By Darla Cathcart, PT, DPT, CLT, WCS
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Annual Clinical & Scientific Meeting was held this year in San Diego, CA on May 6-9, 2017. I had the pleasure of attending and representing the SOWH by presenting two presentations, “OB Physical Therapy” and “GYN Physical Therapy” to a variety of health professionals, including many physicians and nursing professionals.
During “OB Physical Therapy,” I shared with physicians about our specialization in caring for pregnant and postpartum clients. Common mussculoskeletal dysfunctions and their causes were discussed, along with how physical therapists could manage these clients. The presentation ended with review of a patient case.
The physical therapist’s role in managing bladder, bowel, and pelvic pain conditions was discussed during “GYN Physical Therapy.” An overview of the different types of pelvic muscle dysfunction were reviewed along with their typical signs and symptoms. Another physical therapy case provided a demonstration of how physical therapists can play a role in the health care team for these patients.
After each presentation, I was humbled and pleased to find that many in attendance had many questions and wanted to really understand what we do and how we can help. In particular, many wanted to know how they could find a women’s health physical therapist. Several physicians noted difficulty in locating a women’s health physical therapist near them, and and wanted to know how we can get more trained PT’s to work in this field.. I directed them to the SoWH’s PT Locator. As I helped some of the attendees pull up their region on their smartphone, it was noted that sometimes the closest PT was hundreds of miles away.
This highlighted two needs that I see:
- We need more physical therapists who are specializing in the pelvic and pregnancy populations! How can we get more PTs trained and mentored who want to work in this field? If you are a physical therapist or P.T. student reading this and wanting to join this rewarding career field, consider taking a CAPP-Pelvic Health or a CAPP-Pregnancy course! This under served population needs you!
- If you are already a women’s health physical therapist and an SoWH member, is your information up-to-date on the SOWH’s Physical Therapist (PT) Locator? If not, be sure to update your information! Other health care providers can use this centralized hub to find physical therapists specializing in various sub-components of women’s health who are also members of their professional organization.
It was a great experience to attend this ACOG meeting and learn about the physician and nursing side of caring for these women. I was inspired by the clear common thread that we women’s health PTs share with these OB/GYN health care providers: giving the best care to all women, all over the world. Local and global initiatives were shared with much gusto and passion. It gave me a good shot in the arm! I encourage other OB/GYN physical therapists to consider attending this meeting in the future.
Darla Cathcart, PT, DPT, CLT, WCS is fulfilling her lifelong passion for teaching as an instructor in the PT Program at University of Central Arkansas. She is pursuing a PhD in neurobiology to help research & find solutions for women with chronic pelvic pain. She loves her 7-year-old twin boys, Basset hound and Jack Russel, craft beer, good chocolate and good ice cream. She runs and lifts weights to balance out those last three.