Date of Completion

Spring 5-1-2022

Thesis Advisor(s)

Molly E. Waring

Honors Major

Exercise Science


Epidemiology | Exercise Science | Maternal and Child Health | Public Health Education and Promotion


Objective: To analyze the content of public Instagram posts and describe the discussion of pelvic floor disorders (PFDs) and pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT)/pelvic floor physical therapy (PFPT) in pregnancy. Methods: Public Instagram accounts based in the U.S. with posts within the past 7 days focused on pregnancy were included. We analyzed English posts related to pelvic floor health, PFDs or PFMT. We categorized accounts by user type, health-related expertise, business endorsement, and influencer status. We categorized posts by content (informative, recommendation, sharing experience, meme, advertisement), context (informative, preventive, interventive), and terminology (scientific, lay). We used chi-squared tests to compare scientific terminology use and PFMT/PFPT recommendation presence by user type and health-related expertise. Results: 156 posts from 21 Instagram accounts were included. Most users presented as companies (43%), provided a link to a business (95%), claimed licensed health-related expertise (43%), and were meso-influencers (72%). Most posts were in an informative (45%) or interventive (41%) context, and included information (81%), an advertisement (48%) and/or a recommendation (47%). Fifty-two percent of posts with a recommendation endorsed PFMT/PFPT. Most posts used lay terminology (40%) or scientific and lay terminology (36%). Use of scientific terminology differed by health-related expertise (p=0.0014) but not user type (p=0.1489). Recommendations for PFMT/PFPT did not differ by user type (p=0.0654) or health-related expertise (p=0.1277). Conclusions: Public health policy should target preventive information and resources for PFMT towards pregnant persons on social media. Future research is needed to evaluate quality of pelvic floor health information and recommendations during pregnancy.