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How much weight should I gain during Pregnancy, and why is it important?

Quite the controversial topic, I admit! But with more and more women becoming more and more overweight, it's really important that we address it so we can take control of our health and understand the impact it has on ourselves and also on our children. A recent study by the World Health Organisation forecasts that by 2030, 57% of Irish women and 48% of Irish men will be obese. I know most women understand they don't actually have to eat for two during pregnancy, but there is confusion over exactly how much extra you need to eat, and how much weight you should be putting on during each trimester. So I'm going to do my best to answer all those questions now.

What happens to our metabolism when we are pregnant?

During the first half of pregnancy, when baby’s growth is limited in size, the mother’s metabolism is in an anabolic phase, meaning it is building itself up. Glycogen stores (energy storage) are increased in the liver and the muscle, and protein synthesis is...

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Why Posture Is SO important when you are Pregnant!

If someone told me when I was pregnant, that the way I sit or stand can affect the length of my labour...I'd be listening to them with each cell of my body! And that is what I'm here to share with you today.

As well as the type of labour you could have, your posture alone can also have an unbelievable influence on the levels of comfort / pain in your pregnant (and postnatal) body.

So let's talk about labour first. Having a short and active labour (which is what we all want, right?!) is a bit like a jigsaw puzzle, requiring different pieces to slot in nicely together. Your posture and lifestyle during pregnancy is one of those crucial puzzle pieces.  It's never talked about, which blows my mind, so let's get into it.

Something as simple as slouching back into your chair in the evenings, during those last important few weeks of your pregnancy, can have a huge impact on how your baby lies inside you. Our lifestyle does NOT encourage baby to get into a 'good' birthing position....

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Is this Colic?

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...

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A Talk for Maternal Mental Health Awareness

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,...

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Gentle routine for the early days after having baby

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...

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That thing called the Pelvic Floor - Part 2

pelvic floor health Jan 21, 2019

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 Jan 14, 2019

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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Why do I still look Pregnant?

Ok, it's 5 months since you've had your gorgeous little one, but you feel your belly is still looking pregnant. I'm not talking about the natural excess weight that we all put on during pregnancy, but instead, this is a noticeable belly 'pooch' that is not in line with the rest of your body. You may also have accompanied back pain, and, or some mild incontinence when you laugh or sneeze. What is going on? Is this normal after having a baby?

The answer is NO, but it's extremely common. What you are actually dealing with here is a separation of the abdominal muscles which happen during pregnancy, the 6-pack muscles (Rectus Abdominis), which runs the whole length of the abdomen, from the middle of the ribcage through to the pubic bone. In pregnancy, particularly at the latter stages, the muscles are designed to stretch from the pressure of the growing baby. For many women, within the first 3 months they naturally knit back together, but for so many other women, they don't....

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Disney Magic!

family fun Dec 17, 2018

Last week we took the kids off to Paris for a Disneyland adventure! We had never been before, we are not Disney heads and really did not know what to expect! I had joined this incredible Facebook group which was a big help for tips and suggestions.

Off we flew with Aer Lingus to Paris on Monday morning, 3 kids in tow. It was really straightforward and thankfully Nico was a legend on his first flight. We got a private taxi transfer straight to the hotel, which I had prearranged and would definitely recommend with young kiddies. We stayed in the Newport Bay Hotel on site. There are 4 hotels on the 'campus' and if I was staying with little kids, I would most definitely advise staying in one of them for ease. You also get early entry to the park, which is a definite bonus when it comes to queuing. The main parks open at 10am to the public, but we could get in from 8.30am. We did that for a couple of mornings and it most definitely paid off. You also get Fast Passes on your hotel...

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Opening the Pelvis - it all makes sense now!

I was reading an article recently by the fabulous Gail Tully, from Spinning Babies, and I had an 'aha' moment! More than 7 years ago while I was in labour with my 2nd son, I remember sitting on the edge of the bed, with my feet towards the floor. I kept arching my back and leaning backward during a few contractions, over about 30 minutes, just before he was born. I never really 'got' why I did that until now!

When I read the article...I'll explain it now in a second...I thought to myself, 'jeepers, I wonder if that what I was doing before Sebastian arrived'.

Gail's article was about Walcher’s Position. This can help to engage (engagement means the widest part of the baby’s head has dipped below the entrance to the pelvis (the brim)) a baby that is still high and hasn't entered the pelvis yet.  The baby may be stuck at the brim or inlet (entrance) of the pelvis, and needs help to engage. Getting into Walcher's position, and staying there during...

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