A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from a lovely lady who had really enjoyed the 5 Days to a Better Birth Challenge. She said she would love to hear more about my own births. Specifically, she wanted to know more detail about how I used my own techniques to birth, my three children, naturally, and if I had any tips about how to navigate the Irish hospital system.
So I thought it might be really useful to share more of that detail with you today. Make a cuppa and get cosy :-)
My first birth, like for most people, had the biggest impact on me and shaped my whole birthing experience. It was in 2009, and not much has changed in the Irish hospital system (apart from Covid!), in so far as the staff are blooming awesome, but sadly for them and for us, they are desperately understaffed and there is a growing tendency to treat birth as a heavily medicalized event. Therefore, giving birth in Ireland (and most of the Westernized world) can currently be a little tricky to...
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....
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...
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:
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....
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...
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...
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...