Why it's best to not just let it all hang out post pregnancy....

Why it's best to not just let it all hang out post pregnancy....

The care that we give our post pregnancy body is just as important as the care which we provide for ourselves during the 9 months. During the 9 months of pregnancy our abdominal region stretches to make way for the growing foetus. Once a woman gives birth the organs, ligaments, muscles etc remain in those locations. Our body is not like a lacky band whereby we stretch it, let go and it goes back to the original form.

There are a few things that we can do to assist our post baby belly heal and return the items back to where they were pre-pregnancy. 

1) Coupled with moderate cardio, a postpartum workout should focus on building up the muscles of your torso (which took a beating when you were pregnant). Every new mum can benefit from core strengthening. “The rectus abdominal muscles are stretched during pregnancy in a way that makes it impossible to exercise them during that time." Some women also experience a separation of the abdominal wall muscles, which is called rectus abdominis diastasis. Exercises that target this condition can bring the muscles back together again and a woman's physio is a great port of call to get the low down.

2) A postpartum belly band, wrap or our supportive leggings band (folded) is sometimes recommended, since they can help your C-section incision heal. But you may have seen women with vaginal deliveries touting the benefits of these products as well.

While postpartum belly wraps won’t actually cause weight loss, they may provide some benefits. They help tighten your stomach after pregnancy, improve circulation, reduce swelling through compression, and support the abdomen and lower back. What’s more, these postpartum belly bands may be especially helpful for those with diastasis recti. 

Ask your doctor or woman's physio if you want to use a belly band and remember, you still need a healthy balanced eating and exercise plan to help your body heal...

'Let the blood flow'- the increase in blood flow during pregnancy.

'Let the blood flow'- the increase in blood flow during pregnancy.

Why all of a sudden do you feel like it is 3 x harder to walk up a hill or a stairwell, or why has your iron levels dropped?

Blood volume increases significantly within the first few weeks of gestation and increases progressively throughout the pregnancy. The total blood volume increase varies from 20% to 100% above pre-pregnancy levels, usually close to 45% of average woman. 

"A healthy woman bearing a normal sized foetus, with an average birth weight of about 3.3 kg, will increase her plasma volume by an average of about 1250 ml, a little under 50% of the average non-pregnant volume for white European women of about 2600 ml. There is little increase during the first trimester, followed by a progressive rise to a maximum at about 34-36 weeks, after which little or no further increase occurs." (National Library of Medicine) A non-pregnant woman has about 100ml of blood per minute flowing through the uterine artery, but in early pregnancy this increases to about 120 ml per minute. Once a woman is close to her due date, the blood flow has increased to about 350 ml per minute.

Interestingly enough the research shows that physically active women possess significantly greater vascular volumes than their sedentary counterparts.

WHY DO WE GET AN INCREASE

Pregnancy requires dramatic changes in blood flow, the most obvious being that which occurs in the uterus and the development of the placenta to make a baby grow.

WHAT OTHER THINGS HAPPEN AS A RESULT OF THIS INCREASE?

  • Blood flow to the skin increases, making a newly pregnant woman feel warmer and perhaps sweat more, particularly from her hands and feet.
  • The increase boosts the body metabolism by about 20%, creating more body heat and making pregnant women less likely to feel the cold the body temperature will often rise to about 37.8 C degrees. (Normally 37)

So if you are feeling light headed, having nose bleeds or bleeding gums there could be a very likely reason....THE BLOOD FLOW has INCREASED..

 

B-BB-BOUNCE: Running and Sports Bras why Invest???

B-BB-BOUNCE: Running and Sports Bras why Invest???

Time and time again we see woman hitting the pavement with bras that offer zero support. When they start moving they are lucky that they don’t lose an eye as there is so much action going on under the top....so why do they invest in other things and not in supporting the girls when they run or even walk 🤷‍♀️

Unlike other muscles in the body, once the supportive tissues in the breasts stretch, they cannot revert back to their original position. However avoiding irreversible sagging is easier than it sounds.

Norris and her colleagues have found that breasts move in a figure eight pattern. Not just up and down—that vertical movement is what most runners think of—but side to side and forward and backward as well. “[Breast is] just a mass of tissue, not a muscle,” Norris says. “It is not rigid structure. It can move in all three dimensions when we run.” And it does.

When you add all that movement in three planes together, Norris says, breasts—unsupported—move about 15 centimeters during running. (Different labs report different numbers, depending on the cup size of the cohort they’re testing.) About 50 percent of the movement is in the vertical, and then 25 percent is side to side movement, and the other 25 percent is anterior-posterior motion.

 

Portsmouth University’s Research Group in Breast Health (RGBH) calculated that the breasts can move 15cm during a run.

“According to the NHS website, research suggests 70% of women are wearing the wrong bra size. What’s more, as the breasts are composed of fat and fibrous tissues, as you eat better and exercise more, your breasts may decrease in size, meaning your sports bra might not be supporting them as well as it once did. Your sports bra also loses it's support overtime, with experts recommending you change it after 30-40 washes.....

Comfort and support are foremost but also Is Breathability.

To keep you cool when you start sweating, most sports bras are made from blends of moisture-wicking fabrics. Materials like nylon, spandex, and polyester fare better than standard cotton, which gets heavy and takes a while to dry. Plus, many brands have even implemented ionized and UPF fabrics for odor control and UV-ray sun protection. Outside of fabrics, keep an eye out for bras with mesh panels or keyhole cutouts. These features do a great job at ventilating sweat to keep you cool and comfortable. At MUMMACTIV we get specific fabric that is moisture wicking, breathable, quick dry, 4 way stretch and is a nylon/spandex combo making them a great choice. 

Did you also know that in a 2014 study showed running beats walking for breast cancer survival rates....(An interesting finding) Vigorous exercise was better than moderate exercise for the women in the study. Breastfeeding also reduces her risk of breast cancer by 4.3% for every 12 months a woman breastfed.The study compared mothers who breastfed to those who didn't. (Study conducted by the Collaborative Group on Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer)

All the more reason to hit the road—with a good bra, of course.

 

Prolapse and Exercise - so what is to know?

Prolapse and Exercise - so what is to know?

What is Vaginal Prolapse?

Usually our pelvic organs (bladder, uterus and bowel) are supported by a hammock of connective tissue and muscles. If this support system isn’t working as it should, it can lead to one or more of these organs descending into the vagina, which is called a ‘vaginal prolapse’. 

A prolapse can be categorized into different types – a front (or anterior) wall prolapse, which is the bladder or urethra coming down, a back (or posterior) wall prolapse, which is the rectum or small bowel coming down, or a uterine prolapse, which is the womb dropping down. It is still possible for the top of the vagina to drop down if someone has had a hysterectomy. 

It often seems to be assumed that it’s the uterus that most commonly drops down, but actually the front wall of the vagina is the most common type of prolapse to occur. 

Prolapses can also be divided into ‘stages’, depending on how far down the lowest part descends when you do a maximal downward strain:

  • A stage 1 prolapse means that the lowest part of the wall/organ is still more than 1cm inside the vagina 
  • A stage 2 prolapse means that the lowest part of the wall/organ is between 1cm inside and 1cm outside the vaginal opening. This stage of prolapse, when the organ descends to the opening, is often when women become aware of their prolapse for the first time. 
  • A stage 3 prolapse means that the lowest part of the wall/organ is more than 1cm outside the vaginal opening
  • A stage 4 prolapse means that essentially the whole organ has come outside the body – this is relatively rare. 

 

How do I know if I have a Vaginal Prolapse?

The symptoms of a vaginal prolapse are different in everyone, and it’s important to note that sometimes people with mild to moderate prolapses don’t have any symptoms. 

The most common symptoms are:

  • A bulging sensation (or being able to see a bulge) or a feeling of ‘something being there’ in the vagina
  • A feeling of not being able to completely empty the bladder or the bowel (usually because the prolapse is causing a sort of ‘pocketing’ making it difficult to evacuate).
  • Lower back or lower abdominal ‘dragging’ pain

Sometimes women can complain of a ‘heaviness’ or ‘pressure’, but this needs to be confirmed on diagnosis as this can also be a symptom of over-worked, tired pelvic floor muscles. 

Sometimes prolapse can be associated with discomfort with sex, and sometimes with bladder or bowel leakage, but again – this isn’t always the case and should be confirmed on a physical examination, because there are many people who have these symptoms without having a prolapse. 

The health professionals who work specifically in the area of Women’s Health are best placed to make this diagnosis – gynaecologists, Women’s Health & Continence Physiotherapists, or Continence Nurses. However, your GP is a good place to start and many GP’s will have a vast degree of experience in diagnosing and staging prolapses, and can then refer on to one of the aforementioned professionals for further management. 

 

How common is a Vaginal Prolapse?

Unfortunately, it’s very common for women to experience vaginal prolapse, mainly due to our anatomy. We are animals that stand upright, and have a large proportion of our body weight going through our pelvis, but we also need a wide pelvic opening to be able to birth very large offspring through!

That mix of a large pelvic opening with a heavy load on top of it is unfortunately not ideal for supporting pelvic organs.

Studies have shown that up to 50% of women who have given birth will have some degree of prolapse, with other research showing that 1 in 3 women will have a prolapse that extends at or beyond the vaginal entrance (ie a stage 2 or more prolapse). 

Unfortunately, there is a high proportion of women who will require surgery for either prolapse or stress urinary incontinence. Statistics show that 1 in 9 women will undergo one of these surgeries, which are not without risks and have relatively high recurrence rates. 

 

What factors increase your risk of Vaginal Prolapse?

The main risk factor for prolapse is having had one or more vaginal births, with specific risk factors including:

  • Forceps deliveries
  • Giving birth to a baby over 4kg (9 pounds)

Prolapse is not limited to only those who have delivered babies vaginally, however, with other risk factors including:

  • Pregnancy
  • Family history of prolapse
  • Increasing age
  • Increasing BMI
  • Constipation
  • Chronic Cough
  • Heavy lifting

The main reason that pregnancy and vaginal childbirth are risk factors is because of their effect on what is called the ‘levator hiatus’. This is the name for the space in the pelvis between the two sides of the pelvic floor, and is essentially ‘the gap into which things can fall’. 

Studies on women who have recently given birth show that this ‘gap’ in usually increased from normal for up to 4-12 months after having a baby. This is one of the main things that Women’s Health Physiotherapists will assess for when doing a vaginal examination at a postnatal assessment, because it helps to determine your individual risk for prolapse occurring or worsening with return to higher load or impact activities. 

This ‘gap’ would be increased more significantly, and more permanently, if the woman experienced a birth injury called a ‘levator avulsion’. This means one or both sides of the pelvic floor muscle having a partial or full tear away from the pelvis bone. This can also be assessed for with a vaginal examination. 

 

How is Vaginal Prolapse managed without surgery?

Pelvic Floor Muscle training, under the guidance of a physiotherapist with post graduate qualifications, is recommended as the first line of treatment for vaginal prolapse. 

We probably assume that this training is all about improving the strength of the pelvic floor muscles (measured out of 5), but studies have shown only a minimal link between a woman’s maximal squeeze pressure improving and prolapse improving. 

This makes sense, because a vaginal prolapse needs to be supported all throughout the day while you’re in an upright position, but we probably only maximally squeeze our pelvic floor muscles for 1% of the day – at times like in response to a big sneeze or lifting something that’s heavy. 

Instead, it is more likely that pelvic floor muscle training helps to decrease prolapse signs and symptoms because it improves the ‘stiffness’ and support of the area, and it decreases the ‘gap into which things can fall’ (the levator hiatus) both at rest and under load. 

Other management strategies would include:

  • Teaching women how to empty their bladder and bowels effectively and without straining
  • Determining if symptoms can be improved by incorporating rest periods in ‘anti-gravity’ positions throughout the day
  • Weight loss 
  • Exercise modification
  • Use of support pessaries

 

What is a Vaginal Support Pessary?

Vaginal pessaries are devices worn inside the vagina that help to give support to the vaginal walls. If fit properly, they should give symptom relief, be comfortable and should stop a prolapse from descending. 

They can be a huge help for women with prolapse who wish to remain active or become more active. Pelvic Floor Muscle Training, while essential in the overall management of prolapse, can take a long time for symptoms to improve. Pessaries could be used in a ‘stop gap’ role to prevent further descent, and possibly give feedback on what types of things cause descent to occur, while concurrently working on pelvic floor training.

 

 

What exercise should I avoid if I have a Vaginal Prolapse?

Now this is an interesting one… and if you’re after a list of Do’s and Do Not’s, I’m sorry… it’s not coming from me!

Let’s start with what the recommendations are for exercise for general health. The Australian Government’s “Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults” states that we should participate in:

Cardio exercise:

  • >150 minutes of moderate intensity activity/week
  • OR 75 minutes of vigorous activity/week (or a mixture)

Resistance exercise:

  • >2 days/week 
  • >1 set of 8-12 reps per area
  • Maximum health benefits are gained when you would struggle to do another set

And recommendations for Bone Density and prevention/management of Osteoporosis:

  • Regularly doing a combination of resistance training and moderate to high impact weight-bearing activities

But historically (and I’m not talking that far in the past either) the recommendations for anyone diagnosed with, or at risk of, vaginal prolapse were:

  • Minimise weights
  • Keep all exercise low impact

But although well-intentioned, how evidence-based was this blanket recommendation?  And by giving this advice, are we compromising overall health (in particular our heart and bones) for the health of the vagina? 

Recent studies have looked a lot more into the pressures created in the abdomen, and more specifically in the vagina, during different types of exercise and although we can extrapolate some general information, the main message that comes out is “It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it”. 

If you give the same exercise to a variety of different women, then their individual anatomy, injuries, technique etc will mean that the way they perform that exercise results in a wide variety of different effects to their pelvic floor muscles and vaginal walls. 

It’s highly recommended that in order to tell a woman what exercise they should and shouldn’t do, we should understand:

  1. Their individual risk profile for prolapse occurring or worsening
  2. Whether a certain exercise is likely to be on the higher or lower end of the ‘risk’ spectrum

 

How do I know which risk category I fall into for Vaginal Prolapse?

A Pelvic Health Physiotherapist is a physio who has done a huge amount of extra training in Women’s Health and Pelvic Floor Health. They can do vaginal examinations to check a number of things such as:

  • The Pelvic Floor Muscle function
  • The structural support of the vaginal walls both at rest and on straining (and very important to assess this in standing too!)

There’s a specific test that we can do called ‘GH+PB’, which measures the amount of movement of the tissues at the opening of the vagina when you strain. This measurement, taken externally, has been proven to be a good indicator of what’s happening internally to the size of the space into which our organs could potentially descend. The larger the GH+PB measurement is (in cm) the higher the risk is that a prolapse could occur or worsen when the area is put under strain. 

Some important points to note:

  • It’s important to check if you currently have a prolapse (it’s not always symptomatic) but it’s just as important to pick up those who don’t currently have a prolapse but are at high risk of it developing
  • Pelvic floor muscle exercises are important but there’s a lot more to it than just getting the best maximal squeeze possible, especially for endurance activities like running and playing a game of sport (because when you think about it… how much help is a grade 5/5 squeeze going to be during a run if you’re not squeezing maximally while you’re running?)

 

Which exercises are likely to be higher risk?

There are lots of unknowns here, and we don’t know what the ‘safe’ level of intra-abdominal pressure is for preventing prolapse. We also don’t know, without individual assessment, how different women respond to the same exercise. 

But we can understand generally which exercises tend to come out as creating higher intra-abdominal pressure and perhaps these can be the ones that are more closely tested and monitored. 

Things we can assume about strength and resistance exercise:

 

  • Standing exercises have higher pressure than sitting, and both of these have higher pressures than lying down. On this note – abdominal crunches and lying down abdominal exercises usually come out as one of the ‘lowest risk’ exercises in the studies that have been done, although traditionally these have been amongst those that were the most highly cautioned against. 
  • Increasing weights and resistance increases intra-abdominal or intra-vaginal pressure

Things we can assume about aerobic exercise (note that this is probably the hardest type of exercise to investigate, but there is some exciting current research happening in this area):

 

  • Running, jogging, skipping etc are likely to be high risk due to the fact that they have an endurance nature to them, they’re always done in upright positions, and there are ground reaction forces involved.

Things we can assume about Crossfit-style exercise:

 

  • In low risk women (those who are young and have never had children), there is unlikely to be a negative impact on prolapse between those who choose to do Crossfit compared to those who choose to do ‘gentle’ exercise (but there are likely to be many benefits in other areas of health)
  • There is limited/no research on prolapse risk in women who are considered ‘high risk’

Things we can assume about pilates exercise:

 

  • Most pilates mat and reformer exercises are considered low risk and are unlikely to increase intra-abdominal or intra-vaginal pressures significantly (many are performed in lying down and with relatively low resistance)
  • There are lots of benefits to pilates but in isolation it doesn’t meet the guidelines mentioned previously about Disease Control and Prevention and needs to be considered in conjunction with other forms of exercise. 

 

How can a Women’s Health Physio give you individualized information about the type of exercise you should consider?

A Women’s Health Physio should be able to put all of this together and come up with a plan that suits you regarding an exercise regime. 

They might assess you and find that you’re very low risk for prolapse occurrence or worsening, and then you can work out together whether any monitoring needs to occur as you increase your load and intensity in your workouts. 

They might assess you and find that you’re currently in a high risk category and they can help you to work on a pelvic floor program (and possibly a pessary fitting) to allow you to gradually return to the exercise you love with close monitoring. 

They might assess you and find that you fit somewhere in the middle. Perhaps there are certain things that either make your prolapse symptomatic, or that cause vaginal wall descent without you realizing. Rather than advising you to stop exercising completely, they should be able to help you to come up with regressions or variations of these movements, and perhaps supplement them with other forms of exercise that you enjoy to allow you to still meet the health guidelines. 

 

Some final points to remember about Prolapse and Exercise…

  • Exercise is vital to overall health, and women unfortunately often decrease exercise due to fear of worsening a prolapse. 
  • Remember that a large number of exercises that were previously suggested to be ‘not pelvic floor safe’ don’t actually have much evidence to back that up (and might be really good for overall health)
  • Individual assessment and reassessment is key – and remember that you can’t assess prolapse or risk of prolapse with only an external examination. So if you’ve only had a real time ultrasound screening assessment on your abdomen, this isn’t able to be used to determine your risk profile. 

If you’d like to see a specialist physiotherapist in Western Australia, there’s online Directory for both private and public referrals:

Also, if you live in Perth or Mandurah, we have compiled a list of post-graduate trained physiotherapists who are particularly good with pregnancy, postpartum and exercise – see the FitRight website!

And remember – the whole aim of FitRight is to keep you moving, even if you do have a vaginal prolapse. Chances are that multiple women if every one of our classes are managing a prolapse and the instructors will be aware of this and know how to modify the classes to suit individual needs. 

Whether you’re pregnant, early postnatal, a Mum of young children or heading into peri-menopause, we have classes to suit you!

 

Article was written by Taryn Watson owner of FIT Right. She holds a 

Getting our morning fix when BREASTFEEDING ☕️

Getting our morning fix when BREASTFEEDING ☕️

For a sleep deprived mother coffee becomes life...

The caffeine helps to get through the sleep deprived days. So the question often gets asked how much coffee is too much for the breastfeeding mum. 

Statistics show that nearly half (46%) of Australian’s drink coffee and that having children increased the weekly coffee consumption by 2.4 cups (7.2 v 9.6 cups per week).

Most breastfeeding mothers can consume a moderate amount of caffeine (eg a few cups of coffee or tea each day) without it affecting their babies. Caffeine does transfer to breast milk but in very low concentrations (0.06%-1.5% of 300mg of caffeine) Newborn babies however can be particularly sensitive to caffeine. This is because it can take a newborn baby a long time (ie half-life of 50–100 hours) to process caffeine. By 3–4 months, however, it takes a baby only about 3–7 hours. (According to ASN)

 Caffeine content in common drinks and food1,2

Drink/food

Caffeine level (mg)

Espresso coffee

145 mg/50 mL shot

Formulated caffeinated drinks / ‘Energy’ Drinks  

up to 80 mg/250 mL can

Instant coffee (1 teaspoon/cup)

60–80 mg/250mL cup

Tea

10–50 mg/250mL cup

Coca Cola

up to 54 mg/375 mL cup

Milk chocolate

20 mg/100 g bar

Takeaway coffee

51–332 mg/serving3

 

 

 

Tips to combine breastfeeding and coffee:

  • Pre term or ill infants may experience larger issues with metabolizing caffeine, you may want to limit caffeine intake during these times.
  • Studies have shown that ingesting less than 300mg/day of caffeine should not cause issues for infants. Be wary of what products contain caffeine, so you can track how much you have consumed. 
  • If caffeine affects your sleep, try not drinking any coffee after 2pm. Sleep is essential for health and wellbeing.
  • If you find caffeine intake effects your little one, but still need one, try having a coffee as soon as you breastfeed. This gives you the largest amount of time to process the caffeine before feeding again as peak levels occur about 60-120 mins after consumption.
  • If caffeine does have an effect on your child, try giving it a few weeks/months and trying again. The half life (time it takes for the body to get rid of half the dose) reduces significantly with age ( eg 97.5 hours for infants- 2.6 hours at 6 + months).

So the take away is you can still enjoy a cuppa but just be mindful of how much you are ingesting.

5 ways to steer yourself through procrastination

5 ways to steer yourself through procrastination

As a Mum, you have to juggle through a number of tasks every day. To you, every family member is like your child, whom you have to nourish and care for. So, you have loads of work to do every day and you frequently run out of time. But, do you ever wonder if there is something else contributing to your running out of time? How about procrastination? Maybe a yes or maybe a no, however, one thing is sure that you do wish to have a magic wand which could give you some extra time to finish your chores whenever you are falling short of time.

 

Now, here is good news for you as today we are going to give you the magic wand! Excited to know about the magic wand and how it works? So, let me disclose that you are yourself the magical wand, about whom we are talking about here. Don’t feel surprised! After all, you work wonders every day to keep your family happy despite falling short of time and that’s nothing short of magic! Thus, you have all the power and magic inside you only.

Now, let’s come straight to your problem of running short of time. So, Mum just do a little magic of honesty and introspectif you procrastinate? Your answer is most certainly yes because we all do! In fact, a little procrastination is okay.  But, when it starts preventing you from getting things done in time, it becomes problematic. In your attempt to do more in the less time left, you overexert yourself. Not only this, but your stress level also rises significantly, which is not at all good for you. Moreover, procrastination leads you to spend your whole day working for everyone else’s happiness but yours. You don’t find time for yourself.

Even when you are procrastinating on a task and relaxing on the couch,  you aren’t actually relaxing. In the back of your mind, you are still thinking about the dozens of pending tasks you have. So, it is crucial for you to steer yourself through procrastination. Now, let’s see how to do that:

1. Create your work schedule:

 

Yes, you have to create your work schedule. This has nothing to do with defining a fixed time for every task but at least you can fix the beginning and end of your work schedule. Let’s say that you can make it a routine to start working at 10 (after everyone has left for their destinations, work, school, etc.)and finish all your household chores by 3 or 4 in the afternoon. You can decide these limits according to your comfort level and the amount of work you have to do. Further, it is not compulsory to follow the same work schedule every day. Some days you might have some additional tasks to do like laundry. So, you can create a new work schedule for the new day every morning. Believe me, creating a work schedule will be really beneficial for you.  If you’ll have a fixed work schedule, you’ll be less likely to procrastinate and you’ll get everything done in time.  

2. Keep a check on yourself:

 

We all have our weaknesses and get carried away with them. For example, 5 minutes of Instagram often turns into an hour and we realize that only after we have lost plenty of our working time and you know what happens afterward! You work like a super speedy machine to get the things done before your children or family members return back home. Now, to get over this type of problem, you have to keep a constant check on yourself. If you feel the urge to use your favorite social media sites, go for it! But, not without setting a timer. You have to clearly set a limit on the time you’ll be devoting to your selected activity. Once the timer rings, just leave your smartphone right away and start working. This will help you get over procrastination to a large extent.

 

3. Set ‘No Procrastination’ reminders in your smartphone:

 

At times, you may forget all about overcoming procrastination. You may get drifted and start following your casual routine. So, it is always best to set ‘no procrastination’ reminders or alarms on your smartphone. You can set them to ring at regular intervals of time during your work schedule. For example, after every half an hour. This will help you not to get caught in the tight grip of procrastination.

 

4. Make use of the Pomodoro Technique:

 

Working continuously is definitely monotonous. This is one big reason why we procrastinate. So, if you break your work schedule into smaller segments, you’ll find it easy to overcome procrastination. Now, to break your work schedule into smaller segments, it is best to make use of the Pomodoro Technique. Given below are the simple steps by following which you can practice the Pomodoro Technique:

Select the task you want to do
Set a timer for 25 minutes
Start working in a focussed manner
Stop as soon as the timer rings
Take a break for 5 to 7 minutes
Get back to work after the break gets over
 
5. Allure yourself with exciting rewards:

When you are conscious that you are procrastinating, but still find it hard to get over it, then this is the best strategy to follow. You have to simply allure yourself with an exciting reward for completing the pending task. For example, you can give yourself a 30-minute relaxing nap as a reward, after completing your work schedule or you can cook your favorite snacks in the evening. These rewards will give you the power to overcome procrastination and focus your energy on work.

 

So magical Mum, now you know how to steer yourself through procrastination and not run out of time despite having to shoulder multiple responsibilities at home. Now, wishing you all the best and hoping that you’ll be able to set procrastination aside in your life.

 Written by 

Jessica Robinson
The Speaking Polymath
December 10, 2020 — Joanne Shepherd
An exercise in Fertility: the ability to fall Pregnant

An exercise in Fertility: the ability to fall Pregnant

For some this is true: Don't drink the water you'll get pregnant! For a growing number the ability to fall pregnant is a long and ardious process with many roller coaster rides of emotions and pregnancy test kits. The angst felt by woman who see their friends/relatives/work mates fall pregnant within a drop of a hat is indescribable. They keep saying to themselves: 'When will it be my turn?'

Just because you haven't conceived doesn't mean you cant or wont be able to fall pregnant naturally- sure there are some medical reasons that might inhibit it but one thing is for certain you need to put your body in the best healthy state possible.

Did you know: 

~Around four per cent of all children born in Australia are the result of IVF -- that's the equivalent one child in every average sized classroom.

~The success rates of IVF significantly drops from 35 per cent in patients under 30 years old to just eight per cent for women over 40 years of age.

~A quarter of Australian women undergoing IVF are over the age of 40.

This leaves many to ask how can I place my body in the best possible space to fall pregnant?

We have compiled some tips, foods and ideas to help you on your way:


  1. Healthy weight

Being overweight or underweight can affect your chances of conceiving. Too much or too little body fat can make you have irregular periods or stop them completely, which can affect your ability to conceive.

+Your weight is healthy if your body mass index is between 20 and 25.

+Women whose BMI is more than 30 or under 19 may have problems conceiving.

+If your partner's BMI is more than 30, his fertility is likely to be lower than normal.

     2. Exercise

Studies of the effects of exercise on fertility have found that vigorous exercise reduces the risk of ovulation problems and that moderate exercise decreases the risk of miscarriage and increases the chance of having a baby among women who undergo ART(Assisted Reproductive Technology.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a complex condition which is associated with infertility. Women with PCOS often have irregular or no periods because they rarely ovulate. For overweight and obese women with PCOS regular exercise can increase the frequency of ovulation which leads to more regular menstrual cycles. As ovulation becomes more frequent, the chance of conceiving increases. While studies show that exercise boosts female fertility it is important to note that a large amount of very high intensity exercise may actually reduce fertility and the chance of having a baby with ART. So, it’s a good idea to avoid very high intensity exercise while trying for a baby.

     3. Smoking and Drugs

There is also a link between smoking and poorer quality sperm, although the effect on male fertility isn't certain. But stopping smoking will improve your partner's general health.

There's no clear evidence of a link between caffeine, which is found in drinks such as coffee, tea and cola, and fertility problems. Though it is recommended to keep the caffeine at a lower level. There is also some prescription drugs and illicit substances that will interfere with the ability to fall pregnant.

     4. Food

+Following a low-carb diet may improve hormone levels associated with fertility, especially among women with PCOS.

+To boost fertility levels, avoid foods high in trans fats. Eat foods rich in healthy fats instead, such as extra virgin olive oil.

+Some studies suggest that eating more calories at breakfast and less at your evening meal can improve fertility.

+Taking an antioxidant supplement or eating antioxidant-rich foods can improve fertility rates, especially among men with infertility.

+Eating a diet high in refined carbs can raise insulin levels, which may increase the risk of infertility and make it harder to get pregnant.

+Eating more protein from vegetable sources, instead of animal sources, may improve fertility levels in women.

+Replacing low-fat dairy products with high-fat versions may help improve fertility and increase your chances of getting pregnant.

+Consuming iron supplements and non-heme iron from plant-based food sources may decrease the risk of ovulatory infertility.

    5. Relax

The last piece of the puzzle that we are sharing is the impact that the stress or worry will have on conception. We know of several examples of woman who were so stressed/anxious/uptight about the whole process and when they gave up and stopped trying so hard- guess what they FELL PREGNANT!

As your stress levels increase, your chances of getting pregnant decrease. This is likely due to the hormonal changes that occur when you feel stressed. Having a stressful job and working long hours can also increase the time it takes you to become pregnant.

In fact, stress, anxiety and depression affect around 30% of women who attend fertility clinics.

Receiving support and counselling may reduce anxiety and depression levels, therefore increasing your chances of becoming pregnant.

Our next article on fertility is going to be on the small percent of woman who conceive fine in the first pregnancy and then struggle with their second (second infertility). This actually accounts for a whopping 50% of infertility cases.

The above information has been collated from a range of sources and research papers.

Have you read the NEWS?? Exercise in pregnancy and breastmilk reduce the risks

Have you read the NEWS?? Exercise in pregnancy and breastmilk reduce the risks

A new study finds even moderate exercise during pregnancy increases a compound in breast milk that reduces a baby's lifelong risks of serious health issues such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease.

 

A new study led by researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and College of Medicine finds even moderate exercise during pregnancy increases a compound in breast milk that reduces a baby's lifelong risks of serious health issues such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease.

They already know that exercising during pregnancy is beneficial to the unborn baby but they wanted to also understand the WHY. When they did their original study they found that the health benefits from fit mums transferred to the pups, proving that they were, in fact, passed through breast milk and not simply inherited genetic traits.

Researchers followed about 150 pregnant and postpartum women using activity trackers and found that those who had more steps per day had an increased amount of a compound known as 3SL in their breast milk, which they believe is responsible for these health benefits.

They are now trying to see if they can extract this 3SL so that maybe they can add it to baby formula to help Mums who were maybe on bed rest or can’t breastfeed.

Dorothy M. Davis states: “Exercise is also great for your overall health during and after pregnancy, so anything you can do to get moving is going to benefit both you and your baby."

So there you have it even more reason to get out and get moving with your bump on board!

 

Information from the study was published in ScienceDaily.com

Exercise and the clinging baby stage...

Exercise and the clinging baby stage...

Many of us have experienced days, weeks and months whereby the baby, toddler does not want to be put down. This may be the result of new teeth coming in, separation, a leap, fussiness from tummy upset/gas/reflux/colic etc. Many then chuck the baby on the hip and try to carry on with the normal household duties etc because we all know that the jobs just dont get done by themselves!

This way of carrying puts pressure on one side and eventually tilts/unbalances the pelvis region like below:

One of the ways that can help this issue is baby wearing. Purchasing a good quality carrier and getting it fitted for to you. Carrying a baby in a sling or snuggled in a wrap has more benefits than simply being a hands-free carrier – it can aid colic relief, bonding, physical development and more.

When selecting a carrier it is important to remember the following:

  • Head and neck support for babies and sleeping infants/children
  • Wide base of support that supports the thighs and flexes the knees
  • Postural curves support
  • Wide or cushioned adjustable shoulder straps
  • Ability to distribute the baby’s weight evenly across the parents body
  • Ease of loading/unloading, so that the parent can keep their spine in a neutral position

When it comes to exercise you can still get it done and we have found an uplifting fun and motivating class that is for you. It is called Kangatraining.

Kangatraining is a babywearing fitness class for mum and babies. One of the biggest positives of Kangatraining, is that not only do you bring your baby to class, they are an active and important part of the workout! 

PreKanga is the best activity program during pregnancy. KangaOnWheel, KangaTrail, NordicKanga, ReactivKanga and KangaMix are our outdoor classes. KangaBurn is the most efficient workout without your baby. Each of our workout concepts is based on sports science and created with experts such as gynecologists, sport scientists and physiotherapist. The best bit is you can take part with a small bub or even with a toddler. 

Kanga-Classes are being offered in over 25 countries. Here in Australia they have over 100 Kangatrainers running sessions across Australia in both regional and metropolitan areas. Their programs include-: PreKanga (the prenatal program)KangaTrail, KangaOnWheel and KangaMix.

You can get more info HERE

 

 

 

Lock it down with Exercise

Lock it down with Exercise

Right now the role of exercise has taken an even higher priority. Not only are people stuck at home, so they have more time to spare. Secondly, mental health has taken a hit and many are struggling with a range of heightened emotions. Research keeps demonstrating that exercise can help to level out the emotional state and is imperative to copying at this time.

An area parents struggle with is finding the time to exercise - but there are ways to do exercise at home and no matter what age the kids are they can be a party to the activity. Not only is it a great bonding exercise but you are also being a role model in showing that exercise is important for mind and body….

Exercise also helps to increase the rate of postnatal recovery, improves muscle tone, circulation, digestion, mood, sleep patterns and so much more. (The list is endless)

As a result of CO-VID19 gyms and recreational centres have closed resulting in all needing to exercise at home or in their local park. Just because you are at home doesn’t mean you need fancy equipment to get in a resistance workout. By creating a HIIT style workout you can get a whole body, sweat producing workout that can be changed daily to keep motivation high. Ours normally consists of 6-8 exercises. We do 40-45 sec of work and 15 sec rest- with 30 sec recovery at the end of each circuit.

For example a leg focused workout might look like this:

7 exercises: Knee up, Plank, glute bridge, donkey kick, fire extinguisher, grapevine and sumo squat pulse. 45 sec work, 15 sec rest=7:30 one circuit. (2 circuits =15 min, 4 circuits=30 min etc)

People are also struggling to get equipment because demand is high. The other day we saw a kettlebell advertised for $260…Just because you don’t have equipment or can’t buy at this time doesn’t mean you can’t do resistance workouts. Here are some ideas for creative ways to make your own equipment:

  • An upside down saucepan can act as a mini step- use it to do toe taps, travelling pushups, around the world, knee up etc
  • Filling an old cushion cover with triple bagged sand/potting mix can be a medicine ball substitute- lift above head, slams, press ups- chest, squats with hugging weight, sit up with weight, lunges etc
  • Fill a backpack with those extra cans that you now have stockpiled- all sorts of weighted exercises can be done- walking lunges, squats, bicep curls, press, farmers walk, tricep extensions, jump over burpees
  • A chair- tricep dips, step ups, mountain climbers
  • A bucket filled with water- 1 L = about 1 kg
  • Use chalk to draw an agility ladder - great for cardio speed work , jumping, quick feet

Including your children in your workout is also a possibility.

What’s the pain down there 👇?

What’s the pain down there 👇?

1 in 5 pregnant woman develop some degree of pelvic girdle pain. It doesn’t have an impact on the unborn baby but Mum to be struggles with pain and movement.

PGP in pregnancy is a collection of uncomfortable symptoms caused by a misalignment or stiffness of your pelvic joints at either the back or front of your pelvis. PGP is not harmful to your baby, but it can cause severe pain around your pelvic area and make it difficult for you to get around. Different women have different symptoms, and in some women PGP is worse than in others. Symptoms can include:

  • pain over the pubic bone at the front in the centre
  • pain across one or both sides of your lower back
  • pain in the area between your vagina and anus (perineum)

Who is more at risk of developing this painful condition in pregnancy?

Factors that may make a woman more likely to develop PGP include:

  • a history of lower back or pelvic girdle pain
  • previous injury to the pelvis, for example from a fall or accident
  • having PGP in a previous pregnancy
  • a physically demanding job
  • increased body mass index
  • emotional distress and smoking

So what can be done?? Treatments for pelvic pain in pregnancy...

The earlier invention happens the better it is.

  • Be as active as possible within your pain limits, and avoid activities that make the pain worse.
  • Rest when you can.
  • Get help with household chores from your partner, family and friends.
  • Wear flat, supportive shoes.
  • Sit down to get dressed — for example don’t stand on one leg when putting on jeans.
  • Keep your knees together when getting in and out of the car — a plastic bag on the seat can help you swivel.
  • Sleep in a comfortable position, for example on your side with a pillow between your legs.
  • Try different ways of turning over in bed, for example turning over with your knees together and squeezing your buttocks.
  • Take the stairs one at a time, or go upstairs backwards or on your bottom.
  • If you’re using crutches, have a small backpack to carry things in.
  • Use an ice pack (gel pack, frozen peas, wrapped in a pillow slip) over the pelvic joints (front and back ‘dimples’) to reduce pelvic joint pain and inflammation. Use for 10 to 15 minutes only, several times a day.
  • If you want to have sex, consider different positions such as kneeling on all fours.

You should also avoid:

  • standing on one leg
  • bending and twisting to lift, or carrying a baby on one hip
  • crossing your legs
  • sitting on the floor, or sitting twisted
  • sitting or standing for long periods
  • lifting heavy weights, such as shopping bags, wet washing or a toddler
  • vacuuming
  • pushing heavy objects, such as a supermarket trolley
  • carrying anything in only one hand (try using a small backpack)

Physiotherapy aims to relieve or ease pain, improve muscle function and improve your pelvic joint position and stability, and may include:

  • manual therapy to make sure the joints of your pelvis, hip and spine move normally
  • exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor, stomach, back and hip muscles
  • exercises in water
  • advice and suggestions including positions for labour and birth, looking after your baby, and positions for sex
  • Pain relief, such as TENS
  • equipment if necessary, such as crutches or pelvic band.

 

 

 

 

 

 

info captured from www.pregnancybirthbaby

Why This Mum Is Not Rushing Back Into Fitness After Pregnancy....

Why This Mum Is Not Rushing Back Into Fitness After Pregnancy....

Nadine is a Brisbane Mum of two, a personal trainer, Emergency Military Nurse, blogger and a health and fitness enthusiast. Nadine has lived and breathed fitness for many years and was motivating the troops at F45 until she went on maternity leave.

 

During both pregnancies Nadine suffered from severe HG (Hyperemesis Gravidarum) or extreme morning sickness where she had to be hospitalised a number of times due to dehydration/monitoring. For those of you who know Nadine would appreciate that she gives everything 110% and will train anywhere/anytime. Due to unforeseen circumstances Nadine went into labour 6 weeks early and underwent an emergency caesarian. She then spent the next few weeks going back and forth to the special care nursery-pumping around the clock to nourish her little one.

 

For Nadine, exercise is like brushing her teeth, it is part of her day so when she made the conscious decision to NOT return to exercise postpartum it was a big thing. Listening to her inner dialogue and body is an important message for all Mums. Some tend to rush back into a regime which they may not be ready for mentally or physically- the fourth trimester is just as important as the first three…

 

“As you guys know I made the very conscious decision to NOT return to ‘Training’ at 6 weeks when I was cleared to begin ‘light’ exercise. Hear me out tho!! It’s interesting seeing me talk about my birth because birth trauma is REAL and what we experienced to bring Beckham here safely was incredibly scary for all involved but that is a story for another day perhaps, this is something I deal with everyday…. Anyhow this isn’t just about my birth experience….because….I hadn’t felt ready and I had to listen to that internal dialogue. I knew my recovery was going to be longer in duration due to what occurred physically and mentally for me and I know that i have had to be very meticulous, careful and very structured and progressive with my recovery. Slow and steady is absolutely what is needed for me and my body. Physically and mentally my mind and body have been through the wars. And my body has needed REST and a chance to do some internal repair on its own.-mind, body and soul without the additional stressors….Irrespective of my birth experience, I also DECIDED that the 4th trimester was something again that I wanted to immerse into, to truly soak in the time with my newborn and my family…time I’ll never get back, time to bond, time to find our groove. And without the added pressure or ‘postpartum bounce back’ that seems to be on the trend which I refuse to enter into….

 

Project ‘get my body back’, and some rapid postpartum mum bod has been so far out of my priorities it is not funny. That may seem interesting for someone whose life is revolved so heavily around health and fitness…(if your new to my page you may not know that I have a background in personal training, group coaching, have my online coaching and mentoring business, published fitness modelling and heavily involved in this industry) BUT  and that’s not to say others that return sooner are doing the wrong thing, I would hope we are all guided by the professional advice and pave our own path unique to our journey, but what I am saying is this is MY journey and my decision making and  SLOW RETURN is and has been my PRIORITY.

 

But THIS to me is HEALTH! Its looking after ME in all life pillars- the physical sense, the emotional sense etc etc. I have had times where I’ve wanted to get back into it. Let’s not lie. BUT it was in those moments I reminded myself of THIS. Newborn life is fleeting and Ive focused my time and energy into my baby, my family and my WELLBEING OVERALL and gentle walks with Beckham a couple of days a week and that is it, focusing on nutrition especially when a prep baby is exclusively breastfed and that is my HEALTH, my body right now is still an extension to someone else aka BABY BECKS and will be for a while. These decisions have been easy to make-especially when it involves a MIRACLE baby that was born prematurely after a traumatic birth and him being in hospital in special care for the first few weeks of his life and heck a whirlwind pregnancy with trials along the way from the get-go, trust me when I say that we were a bees dick away from our birth being the catastrophic WORST day of our lives with the outcome being potentially VERY different…now as a result; my core and abdominals have needed and will be needing progressive rehab work just like anyone would need to; but perhaps on a grander scale due to what occurred that day. Which i too have been and will continue to be working on. My c-section fortunately and unfortunately had to be rapid, had to be severe, had to be rough and was complicated to say the VERY least. What happened had to happen in order to BRING our baby out alive.

 

Someone doesn’t recover from birth trauma overnight. Im a resiliant  person but Im not immune from that- it rocked me and Dane too- because our birthing partners experience it too lets not forget them. And it still does. It takes time. And I work on that in various ways everyday. We are appreciative and grateful with what eventuated in the end but it was a harrowing experience that perhaps I’ll share one day.

 

In a nutshell, taking this time slow but smart, meticulous and planned, progressive in nature and ensuring reassessment on all fonts along the way, but more importantly being discerning of where I focus my time and energy while I recover has been my priority.  I know where my body ‘can go’, what it ‘can’ look like, what it is ‘capable’ of doing and achieving. But doing that in record time would be foolish and detrimental long term. Pregnancy and birth is short term, my postpartum is FOREVER. AND I choose to honour and look after that!!!!!

 

I’m 4 months postpartum this weekend. I now move into a new phase of my rehab. Take note, in my opinion I started rehab day 1- it just looks different which is MY VARIATION OF NORMAL. And being in a ‘gym’ hasn’t been part of it until now. 4 months postpartum now involves a progressive program that I have taken time to develop with so much intention and will be assessing as I go, and with the necessary health professional checks and advice along the way with a women’s health physiology which also will be ongoing! This new phase isn’t some crazy step up, its simply simply the next part of my progressive step in my current rehab and restrengthening this mind and body. The bi-product of all of this of course will be some aesthetic change but again the focus isn’t that solely!! Im excited to be entering this phase and Ill be sharing it with you and I hope my journey will and can inspire others to also LOOK AFTER AND TAKE MUCH CARE IN THEIR POSTPARTUM JOURNEY……”

 

*Nadine has released her birth story on Dear Mama Project Podcast if you are interested in hearing more.