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Why Do You Need to See a Pelvic Floor Therapist?

Updated: May 15

Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist Jennifer Loos with Postpartum Doula Monica Davis
Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist Jennifer Loos with Postpartum Doula Monica Davis

It’s a marvel how a woman’s body can grow a new little human. But ask any pregnant woman or new mom and she will tell you the process comes with some unwelcome changes to her own body. Is there anything you can do to lessen or repair the damage? In many cases, yes! Have you heard of pelvic floor therapy? Maybe you’ve heard of Kegel exercises. These exercises were developed by Dr. Arnold Kegel in the 1940s as a nonsurgical treatment for incontinence. The exercise really gained popularity through the 80s and 90s. But there is way more to pelvic floor therapy than just doing Kegels.

I recently had the opportunity to talk with Jennifer Loos DPT, owner of Worthy of Wellness Physical Therapy in Glastonbury, CT. She says “I’m a physical therapist, so I still treat the whole body. But I have extra special training specifically related to the pelvis and the pelvic floor.” We talked about the importance of pelvic floor therapy, and she answered some questions many moms have about receiving this kind of care.

holding pelvic bone model

What is the Pelvic Floor?

The pelvic floor is a group of muscles and tissue located in the pelvis. There are three layers of tissue.

“There are so many functions to it,” says Jennifer, “but we are not really aware of it on a daily basis.” The pelvic floor holds our pee, poop, and gas in, allowing us to maintain our continence. It also creates support from underneath to hold up the extra weight of a growing baby.

What might indicate a Pelvic Floor issue?

There are several things that someone might allude to that might indicate a pelvic floor issue.

  • Peeing when you’re coughing, sneezing, or laughing We’ve all seen the memes and TikToks poking fun at this unfortunate reality. “Everyone kinda normalizes that, and is like- ‘Oh, I had a couple of kids, I’ll just pee myself the rest [of my life], you know, that’s just where I’m at,” says Jennifer. But she emphasizes that this is not normal. “We can certainly have an effect of the pelvic floor and the core as a whole so you don’t have to pee yourself.”

  • Leaking urine, stool, or gas If you find you can’t quite make it to the bathroom on time, it could also be an indication of a weakness in your pelvic floor.

  • Painful sex Painful sex can happen as a result of pregnancy or during the postpartum state. “Super common, but not normal,” Jennifer states.

  • Age “As we age, we end up having these hormonal shifts and things which certainly affect this pelvic and vulvar region. Again, super common, but not normal,” Jennifer says. Even if you had your last baby years ago, you can benefit from pelvic floor therapy.

When should you see a Pelvic Floor therapist?

It’s never too late! “I always say ‘Better late than never,’” says Jennifer. “They are muscles, so we have the capacity to create a change.” Obviously, the earlier you begin therapy, the better, but even if you have struggled with issues for some time, you can still find relief. “I love seeing people during their pregnancy,” says Jennifer. If the pregnancy is uncomplicated, you can see a pelvic floor therapist around the middle to end of the pregnancy. “If they want to learn what they can do to carry themselves through the rest of their pregnancy, how to labor, how to breathe during labor, we talk about pelvic floor mobility there.” A pelvic floor therapist will also help with the transition from pregnancy to birth, and postpartum care.

How long should I see a Pelvic Floor therapist?

The length of treatment will depend on the conditions or issues you are dealing with. If you have had issues for many years, you may have more work to do in order to resolve them. However, other issues may only take one session. “You tap into your system, you learn, you learn how to connect and then off you go. So sometimes it doesn’t have to be that complicated,” Jennifer says.

What should I expect during an appointment?

All sessions are private because of the intimate nature of what you will be talking about. Jennifer says, “I

love being able to ask moms, you know, ‘how are you doing?’ when I see them. ‘How’s your sleep, how

are you feeling, do you need that extra support?” What about baby? Should you bring them along or leave them at home? According to Jennifer “it’s totally comfort, whatever you are comfortable with.”

So, What about Kegels?

together holding pelvic model

I asked Jennifer what she thinks about Kegels. This is what she had to say: “Kegel in my mind means an up, so

that’s going to be tightening or like lifting, and so if we’re only doing that part of it, sometimes we’re going to run into some trouble because we are looking for full mobility of the tissue. Not just this steady state of drawing up and holding. We want to be able to relax this tissue so that it’s ready for you when you need it. So, always up and up and up, that can create a whole set of problems, all by itself. Just remembering to have both ends of the spectrum of mobility, being able to contract, but also being able to release and relax the tissue.”

Are you interested in learning more about pelvic floor therapy?

Check out the full interview here.

to find out what kind of treatment is right for you.

Contact me to find out how a postpartum doula can accompany you with your baby to your therapy appointment.

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