Liz Blatchford’s daily routine is a little different to most new mums.
The feeding, cuddles and playing with one-year-old Mahli is balanced with a tough regimen of six-kilometre swims, five-hour bike rides and a long sessions at the gym.
Liz is a professional triathlete living and training on the Gold Coast. Almost a year after giving birth to Mahli, she made headlines for winning the first ever full-distance Ironman held in the Philippines.
But even for someone with her skill and commitment – Liz was training the day before Mahli was born – the journey back to peak fitness has been a long one.
“I had a Caesarean section birth, which meant there were six weeks where I couldn’t train,” she says. “When the time came around I definitely didn’t feel my normal self, I felt out of shape. But I just took it day by day, listened to my body and gradually built it up.”
As an athlete, health has always been a focus for Liz. She has an army of doctors and sports specialists to keep her in check. But the importance of staying across the details became clear when she was pregnant.
At the start of her career Liz had surgery to repair the blood supply to one of her legs. She’d forgotten all about it until her obstetrician asked her about her medical history on a routine visit. To find out if there were any risks to her pregnancy, she had to find details from nearly 15 years ago.
“That meant remembering the surgeon’s name, calling them and trying and figure out what happened. Being pregnant, I needed to know if there were any risks at this point,” Liz says.
All stored digitally
Liz got back into training within weeks of Mahli’s birth and returned to professional racing after five months. But she soon developed a pain in her back.
Her first MRI scan didn’t show anything so she struggled on for another month but the pain persisted. As she moved through a number of consultations with doctors, physios and sports specialists to get advice, she signed up to My Health Record to make it easier to manage the details. It also helped doctors find the source of the problem.
“One of the side effects of being pregnant and breastfeeding was that my bones had weakened a little. Combined with the intense training, I ended up having a stress fracture in my lower back,” Liz says.
“All of my records including MRIs were stored digitally. So the physio, the sports specialist and my GP could all confer and look at the results online.”
Taking the stress out of life
As her triathlete career moves back into full swing, Liz is taking her husband and daughter to the US. She’ll spend a month doing high-altitude training in Colorado before taking on the Ironman Race in Canada. She’s aiming to qualify for the World Ironman Championships in Hawaii in October.
It’s a big trip for mum and baby. To give her peace of mind, Liz is relying on My Health Record to ensure she has the details she needs at her fingertips
“My life is so busy with training, competing and travelling, my husband runs his own business and we have a one-year-old toddler,” she says. “Having all of our medical records in one place digitally just makes life so much easier and saves us so much time.”
Balancing life commitments can be difficult and Liz says motherhood has presented her with challenges she couldn’t have imagined before Mahli came along.
“The thing with being a mum is you’re presented with these challenges but you don’t have a choice – you just have to do it. You’re made stronger by it,” she says. “Mahli’s needs come first. Combining this with being an athlete often makes my days challenging. But it’s so rewarding as well.”