There has been a big push from the government to get Pregnant woman vaccinated for COVID-19. So why has the advise changed? Pregnant women have a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and their babies have a higher risk of being born prematurely. Vaccination is the best way to reduce these risks.
"Pregnant women were not included in the first clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines, so at the time of initial guidance there was limited evidence confirming the safety of COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy. The initial advice from immunisation expert groups was therefore cautious, and COVID-19 vaccines were not routinely recommended in pregnancy. Over time, ‘real-world’ evidence from other countries has accumulated and reports show that COVID-19 vaccines, such as Comirnaty, are safe to use in pregnant women. Emerging research also demonstrates that pregnant women have a similar immune response to mRNA vaccines compared to non-pregnant women, and are therefore likely to have similar protection against COVID-19. Furthermore, research shows that the antibodies produced by vaccination cross the placenta and may provide some protection to newborn babies." (health.gov.au). Pregnant woman especially in at risk groups like over 35, health conditions, from indigenous decent etc should know the risks are even greater for them.
Here are the facts of Pregnant woman Vs Non pregnant woman:
- They have about 5 times higher risk of needing admission to hospital.
- They are about 2-3 times higher chance of needing admission to an intensive care unit
- About 3 times higher need of needing invasive ventilation (breathing life support)
COVID-19 during pregnancy also increases the risk of complications for the newborn, including:
- A slightly increased risk (about 1.5 times higher) of being born prematurely (before 37 weeks of pregnancy) or at a higher risk of stillbirth
- An increased risk (about 3 times higher) of needing admission to a hospital newborn care unit.
We all know that the information and advice surrounding COVID-19 keeps changing and what is said today may be different tomorrow, though for now it seems like the evidence supports Mums to be getting vaccinated to protect themselves and their unborn baby- so 'Roll Up your Sleeve'! The earlier the better and also the research shows that it does not affect fertility.
CBS News released this article on the 18th August 2021.
So you are off to the Hospital to deliver you baby… what are the essential items to pack into the bag?
Packing your pregnancy bag is a job you will either do too early or too late. It's never too early to gather together all the essentials you'll need during labour and birth, and for after your baby is born. Even if you're not planning to have your baby in a hospital or birth centre, you may need to go in unexpectedly, so try to have a bag packed by the time you're about 36 weeks pregnant.
Create a checklist and get ticking :)
What Mum needs for her hospital pregnancy bag:
- Maternity bras
- Nighties including an old one or a large t-shirt to wear in labour. It will probably get a bit messy, so don't buy anything special or tight to wear in hospital.
- Dressing gown. This will be useful if you end up pacing hospital corridors in early labour. You'll probably also want one on the postnatal ward. Hospitals can be very warm, so a lightweight one may be better. A dark colour or busy pattern will help hide any stains.
- Casual day clothes: include a pair of leggings that have supportive belly band with non intrusive seams. It helps with the repair of this area.
- Slippers/shoes: Backless slippers that are easy to get on and off. Thongs work well, too.
- Breast pads
- Maternity pads plus lots and lots of undies
- Heat packs. Many hospitals have a limited number of heat packs but are happy for you to bring your own. Check first, though, that your hospital allows microwaved heat packs (some have banned them), and has a microwave available so you can heat the packs.
- Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Makeup, Hairbrush, Deodorant, Shampoo, Conditioner plus Hairbands, clips or a headband. If you have long hair, you may want it tied up or clipped back. And if your hair is shorter, you can keep it off your face with a soft headband especially during labour.
- Lip balm: your lips can dry out quickly on a warm labour ward and from the air conditioner on the ward.
- Any medications you have been taking (please bring the medication to the hospital to show your admitting doctor and arrange for this medication to be returned home)
- Your Medicare card, details of your health insurance (if you have private insurance) and any hospital paperwork you need. Your birth plan (if you have one) and antenatal card, if you were given one.
- Storage containers for glasses, contact lenses, hearing aids, or dentures. Note that your glasses may fog up when you're in the throes of labour, and you won’t be able to wear contacts if you're having a caesarean.
- Things to help you relax or pass the time, such as books, magazines, games, knitting or a tablet. You may also want to download some fun and distracting apps on your phone to keep you occupied during early labour.
- Music device, Phone and charger
- Snacks and drinks for during and after the birth. Most women are able to eat and drink during labour and those early few days of breastfeeding when you can eat anything in sight. The hospital will have food and drink available, but you may prefer to pack a few things that you know you like. Great ideas are: Fruit, unsalted nuts, chips, muesli bars, honey sandwiches or and popcorn are all good options.
Some optional extras depending on the type of birth and/or what you have put into your birthing plan:
- Massage oil or lotion if you'd like to be massaged during labour. You may also like to borrow or invest in a massage roller or similar aid, so your birth partner can massage you for longer.
- Birth ball. This can help you find different positions of labour, and may also help you manage the pain of contractions. Check whether the hospital has the right size for you. If not, take your own. Remember to bring a pump so your birth partner can inflate it for you.
- Oil burner, if you'd like to use aromatherapy oils. Check with your hospital because most have won't allow open flames, but you may be able to use an electric burner.
What baby needs:
- Baby clothes and a blanket to take your baby home in
- Newborn nappies and extra wipes (especially if you like a certain variety)
- Dummy or pacifier if you choose to use one
- Formula, bottles, teats and sterilising equipment, if you plan to formula feed
- Olive, apricot, almond oil for coating baby's bottom before the first nappy goes to make cleaning easier
Comfort and support are the most important features when it comes to maternity clothing and leggings are no different. All of our pregnancy leggings have been specially designed to allow for the growth of the bump and belly while providing absolute support and comfort. Featuring a high waistband that can be worn during pregnancy, or folded down for extra support postpartum
Many woman experience different disorders while they are pregnant, but some of the symptoms are the same such as pelvic pain, swelling, stiff hips and the added strain on the lower back. Therefore finding the right maternity leggings to help relieve and minimise these types of symptoms is essential for comfort during and after pregnancy. Our specially designed maternity leggings have been constructed to support you in all the right places. By keeping the weight off your pelvis and reducing the pressure on your muscles and ligaments around the bottom half of your body that is growing so much!
So what do they do?
- Light compression to the legs, hips and if they are over the bump; the belly and lower back as well.
- Support under the belly to take some weight off your hips and pelvis by providing a layer of support, they can help to lift up and alleviate the pressure on the pelvis.
- Help to assist in keeping your weight in the right spots to put your body back into natural alignment.
You can wear them under the bump in early pregnancy, then over the bump later in pregnancy. MUMMACTIV pregnancy and postpartum leggings can be worn under or over because:
- Over-the-bump leggings have a light compression panel above the waistline that stretches and pulls up over the bump.
- Under-the-bump leggings have a vee at the front of the waistline so the bump can sit in the middle.
With over the bump leggings when the compression panel is folded over (doubling the layer) and you wear it under the belly they give you even more bump support so the weight of your organs and bump isn't sitting on top of your hips as much.
They are essentially a belly band attached to pants. Many woman buy a belly band during pregnancy or for postpartum. Whereas, maternity leggings already have the belly band attached as a panel above the waist. Because the band is longit can be folded over during pregnancy to really provide support like a belly band, then after-baby, fold it down to help push your tummy in and support it.
Had or having a C-section?
When maternity leggings are for you...The compression panel scoops low at the front to provide the ultimate in comfort for any c-section scars. After a c section you don’t want to wear any clothing with seams that sit on the scar simply because they will irritate you. We've had customers regularly commenting that our leggings are the only pants they could wear post-baby after a c-section because of the way the seam cuts down and doesn't aggravate or irritate the scar.
The sense of smell is very important. Did you know that this sense often gets affected due to depression? Many observe during pregnancy that their sense of smell heightens often making nausea worse so why is it that many suffer a loss of smell in the postanatal stage due to postnatal depression or other mental illness post baby?
"Personally, my husband did not believe me that my sense of smell had gotten so bad due to my postnatal depression and anxiety. Unfortunately now many smells go unnoticed or the degree of the smell needs to be greater in order to sense it..."
So here is why?
Depression, schizophrenia and seasonal affective disorder all suppress the sense of smell. The olfactory bulbs is the part of the brain that gives us our sense of smell. Researchers have found that the more severely depressed a person was, the smaller their olfactory bulb. Therefore this suggests that depression may cloud, but not damage, a person's sense of smell. The reduced brain response to odours found in depressed persons may be tied to problems in two closely connected parts of the brain that play an important role in processing emotional information and smell, known as the orbitofrontal cortex and amygdala.
The effects were present whether or not an individual was taking antidepressant drugs.
It has also been noted that once the depression has been successfully treated the sense of smell/response to smells returned back to their normal levels.
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.
The World Health Organisations are continuing to learn about the deadly CON-VID19 virus. Like many we are trying to stay abreast of the changing developments to help us to make informed decisions about our health and the families health. Due to this being so new we have a lot to learn and the effect on some/implications is unknown.
One of those areas of the flow on effect is with breastfeeding mothers. What we do know from previous studies is that breastmilk is like liquid gold and helps with the babies immunity- like almost putting a protective bubble around them.
The Centre for Disease Control and Protection outlined the following:
Transmission of COVID-19 through breast milk
Much is unknown about how CONVID-19 is spread. Person-to-person spread is thought to occur mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza (flu) and other respiratory pathogens spread. In limited studies on women with COVID-19 and another coronavirus infection, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV), the virus has not been detected in breast milk; however we do not know whether mothers with COVID-19 can transmit the virus via breast milk.
CDC breastfeeding guidance for other infectious illnesses
Breast milk provides protection against many illnesses. There are rare exceptions when breastfeeding or feeding expressed breast milk is not recommended. CDC has no specific guidance for breastfeeding during infection with similar viruses like SARS-CoV or Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV).
Outside of the immediate postpartum setting, CDC recommends that a mother with flu continue breastfeeding or feeding expressed breast milk to her infant while taking precautions to avoid spreading the virus to her infant.
Guidance on breastfeeding for mothers with confirmed COVID-19 or under investigation for COVID-19
Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for most infants. However, much is unknown about COVID-19. Whether and how to start or continue breastfeeding should be determined by the mother in coordination with her family and healthcare providers. A mother with confirmed COVID-19 or who is a symptomatic PUI should take all possible precautions to avoid spreading the virus to her infant, including washing her hands before touching the infant and wearing a face mask, if possible, while feeding at the breast. If expressing breast milk with a manual or electric breast pump, the mother should wash her hands before touching any pump or bottle parts and follow recommendation for proper pump cleaning after each use. If possible, consider having someone who is well feed the expressed breast milk to the infant.
So in a time like this it is probably more advantageous then ever to keep breastfeeding babies to give them some immunity to this pandemic.
As we head into the New Year of school, work and general Mum life balance we need to take count of our mindset. When we have a negative mindset we will notice that everything is a struggle and everything is just so much harder.
It is easy to set goals or New Years resolutions but it is so much harder to enact change. If we go into the year with half hearted thoughts and we are not truely feeling the vibe then the rest will become history and we will find ourselves back in the same situation. With goals or resolutions you also have to attach a belief and positivity. If you go into a situation with a negative attitude do you think the outcome will be positive or negative?
No mother can be positive all the time- we all have a daily moments as we are sleep deprived, running off the kids leftovers and spend the day serving other people's needs but it is important to turn the thinking around...
Let me put this to you:
Sharon wants to become more active and as a result wants to up her walks to 4 mornings a week. Sharon says "oh i will start in two weeks time as I am so tired"..."I dont think I can get up 4 times a week"
Already Sharon, without even knowing about it, has put road blocks in the way- and has pushed her goals/resolutions off the plate..Do you think Sharon will achieve her goals/resolutions??
If you really want to change your outlook on life and achieve the 2020 goals or resolutions, try using these top 10 techniques (which we chose) to change how you deal with problems and see the world:
- Realize that your thoughts do not own you. Stop your negative thoughts in their tracks by realizing that you’re in charge of what you think, not the other way around.
- Take time to figure out what you really want. When you feel yourself feeling negative about things that you haven’t accomplished, take time to think if you really want those things. Finding out what is really important to you can help eliminate bad feelings over things that you don’t truly want.
- Accept the good things. Sometimes we get so caught up in the bad stuff coming our way that we forget to appreciate the good things. Take a minute to sit down and think of all the positive things that happened in your day, no matter how small.
- Get excited about all the possibilities that lay ahead. Even in the midst of the biggest disasters there are a multitude of possibilities that await you to make changes or take on the world tomorrow.
- Believe the world is a good place. If you look at the world and only seem doom and gloom laid out in front of you you’re not doing yourself any favours. Believe the world is a good place and you’re likely to find many more ways good things can come your way.
- Stop making excuses. There are always a million excuses for any person not to do something even if that something can make them feel happier. Stop putting up obstacles to your happiness and ditch those lame excuses when you hear yourself making them.
- Don’t play the victim. Bad things happen to everyone from time to time. Pitying yourself and wanting others to feel sorry for you isn’t going to make things better. Pick yourself up and start working towards a happier future.
- Don’t place your future in someone else’s hands. Your future is yours alone to shape. Remember this and take control of where your're going in life.
- Create realistic goals. Of course you’re going to feel frustrated if you make your goals so unattainable that you can’t reach them no matter how hard you work. Create smaller or more realistic goals so you can feel accomplished instead of defeated each day.
- Decide why you want what you want. If you’re feeling upset because you feel like you aren’t achieving the things you want in life, take a moment to sit back and figure out the reasons you actually want those things. You may find you’re not as attached to them as you think.
Remember anything is possible you just have to REALLY WANT IT and go with THE RIGHT ATTITUDE.
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.
How would you feel if I told you, that you could do a 15 minute workout anywhere at any time at any stage of your fitness journey that could burn a large amount of calories and did not require equipment?
Well the training method called HIIT offers you exactly all of that.
Hiit Style training is a great introduction if your looking to come back into fitness or it’s a great challenge if you’re a seasoned exerciser.
Here are the benefits of Hiit Style Training –
I have put them in order of what I know are the biggest concerns mum's have when thinking about Hiit Style training -
1 – I’m not fit enough to do Hiit
Perfect for all fitness levels.
If you’re a mum and you're just thinking about where to start with the whole exercising thing as you want to start feeling good again, Hiit training can help. You start with a 15 minute workout and you will notice in a short amount of time you can increase the length of these.
HIIT workouts offer experienced or fit gym goers a new challenge, and beginners a quicker way to see results. You are constantly pushing yourself out of your comfort zone with the shortened rest phases.
2- I don’t want to train at a gym
You can do it anywhere
HIIT is such a simple concept of work phase and rest phase, you can take it anywhere with you – to the kids park, the gym floor, the beach, your lounge room or a hotel room on holiday. And you can choose the exercises that you have enough space to complete!
3 - I have no time to think about exercising even though I know I should
HIIT is great if you have a limited amount of time to work out. You don’t need to spend hours in the gym to reap the benefits of regular exercise and Hiit helps play a huge part in this.
- 4. I don’t own any equipment
No equipment required
HIIT workouts are so great as no equipment is required. All you need is a little bit of space. HIIT workouts can focus just your own body weight, so any workout that gets your heart rate up quickly such as plyometric, high knees, and jumping jacks can be implemented into a HIIT workout. particular muscle group – and of course if you have any injures regressions of all movements are available and still great to use.
5.. Will this help me lose this baby weight
Burns calories and helps with fat loss
The harder you exercise the harder your body has to work to fire up those muscles. Hiit is challenging for the body as you are pushing yourself through each working phase.
6 . I am more interested in making sure I can run with my kids
Great for cardio conditioning
During the high intensity periods (working phase) of exercise, HIIT takes you into an anaerobic training zone (where your body's demand for oxygen exceeds the oxygen supply available).
With consistent training in this zone, you will be able to out run your kids and be able to show them up in no time.
Article written by Cass Wilson, Mum of two who runs and co-owns HIIT That Group Fitness in Perth.
She is on a mission to help women to take better care of their bodies, and give them the confidence to get stronger both physically and mentally as their embark on their journey as a new mum. She has a special interest in pre and postnatal woman and is passionate about educating them on how to lift weights and exercise correctly,
Many woman struggle with urinary incontinence post birth....firstly it is completely normal and extremely common. It is caused from being pregnant and giving birth stretches the muscles of your pelvic floor — (the muscles that keep your bladder closed). Weakened pelvic floor muscles can’t stop your bladder from leaking. This leaking happens mostly when you cough, sneeze, lift or exercise. You may also find that you can’t wait when you want to pass urine. (It;'s known as stress incontinence)
The pelvic floor consists of layers of muscles that stretch like a supportive hammock from the pubic bone (in front) to the end of the backbone.
By performing pelvic floor exercises, you can strengthen the muscles. Pelvic floor muscle training will help the body cope with the growing weight of the baby. Healthy, fit muscles before the baby is born will mend more easily after the birth and helps to reduce or avoid stress incontinence after pregnancy. All pregnant women should do pelvic floor exercises, even if you’re young and not suffering from stress incontinence now.
If the pelvic floor is not strengthened and possibly even assessed there is a strong correlation to it rearing its ugly head during menopause. It has been found that if woman continue to do pelvic floor exercises post birth and see a woman's physio to assess the functionality then the rate of pelvic floor issues or incontinence during menopause decreases. So squeeze those kegels post birth to save your future self some embarrassment.
Hugging meditation, made famous by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, is rooted in the belief that a good hug can have transformative effects.
Thich Nhah Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet and peace activist who now lives in France. His graceful and simple way of conveying his teachings has helped made Buddhism and meditation appealing throughout the world.
"When we hug, our hearts connect and we know that we are not separate beings," Hanh writes. "Hugging with mindfulness and concentration can bring reconciliation, healing, understanding, and much happiness."
How the to do the ‘three hug’ practice:
1. Begin by recognizing the other person.
Start by bowing toward the other person as a way of acknowledging their presence. Then bring yourself fully into the moment by taking three conscious breaths.
2. Go in for the hug (and keep your breathing in mind).
A quick pat on the back won’t really do the trick here. Instead, hold the other person in your arms for three deep breaths. Hanh writes that the first breath should be devoted to you honoring your presence in the moment. The second should honor the other person, while the final breath should be focused on feeling happy and grateful for your togetherness.
3. End with gratitude.
After you release each other, finish the experience by bowing again to express thankfulness for the other person.
According to the practice, you have to really hug the person you are holding. You have to make him or her very real in your arms, not just for the sake of appearances, patting him on the back to pretend you are there, but breathing consciously and hugging with all your body, spirit, and heart. Hugging meditation is a practice of mindfulness. “Breathing in, I know my dear one is in my arms, alive. Breathing out, she is so precious to me.” If you breathe deeply like that, holding the person you love, the energy of your care and appreciation will penetrate into that person and she will be nourished and bloom like a flower.
“When we are mindful, deeply in touch with the present moment, our understanding of what is going on deepens, and we begin to be filled with acceptance, joy, peace and love.”
— Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh
We have previously shared the benefits of mindfulness in motherhood and why it can be helpful to anyone. Each post shares a different strategy to use to bring you in to the present to calm your thoughts and engage you conscious being.
Kirsty Palmer is a Personal Trainer and Nutrition coach. She also balances this with her beautiful 9 month old little boy.
Her passion is helping others and if you follow her on social media you will see she has quite an army of woman who are inspired by her greatness.
“Seeing the change in someone throughout their fitness journey is incredible. Not just physically, but also emotionally. They have become more confident, more optimistic, healthier and stronger in all aspects of their life.
Working with all different skill sets and fitness levels I am always working for my clients. Doing everything I can to teach them how to live and love a healthier life.
My aim is to encourage many females to love their body - feel confident in their own skin - and to enjoy the life they have by moving their body daily and feeling their body with nourishing foods!”
She is Owner and Personal Trainer of Kirsty Palmer Fitness, has coached at Team Des Fitness In Birmingham UK as well as being the author of 2 Exercise Ebooks based for gym and at home workouts.
We caught up with her recently to discuss all things pregnancy and beyond:
1.How did your exercise regime change in your pregnancy?
My weights dropped and reps increased.
I had to ensure my heart rate didn't over work through the roof like normal, so listening to my body whilst training and not pushing like crazy was a must!
I was also so tired so some days I listened to my body and had a rest day instead of working out. Don't beat yourself up, its only a season!
2.If there was a change, why? Energy, not sure about what to do etc
My energy levels were so up and down throughout my pregnancy, some days I woke up and felt like I could run a marathon and others I just wanted to sleep. Pregnancy really taught me to listen to my body and rest when I needed to.
3.What exercises did you do in your pregnancy?
Exactly what I was doing pre pregnancy as that is what my body was use to. I preferred going on the stationary bike than walking. And did mini resistance/body weighted circuits when my energy levels where high! my aim was to try move my body daily, even if it was a walk around the block, just to get outdoors and be in the fresh air!
4.Number one top training tip for mums to be?
Don't start exercising crazy and doing different movements if your body is not use to it or you have never done it before just because you want to be healthy as you have found out you are pregnant.
If you want to exercise start with walking And light cycling on the bike. Remember the stress from exercise you go through your baby does to.
5.Did you breastfeed?
Yes, and still breastfeeding - 9 months in and going strong.
6.If so, do you think your active pursuits effected your supply?
Ive never had a crazily high supply from the beginning, it's always been just enough. So I had to ease my way back into exercise and still to this day I manage 3-4 sessions per week and I am okay still to this day.
7.How did you balance feeding and exercise?? - tips
Sometimes I don't know half the things I have been able to balance out. Especially being a single mum. But for me exercise makes me feel better, and I honestly can't live without it. Its been my form of me time. I have been demand feeding from day one so once I feed Elijah I know I have a good hour to workout from home, or even when he sleeps, I do a quick workout. Every day is different. So I just go with the flow and how I am feeling!
Head to www.kirstypalmer.com to find out more about this inspiring mumma.