During pregnancy as your tummy and breasts get bigger, stretch marks can make an unwelcome appearance. They can be red and sore as they start to stretch and it feels like there is nothing you can do about it.
The dermis is a layer of skin sandwiched between the epidermis and hypodermis.
When we look at the dermis under the microscope it looks like lots of small balloons crammed in next to each other. These are actually straight lines of white collagenous fibres which when overlayed in a certain pattern create a circular pattern – I guess rather than a balloon it might be more of a dodecahedron shape but you get the idea.
In a stretch mark, if we look at just one ‘balloon’, the tension placed on that balloon during pregnancy can alter its shape causing it to take on a less round and instead a more oval appearance. A stretched dermis cell is more like a popped balloon, appearing deflated and oval in shape. If that happens through a number of these cells they begin to appear as streaks on the skin.
So when we refer to stretch marks, we actually mean the cells in the dermis have been stressed beyond their capacity to restore themselves. The balloons are now like popped balloons So the circles in the dermis has gone beyond its capacity.
The jury is still out on whether you can make stretch marks go away. The redness can reduce but the dermis scaffolding has been shifted so the foundations just aren't the same anymore.
There is some interesting research coming through around using cold laser therapy. Cold laser technology inputs energy into specific cells to encourage them to activate and then to heal. The thinking being, if the fibroblasts are given the energy they will stimulate collagen production and impact the skin structure.
Now, we don’t make any promises and we certainly don’t aim to treat stretch marks - but we do treat people with stretch marks so if they’re a concern, we can talk about it and see if we can build that in to the work we’re doing with you.
Nothing can quite prepare you for what’s to come following an episiotomy or perineal tear. You may find yourself swollen or sore and there’s a chance you may find your wound becoming infected. As scar therapists, the wound healing process is of vital importance as it impacts the resulting scar which we want to be supple, stretchy and pliable.
You may feel your scar is pretty good but it’s worth an assessment since after menopause some women complain of painful intercourse as the declining oestrogen reduces the vaginal lubrication highlighting problems from long ago. It may seem ages away but scars take around 2 years to mature so a little input now can go a long way to preventing problems later.
Scar therapy is a group of manual therapy techniques to help support the remodelling of your scar. Scars take around 2 years to mature so there is plenty of time to work on them and there are lots of techniques you can apply at home to encourage flexibility, pliability and reduce tethering.
We use cold laser therapy in our clinical practice to support wound healing and tissue repair. Cold laser therapy is a form of light therapy harnessing the fact that different cells in your body respond to different sources of light. It’s already used extensively in healthcare...
It isn’t uncommon for episiotomies to become infected in which case cold laser therapy can support in the early days through having a bactericidal effect and stimulating tissue healing which can further encourage tissue repair.
Later, perineal scars may become thick, hard or tender. This may be uncomfortable during sexual intercourse; in some cases may even lead to a significant pain. Cold laser therapy and scar therapy offers a way of softening perineal scars, aiming to improve their elasticity and texture to help the scar tissue become more supple and stretchy.
The light is applied to the episiotomy wound giving those damaged cells energy to be able to actively heal. Depending on the cells which have been damaged will determine which wavelength of light is applied. For example, a wound which is infected will need different cells to be stimulated as opposed to a scar that has thickened.
In 1998 NASA needed their astronauts to be able to heal themselves in space should they cut themselves – they sent cold laser therapy devices. Today, hundreds of peer-reviewed research papers have been produced and the studies continue to grow.
Cold laser emits no heat, sound, or vibration and most importantly it is not painful making it one of the few treatment choices available to many women after having a baby. We may also use this treatment modality to support baby's after a tongue-tie division and with women who are experiencing nipple pain or mastitis.
What does a Mummy MOT when recovering from an episiotomy or perineal tear involve?
It all depends on how many weeks / months / years post-partum you are and what you’re experiencing. But here are some of the areas we might explore with you:
Please get in touch if you have any questions and we look forward to supporting you in your post-natal recovery.