It’s no secret that the body changes during pregnancy and postpartum. But just because some of the changes (such as peeing your pants or having back pain) are extremely common, it doesn’t mean they should be accepted as your new normal. Most moms have heard about pelvic floor therapy, but not many actually know what it entails, how it can help, or if they even need it. So, let’s break it down.

What is pelvic floor therapy?

Pelvic floor therapy is a specialized kind of physical therapy that specifically treats pain, injury, and dysfunction relating to your pelvic region. Your pelvic floor consists of muscles and connective tissues that are the bottom of your pelvis and are considered the base of your core. Your pelvic floor supports the pelvic organs (bowel, bladder, and uterus) and plays an important role with bowel and bladder function.

When you start pelvic floor therapy, your therapist will perform an evaluation of your low back, abdomen, hips, and pelvic floor so they can create an individualized plan to address whatever issues you are experiencing. This evaluation typically includes both an external and internal examination, which helps your therapist to fully assess your pelvic floor function. Treatments include a combination of manual therapy techniques and exercises that will improve your strength, mobility, and movement patterns so that you can get back to doing the things you love without worry.

Who can benefit from pelvic floor therapy?

Anyone who is experiencing urinary leakage, urinary urgency, pelvic or abdominal pain, painful intercourse, pelvic organ prolapse, diastasis recti, back pain, hip pain, or tailbone pain can benefit from pelvic floor therapy.

Pelvic floor therapy is appropriate postpartum regardless of whether you had a vaginal or cesarean birth. It can also be extremely helpful for women who want to return to their normal exercise routine safely postpartum. Because of the changes that occur during pregnancy throughout the abdomen and pelvis, pelvic floor therapy is extremely important to make sure you don’t get injured while trying to get back to your regular activities (including being able to run after your kids or jump without peeing your pants or having pain).

Where do I go for pelvic floor therapy?

Since pelvic floor therapy is a specialized field, not all physical therapy clinics offer it. In the Boston area, Flowstate Physiotherapy is a great option for pelvic floor therapy because they are a mobile clinic — which means they come to your home. This way you are comfortable and you don’t have to waste time driving to the clinic and sitting in a waiting room.

When should I start?

If you are experiencing any symptoms listed above, you should start pelvic floor therapy. You can even start therapy while you are still pregnant. At different times during pregnancy/postpartum, what you do during therapy will look different, and any restrictions or precautions prescribed by your doctor will be followed.

If you are looking to check in with a pelvic floor therapist to get back to normal activity or exercise safely postpartum but are not currently experiencing any issues, it is recommended to start after your six-week postpartum checkup. However, even if it’s been years since you’ve given birth, you can still benefit from pelvic floor therapy if you are having symptoms… it’s never too late!

Nyssa Midden, PT, DPT, OCS, is a doctor of physical therapy who specializes in orthopedics, pelvic floor therapy, and running-related injuries. She is the owner of Flowstate Physiotherapy, a mobile physical therapy practice serving the greater Boston area. She is based in Somerville, MA, and is passionate about improving women’s healthcare. Contact Flowstate Physiotherapy via their website, or follow Dr. Nyssa on Instagram!