Good question! It's one I get a lot :)
So I would break this into 4 areas - Physical, Mental, Breath and Community.
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...
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...
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...
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...
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....
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...
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 - I recently 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 everyone wants to...
I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Laura Carroll, the fabulous women's health Chartered Physiotherapist at Live Well Waterford Clinic. As the body changes dramatically during pregnancy, it can have such an impact on how a lady feels, sleeps and manages a normal daily routine.
As an anatomy nerd, I was so excited to get this chance to sit down and chat with Laura, to uncover some of the reasons why Pregnant women suffer from so many ailments like rib pain, leaking while sneezing or coughing, and pelvic pain. I found it so incredibly insightful and I know you will too! Even if you aren't suffering from any major ailments, Laura gives advice on how to prevent the onset of physical difficulties during pregnancy.
The main 4 things we should all be doing more of are:
We talk about all of them inside the interview!
As I feel so strongly about keeping physically...
Pelvic Pain in Pregnancy can be pretty rotten. I experienced it for a while on my 2nd baby, but worked my way through it with some strengthening and stabilizing movements like these.
Try to practice daily for best results. Take a look at the 7 - Week Online Prenatal Program for lots more detail to help you through your pregnancy and delivery.
Please share & like if you find them useful!
xx Helen xx