I am a Fitness and Nutrition Coach, not a pelvic floor physical therapist (PFPT), yet I have been writing about PFPT for the past few weeks. So, what does one have to do with the other? First I just want to note, I am a Fitness and Nutrition Coach who has studied pelvic health, pregnancy, and postpartum in relation to movement and exercise extensively. If you go to a pelvic floor PT, do you need a Pregnancy and Postpartum Athleticism Coach (PPA Coach) TOO? In my final part 4 of my pelvic floor series I’ll be answering these questions, and how what I do is different from, and in addition to, what a PFPT does and when it may be necessary. If you have missed parts 1-3 of the pelvic floor series you can read about them here (pelvic floor 101), here (your pelvic floor: what you need to watch for), and here (what to expect at a pelvic floor PT appointment).

So, What’s the Difference?

A PFPT will assess you and come up with a treatment plan for you based on what they find. A coach does not, and will not, prevent, diagnose, fix, heal, or treat you (and if they say they do, I recommend finding another coach). In an ideal world, I work in collaboration with your PFPT. I will take their assessment and plan of treatment information to help you apply it to, and navigate, your movement/fitness of choice. 

Whether you are a runner, involved in a competitive sport, weightlifter, crossfitter, kettlebell slinger, bootcamp/stroller class goer, or Olympic lifter, the chances are that your PFPT is not an expert in fitness or in that field. They may not even know what a snatch or muscle-up is. They may not be able to coach you through your movements of choice while being mindful of your pelvic floor/symptoms. A coach, however; can bridge the gap between adhering to your treatment plan from your PFPT as well as managing any symptoms you may have and getting back into the fitness/movement you love! So, do you NEED a coach like myself in addition to a PFPT? The answer is: it depends. If you have specific sport/movement/fitness goals then I would say yes it’s a good idea. 

What if I Don’t Have Any Symptoms? What if I am just Pregnant or Postpartum?

That’s great you are not experiencing any symptoms! Working with a coach like myself through pregnancy can help you navigate this chapter keeping not only your baby’s health and well being in mind but YOUR health, pelvic health, and well being in mind while continuing to do the exercise/movement you love. We can help you know what, when, and how to modify, and learn different strategies to help manage pressure among lots more.

When it comes to getting back into movement and exercise postpartum, I know that it is enticing once you get the all clear from your 6 week check up to go and do all. the. things. That is what I did (and realllyyy don’t recommend it). Even without any pelvic symptoms, a coach like myself is invaluable to help you navigate getting back to your exercise/movement of choice while being mindful of your healing body and pelvic floor, along with the many other changes motherhood can bring. Many times as my clients have told me, after working with me postpartum they have a stronger foundation to build on then they ever had before.

How Do I Find a {Good} Coach?

Just like any profession, not all coaches are created equal. Not every pre-postnatal certification is created equal nor is every coach despite what certifications they may have. Here are a few recommendations on hiring a coach:

  • Ask for their credentials and don’t be afraid to research those credentials.
    • Do they have one-weekend certification? How long have they been doing this? Are they certified through a nationally recognized body? What is the overall messaging of the company they are certified through?
    • Some pre-postnatal certifications that I would recommend are Pregnancy and Postpartum Athleticism Coaches Course, Girls Gone Strong Pre-Postnatal Certification, and Jessie Mundell’s Postnatal Fitness Specialist 
      • (Full disclosure: I hold the first two certifications. I do not hold Jessie Mundell’s however I follow her closely, agree with her messaging and theory as far as I know it, and also have many colleagues with her certification that highly recommend it). 
  • Check out their social media.
    • Check out their Instagram and Facebook profiles to get a feel for them both professionally and personally. What kinds of information are they posting? Is it a messaging that speaks to you, and your values? Does their messaging make you feel GOOD and EMPOWERED, or are they bringing out fear or doubts to get you to buy something?
  • Ask them what they have to offer.
    • Do you they offer a generalized, one size fits all program? Do they offer a program with 1:1 support? Do they teach you different strategies for managing pressure and symptoms or not? Be wary of a program that only gives exercises and doesn’t teach you specifically HOW to do them. It’s not all about WHAT you can or cannot do, its about HOW you do those movements that will determine whether or not they are right for you. 
  • Ask to set up a quick call
    • Are they willing to jump on the phone with you? If not, and they want you to buy their program first, I would be wary. Seeing if you both are a good fit to work together is important. If you will be working closely with this person, you want to get a feel for them and their personality – and if you are a good fit. If they unwilling to take the time to do that? I would say find someone else. I offer a free 15 min consult for this very reason. It’s an opportunity for me to get to know you and your situation better, determine if I can help you, and see if we are a good fit. If any of those things are not in alignment, I will refer you to someone else I believe can help you.

Where Can I Locate a Coach?

Follow me on social media for more: Facebook, and Instagram.

I am available to work with you remotely online or in person in Rhode Island and parts of Massachusetts. For more information about me and how I can help you through this chapter, please schedule a FREE 15-minute chat here, contact me directly at kerri@gracefitnessandnutrition or visit  Grace Fitness and Nutrition.

Stay strong, stay beautiful!

Coach Kerri




[I am a fitness professional that specializes in pregnancy, postpartum, and the pelvic floor. But, I am not a medical professional and am not providing medical advice. I am providing basic information and can help direct you to a pelvic floor medical professional in your area if you need one.]