Understand how hormones can make your birth easier!

birth preparation labour Oct 29, 2018

Ah, lovely hormones! You are probably sick to the teeth hearing about hormones during your pregnancy. They seem to be the answer to all our ails...morning sickness...hormones; constipation...hormones; pelvic pain...hormones! However, what if I told you that understanding the role of hormones during your labour and birth can have a profound impact on your birthing experience. That's a pretty bold statement! So let's delve right in and discover how to make your labour smoother, and your birth easier.

There are 3 main hormones involved in the labour journey and they are oxytocin, adrenalin, and your endorphins.

1. Oxytocin:

The hormone of love! Oxytocin is a magic hormone and plays a crucial role in the birthing journey. In birth, oxytocin production increases as labour progresses, but interestingly it is also released during sexual activity, male & female orgasm, breastfeeding, and is also responsible for uterine contractions, and protects against postpartum hemorrhage. So it...

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Baby Nico's Birth!

On Sunday 25th March, I was blessed to deliver my third baby, a beautiful boy, into this world. I'm delighted to let you know that I had, once again, an active, short and kick a*s rockstar birth! It was fast and intense at times...so let me share my experience with you:)

On the days leading up to Nico's labour, I had been keeping myself really calm, happy and active. On the Saturday, I went for a lovely long walk, getting myself up a few gentle hills! That night, I went to bed after my nightly bath, super relaxed, and at 2am I woke up with a start! I jumped out of bed as my waters had started to release...but only a little bit. After a quick trip to the loo, pretty much immediately, some very mild contractions started, along with a bit of a 'show'. 

Excitedly, I knew that the journey was starting, so I popped back into bed to get as much rest as I could. The surges were there, but were really mild and I nodded off every now and then. I...

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5-Minute Solution to Reducing Swollen Ankles

Such a sexy topic!!! But one that affects many Pregnant Women, particularly at the end of pregnancy. Popping your legs up against the wall is really effective at helping to reduce the fluid build-up which happens during the day. You might need lots of pillows or cushions under the hips, shoulders, and head to make it comfortable for you, and remember, if at any point, you feel uncomfortable or dizzy, immediately roll to the side. Follow my advice in the video.

If you find lying on your back even for one minute is not an option for you, any amount of raising your legs up will be beneficial, so sitting more upright on the bed or couch with pillows under the legs, will also help.

It's also a lovely short exercise to do if you are not pregnant and if you have been on your feet or sitting at a desk for a lot of the day.

The lighting in the video is a little dark, but functions great!

Please do like and share xxx 

Helen Plass is a Pre & Postnatal Fitness...

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Best first date ever ;-)

birth preparation labour Mar 05, 2018

As I approach my own third birth, my mind drifts back to the amazing interview I did with the incredible Dr. Sarah Buckley, during the Pregnancy Wellness & Empowering Birth Online Summit.

If you haven't heard of her before, Dr. Sarah Buckley is a world-renowned author of the internationally best-selling book Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering, and in the summit, she discusses how our hormones are programmed to enable us to have an empowering birth but also to instinctively care for and love our new little baby...among many other amazing benefits.

Sarah wrote an ebook (which I'd highly recommend you all read), and the opening line is: "Giving birth in ecstasy: this is our birthright and our body's intent". I asked her to explain what she meant by this. She started off by talking about how an ecstatic birth is 'Mother Nature's superb design' - it's hardwired into all mammals. Really, what follows is mindblowing. Sarah talks about how the orchestration of hormones during birth...

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Constipation and Farmer Giles

What a beautiful title! Constipation is a real issue for many if not most Pregnant women. As the hormones increase (particularly progesterone) through your body, the digestive system becomes a little lax and slows down somewhat. Also, some of the Prenatal supplements for iron can have an extra constipating effect.

Christmas has just passed, so if you are anything like me, the daily schedule changed and you may also have drastically changed your diet for those couple of weeks - less fruit & veg, more fruitcake and choccies! If you had a tendency to suffer from constipation before Pregnancy, then you especially want to read this article and take some notes!

To get you back on track, and being 'consistent', here are my 5 top tips:

  1. You want to immediately address your diet and fluid intake. This is simple to do and you'll find an improvement within 24 hours. Fibre is your friend. Now, be careful introducing or reintroducing fibre into your diet as you don't want...
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How can Yoga prepare me for labour?

Good question! It's one I get a lot :)

So I would break this into 4 areas - Physical, Mental, Breath and Community.

Physical:

I'm not a believer in doing very little exercise just because you are pregnant. In fact, if you exercise for about 30 minutes a day, it is proven to help you have a more comfortable pregnancy, a shorter and therefore easier labour, and a faster recovery. So a 'shorter and therefore easier labour' should bring music to your ears mamas-to-be! Focusing specifically on labour and birth, prenatal yoga will help you stay strong, toned and open, therefore making your labour easier and more manageable, and helping you have the strength and stamina required to keep you upright for as long as possible. Sometimes, and of course not all the time, labour can be a long process particularly for first-time mamas, whose bodies haven't gone through the experience of childbirth before. The majority of first-time mamas who come to my classes in Dublin, can be quite surprised...

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How to relieve back pain after having a baby

Ok, so you’ve had your darling baby but holy God your back is wrecked! Now you are constantly picking baba up, bending forward, feeding, rounding your back and probably are noticing that your core tummy muscles have somewhat disappeared. What can you do? 

Let’s not panic and recognize first off just what an amazing body you have and that we need to treat it with some respect! So slowly slowly is the name of the game.

The strength of your back depends on so many things – how your pregnancy was, number of pregnancies you have had, how much weight you put on, how strong your core muscles were pre & during your pregnancy, how fit you were and are now, and how long it has been since you gave birth.

In order to start back exercising, make sure you have GP clearance. If you have suffered from any form of Pelvic Disorder during pregnancy or have any Pelvic Trauma post birth, you must go to a Physiotherapist before you start exercising again. Also if you feel...

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That thing called the Pelvic Floor - Part 2

pelvic floor health Sep 18, 2017

In part 1 of our discussion about the Pelvic Floor, we talked about the anatomy and what exactly the Pelvic Floor is. We discussed its role and detailed what could happen if you have weakness or injury to the pelvic floor, and I gave you suggestions on what to do to strengthen it. So if you haven't read Part 1 yet, you can catch it here.

In part 2 of this blog, we'll go into more detail about what to do in those first few days after having baby, how to heal the pelvic floor post-delivery, and when you can recommence exercise. 

What to do in those first few days after having baby:

After you have had a vaginal delivery, your body is tired, your pelvic floor muscles have been stretched and you need to do one very important thing...REST! 2-3 days of full rest is extremely important to help your body begin the recovery and healing process. Some bruising and slight tearing or laceration to the vagina and surrounding tissues can be pretty normal. You will most likely feel...

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That thing called the Pelvic Floor - Part 1

pelvic floor health Sep 11, 2017

One of my gorgeous pregnant ladies in class once said to me "I don't need to worry about doing pelvic floor exercises now cause I'm having a section, right?"

There is this myth that Pregnant Women don't need to get their pelvic floor in order before, or during pregnancy, just after the main event. Couple this with the common 'preggo stance' of an overarching low back, where you stick your belly out in front and backside behind, you are setting yourself up for abdo-pelvic-back disaster once baby arrives!

My lovely lady was also carrying twins, so I'll tell you what I told her:

First off, let's talk anatomy - what is the 'pelvic floor'?

It is a large hammock of muscles which run from the tail bone at the back to the pubic bone at the front. There are two layers of muscles which are intertwined around and within each other. They control each of the 3 openings in women, and two in men. The pelvic floor muscles also serve as a passageway for baby during a vaginal delivery. To keep the...

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How to keep your sh*t together as a new Mama

new mama Sep 04, 2017

When you were pregnant, all your energy, thoughts and resources went into feeling as good as you possibly could, and into your impending birth!  Your mind wasn't that focused on how you were going to manage life once baby arrived. No doubt you thought you were going to sail through this thing called motherhood. You bought all the gear...you looked excitedly at the buggy system you had just invested massively in. You knew that some babies could be 'tough going', but yours would be cool. You and your partner would be able to deal with the baby's arrival. You were looking forward to spending those first couple of weeks together as a new family going out for brunches, little walks and spending quality time together. The change in your relationship would be for the better, and 6 months off work seemed like great craic...sure how would you even fill your days? Think of all those lunches and coffees you could have, right?!

              ...

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