External Pelvic Health Therapy for Pregnancy and Postpartum

by Julia Mitchell, PT and Liz Frey, PT

Online Course

Includes all course content in digital format

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FMT External Pelvic Health Therapy for Pregnancy and PostPartum is a course designed for health and medical practitioners who are interested in learning more about assessing and treating women throughout the pregnancy and postpartum period. External pelvic health therapy addresses common issues affecting the pelvis, pelvic floor and supporting core musculature without using an internal exam. Topics covered include subjective screening and external objective assessments for baseline fitness and readiness for activity, specific screening and treatment strategies for pregnancy and postpartum related conditions (such as pelvic girdle pain, pregnancy incontinence, etc.) and exercise prescription for this population.

Functional Movement Training (FMT) courses are taught by industry leading experts in movement assessment, performance and rehabilitation. CEUs may be offered for DC, ATC, PT, LMTs, LAc, OTs and personal trainers. If your profession & state is unavailable, we do not currently offer CEUs – however, we are continually adding additional licenses.

This course is 6 hours in length and a 30 Question multiple choice quiz will be required after completing the course to receive your CEU certificate. A 70% test score is required to pass and receive CEUs. The quiz can be open book and unlimited attempts on the quiz are allowed.

Available Course Credits

Arizona State Board of Physcial Thearpy 1.00
Colorado Division of Professions and Occupations 6.00
Connecticut Department of Public Health 6.00
Delaware Division of Professional Regulation 1.00
Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development 1.00
Georgia State Professional Licensing 1.00
Idaho Division of Occupational and Professional Licenses 1.00
Indiana Physical Therapy Board 1.00
Iowa Bureau of Professional Licensure 6.00
Kentucky Board of Physical Therapy 1.00
Maine Board of Physical Therapy 6.00
Massachusetts Board of Allied Health Professionals 6.00
Michigan Board of Physical Therapy 1.00
Minnesota Board of Physical Therapy 6.00
Mississippi State Board of Physical Therapy 1.00
Missouri Division of Professional Registration 1.00
Montana Department of Labor and Industry 1.00
North Carolina Board of Physical Therapy Examiners 1.00
North Dakota Board of Physical Therapy 1.00
Oregon Board of Physical Therapy 6.00
Pennsylvania State Board of Physical Therapy 1.00
Physical Therapy Governing Board New Hampshire 6.00
South Carolina Board of Physical Therapy 1.00
South Dakota Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners 6.00
State of Alabama Board of Physical Therapy 6.00
State of Hawaii DCCA-PVL 1.00
State of Rhode Island Department of Health 1.00
Tennessee Board of Physical Therapy 1.00
Utah Physical Therapy Licensing Board 6.00
Virginia Board of Physical Therapy 1.00
Washington State Board of Physical Therapy 6.00
Wyoming Board of Physical Therapy 6.00

Learning Objectives

Module 1 - Where to Begin

By the end of the module, the participant will be able to:

  1. Define the anatomy and function of the Core 4 musculature
  2. Discuss the role of the Core 4 in breathing mechanics
  3. Explain how the Core 4 plays an important role in pressure management, posture and force transmission
  4. Define and discuss how the Core 4 and breathing are challenged throughout early pregnancy
  5. Discuss common myths and recent evidence supporting exercise during pregnancy 6. Apply subjective and objective early pregnancy screens for: breathing, Core 4 function, posture, peripheral mobility and abdominal integrity in early pregnancy

Module 2 - Assessing and Treating Pain and Dysfunction Throughout Pregnancy

By the end of the module, the attendee will be able to:

  1. Describe anatomy changes typical during the second and third trimesters
  2. Describe common issues that develop during pregnancy, including: breathing pattern dysfunction, diastasis rectus, thoracic pain, sciatica, pelvic girdle pain, piriformis syndrome, pelvic organ prolapse (POP), pregnancy incontinence (urge and stress)
  3. Apply appropriate subjective screens and objective assessments for the above issues
  4. Choose appropriate treatment strategies for the above issues, including: education for the patient, manual therapy appropriate for the stage of pregnancy, safe exercise prescription, the use of support devices and kinesiology tape, recommendations for activity modification 
  5. Determine when it is appropriate to refer out to other healthcare specialists

Module 3 - Delivery Prep and 1st 6 Weeks Postpartum Care

By the end of the module, the attendee will be able to:

  1. Employ safe techniques to prepare the abdominals, pelvic floor and breathing patterns for delivery
  2. Discuss the role of the nurse, midwife and OB during the labour and delivery process 
  3. Develop a subjective and objective post-delivery screening process for identifying typical postpartum issues (such as DR, urinary incontinence, scar mobility etc.) for vaginal vs C/section deliveries
  4. Modify and progress activity levels safely during the 1st 6 weeks postpartum

Module 4 - Return to Activity for the Athlete

At the end of the module, the attendee will be able to:

  1. Describe considerations and goals for returning to activity
  2. Choose appropriate support devices such as abdominal binders, pelvic girdle belts and kinesiology tape to help patient’s mobility and stability as indicated
  3. Describe and apply the basics of a progressive loaded exercise/activity program
  4. Confidently select appropriate exercises for various conditions that present postpartum
  5. Modify exercises and activities according to presenting signs and symptoms 

Course Content

External Pelvic Health for Pregnancy and PostPartum

Julia Mitchell, PT


Julia Mitchell, PT is am established physiotherapist specializing in providing individualized, one on one client care. She is committed to helping clients take an active approach to their wellness, while incorporating a collaborative, team based approach. Julia has a special interest in assessment and treatment of runners, both short and long distance. She is currently developing an online external pelvic floor assessment and rehabilitation program for women throughout pregnancy and postpartum - aimed at physiotherapists and related healthcare professionals. One of her passions is helping mamas return to running in their 4th trimester of pregnancy.

Module 1

Hour One

  • Introduction of course creators/presenters.
  • Module learning objectives.
  • Description of external pelvic health therapy.
  • Research demonstrating why this type of education is needed.
  • Introduction to the anatomy and function of the Core 4 muscles and how they work with breathing mechanics, pressure management, posture and force transmission. 
  • Respiratory pump description.
  • Discussion of how the Core 4 and breathing mechanics are challenged early in pregnancy. 
  •  Discussion of common myths surrounding exercise and pregnancy. 
  • Review of recent research and guidelines supporting exercise during pregnancy. Joint SOGC/CSEP Clinical Practice Guidelines Nov 2018
  • Relative precautions and absolute contraindications to exercise in pregnancy.
  • SOGC/CSEP definition of recommended ‘moderate intensity’ exercise.
  • Review of exercise goals during pregnancy.
  • Subjective screen for current pelvic health issues.
  • Subjective screen for baseline fitness and exercise readiness in early pregnancy.
  • Objective assessments for posture, peripheral mobility, breathing strategy, abdominal integrity and pelvic floor awareness.
  • Exercises that are appropriate for early pregnancy.
  • Review of module one and preview of module two.

Module 2 – Assessing and Treating Pain and Dysfunction Throughout Pregnancy (2nd and 3rd Trimesters)

Hour Two

  • Module learning objectives. 
  • Identification of Core 4 and breathing functional changes typical during the second and third trimesters.
  • Introduction of common pregnancy-related conditions typical during the second and third trimesters, including breathing pattern dysfunction, diastasis recti, pregnancy incontinence, sciatica, pelvic girdle pain, pelvic organ prolapse, low back pain and 
  • piriformis syndrome.
  • Subjective screening questions for common pregnancy-related conditions.
  • Objective tests and corrective strategies for condition specific issues.
  • Review of optimal treatment strategies when managing common pregnancy related issues.
  • Exercises which are recommended to discontinue in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters.
  • Exercises appropriate to begin or continue in the second trimester.
  • Review of module 2.
  • Preview of module 3.

Module 3 – Delivery Prep and 1st Six Weeks Postpartum Care

Hour Three

  • Module learning objectives.
  • Review of Core 4 changes during delivery – vaginal and C/section
  • Teach techniques and strategies to prep the body for delivery, breathing control, visualisation, hip mobility, birth positions.
  • The role of the OB or midwife during delivery – pain management, pushing instruction.

Hour Four

  • Define and set goals for the 4th trimester.
  • Discussion of typical issues that can arise. 
  • Subjective screen for vaginal delivery and C/section.
  • Objective assessments for typical postpartum issues, including breathing pattern, DR, scar mobility and healing, pelvic girdle pain and urinary incontinence. 
  • Recommended activity levels for the 4th trimester.
  • Activities and exercises introduced for the first 6 weeks postpartum.
  • Review of module 3.
  • Preview of module 4.

Module 4 – Return to activity for the athlete.

Hour Five

  • Module learning objectives.
  • Review of considerations for returning to activity.
  • Return to activity screen.
  • Goals for returning to activity – progressive tissue loading, maintaining correct pressure management of Core 4 during increased demand, pain and symptom management as necessary, improve cardiovascular status.
  • Introduction of abdominal binders, pelvic support belts and kinesiology tape for symptom management options.
  • Application options for support devices, pros and cons of each.

Hour Six

  • Steps for regressing and progressing exercises.
  • Examples of how to regress or progress a squat, running and yoga positions according to the presenting signs and symptoms. 
  • Explanation of exercise appendix.
  • Review of Module 4. 


  • Copies of subjective screens presented throughout the course.
  • Exercises for pregnancy and postpartum, with videos of regressions and progression suggestions for each. 

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