“The pelvic floor is one of the most important elements to birthing beautifully, but many birth workers and health care providers do not appreciate just how integral it is to the birthing experience” says Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist Ibbie Afolabi
Pelvic Floor Therapy is somewhat of a new element in supporting birthing people and those in the postpartum period. However, the knowledge of its importance is gaining traction in the birth world.
So, what is the pelvic floor and why does it need therapy? Think of the pelvic floor like a hammock in your pelvis. It is a group of muscles that stretch from the front of the pelvis to the tailbone, or coccyx. It holds up the bladder, bowel and uterus. In most female and some intersex bodies there are 3 passages, or holes. Those are for the urethra, vagina and anus. They are held firmly by the pelvic floor muscles. If the pelvic floor muscles are too tight or too loose, this can cause damage or trauma to the area during delivery, this can cause more extensive tearing or prolapse after a vaginal delivery. A pelvic floor therapist will work with you during pregnancy on exercises and muscle focus to help bladder leakage, relieve pelvic pain and discomfort, and help prepare you with breathing and positions for labour. This usually involves an internal exam.
The postpartum person also benefits from pelvic floor physiotherapy. If there was a cesarean, a PFT can aid in internal scar healing. Ibbie says on a website biography “We treat incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, constipation, pelvic pain, sexual pain and dysfunction, abdominal/gut issues, diastasis rectus abdominis, pregnancy related conditions, and much more.”
With all this information, if you are pregnant or just had a baby, it may be worth looking into pelvic floor therapy. It is covered under most Health Care insurance plans. If you are a doula, I highly recommend you network for pelvic floor therapists in your area, go meet them, learn about what they do and add them to your resource list for clients. Who knows, maybe they will start referring clients to you as well!
Ibbie Afolabi can be found teaching courses and supporting people throughout Ontario, including with Doula Canada. You can find here on these websites: