I really struggled to find information or support that would help me to live the life I wanted to live or be who I wanted to be like this active running jumping mum who could chase my kids around on the beach or carry them up the road.

"I found myself afraid of movement because that was the advice at the time: don't lift, don't run, don't jump."

A pelvic organ prolapse is described as "when one or more of the organs in the pelvis slip down from their normal position."

While a prolapse is not life-threatening it can cause pain and discomfort with symptoms including incontinence and a feeling of heaviness or dragging.

Health experts believe that around half of the women who have a baby will suffer a prolapse on some level. It can also effect women later in life through the menopause or after constant heavy lifting.

Helen says that a chance meeting with another women who had suffered a prolapse made her realise how important it is to talk about the issues, not in an embarrassed or ashamed way, but in a matter of fact medical way.

She said that when she started the podcast, "People were saying oh I didn't know we could talk about this stuff.

"But it turns out we can and if we do then we can know a bit more about our own bodies, we can advocate for ourselve.

Maybe we don't have to out up with some discomfort or embarrassing symptoms and just make a difference so that the next generation treat this as an injury or any other medical condition."

As part of her search for treatment Helen was referred to a pelvic health physiotherpaist who helped manage her symptoms and improve her quality of life, but many women wait years for the correct diagnosis and treatment.

Katie Syrett, a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist in Manchester said, "Some studies say that the average time for someone to go and get help is about 12 years which is mind blowing really.

"I would hope that that is getting faster as time goes and with talking about this topic more and women are seeking out help"

Treatments depend on the severity of the prolapse, but pelvic floor exercises are normally the starting point.

Katie said, "It is important to lose some of the taboos and share experiences so we can push forward the idea that most of the symptoms can be improved.

"There is never a time where we would say you have to learn to live with it. The aim is that women can be active to the level they want to be."

The podcast is in its fourth series and has been downloaded tens of thousands of time by listeners from Australia to America and across the UK.

Helen has now written a book of the same name after being asked to take the taboo topics to a different audience.

She describes it as an “honest chat about incontinence, prolapse and pelvic pain."