In the realm of women's health, there are few individuals as passionate and dedicated as Dr. Marcy Crouch. A Board Certified Pelvic Floor therapist, she possesses a deep understanding of the challenges women face during pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period. As a mother of two remarkable boys, Dr. Crouch has personally experienced the transformative journey of motherhood, which further fueled her desire to make a difference in the lives of women everywhere.
Driven by a vision to bridge the gap in maternal health and pelvic floor therapy, Dr. Crouch embarked on an entrepreneurial endeavor that has since become a beacon of hope for countless women. Recognizing the need for comprehensive support throughout the birthing process, from preparation to recovery, she set out to create a program tailored to women's unique needs.
Jezebal had the privilege of sitting down with Dr. Marcy Crouch to delve into her inspiring journey as an entrepreneur, mother, and advocate for women's rights. Throughout the interview, Dr. Crouch shares the profound insights she has gained from her personal experiences, her unwavering commitment to serving others, and her relentless pursuit of empowering women in their journey through motherhood.
How did you get started as a pelvic floor therapist?
Well, to be honest I had no life experiences in the motherhood/pregnancy space when I first learned about pelvic floor and birth injury. I had just started grad school, was newly married, and we were not ready to have kids yet, nor were any of my friends having kids yet so I really wasn’t exposed to this side of things.
My introduction to women’s health PT came in the form of an anatomy lesson, my first year/first semester of grad school, and the professor giving the lecture used the example of someone who sustained a very significant vaginal tear during birth, and continued to have pain and dysfunction following the birth. Now, being in PT school and working in orthopedics for years prior to PT school, I had seen how “general” injuries and surgeries can affect someone’s function, but I had NO idea that this happens during birth.
I didn’t even know at that time, that there were muscles down there! I was shook, my jaw dropped to the floor and the more I learned about it and the more research I did, it became clear that there are MILLIONS of women suffering from pelvic floor muscle trauma. Millions. Millions of women suffering from muscle trauma and injury, that could potentially be prevented, AND treated easily after the fact. And I could not just stand by and say “huh. Well that’s awful” and move on with my life.
I couldn’t comprehend, as physical therapists, that we focus our entire careers on helping people prevent injury, recover from it, and come back stronger so they can live their lives, yet mothers are excluded from that, even though it’s technically a muscle injury or surgery.
I didn’t have children yet, but I did know what it felt like to be left out, to try and find your identity in a new life phase, to fight for your place at the table, and I could empathize with these women who were just left alone trying to figure out how to be a mom, survive, AND live with lifelong issues from birth.
So from that point on, I decided that to me, as a woman, as a doctor of PT, I wanted to use my training to focus on this population. This may sound harsh, but a sprained ankle is not more important than a vaginal tear extending into the anus that causes years of pain, leaking stool, bowel dysfunction, loss of work, contributions to PPD and PPA, and impacts personal and intimate relationships. Yet, a sprained ankle is taken care of 200% more comprehensively than a mother with a 3rd or 4th degree vaginal tear
Tell us about the DownThereDoc and what inspired you to create it?
The main genesis behind The DownThere Doc was to solve 2 major problems that women and mothers/birthing persons face today: 1) accessibly to this care, and 2) to fill the gap in maternal care, especially focusing on prevention of birth injury and the early recovery phase.
I have had the opportunity to work in many different states, settings, and owned my own practice and the common problem that I saw and heard day in and day out over 13 years was that women didn’t know what REALLY happens to their bodies during birth, they felt blindsighted and overwhelmed, and had difficulty finding a solid pelvic floor Physical Therapist in their area. In the clinic, I am limited by geography (although women would fly in and travel to see me) and time (there are only so many hours in a day). I lost so many of my patients, who were still suffering, after their maternity leave or just because life got in the way. The answer can’t be all or nothing, so I knew that what I was doing in the clinic could be modified to the online space to reach more women, and solve the problem of accessibility, time, cost, and lack of truthful and honest information.
The Down There Doc is an online platform that focuses on pelvic floor muscle injury, prevention through proper birth training and prep, early and immediate recovery strategies, and postpartum rehabilitation. We offer online programs with the intent of preventing birth trauma and pelvic floor issues so recovery is easier, less painful, and more dignified. This allows women to enter into births with confidence and empowerment, rather than fear and the common experience of not knowing what the hell is happening. We are helping women not become lost or forgotten once the baby arrives, so they are strong, healthy, and whole. We do it thorough our online community, access to experts, online education, and virtual wellness sessions.
Our goal is to make what we offer STANDARD of care for everyone that is pregnant and postpartum, because it’s affordable, successful, and safe.
What is a common misconception about pelvic floor therapy?
That it is just kegels, which is so far from the truth. Pelvic floor therapy is about prevention, education, rehabilitation, functional movement, empowerment, and successful programs that restore a woman’s worth and self confidence. It is so powerful.
If there was one thing you could change about maternal health care, what would it be?
This is 100% necessary for every birthing person, prior to having a baby, and after having a baby, regardless of symptoms. It should be considered standard of care during prenatal care, as well as postpartum care in the 4th trimester (and beyond). France, for example, provides “perineal rehab” as standard of care to women who have had babies, in their home, and they have less reports of leaking, pain, prolapse, and less surgical rates, along with improved healing and quality of life. My goal is that pelvic floor PT, birth education and treatment that incorporates prevention of muscle injury and trauma, and postpartum rehab is STANDARD for everone, and that there is a pelvic floor PT on the antenatal floor of every hospital, ensuring women are safe to go home, have tools and resources for healing, walking, and safe, gentle exercises to promote early recovery.
I want every, single woman to have access to this, for it to be as common as starbucks, and as routine as your prenatal appointments.
What has being a mother taught you most?
Being a mother has taught me that I can heal myself and old wounds through my children, and that I can be who I need them to be when I am centered and balanced. I started putting my needs first, both physically and mentally, and that changed the way I show up for my kids and my family.
Anything else you want to add? Where can we find you?
We are on IG, TikTok, YouTube and Lemon8, all under @thedowntheredoc. Our website is www.thedowntheredoc.com, and www.marcycrouch.com. We provide free webinars weekly, which women can sign up for on our website, along with other free resources, blogs, newsletters, and tons of birth, postpartum, and pelvic floor education and goodies.
Photography by: Courtesy of Dr. Marcy Crouch