What is Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy?
Pelvic floor physical therapy (PT) is a specialized kind of therapy that supports healthy pelvic function. In some cases this can be strengthening muscles, and in other cases it can mean relaxing the muscles– and everything in between.
The pelvic floor includes all of the muscles that support the urinary and reproductive tracts. This includes the functioning of your bladder, bowels, vagina, and uterus. Check out these slides from Origin for Pelvic Floor 101.
Pelvic floor therapy can include a wide range of therapeutic techniques including internal and/or external therapy. Your therapist will do assessments that will help them determine a treatment plan for you. All birthing bodies have unique and different needs; thus, the work of a pelvic floor PT goes well beyond doing kegels, which plenty of people actually don’t need!
Who Needs Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy?
Quite frankly, in the United States, typical postpartum care is pretty sparse with one visit to your OB or midwife six weeks after birth. The pelvic floor is impacted by pregnancy and birth, and we believe that working with a pelvic floor therapist prenatally can support you in preparing for birth. Additionally, partnering with a PT postpartum can support healing and can help clients have a more thorough understanding of the impact their pregnancy and birth has had on their pelvic functioning. Learning exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor can help you avoid issues in the future as a result of normal aging, such as incontinence. .
Reasons to see a PT prenatally:
- Gain or maintain strength– core, back, and pelvis
- Increase flexibility– core, back, and pelvis
- Learn safer postures for daily living activities as you accommodate your changing body
- Learn exercises and movements that are safe and supportive of pregnancy
- Relief of back, hip, and/or pelvic pain
- Birth preparation– breathing, perineum stretching/support, positions
Reasons to see a PT postpartum:
- Pelvis dysfunction such as diastasis recti, incontinence and/or constipation, pain during sex, and prolapse.
- Learn exercises for reintegrating movement and exercise after birth
- Learn safer postures for daily living activities as you accommodate your healing body
- Relief of back, hip, or pelvic pain during feeding
- The Evidence on Prenatal Perineal Massage for Preventing Tears in Childbirth with Dr. Rebecca Dekker (podcast and transcript)
- Birth Preparation & Postpartum Planning for your pelvic floor– online class with LadyBird Physical Therapy. (Check out the other resources on their blog and IG too!)
- Origin– CA-based + virtual pelvic floor PT services in several US states + blog resources
- The Fourth Trimester: A Postpartum Guide to Healing Your Body, Balancing Your Emotions, and Restoring Your Vitality by Kimberly Ann Johnson (book)
Sweet Child O’ Mine Is Here For You
Your team of midwives is here to support you in navigating your pregnancy, birth, and postpartum journey. Check out all of our services here. We would be honored to be part of your team!