During birth, your body and your baby are working together to facilitate a smooth transition into the world. Unfortunately, a lot of the lifestyle choices we make and the birth practices we pursue are actually making things a lot harder for both you and your babe.
Here are a few tips to help your baby out during the amazing process of birth. These ideas will also help you get through birth in one piece!
Dancing your baby out with rhythmic rocking of the pelvis is a great way to aid circulation, keep the muscles of the pelvic floor open and embrace the movement of your baby.
As your baby moves into and through the pelvis in preparation for delivery, try...
Your core is probably the most impacted part of your body in pregnancy, birth and postpartum. Yet, it gets little to no attention. Most people think of the core as being the six-pack and the low back; they are correct, to an extent, but let’s look a little bit deeper than that.
Your core is made up of a number of muscles that work together to support the spine and pelvis. We are going to look now at the inner core, or what I like to call “The Core Four.”
The Core Four is made up of, you guessed it, four key players: the breathing diaphragm, the transversus abdominus, the multifidus and the pelvic floor.
This team is designed to work together in anticipation of your every move. That’s right, they should anticipate and prepare you for the task at hand before you even move!
The function of the core is directly tied to the breath and the breath is directly tied to posture and alignment....
Did you know you can kegel your way to a stronger core? The pelvic floor is the foundation of the core and it needs exercise just like any other muscle in your body. Working the core from the inside out will build a stronger foundation to allow for progressively challenging exercise.
As Paul Check says, “You can’t fire a cannon from a canoe.” If you don’t have a strong core, you will not be as powerful or as effective in any of the other activities you pursue. You may actually be doing more harm than good by undertaking exercise that is too intense and that creates more intra-abdominal pressure than your pelvic floor can handle!
Building a strong foundation starts with the breath. As you breathe in, the diaphragm moves down and draws air in. The diaphragm’s best friend is the pelvic floor (they’ve been besties since birth!) so they go everywhere together. As the...
If I was to pick one exercise that I think every pregnant woman should do it would be... drum roll please…
Walking!!! “Walking,” you say in disbelief? You were expecting something more elaborate, right? Truth is, an exercise doesn’t have to be fancy to get results and be effective. Walking is something we do every day, but it isn’t always thought of as a form of exercise.
Let’s reframe the way you think about walking and look at why it is especially great in pregnancy!
Walking is a low impact way to get great cardio during your pregnancy. It is also a great stress reliever and we could all use a little less stress in our lives!
Walking requires no equipment other than shoes, and it allows you some time to get out in nature and just breathe. It is also great for your glutes and legs, and your pelvic floor!
I recommend walking every day for 30...
Fertility continues to be a growing area of interest in issues of reproductive health. Thankfully, there continues to be an increasing number of health professionals with knowledge, awareness and services aimed at assisting those facing fertility challenges.
An alternative that is perhaps not as well known is fitness for fertility, which is focused mainly on releasing tension in over-used muscles, improving body alignment to optimize core function and ditching the high-intensity bootcamp workouts in favour of gentler movement that facilitates, rather than hinders conception.
Much of the exercise that women pursue these days is high intensity, vigorous exercise that can interfere with optimal reproductive function. This high-intensity exercise can elevate cortisol levels and also halt ovulation and menstruation, all of which can therefore interfere with fertility.
Choosing less rigorous activities such as...
High-Intensity Workouts Get You Nowhere When Your Core is Comprimised
I’m often asked to identify the best way to get back in shape after having a baby. People often balk at what I say, and then go on to join the first mommy bootcamp they can find.
Most come back to me with their tailbone tucked between their legs, a poochy tummy that hasn’t flattened even though they can ‘hold a plank for three minutes,’ back pain that won’t go away even though they ‘do core exercise 3-5 times a week,’ and leaking urine ‘only when jumping or running or do jumping jacks.’ Get my point?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, mommy and bootcamp do not belong in the same sentence!
Most women who have had babies have compromised cores. During pregnancy your posture changes with the weight of your growing uterus, which affects the position of your pelvic floor.
Your hormones influence the ligaments and connective tissue that...
I recall when I was first pregnant; I bought The Pregnancy Bible and read it diligently every day to see what was happening to me and my babe.
About three-quarters of the way through the book there was a tiny paragraph about diastasis recti that described it as when the abdominal muscles separate due to the stretching of the connective tissue during pregnancy. Nothing was included about stats, how to check for it, how to prevent it or what to do about it!
It sounded painful! And I thought for sure I would know if I had it. Not so; it took four years to diagnose it in myself. I kept learning (and am still learning) all about it.
Diastasis (DRA) is so far poorly researched, but thankfully the research world is realizing the impact and increased occurrence of this condition, so more studies are in the works.
Diastasis recti is the separation of the outermost abdominals from the midline where they are connected...
In my last blog, I talked about what diastasis recti is. Though much more research is needed in order to fully understand it, we do have some information that can help point us toward healing strategies.
Here I share with you my strategies for helping clients improve the integrity of the linea alba which sets them up for a return to optimal core function.
Prevention during pregnancy, as well as taking advantage of the first eight weeks post-partum are essential (this is why my partners and I in Bellies Inc developed a comprehensive system).
But if you are like many women and lack of knowledge and awareness during pregnancy means you are still struggling many years later with a weak core, I can still help!
Ultimately, there is no one prescription. Everyone is different, but one thing I know is that I always start with alignment and posture. Then I add in the breath and then I add in movement to regain coordination - the ABC's -...
Over the centuries, different cultures have used creative methods to help lessen the pain of labour or ease delivery.
In Africa, for instance, women use gourds of increasing size to help stretch the perineum in preparation for birth in order to reduce the likelihood of tearing.
I used the EPI-NO in both of my pregnancies and can't recommend it highly enough.
The perineum is the area of skin between the vagina and the rectum and it is an area worth protecting! During pregnancy and childbirth your perineum and pelvic floor muscles will face an ever-increasing load and will be extensively stretched during delivery.
Without proper preparation, the perineum can tear during childbirth, or be cut in a procedure...
When you give birth you are expecting a baby to come out, and then the placenta. Not many moms are expecting their bladder or uterus to come out (pelvic organ prolapse) – most don’t even know this is possible.
Pregnancy and childbirth are risk factors for a condition known as pelvic organ prolapse. Studies show that 50 per cent of women who have given birth one or more times will have some degree of prolapse but it is likely even higher given the low reporting rate and lack of awareness. In simple terms a prolapse is the progressive descent of the internal organs (the bladder, the uterus or the rectum) into and eventually out of the vagina.
It occurs in stages, with the first and second stages often being asymptomatic, so many women don’t even know they have a problem until it progresses to stage 3, when the organ is at the vaginal opening and may even bulge out periodically on exertion, or stage 4, when the organ is bulging right out of the vaginal opening.