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.
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
- 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
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.
It was once believed that lifting weight above your head would result in the umbilical cord being wrapped around the babies neck.
This sounds a bit bizarre at first, but surprisingly, many women have been subject to urgent warnings not to raise their arms above their heads for fear of strangling the baby in the womb with the umbilical cord. The truth is a woman’s arm movements have no bearing on a fetus, as her arms are not in any way connected to the umbilical cord. Babies often tangle themselves in their umbilical cord with resulting harm.
Education has taken a big step forward since then because it is ok as long as care is taken. Be especially careful lifting weights over your head in the last three months. It is also advised to not use heavy weights, hold your breath (known as the valsalva manoeuvre) and consult to gym staff/qualified professionals/obstetrician about technique if you are concerned. Overhead lifts will increase the curve in your lower spine so it is recommended to use seated position on a bench to reduce the curve.
(Swapping to front shoulder raises and lateral raises to shoulder height is preferable)
“Exercising during pregnancy, including weight training, comes with many benefits, such as help with labor and delivery, with improving your stamina, and strengthening back muscles to limit back pain,” explains Dr. Alison Mitzner, MD.
“Research has shown that women who exercise regularly are less likely to develop gestational diabetes, and on average have shorter labors, less constipation, and less swelling in the extremities,” says Dr. Jamil Abdur-Rahman, MD.
To train or not to train....
Generally if you have been doing CrossFit of F45 for a period of time prior to pregnancy you are ok to continue and scale/modify the activities. This is of course if you have no medical problems and have been generally cleared to from your doctor.
The BOXLIFE magazine sums up some great myths around this topic.
MYTH OR FACT? “Women should scale their workouts while they are pregnant.”
The most important thing for the woman to remember is to listen to her body. Each day will be different and certain movements may begin to feel awkward or uncomfortable. The competitive nature of CrossFit can cause women to feel frustrated when their bodies are telling them to slow down. Remember: It’s only for nine months!
What modifications should be used no matter what?
Whether you’re pregnant or not, form is king. Form should never be compromised when performing a lift or during a workout. As a woman’s belly grows, it will be impossible to maintain an optimal bar path. This means there will come a time where a switch to kettlebells or dumbbells is called for. Also, pregnant women release a hormone called Relaxin which causes ligaments to be looser and can affect balance. Therefore, movements such as box jumps should be avoided after the first trimester. Double-unders, for example, should be left to each individual and how she feels on the given day.
MYTH OR FACT? “Intense workouts will harm the baby.”
Intensity is a relative term. Exercise is very beneficial to your baby. Mom and baby share everything, including hormones. If mom releases endorphins while exercising, baby will reap the benefit as well. Studies also show that moms who exercise during pregnancy have larger placentas which mean more oxygen exchange for the baby.
MYTH OR FACT? “I need to monitor my heart rate when working out during my pregnancy.”
This is also an outdated fact. It’s more important to listen to your body and take breaks as needed. Over the course of a pregnancy, a woman’s blood volume increases by as much as 50%! This is why women feel short of breath during workouts a lot sooner than they are accustomed. Every minute on the minute (EMOM) workouts are great for pregnant CrossFitters as it gives them built-in rest.
MYTH OR FACT? “My diet needs to change tremendously.”
That depends on what you were eating before you were pregnant. A Paleo or Primal diet is ideal for pregnancy as it ensures that moms are getting adequate protein, minerals and good fats. The best book I’ve read on this subject is “Beautiful Babies” by Kristen Michaelis.
MYTH OR FACT? “I just found out I’m pregnant and want to start CrossFit to start living a more active lifestyle. Is it safe for me?”
Newly pregnant women have asked me this very question. I think the functional movements we do in CrossFit are definitely beneficial for pregnant women. However, if you’ve never done it before, I recommend you find a personal trainer or coach who truly knows about the pregnant body. Have them work with you one-on-one. I design programs for women with little to no CrossFit experience as well as those with many years under their belt. Beginners can benefit greatly from some of the basic movements, but I would not recommend that a newbie jump into a CrossFit class newly pregnant!
MYTH OR FACT? “Miscarriages are more likely if you CrossFit.”
It’s hard to know what exactly causes a miscarriage. It’s also easy for women to blame themselves for something they did, something they ate, etc., when sometimes nature just has other plans for us. I know many newly pregnant moms worry about this, but I would say, again, take it easy for the first trimester. You may feel tired and nauseous or you may feel awesome. Each day is different. Use this time to move your body and release endorphins, even if it’s by walking or doing something lighter until you feel more confident jumping back into a workout.
Just tell us…Is it safe to CrossFit while pregnant?
As with any exercise, as long as you’ve been doing it for at least six months prior to pregnancy, you should be fine. The functional movements we do in CrossFit are extremely beneficial for helping women get through labor. Squatting is one of the best exercises for the pelvic floor and tends to help CrossFitting mamas have shorter pushing times.
I tend to be conservative when it comes to some of the more “controversial” topics regarding pregnancy. For example, I am adamantly opposed to going upside down while pregnant. It’s one of those instances where you will probably be OK, but what if you aren’t? Why risk it for a handstand push-up? I think it’s important to take a step back and put it all into perspective. Women must also remember not to compare themselves to anyone else. Just because your friend is doing muscle ups while pregnant doesn’t mean it will feel OK for you. Listening to your body each and every day is key.”
The BARBELLPHYSIO.com recommends not doing the following exercises:
- Bench press
Despite the common misconception otherwise, resistance training is actually very beneficial for pregnant women. But one situation you should avoid is lying flat on your back for too long, especially as you advance into your second trimester and the weight of the uterus puts pressure on the major blood vessels running alongside your spine. Replace the bench press with an incline dumbbell press to avoid this issue.
- Sit ups
Although exercise during pregnancy is definitely good for you, the muscles of the abdomen are being put under considerable strain as the baby forces them to stretch and thin. Side planks and Pallof presses are good alternatives to sit ups with lower risk.
- Push ups and burpees
Although your body is still capable of doing these in muscular terms, the simple mechanics of the situation may well defeat you as your rapidly growing belly starts to press the floor. Luckily, all you need to do is raise the upper part of your body, either on a bench or bars, to give yourself enough space to enjoy these CrossFit basics.
- Snatch and clean
Again, this becomes difficult due to the sheer mechanics of your protruding abdomen as pregnancy progresses. Perform the power version instead and then move to squatting under control.
- Pushing your personal best
OK, so this isn’t a specific exercise, but it’s pretty much the bread and butter of CrossFit, so it’s worth addressing. Although the old ‘don’t let your heart rate rise above 140 bpm’ myth has almost completely died out, there’s a consensus that putting your body under too much stress while exercising may be uncomfortable for your growing baby as his oxygen levels drop.
Yes you read right....have you ever noticed that post pregnancy your bum seems like a flat pancake or you are having to hitch up those jeans more than ever...Well the good news is you are not alone. There is something called ‘mum bum syndrome’ and many suffer from it.
The truth is you’re probably a bum tucker.
In fancy anatomy terms this is called a posterior pelvic tilt – where your butt tucks in and your lower back flattens.
It’s super common for this to happen during pregnancy because there’s a lot of baby sticking out the front of you so – if you’re not working on corrective exercises throughout your pregnancy – the pelvis tucks under to balance that weight.
Fast forward post-pregnancy and your ligaments and muscles have become lengthened and weaker due to the extra weight...
The good news is that ‘Mum Flat Pancake Butt’ doesn’t have to stay forever and you can correct it. Below are some tips we found to help correct this area:
Sitting does nothing to build the glutes and everything to make it flat as a pancake and let’s face it, we spend a lot of time sitting these days don’t we? Minimizing the amount of time spent sitting is critical to maintaining a healthy backside!
To make up for the amount of time we spend sitting, many of us head to the gym to burn some calories while often choosing high-intensity activity that may not be well suited to our body, especially after having a baby.
One of the best exercises out there is walking, particularly hill walking. Walking is low impact and when you add in the incline of a hill, it really blasts those glutes into high gear along with revving up the cardio!
One of the best glute exercises out there is the bridge and this can be done during pregnancy with a wedge and as early as the 2nd week postpartum.
As your strength increases you can also add some resistance with a sandbag on your pelvis and once your pelvic stability is on track you can also up the challenge by performing the movement with one leg off the ground and extended.
These can be done standing or on all fours (however I don’t recommend being on all fours during).
You don’t need a fancy piece of equipment – you can simply use your body weight or you can tie a theraband around your ankles to add some resistance.
Squatting is a great glute builder and is also a movement that will be done over and over and over as you bend down to pick up your babe or toddler (or their toys, or spilled food, or…).
Squatting can be done (and should be done) during pregnancy and within a few weeks postpartum. The range of motion can be modified but you want to aim for a nice deep squat with the tailbone un-tucked and your pelvis in neutral (keeping the small curve in your low back).
There are many glute exercises out there but these versions offer versatility both before and after pregnancy. They help maintain and build up the glutes while also encouraging the sacrum to stay un-tucked which is key to avoiding and curing mum bum syndrome!
So as you can see we like big butts post pregnancy so get those glutes moving and pelvis tilting....
The consensus generally is that sun exposure, in moderation, is good if you need an adequate dose of Vitamin D.
“Vitamin D is a vitamin we produce in our skin that effects the amount of calcium the body absorbs and is important of bone growth and development.”
The primary status of vitamin D for the child during pregnancy and during breast feeding, is the mother’s vitamin D status.
Therefore, sun exposure becomes essential for pregnant women too as it aids in providing bone creation of the fetus. Moreover, a strong immunity for you and the baby also gets assured. Though too much sun due to higher hormonal levels makes your skin more sensitive than ever.
Due to this potential risks of Sun exposure during pregnancy are:
Folic acid absorption
The next question that gets asked a lot is:
IS IT SAFE TO WEAR SUNSCREEN?
Yes it is but be mindful of the ingredients.
“Sunscreens are categorized into two types, i.e. physical blockers and chemical blockers. Physical blockers are safe to use as they are a mixture of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide that together aid in reflecting back the harmful UV rays.
On the other hand, chemical blockers are not at all recommended for pregnant women. This is because these blockers contain ingredients that absorb the UV rays rather than reflecting them. And one of such ingredients is oxybenzone that is commonly found in chemical blockers. Oxybenzone has been known to penetrate through the skin and holds the potential to cause allergies, hormonal disturbances, and low birth weight especially in newly born baby girls.”
Taking time to nurture your own development isn't selfish. The well-being of mothers impacts the well-being of children and families in powerful and far reaching ways. We cannot pour from an empty cup.
Motherhood and stress, understanding your triggers and learning to respond rather than react. In mothering we are faced with screaming kids, tantrums, constant want for your attention, demands of breastfeeding etc. Mindfulness of emotions and getting clear on your values is extremely helpful to identify what is going on first rather than reacting. If we do become reactive to the external triggers/stress one of the ways to help yourself is to change the scenery.
Karen Holmes explains it well in relation to Mums.
Mindfulness is probably the most scientifically investigated form of meditation to date, and to put it simply – it involves ‘training our attention’. Through this, we learn to focus on those things that are most useful and most helpful in our lives, allowing us to live more consciously and fully.
Given that a lot of mothering is done in automatic pilot mode, where we are literally multi-tasking the day away, living more mindfully can help us get on top of negative or worried thinking patterns – those pesky ‘what if…?’ scenarios.
A simple and quick mindfulness meditation:
Sit comfortably, preferably with your back firmly against a chair.
Place your feet on the floor and connect or root yourself with the floor.
Close your eyes, make sure your jaw is soft, and drop your chin a little.
Feel your breath and notice your belly rising and falling.
When you feel your thoughts wandering, simply notice this and return to the breath.
When you’re ready, lift your chin and open your eyes.
Bring your awareness slowly back to your surroundings.
Notice how you feel.
Push-ups are the best way to work that upper body while you're pregnant. Push ups are a great way to build strength so you are better equipped to hold and lift your little one.
Muscle Groups Trained & Benefits:
The push-up strengthens the muscles of the upper body including:
- deltoids (shoulders)
- upper back
- triceps (back of arms)
- Upper body strength may be utilized during labor and delivery for support and stability in some squatting positions.
- Upper body strength will most certainly be utilized postpartum as you care for baby!
- Upper body strength helps to maintain alignment and core stability.
- In combination with core activation and diaphragmatic breathing, TVA (transverse abdominis) and core are strengthened.
Some ask is it safe to do push ups during pregnancy or early postpartum?
Anytime your abdominal wall is “loaded” i.e. putting extra pressure on the tissues by doing pushups or planks, you can worsen your diastasis recti. We still do pushups, but in a functional way so as not to load the abs. Below is a general guide as to each trimester and then postpartum we suggest working backwards once you have the all clear.
First Trimester Push-Ups
- Start in a modified push-up position with hands and knees on the ground.
- Be sure your hands are directly under the shoulders as you lower down towards the ground.
- Push back and return to starting position and repeat.
Second Trimester Push-Ups
- Start in push-up plank position.
- Reach the right hand sideways during the push-up.
- Alternate sides bringing one hand to the center between reps
Third Trimester Push-Ups
- Stand facing a wall and extend your arms onto the wall just wider than shoulder width apart.
- Bend your elbows until your nose almost touches the wall.
- Reverse the movement and push your body back to the starting position. Continue for 15 reps.
*exercise in pregnancy should be checked with a qualified physician
“Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).”
– James Baraz
"When we stay in the present, we make wiser choices and take things less personally."
- Saki Santorelli
“There could not be a better time to learn mindfulness than during pregnancy and early motherhood. For one thing, this is a time when most people have a strong motivation to become the best person they can be in a relatively short period of time. When you realize the full enormity of the responsibility you have taken on by becoming a mom, the primary source of care for another whole human being, not to mention one that you love more than you thought you could ever love, there is a really high level of motivation to try your best to get yourself into the best mental and emotional shape possible. I've talked to so many pregnant women who have for the first time in their lives encountered within themselves a deep and very sweet drive to learn new ways of being-quick! They don't want to pass on negative patterns to their child, and want to do everything possible to transmit a healthy foundation for the rest of their child's life.
Also, this is a great time to learn mindfulness because you are already open and somewhat vulnerable. The downside of this can be feeling off-balance or a little exposed, needing more help from others than usual and being at the mercy of your body's functions and your baby's needs. The upside is that this state of being provides a sort of malleability-some of your defenses are down, you may be feeling more sensitive than usual, and this is a great time to learn new skills! It makes you open-minded in a way that perhaps you are not when you've got everything under control. Since mindfulness has a lot to do with being in touch with the sensations in your body, and being aware, new moms are in a prime state to learn it! In fact, pregnancy and early motherhood, nursing and sleep disturbance, weight gain and weight loss-these all in some way force you to be in your body. For those of us who live most of our lives above our necks, this can actually be a great blessing.
Let me tell you a bit more about how mindfulness transformed my experience of motherhood!
Several years ago, as I struggled with postpartum depression and anxiety, I began to read about mindfulness.
Of course! I thought, I just need to be more mindful! Thank goodness I read this book!
And then I tried to be mindful.
Without any of the meditating….
I didn’t want to waste my precious time sitting on a cushion doing nothing! I mean, I had all this parenting I had to do!
But I realized that mindfulness didn’t work if I just read about it and liked the idea of it.
Once I started meditating...
... my life started to change.
I discovered a peace and stillness at the core of my busy life.
I smiled more. I laughed more.
I found a new way of being and doing and mothering.
I realized I could respond much more skillfully to my children ~ even when they were driving me crazy!
I learned to be kind and compassionate to myself.
I knew that mindfulness had transformed me as a mother.
I knew I should start teaching this to others.” By Cassandra Vieten
Over the coming weeks we will share ways to practise mindfulness no matter what stage of motherhood you are at. (Pregnant, Breastfeeding, Postpartum, menopausal- we all deserve a bit of time out...) These practises should be short and not impact upon your day and be an extra chore to do...
DR or better known as Diastasis Recti is quite common amongst Pregnant/Postpartum Mums and without the knowledge or bing assessed many don’t even know they have it. Some woman wonder why years after childbirth they still have the pouch even though they have done what they can through eating right and exercise.
Taryn Watson from FITRIGHT wrote a great blog last year on it. Recently we also attended an information session from @fit_triplet_mum
Here is some of Taryn‘s post:
Abdominal Muscle Separation During and After Pregnancy
It will never cease to amaze that a little human being can grow to full development for nine months in a woman’s belly. One of the inevitable consequences of this, however, is that there has to be a lot of shifting and stretching of the surrounding organs and tissues to allow this to happen!
The “six pack” muscle, or Rectus Abdominis muscle, is actually two muscle bellies with a line of connective tissue down the middle. From about 18 weeks of pregnancy, when the baby starts taking up more space above the pelvis, the midline tissue has to start stretching, and the six pack muscles move apart from each other.
This separation is called ‘Diastasis Recti’, or DR, and is helped by the fact that pregnant women have a hormone in their body called Relaxin, which allows connective tissue to be stretchier.
MYTH TO BUST – The abdominal muscles do not ‘tear’ or ‘split’, but the connective tissue between them does need to stretch and this is a very normal consequence of pregnancy.
In pregnancy, after the muscles have begun to stretch, it is highly recommended to minimize use of the six pack muscle. This means after approximately 16-20 weeks of pregnancy, avoid anything that causes ‘doming’ or triangling of the abdominal wall during exercise or daily activities. This may include:
- Russian Twists
- Pull ups/chin ups/Muscle ups
- Getting up from the bed/bath/couch
Daily movements can usually be modified to avoid doming, by rolling completely onto your side to get up from a reclined position.