Women’s Health Physical Therapy And Its Role In Postpartum Recovery

by Oct 2, 2019

Understand what women’s health physical therapy, also known as a pelvic floor physical therapy, is all about and how you may benefit from treatment during your postpartum recovery.

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.


Some women experience various side effects after giving birth that require the attention of a physical therapist during postpartum recovery. It would be a shame if you had a particular symptom that you thought would go away on its own. You didn’t know that it could be treated, and you definitely didn’t know that it can be treated rather quickly under the care of a physical therapist. Understanding and knowing what a women’s health physical therapist is and what their role is for postpartum women can help give you more clarity as to whether or not you should seek an evaluation for your symptoms related to pregnancy and childbirth.

Especially if this is your first baby, it’s easy to get caught up in the day to day caretaking of your newborn. That’s a priority right now. But you also have these very uncomfortable symptoms that are just lingering, and you’re not sure where to get help. 

If you know that your symptoms originated from pregnancy or childbirth, then you definitely would benefit from seeing a physical therapist who specializes in pregnancy and postpartum therapy. These physical therapists are called Women’s Health Physical Therapists (also known as Pelvic Floor Physical Therapists).

What Do Women’s Health Physical Therapists Do?


They are the same as regular physical therapists; however, they specialize in pregnant and postpartum related conditions.  Women’s health care providers can screen for, identify, and treat pelvic floor dysfunction, plus more. These physical therapists may have special credentials and advanced training related to this type of clientele.

What Are The Top Reasons To See A Women’s Health Physical Therapist


There are a wide array of reasons why postpartum women seek a physical therapist for treatment. Back pain, pelvic or vaginal pain, diastasis recti, incontinence and pelvic floor weakness are among the most popular reasons to see a postpartum physical therapist.

Let’s have a better understanding of each of these conditions.


1. Back Pain related to Pregnancy and Childbirth

Having back pain during pregnancy is very common due to the added weight and strain from your pregnant belly. The ligaments in your back are lax from the hormonal changes during pregnancy, and, therefore, injury is common in pregnant women. 

Even during postpartum, back pain can linger; the ligaments and muscles are already strained and have not had time to recover properly. 

Also, it’s common for injuries to occur during childbirth itself. The increased strain on the back from all the pushing and the constant contractions that last hours upon hours are definitely a recipe for back pain postpartum.

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    2. Pelvic Pain


    Pelvic pain is very common after giving birth due to the passage of your baby through the birth canal and the pressure your baby puts on your pelvic bone. Sometimes a women’s pelvic bone can be fractured and bruised. Other times, a woman’s pelvis may be overly stretched where the connective tissue between the right and left side of the pelvis becomes strained.

    3. Diastasis Recti

    Diastasis Recti is very common and occurs in 33-60% of pregnant and postpartum women.

    Diastasis recti is very common in pregnant and postpartum women because of the stretching that occurs in the abdominal wall as your baby continues to grow.. Because of this stretching from the uterus growing, both the right and the left abdominal muscles separate and the connective tissue between them stretches to the point where your abdomen is no longer functioning properly.

    4. Incontinence

    Incontinence occurs when urine leaks due to pressure that is placed on the bladder. This is not normal. Our pelvic floor muscles should be strong enough to withstand the everyday pressures on our bladder muscles. So if you get the slightest drip of wetness on your panties when you weren’t obviously intending to, then you have incontinence.

    5. Pelvic Floor Weakness and Prolapse


    Having weakness after pregnancy and childbirth is a common problem. The muscles have had constant pressure and straining for 9 months. After almost completing the 9 month marathon, those pelvic floor muscles are required to finish strong at the finish line, childbirth! It’s no wonder so many women suffer from pelvic floor weakness during postpartum. Vaginal prolapse is when the vagina stretches or expands to protrude or bulge on other organs and structures. You can read more about this here

    Find A Women’s Health Physical Therapist Near You


    Depending on your insurance, your treatment can be covered as a specialty visit through your insurance. Check your insurance card to see what your insurance plan is for specialists and call the number on the back to ask about women’s physical therapy in your area and what your insurance plan covers. You can also click here to find a women’s health physical therapist near you.

    If you have any questions regarding Women’s Physical Therapy and whether or not you would benefit from it, comment below or contact me privately on my contacts page.

    If you have had experience receiving care from a women’s health physical therapist during your postpartum recovery (or even during pregnancy), please share you experience and how it has helped you.

    At the bottom of this page, you can find a women’s health of pelvic floor physical therapist near you. Visit womenshealthapta.org for more information.


    Keep Smiling,

    Dr. Jena Bradley, DPT

    This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

    **It is important to always consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program and get medical clearance. Always warm up thoroughly and stretch after all workouts. LiveCoreStrong.com and Jena Bradley will be not be responsible or liable for any injury sustained while exercising at home, gym or elsewhere. Perform exercises at your own risk.

    About Dr. Jena Bradley

    About Dr. Jena Bradley

    Jena is a mom of 4 darling little girls, a physical therapist and founder of Live Core Strong, a blog focusing on motivating moms to live a life that incorporates fitness and fun throughout their motherhood journey.  She aims to be the friend you always wanted to have who could guide you through the “fog” when faced with an “I don’t know what to do” mommy moment. At the most inconvenient time of her life, she embarked on a journey of sharing her story and expertise to inspire the next generation of healthy moms. You can learn more about Jena by visitng her ABOUT page. 

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    Hi there, friend! I’m Jena, a mom of 4 and a Physical Therapist with a passion to motivate moms! I want to inspire you to be your best self by sharing my experiences and trusted advice on motherhood, health and fitness.

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