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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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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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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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