Mrs Melissa Jane Davidson

MPhil Melb., DipPhysio AIT, BSc Auck., DipManipulation (Canadian Physiotherapy Association), PGCertPhysio (Pelvic Floor) Melb., PGCertPhysio (Acupuncture) Otago

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Doctoral Candidate - Doctor of Philosophy


Melissa qualified in New Zealand as a physiotherapist in 1990. Since then she has worked in various physiotherapy positions both in NZ and overseas, including private practice and hospitals. She owns a private practice in Queenstown and completed her MPhil (a pelvic floor research masters) in 2014.  She enjoys spending her spare time with her husband, children and their black Labrador, cooking, gardening, fitness activities and being a member of the Red Cross National Disaster Relief Team.

Research | Current


Investigation of the change in pelvic floor muscle stiffness during pregnancy: Developing a risk prediction tool for delivery outcomes

Research intent: Investigating the effect of pregnancy on the in-vivo tissue properties of the pelvic floor, and correlating these findings with delivery outcomes.

This will provide information about:

  1. the evolution of PFM changes that occurs during pregnancy and post-delivery;
  2. whether these changes can be related to the risk of birth injury and enhance the predictive capability of a numerical ‘risk score’ and;
  3. whether the quantitative measures of PFM stiffness and strength can be correlated to typical clinical subjective measures such as digital palpation.

This project forms a component of a larger long term study of pelvic floor mechanics, involving both experimental and modelling approaches.


Research group

Pelvic Floor


Committees/Professional groups/Services


Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Davidson, M. J., Bryant, A. L., Bower, W. F., & Frawley, H. C. (2017). Myotonometry Reliably Measures Muscle Stiffness in the Thenar and Perineal Muscles. Physiotherapy Canada. Physiotherapie Canada, 69 (2), 104-112. 10.3138/ptc.2015-85
  • Ferreira, C. H. J., Dwyer, P. L., Davidson, M., De Souza, A., Ugarte, J. A., & Frawley, H. C. (2015). Does pelvic floor muscle training improve female sexual function? A systematic review. International urogynecology journal, 26 (12), 1735-1750. 10.1007/s00192-015-2749-y
  • Davidson, M., Bryant, A., & Frawley, H. (2014). PERINEAL MUSCLE STIFFNESS IN WOMEN WITH AND WITHOUT VULVODYNIA: RELIABILITY OF MEASUREMENT AND DIFFERENCES IN MUSCLE STIFFNESS. Paper presented at 44th Annual Meeting of the International-Continence-Society (ICS), Rio de Janeiro, BRAZIL. 20 October - 24 October 2014. NEUROUROLOGY AND URODYNAMICS. (pp. 2).

Contact details

Alternative contact

Mob: 027 4142 258

Primary office location

Level 1 , Room 139
New Zealand

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