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Can A Physical Therapist Help Me in Labor & Delivery Preparation?

birth columbus dr. emma labor and delivery pelvic floor physical therapy postpartum pregnancy Jun 09, 2023

In all major transitions in life we plan, we are intentional and we prepare. When it comes to labor and delivery, I believe we should also be intentional in our preparation. I am not talking about setting up the nursery or gathering all the tangible objects. I am talking about preparing birthing parents and their birth partners mentally and physically. By taking a proactive role in labor and delivery, I believe we can improve the birth experience, protect the mind and body, and protect the pelvic floor. 

There are approximately 4 million births in the US each year. ⅓ -¼ birth givers report pelvic floor muscle dysfunction within the first year of delivery and beyond. 

My question is… what would happen to that number if we took the time to educate birthing parents on how to protect their bodies during labor and delivery? 


What are three ways a pelvic health therapist can support you?


1. Education on labor and delivery

A pelvic health therapist is able to educate and prepare you for what to expect and can teach you HOW to listen to your body. They can educate you on the mechanics of birth and can help teach you movement strategies to assist with pain management and the progression of labor. 

2. Prepare your body and baby

During labor and delivery our baby is very mobile as well as our pelvis. During the birth the baby is navigating bony structures, ligaments, and muscles. We want to make sure the joints, ligaments and muscles that guide the baby through the pelvis are supporting and not hindering progression. A pelvic health therapist can give you the education and tools you need to prepare and balance your body for the laboring process. 

3. Training and preparation of the pelvic floor muscles 

The pelvic floor muscles are the last door the baby has to travel through before entering the world. The pelvic muscles help guide the baby through the birth canal and help to rotate the baby into the optimal position for pushing. We want the pelvic floor muscles to be balanced, supple and ready. During a vaginal delivery the pelvic floor muscles stretch close to four times their original length. Pelvic health therapists can assess the tone of the pelvic floor muscles and ligaments to make sure they are balanced and released. If there is tension or an inability to lengthen, this may be one reason the second stage of labor is “stalled.” 

Check out this blog on perineal tear prevention for a few tips you can try at home to prepare your pelvic floor. 

Understanding your body and what you are experiencing can only help you feel more empowered and prepared. Everyone's goals and experiences are unique and their preparation for labor and delivery should be individualized. As a pelvic health therapist, I have the ability to tailor your treatments to exactly what you need.  If you are in Columbus and are interested in birth preparation, click the link below to schedule an appointment or request a 15-minute discovery session to see if we are the right fit for you!



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Thanks for reading,

Dr. Emma

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