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...
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.
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...
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...
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...
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:
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...
I will never forget those long hours in the evening, desperately trying to help my eldest son who was screaming crying, pulling his little knees into his chest, obviously in such discomfort. It was crippling to not know what to do, not be able to help soothe him. I was his mother, why couldn't I calm him down? What the heck was wrong with this tiny little baby, squirming every night in my arms?
Nothing can prepare you for the challenges of motherhood until you are right in the thick of it. It's at that point when you would literally do anything to get out of it. You'd pay anyone any amount of money to solve your baby's discomfort.
But what I find is the hardest thing is actually trying to diagnose what specifically is wrong with baby. Is this colic, or silent reflux, or some form of intolerance, or any other list of ailments? There is literally nothing worse than not knowing and trying everything you can think of, trying every bit of advice given to you by your...
When I was asked to give a talk last week in aid of Maternal Mental Health Awareness week for the powerhouse team that is Everymum.ie, I was honoured. I set about laying out my talk and discovered that I had never really sat down properly to consider my own Mental Health journey through Motherhood. This blog is a summary of that talk.
If you had asked me a few years ago about Maternal Mental Health, I think I would probably have been a little dismissive. I mean, you get to stay at home from work for almost a year - how can that be hard?! Before I had kids, in all honesty, I didn't even consider Maternal Mental Health as even a "thing". Well, roll on three miscarriages and three children later and I know only too well the challenges!
We all have our own stories and challenges, and I remember when my eldest was a baby and he had transient lactose intolerance. It was a nightmare. I had to pump, put drops into my milk, wait for 30 minutes and then give it to him. My god,...
Many congratulations on your newest addition! No doubt your whole body is feeling awesome but rather exhausted, stiff, and full of tension in those early days after having baby.
Below are 5 things you can do to ease the discomfort. If you are still experiencing pain from a section or from your vaginal delivery, simply focus on the breathing exercise and those parts that bring you joy and no pain!
1. Belly Breathing – place two hands onto your belly and inhale fully and deeply so that your hands lift up gently, and breathe out long and slow. On the exhale, ensure you fully squeeze out every last bit of air, and draw the belly inwards. Breathe like this with the eyes closed for 5 minutes.
2. Engage and release your pelvic floor muscles. Take a breath in to start and as you exhale, contract the muscles, inhale to relax. You can do this alongside the Belly Breathing, and they can be done right after the day you give birth. It...
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...