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The Issue

Pelvic health physical therapy is a vital part of recovery in the postpartum period. It can aid in muscle control, tissue repair, and healing internal portions of cesarean section scars. However, many mothers lack access to and awareness of the benefits of pelvic health physical therapy. Even some health care providers may not understand the importance of pelvic health physical therapy in the postpartum period. This can lead to delays in, or even an absence of, proper postpartum care — which can have lifelong negative effects for mothers.

Why it Matters

Pelvic health physical therapists practicing in this field treat individuals across the gender spectrum and life span for pelvic health-related conditions. They are part of a collaborative care team aimed at empowering patients to be active participants in their care and well-being. However, lack of awareness of pelvic health physical therapy and its importance is hampering the ability of pelvic health physical therapists to provide —  and postpartum patients to receive — this vitally-needed care. Enactment of the Optimizing Postpartum Outcomes Act (H.R. 2480) would close this information gap, ensuring that postpartum individuals can access the care they need.

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Recommended Content

Position Paper: Optimizing Postpartum Outcomes Act

Mar 22, 2024 / Position Paper

Additional Pelvic Health Physical Therapy Content

APTA Pelvic Health: Physical Therapy Management of Functional Constipation in Adults: A 2021 Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guideline

Jul 1, 2022 / Article

This CPG describes the evidence for physical therapist interventions used in the conservative management of adults with functional constipation, a nonpathological bowel condition resulting in difficulty with defecation.

Pelvic Organ Prolapse-Urinary Incontinence Sexual Function Questionnaire (PISQ)


Measures three domains related to sexual functioning as well as an overall sexual function score.

Urogenital Distress Inventory (UDI)


Measures symptoms on three subscales.

3-Incontinence Questionnaire (3-IQ)


Self-administered brief questionnaire with purpose of differentiating between stress and urge urinary incontinence in women.

Pelvic Floor Distress Inventory (PFDI-20)


Measures pelvic floor disorders.

Incontinence Impact Questionnaire (IIQ)


Measures effect of symptoms on quality of life and participation.

Laycock Pelvic Floor Manual Muscle Test Scale


A 6 point Oxford scale (0=no contraction, 1=flicker, 2=weak, 3=moderate, 4=good (with lift), and 5=strong) used during internal examination to measure pelvic floor muscle strength in women. (4)

Geriatric Self Efficacy Index for Urinary Incontinence (GSE-UI)


Measures the confidence level of adults over the age of 65 in reducing or preventing urinary incontinence (UI).

Pelvic Organ Prolapse Quantification (POPQ or POP-Q)


The original POPQ uses nine points in the vaginal wall to determine level of prolapse, while the simplified POPQ uses only four.