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What You Need To Know About Exercise During Pregnancy

On my first baby, when I found out I was pregnant, I stopped running in my first trimester. Why? Because having experienced a miscarriage a few months beforehand, there was just something in the back of my mind thinking "God I wonder does all this running and bobbing up and down somehow affect this tiny baby's ability to grow and cling on to life? So in essence, fear stopped me, and I guess also a lack of knowledge. I kept walking all the time throughout and eating healthily, but looking back, I really wished I kept my fitness levels higher.

Fitness and supporting women on their journey into motherhood are both big passions of mine. So, I committed to learning more about it. Learning the facts, the guidelines, the safety aspects - a couple of years ago, I completed my qualification as a Prenatal & Postnatal Fitness Specialist, (I already hold pre/postnatal yoga, Hatha Yoga, and several other qualifications in the related field).

In a nutshell, the question...

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I think I'm in early labour - How can I speed things up naturally?

Well, congratulations my dear, this is super exciting! It's what you've been waiting for, for 9 months.

Very often, early labour can be challenging to identify, particularly if you have been experiencing Braxton-Hicks like tightenings for a few weeks. One of the easiest ways of distinguishing true labour from this early stop-start labour, is when you get into a warm bath, the surges won't really get any more intense or increase in length. Any surge, tightening or contraction will all be helping your body to get ready to birth your baby, so think on it as a very positive and exciting event!

So if you think you are in this early stage of labour, here are some things to do:

  • Stay fairly close to home, and try to go about your day as normally as possible, understanding that the thinning of the cervix and the 1st few centimetres of dilation can be very tough work for some 1st-time mothers. Some women will fly through this stage of early labour, but for others, they'll feel every...
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Understand how hormones can make your birth easier!

birth preparation labour Oct 07, 2019

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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I'm due for an induction,what can I do naturally to get this baby out?

Congratulations Mama, you are almost there! Within a number of days, you are going to be snuggling with your beautiful little one, breathing in that gorgeous new baby smell :) 

That is exactly what I want you to focus on. It's generally at this stage when heavily pregnant women who are right near, or have passed, their 'estimated due date', get understandably really frustrated. They just want this baby outta here! I totally understand, I do. 

However, I'd like you to flip your mindset for a moment, and instead of thinking negatively, and feeling incredibly impatient, I'd love you to start looking forward to your baby's birth. Understand that within days, or weeks, you ARE going to be a new mama. Take a moment to bring your hands down onto your belly, and take a big deep breath in, and a very long exhale. Do that three times, with a half smile on your face and repeat quietly 'my healthy baby is coming'. Understand that right now, baby is doing exactly what baby is meant...

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What is The Club & how can it help you?

When I set up NurtureMamas, my mission was to reach more women to help them feel strong, comfortable, fit and happy in Pregnancy, prepare for a Birth they could actually enjoy, and have a smooth and confident transition into Motherhood.

The Club, the monthly membership, is an extension of this, where I share all my knowledge, tips and experience with you to help you on your journey. It is personalised to specifically help you in the difference stages of Pregnancy and overcome the challenges you face.

If you ever:

* Experience Back Pain

* Think about your birth & feel anxious

* Have difficulty sleeping during your Pregnancy

* Wonder about the Pelvic Floor - what the heck it actually is & if you are exercises right?!

* Want to learn breathing techniques you can use during labour & birth

* Feel weak post-baby in your back, tummy muscles, or just desperately need a good stretch out?!

...then these are just some of the problems I will help you solve and improve.

On...

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Can we talk about 'Big Babies'?

This situation has happened countless times in my classes:

Mama says (with a very concerned facial expression) "my consultant says I'm having a big baby and I might need a section". One of the most disempowering lines a pregnant woman can hear, in my view, when they had never previously considered anything but a straight forward vaginal birth. Basically the doctor is saying, 'love, your body has grown a baby that's too big for you and you won't be capable of birthing it yourself'. I find it very frustrating, as so many times the comments are not based on facts. What doctors tend to be concerned about is that the baby gets 'too big for the woman's body' or may get 'stuck' in the birth canal, leading to a traumatic birth for both the baby and the mother. A valid concern certainly. 

But looking at the facts, the actual evidence does not support the theory. So who exactly is 'at risk' of having a 'big baby'? There are some health conditions and your own birth history which can...

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5 days to a stronger butt!

During my training for the Dublin City Marathon, I go for a long run on the weekends. This weekend, I wrecked my hip. During the week, I could feel it niggle so I rested, but after 8 miles on my long run, I had to pull up, make the call and get a lift home. I'm very peeved about it, but also, it actually happened on the other hip the last time I trained for the marathon. As with all challenges in life, I need to listen to the lesson in this! I'm sharing this as I know it will help a lot of women, regardless if you are pregnant, had a baby a few months or a few years ago!

I know myself I need to incorporate more glute (butt) strengthening work into my routine. I'm fairly flexible, so often what happens in the body is if someone is really flexible in some part of their body, they need to build strength or stability. And the reverse is also true. You'll often see very strong guys in a yoga class who are really inflexible. Finding the balance is key, particularly as you increase...

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Is it too late to start?

I get emails and phone calls all the time from gorgeous pregnant mamas, and so many of them are wondering the same thing.... is it too late for me to start yoga? I can hear the slight anxiety in their voices.

For many pregnant women, the time has flown by, particularly if they have other children at home and life is busy! They can be around 30 weeks pregnant sometimes before I talk to them. The very short answer is NO, it is never too late to start prenatal yoga in my opinion! Even if you are 38 weeks pregnant and you attend one class or practice Prenatal Yoga online once, you will always get some benefit from it.

In all my years teaching, I have yet to meet someone who didn't enjoy at least some aspect of the session! The very least you will get from yoga is a good stretch out, reduced back pain, and a blissful period of relaxation. So if I was 38 weeks pregnant, I'd certainly take that! 

But just look at what a few weeks or months (or longer!) of yoga practice can do for...

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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.

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 to make massive sudden changes, as then you may actually do more harm than good! So the first and easiest thing to do is to swap out all white/processed fibre sources and switch them to wholegrain / whole wheat - for...
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Camping & Ferry Review!

family fun Jul 22, 2019

We've never been to a campsite and I have to be honest, my expectations were pretty low! But I'd heard so many good things about how amazing campsites can be for families, so this year we decided to give it a bash! I researched a few of them - we wanted a quieter one where you weren't all on top of each other and you weren't going to see half the village over there! No offence, but on holidays I like to be sort of inconspicuous! 

I follow the lovely Cliona O'Connor, a.k.a. @leanmeanmomma on Instagram. She has been camping all her life as a kiddie and now goes a lot with her own kids. She put up on her highlights on Insta a review of several campsites they have been to over the years and one stuck out as interesting to me. It's called La Garangeoire. Here's the link to it: https://www.camping-la-garangeoire.com/en/. You can book directly with them or via Eurocamp. We went via Eurocamp because the ferry and available dates didn't match up, plus we got a discount code via...

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