New Series: Provider of the Month!
“Who do you recommend?”
If you have asked me this question, you are not alone! If you have never asked me this question, but are still curious, welcome!
Working in the women’s health world, I get asked about everyone from midwives to therapists, so I decided to blog about some of the great people here in Cincinnati, Ohio. This series will help you get to know local providers that are here to help you find ways to thrive through your motherhood journey. If you find it helpful, feel free to share with a friend!
Featuring a Pelvic Health PT.... What is that?
Our first provider is a pelvic health physical therapist (PT). What is that? Great question! As a PT myself, my personal definition is someone who specifically helps people experiencing pelvic pain, pressure, or difficulty going to the bathroom that interferes with their life. Additionally, some PTs have training in obstetrics, so that they have specific training to help moms during pregnancy, birth and postpartum with issues like neck and back pain, breastfeeding pain, postural changes, changes to the abdominal muscles, how to use movement to facilitate birth, and modifying and returning to exercise.
Julie Brehm is not just any Pelvic Health PT...
Now that you know generally what a pelvic health PT is, let’s meet the first provider, Julie Brehm, my personal pelvic health physical therapist and doula. I have had the pleasure of knowing Julie for over 3 years now! When I moved to Cincinnati, I was in search of a pelvic floor PT and a doula. I shared an office at work with pelvic floor PTs, so I wanted to establish care with a pelvic floor PT who could help me prepare for birth, recover from birth, and prevent complications if possible. Oh, how innocent I was back then. My intentions were good, though naive. I am still so glad that I found Julie to help guide me on my physical journey into motherhood as both my physical therapist and doula. We will save my birth stories for another day and jump right into how Julie helps support mommas like you on their physical journey through pregnancy, birth and beyond!
Side note: you may see a few names associated with pelvic health PTs like pelvic floor PT, women’s health PT, obstetric PT. Stay tuned for when I cover the differences in a future blog post. For today, see how Julie describes her role below.
Welcome Julie Brehm, MPT, BCB-PMD, CLD! Tell us about the types of services you provide to moms.
I am currently working with moms as a pelvic health physical therapist. I see moms who are currently pregnant, in the postpartum phase as well as moms who had their children decades ago! I also work with moms as a certified labor doula, so I am helping them prepare for their birth and supporting parents during birth.
What are the most common reasons that moms come to see you?
I see moms who experience diastasis recti (separation of the abdominal muscles the commonly occurs during pregnancy), low back pain, pelvic girdle pain (pain the front or back part of the pelvis), pubic symphysis dysfunction, coccygodynia (pain in the tailbone), urinary urge incontinence, stress urinary incontinence, bowel incontinence, birth preparation, C-section rehabilitation, unresolved hip pain, dyspareunia (pain with intercourse), and pelvic organ prolapse.
Can you share about your training and experience working with pregnant and postpartum moms?
I have been working in pelvic health physical therapy for nearly 20 years! I was very blessed to train with an experienced PT in Knoxville, TN shortly after graduating PT school. Learning is very important to me and I have completed several advanced education courses, including:
- Certificate of Achievement Pelvic Health Physical Therapy- Obstetrics and Certificate of Achievement Pelvic Health Physical Therapy-Pelvic Health through the American Physical Therapy Association in Pelvic Health
- Board certified in biofeedback for pelvic muscle dysfunction through Biofeedback Certification International Alliance (BCIA)
- Certified Labor Doula with the Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association (CAPPA)
- A plethora of Continuing Education courses through Herman and Wallace and the American Physical Therapy Association, as well as the International Urogynecological Association
- Professional member of Evidence Based Birth
I am honored to serve the Cincinnati community in working with moms who are pregnant and postpartum. I have treated many thousands of moms who are pregnant and postpartum over my career! I am very passionate about learning and providing outstanding care to moms.
Why do you choose to work with moms?
I choose to work with moms as this is an underserved population with a significant lack of education provided to moms who are pregnant and postpartum. I also am a mother myself to four kids! I have found moms to be very motivated to want to get better and I appreciate their efforts at learning and implementing physical therapy strategies to help heal. I enjoy teaching moms more about their bodies and how to move, exercise and use posture to help them improve. Unfortunately, most moms are provided little to no information about the effects of pregnancy and common postpartum issues that affect their body. I am able to help provide this information as well as how to heal. I also am able to treat moms across the spectrum of being pregnant, then continuing our work postpartum as well as seeing moms in their subsequent pregnancies! I am honored to work with moms across this spectrum of life-changing events.
From your experience, what is something you would like to share with moms about preparing for birth?
Moms can greatly benefit from a pelvic girdle and pelvic floor assessment during their pregnancy. The cumulative effect of activities we performed in our past make up who we are today. This can range from a traumatic fall at age five to sitting long hours at a computer for work that can negatively impact the pelvis and pelvic floor. PT can help identify and treat these issues. Also, never underestimate the importance of good posture!
In your experience, how long does it take to recover from birth? Is there anything you would like to share with moms about postpartum recovery?
Recovery from birth can be as fast a few weeks or can last many years, depending on the situation. I would strongly encourage moms to seek pelvic health physical therapy postpartum, especially if the mom is experiencing symptoms of pain, prolapse (descent of the bladder or rectal wall into the vagina) or incontinence (leakage of urine or bowel). These issues are common problems but NOT expected just because of “having a baby.”
What should a new client expect to experience as part of pelvic floor PT? What is the general process like?
If you are a new patient to pelvic health physical therapy, you will have a PT evaluation on your first visit. This is where I, as your PT, ask questions about your current situation/symptoms, your goals and past history and I will then take measurements and tests, including your muscle strength, flexibility, and posture to name a few examples . An internal exam may be performed where I am able to assess your pelvic floor muscles. From there, I will create a plan of care and will implement physical therapy interventions such as manual (hands-on) therapy, exercise, or biofeedback to help you improve your function. I will recommend a frequency of follow up visits for you to attend based on your evaluation.
Where do you see clients?
If someone wants to work with you, what do they need to do to schedule their first visit with you?
Just call 513-246-5475 and the front office staff will get you scheduled!
If you would like to discuss doula services, I can be reached at my email address, firstname.lastname@example.org