If you are a physical therapist that has a passion pertaining to pelvic health & obstetrics, you will be pleased to know that you may now specialize in obstetrics or pelvic health physical therapy. These are identified as “CAPP-Pelvic” and “CAPP-OB”, respectively. In this guide, we will outline details pertaining to each of these career paths.
What is Required for a Specialization in Pelvic Health & Obstetrics Physical Therapy?
To specialize in pelvic health & obstetrics physical therapy, you must be a licensed physical therapist that completes a comprehensive series of courses designated by the Case Reflection Committee by CAPP.
You will be required to complete both written and clinical-based testing at each level of the coursework and provide a final written case report at completion. This will be reviewed by the CAPP Committee. Once you pass these requirements, the following will occur:
- You will receive a Certificate of Achievement
- You will be featured in a designated directory for the distinguished with the APTA Pelvic Health Academy
What Are the Eligibility Requirements to Get the CAPP-Pelvic Designation?
To obtain the CAPP-Pelvic designation, you will first be a licensed physical therapist. You will then be required to complete the outlined coursework directly through the Academy of Pelvic Health Physical Therapy. This must be done within a 5-year period. In addition to this, you will be required to:
- Pass a 3-level educational track provided by the Academy
- Pass scenario tests provided at the end of each course
- Pass a multiple-choice Post-Course Examination after each course with a minimum score of 80%
What is the Required Coursework for the CAPP-Pelvic Physical Therapy Program?
The following outlines the required coursework for the CAPP-Pelvic Physical Therapy Program:
- Pelvic Health Physical Therapy 1
- Pelvic Health Physical Therapy 2 – Bowel Dysfunction
- Pelvic Health Physical Therapy 2 – Pelvic Pain
Additionally, you must take one of the following courses:
- Pelvic Health Physical Therapy 3
- Pelvic Health Physical Therapy 3 – Pediatric Health
- Pelvic Health Physical Therapy 3 – Neurologic Conditions
- Pelvic Health Physical Therapy 3 – Male Health
You will be required to take both webinar courses and the lab courses that are “in-person” if you take a hybrid-based format education.
What is the Required Coursework for the CAPP-OB Physical Therapy Program?
To obtain the CAPP-OB designation, you will first be a licensed physical therapist. You will then be required to complete the outlined coursework directly through the Academy of Pelvic Health Physical Therapy. This must be done within a 5-year period. In addition to this, you will be required to:
- Take and pass all 3 levels of the track on Pregnancy and Postpartum Physical Therapy
- Pass CAPP Scenario Tests given at the end of each of the courses that you take
- Pass the multiple-choice Post-Course Examination at the end of each course that you take with a minimum score of 80%
The following outlines the required coursework for the CAPP-OB Physical Therapy Program:
- Fundamental Topics of Pregnancy & Postpartum Physical Therapy
- Advanced Topics of Pregnancy & Postpartum Physical Therapy
- Intrapartum Topics of Obstetric Physical Therapy
Note: All of the above-outlined courses include both a lecture and a lab requirement.
Additionally, you will be required to pass a Case Reflection that you complete within one year of the final OB course that you finish.
Are There Any Application Fees for the CAPP-Pelvic and CAPP-OB Courses and/or Certification?
Yes, there are administrative processing fees for the CAPP-Pelvic and CAPP-OB courses and/or certification. If you are a member of the APTA, the cost will be $125 USD. If you are not a member of the APTA, the cost will be $175 USD.
You must contact the Academy directly to establish the costs associated with the courses, labs, lectures, and/or tests required to obtain your certification in CAPP-Pelvic or CAPP-OB.
What is Pelvic Physical Therapy?
Pelvic physical therapy is a type of treatment that is utilized to directly address various types of dysfunctions that occur within the muscles of the pelvic floor. In most instances, this is provided to women; however, men may obtain pelvic physical therapy, too. The prescribed treatment will depend upon the various symptoms being experienced by the patient. For example:
- If a patient is experiencing issues with the management of their bladder or nearby components of the body, they may be prescribed treatments that aid in the strengthening of the muscles in the pelvic floor.
- If a patient is suffering from muscle cramps and tightening, they may be prescribed a treatment that places an emphasis on lengthening the muscles and relaxing the muscles.
What is Pregnancy Physical Therapy?
Pregnancy physical therapy is a type of treatment that is designed to assist with the management of symptoms that are experienced during pregnancy.
Additionally, the exercises prescribed during the treatment have been found to aid in the process of labor and delivery. Many mothers that have physical therapy done during pregnancy aid in the process of recovering postpartum.
How Do PTs Conduct a Pelvic Floor Exam?
As a pelvic floor physical therapist, you will be required to conduct examinations. In these exams, you will likely do all or some of the following:
- Evaluate Movement Patterns of the Patient
- Check Posture
- Test Range of Motion
- Determine Level of Flexibility
- Test Strength
- Evaluate the Reflexes
- Pelvic Examination
- Have Patient Contract Muscles in Pelvic Floor
- Test Pelvic Floor Strength
It should be noted that – with females – a gloved finger or two may be inserted into the vagina. This is not a uterus or cervix test, and no speculum is utilized. It is a test that is simply done to test pelvic strength, resting muscle tone, and the general integrity of the area. In short, only the muscle is being tested and no other components of the vagina.
Does Pelvic Floor PT Cause Pain in Patients?
No, pelvic floor physical therapy is typically not painful. Once the exercises are done and the pelvic floor becomes stronger, the entire body benefits. It benefits in that it helps build the strength of the muscles in the area, improves the functionality of the area, and helps the patient feel better all the way around.
If a patient is experiencing a severe issue, there could be a chance that pelvic floor PT may result in some degree of pain. Over time, this should improve.
How Long Does Each Patient Need Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy?
Each patient that receives pelvic floor physical therapy will receive a customized care plan. In most instances, patients will be advised to have the sessions at least once or twice a week. This may go on for a month, three months, six months, or longer. It all depends on the patient, the issues in which they suffer, and their general level of health. No two patients are alike. Each patient will require specific exercises tailored to their needs and will be given a time estimate on how long the treatment is advised.
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