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When Can I Get my Pre-Baby Body Back?

I hear this question a lot.

Like, A LOT.

It’s the one thing so many women are so desperate to achieve once they’ve popped out their most recent bundle of joy.

I get it. I’ve been there. If you look back at my instagram posts after Nugget was born, it’s nothing but ‘look at me, I lost 20lbs the day I delivered!” and side-by-sides of my ‘transformation’ postpartum. I was that woman, too. I totally understand how that feels.

Pregnancy and postpartum change your body in so many ways. You have this big belly that completely alters your centre of gravity, your joints and ligaments get lax and loose, more often than not, you lose a significant amount of muscle mass. You kind of start to feel like you’ve lost yourself.

Not to mention the fact that you’ve just entered motherhood. Holy crap is motherhood a mind-fuck. Your entire world is flipped completely upside down, you’re sleep deprived, anxious beyond belief, and your head is a raging soup of postpartum hormones. You just want some semblance of normalcy back in your life. You want to feel even just a glimmer of the ‘old you’ is still in there, somewhere, hidden under the spit-up & breastmilk stained tshirt with obligatory nursing bra with pads from who knows when still stuck in it. You want to find YOU again.

I get it. We all get it. Every woman who has ever become a mother, understands how you feel. It is 100%, completely and totally normal.

So you think ‘I know, before baby if I was stressed or miserable, I would workout to feel better’. So you give it a shot. And your body feels alien to you. It might ache, or be wobbly, or feel weak, or you might leak a little pee, or a little breastmilk, or both!

And commence hating this foreign body. ‘What the heck is wrong with me?’ you think, ‘I used to be able to run 5 miles without even breaking a sweat, now walking to the end of the block has me huffing, and peeing myself’.

So you consult good old google and are bombarded with an overwhelming flood of conflicting information: “do nothing for 6 weeks”, “only run slowly, just wear a liner”, “don’t lift anything over 5lbs or your give yourself a prolapse”,  “just do what you did before you got pregnant”… There’s so much information, so where do you start?

Well first, take a deep breath. It’s all going to be okay. I promise.

Second, find a pelvic floor physiotherapist (check here for one near you). They will be able to assess your body, and give you specific, measurable ways to improve your strength and function that are specific to your body and your needs. The work PFPT’s do is invaluable, and I believe every woman who has had a baby should see one.

Third, take some time to accept yourself as you are, right now. I know, easier said than done, but it will make everything so much easier in the long run. If you take the time to rehab and return to exercise the right way, you will make faster progress and be back to your favorite activities faster than if you jump back into them too quickly and end up injured and then you have to go back even farther and rehab your injury and then rehab you postpartum issues before you can move forward again.

So yes, before baby you were running 10k’s and lifting 200lbs. That’s amazing! You set a great foundation for your body to sustain a pregnancy. But you have to approach birth like an injury or major surgery (which it is for some of us!) and take the time to rehab right. If you broke your leg and it was in a cast for 6 weeks, you wouldn’t go back to running marathons the second you got it off, would you? No. You’d go to physio, and rehab it back appropriately. You have to approach birth the same way.

So if we go back to the question of ‘when will I get my pre-baby body back’ that answer will be different for everyone. Some will never get back to that place, and that’s okay! Our bodies are not meant to stay at 25 years old forever! Imagine if your grandma had the same figure as you… It would be weird right? But, we can do everything we can to regain all of the function you had pre-baby, it just might look a little different than you expect. It might take a little longer or take a different path than you were thinking, but you can get there!

The fact is, your body is fundamentally changed from the act of growing and birthing a human. Some of us will be left with scars & marks that will never go away, and they are badges of honor to be proud of.

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If you’re struggling, and living in the Calgary, Alberta area, and looking to work with someone who gets it – go to my Facebook page and contact me, I might be able to help! My flagship class, Mama Strong, is starting up next month, and I’d be so excited if you would join me!

When Can I Get My Pre-Baby Body Back-

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Slouching, Leaking and Mummy-Tummy

When I got pregnant and started the Fit2BirthMum program, I’ll admit I totally skimmed over all the ‘boring’ talk at the beginning about alignment and posture. I thought ‘ya ya, I have good posture, I don’t care about this crap’.

I thought.

Then I developed a diastasis and some pretty bad pelvic floor weakness postpartum and I started to pay closer attention. All of these #pelvicmafia people I followed talked so much about alignment. Initially I thought they were all kind of weirdly obsessed. I thought it was not important. But I see now how important it really is.

In order for your core to function properly, it has to be positioned properly. Think of it like this, if you wanted to look forward but you held your head tilted to the floor all the time, that would put quite the strain in your eyes, wouldn’t it? Same Idea.

So how does bad alignment make me leak or give me ‘mummy-tummy’? Well bad alignment can contribute to diastasis recti & total core dysfunction. Diastasis recti can contributing to that ‘bulging tummy’ look, and core dysfunction contributes to pelvic floor dysfunction which can result in leaking or incontinence.

Most people live out of alignment because our environment encourages this. We spend so much time sitting in chairs, on couches, on ‘cushy’ surfaces, that push our pelvis to be tucked underneath us. We also spend a lot of time looking down towards things like cell phones and computer screens, forcing our thoracic (upper) spine into an exaggerated curve, or kyphosis.

So how do I know if I am in good or bad alignment?

There are a few keys to check for. Stand sideways to a mirror, now rock your pelvis back (like you’re sticking out your butt) then forth (tuck your bum under), then relax, where does your pelvis sit within this spectrum? Do you feel like your lower bum is clenched when you are just standing? This is bum tucking. This forces your ‘pelvic bowl’ out of sync with your ribcage. The two need to be aligned in order to function properly. Now look at your ribs. Stand in what you think is ‘good posture’. Can you see the outline of the bottom of your ribs sticking out? Is your ribcage sitting on top of your pelvis? Think of it like a cylinder (transverse abs) with a bowl at the bottom (pelvic floor) and an upside down bowl on top (diaphragm). These three things need to be lined up kind of in the shape of a twinkie without tilts or twists in order for the piston system to work properly.Core model Your ribs need to be stacked vertically, with your lower ribs aligned with your hip bones on the front of your pelvis, with your pelvis neutral. I find it easiest to find my neutral pelvis first by sitting. Sit on a hard surface and rock your pelvis until you are sitting on your ‘sits bones’, now stand up while keeping that position. There should be a gentle curve in the lower back, but you shouldn’t force it. It’s a happy medium between an over-arched lower back and a tucked bum. At the end of all of this your head, shoulders, hips and ankles should all be stacked vertically on top of each other.

A few bonuses of living in good alignment, besides better core function. For one, you just look better! With your ribs and hips aligned, your tummy will appear smaller and with your pelvis in neutral instead of tucked under, your bum won’t look as flat or saggy. And who doesn’t want to look better without even stepping in the gym?

Now I realize, it is difficult to understand this concept through words alone. I tried my darndest to take photos of myself in the positions I described, but I just couldn’t get it to turn out the way I wanted to, dammit! However, Julie Weibe does an excellent job of helping you find your perfect alignment in her program The Pelvic Floor Piston: Foundation for Fitness. I had my alignment ‘lightbulb moment’ while going through this program at home, and I hope you will too!

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While I am in the process of obtaining my PT certification with prenatal/postpartum specialization, I’m not quite there yet. Even then, I won’t be able to help everyone, but I don’t want that to hold you back from reaching your goals. My lovely friend Lorraine Scapens over at Pregnancy Exercise has most generously offered to give my readers a 10% discount on her programs that I used when pregnant and still use postpartum; Fit2BirthMum & Birth2FitMum as well as her other programs Super Fit Mum & No More Mummy Tummy Challenge. Simply enter the discount code ‘HMHB‘ at checkout to get your 10% off!

Birth, fitness, Pregnancy, Uncategorized

What I Learned From my Labour & Birth

They say hindsight is 20/20.

39 weeks
Me in early labour at 39 weeks pregnant!

I thoroughly believe that is true. Looking back at my labour and birth of nugget nearly 6 months out, there are a few things I would have done differently, if I had the chance. This doesn’t mean I regret anything. I did the best I could with the knowledge I had at the time, but I also believe that it’s smart to take every experience you have and try to learn something from it.

  1. I wouldn’t have pushed so early
    As soon as I felt the urge, I pushed. It felt good, so I kept doing it. Looking back now, I think I was just over excited and should have let my body and my uterus do more of the work before I started actively participating. Even when a woman is not actively pushing, your uterus is still working to bring baby down with each and every contraction. I would have focused more on ‘breathing baby down’ or breathing through contractions and allowing them to do their work and conserving my energy for the work of actively pushing later on.
  2. I would have squatted more during labor
    I honestly have absolutely no idea why I didn’t do this. Squatting during labour helps open the pelvis and relax the pelvic floor, allowing baby to come down more easily. I prepared by squatting throughout my pregnancy, I knew that squatting in labour was beneficial, but for some absurd reason it did not pop into my head once to squat during labour. I think maybe I had it in my head that squatting should be reserved for pushing, but even then I didn’t think of it.
  3. I would have paid better attention to my posture
    All day in early labour I was so keen. I stayed in alignment, made sure I was giving my baby the best passage through, until I got into the birth tub. For some reason as soon as I got in there, I sat back on my sacrum (re: slouched) and I believe that influenced nugget bumping into my pubic bone on his way out. I also started out pushing in this position, which when I think back was actually a terrible idea!
  4. I would have slept!!
    Man, I wish I had slept more in early labour. I woke up at 4:30 in the morning and stayed awake until 9 the next morning after he was born, with the exception of a few very short naps. I had it in my head that labour was going to be quick and didn’t let myself relax. I was also worried if I got too relaxed, labour wouldn’t start and I would have to be induced. Being induced terrified me, so that was always in the back of my mind.
  5. I would have paid closer attention to my body
    Going into labour I thought I was very body-aware. Now, thinking back, I don’t remember feeling the baby move down. I was shocked when my midwife told me how low he was because I didn’t feel it. I don’t remember feeling my contractions move him down until he was crowning. I don’t remember feeling my pelvic floor, whether it was relaxed or not. I would have put more mental effort into concentrating on how everything felt and how it was changing as I progressed.
  6. I would have seen a women’s health physiotherapist prenatal
    Now this isn’t essential, however I believe it would have dramatically helped me connect with my transverse abs and pelvic floor while I was pregnant to better prepare them for labour and postpartum. It probably would have also made me realize that I had a tight pelvic floor and allowed me to work on releasing that tension before I went into labour.
  7. I would have moved more in the later stages
    If I had known how much of a difference getting up and walking out to my car and contracting in those awkward positions would have made, I would have done it so much earlier! If I had known possibly hiking up and down the stairs even one time would have helped nugget sneak past my pubic bone and stop that excruciating pain I would have done it in a second. My midwife said later she thought about suggesting it, but didn’t think I would have been very receptive to the suggestion, which may or may not have been true.
  8. I wouldn’t have put so much pressure on myself
    As soon as my water broke, it was game on. I was raring to go. I’ve never been much of an endurance athlete and that was totally reflected that day. I wanted things to happen and I wanted them to happen NOW. I happened to be wearing my FitBit and I recorded nearly 60 stories of stairs walked that day! Looking back, instead of basically climbing a mountain worth of stairs, I should have rested, relaxed, and let my body do it’s thing.


I hope you can learn a bit from the things I would do differently if I had the chance. I’m hoping I will remember this when it comes time for nugget #2 and I can have the homebirth I dreamed of the first time around. I can only hope that my words and experience will help even one other woman takes steps towards having the birth that she hopes for, whatever that looks like.

 

what I learned

nutrition, Uncategorized

Nutrition Schmootrition

Let me preface this by saying that I am NOT a dietitian or nutritionist. These are just ideas that have worked well for me and should you choose to implement them, that is up to you. In my previous post I mention that I think that nutrition is the most important thing to worry about postpartum when it comes to your mood, energy and general well being. Well a lot of moms ask how? How can I eat and feed my family nutritiously? I usually hear things like its too much work, it’s too expensive, I don’t have time. Well I’ll share strategies I use to help myself keep on track.

  1. Be Boring
    Sounds boring right? Well it is. But I bet if you look at your daily meals, you’re probably eating the same things over and over again. You might switch it up every month or so, then eat the same meal for another month. For example, lately I’ve been eating oatmeal for breakfast, greek yogurt with nuts and berries for meal 2, a large smoothie with lots of greens for meal 3 and whatever I have meal planned for dinner. Occasionally I’ll switch out meal 2 or 3 for leftovers from a dinner earlier in the week, but rarely do I actually make a completely different meal.
  2. Pay Attention to How you Feel
    Not everyone is the same when it comes to nutrition. Some people can eat bread daily and feel great and energised, but if I do it makes me feel bloated and sluggish. For some people this is dairy or beans or cabbage. Take a few days or a week or so and make a food diary, whether it’s on paper or using an app like MyFitnessPal, keep track. Then pay close attention to how you feel. Did you struggle to get out of bed this morning, and ate pizza last night? Do you feel gross and bloated in the evening after a bowl of pasta? Are you crampy and uncomfortable after eating baked beans? These are the things you need to think about. The last time hubs and I ordered pizza delivery, I was a miserable bitch the next day, and let’s just say his digestion wasn’t in peak form. Needless to say we’re a lot less likely to order pizza again.
  3. Find Something you Love
    If I tell you to eat oatmeal every day, but you hate oatmeal. You might do it once, or twice, but then you’ll gradually stop until you can’t remember the last time you ate oatmeal. You have to find healthy foods that you enjoy. If you love salad, find a way to make a quick easy salad. If you love chicken wraps, make chicken wraps!
  4. Cook Your Own Food
    Now this is a hard one to get into if you don’t already. I love cooking. It’s like meditation for me, but I can see how some people hate it. I think a lot of what people hate about it is they have no idea what they’re doing! Finding good recipes is key. This is why I love Pinterest. Whenever I feel like I’m in a rut or I want a new idea I go there. There are tonnes of healthy, quick & easy recipes on there for you to choose from!
  5. Choose Real Food
    Your best bet for healthy food is to buy things that don’t require an ingredients list. Like fruits, veggies & meats. There will always be times when you need packaged foods, and I’m not saying they’re all bad. But pay close attention, some greek yogurts are loaded with sugar, or frozen fruits can be sweetened. I personally love frozen veggies. I cannot be bothered to cut up and steam veggies most days at dinner, but dumping a bunch of frozen beans in a bowl and tossing them in the microwave is totally my style.
  6. Choose Healthier Options
    Almost all packaged foods out there have healthier versions available. However, do not be tricked by the ‘low fat’ movement! Most ‘low-fat’ or ‘fat-free’ products are loaded with sugar so they don’t taste like cardboard. You have to read labels. In the ingredients, they are listed based on quantity, so if sugar is the first or second ingredient, then the product is most sugar. Try to find foods with whole ingredients and little fillers or added sugar. Don’t be fooled by hidden sugar like ‘fruit juice concentrate’ or ‘evaporated cane juice’. Sugar is sugar is sugar. Unless it is in the actual whole fresh fruit or veg, with accompanying fibre and nutrients, it’s just sugar.
  7. Meal Plan
    When my husband and I started meal planning we cut our grocery bill by probably 25-50%. How many times do you go grocery shopping because ‘there’s nothing to eat’ yet your fridge is full? This was us. Until we started meal planning! Now at the end of the week, we are down to bare bones, we go and stock up only what we need. Here is the Meal Plan Template I developed and we use weekly. It’s simple, easy to follow and helps you develop your grocery list for the week.
  8. Make Your Unhealthy Favourites Healthy
    This is one of my favourite things. I love being able to make something healthy and delicious! Now, it doesn’t always work, but don’t get discouraged. Keep trying! My favourite recipes that I’ve made healthier are lasagna with eggplant instead of pasta, meatloaf with oatmeal and lean ground beef, shepherds pie with cauliflower instead of potatoes. Honestly, 75% of my ‘healthy’ meals are made from lean ground beef, but you could substitute ground chicken or turkey if you prefer!

Hopefully these tips will help you get on the right track to eating better! I know since I started paying closer attention to my own nutrition it has been like night and day with the way I feel and how I interact with my family, and I hope you have the same experience!

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Squat it Like it’s Hot!

I told you I’d share my love for the squat – Are you ready?

The Squat.

The Quintessential, if-you-only-do-one-exercise-ever movement, most functional, most beneficial exercise of all time.

You wanna build that booty?

Squat.

You wanna burn tonnes of calories?

Squat.

You wanna get baby into a good position for delivery?

Squat.

You wanna prime your pelvis for delivery?

Squat!

The best thing about squatting is there are so many variations. Bodyweight squat, Front Squat, Back Squat, Split Squat, Deep Squat, Plie Squat, Sumo Squat… And on and on and on…

However, the squat isn’t necessarily intuitive anymore. Most of us don’t live functional lives anymore. We spend the majority of our time in chairs, couches & cars, not walking, squatting and moving!

Think of the last time you have to pick something up off the floor, like your baby or a basket of laundry. How did you get down there to grab them? Did you squat? Or did you bend over at the hips, with a rounded spine, and groan as you stood up because it hurt your back. You always hear ‘lift with your knees’. What they really mean is, squat! Maybe not all the way down to the floor for everything, but bending your knees and hips to get lower to lift something is squatting!

It’s really what our bodies were designed to do. Next time you see a toddler playing, pay attention to how much they squat, and how much time they spend comfortably in the squatting position. Squatting is instinctive! No one teaches toddlers how to squat, they just do it! It’s natural when you spend so much time on the floor.

So how does squatting benefit you in pregnancy? It’s well known in the midwife community that squatting opens the pelvic canal. Think about it, if you were a cave woman in the forest, how would you give birth? Probably squatting. Squatting during pregnancy (when you know that baby is head down – NOT breach or transverse) can help baby descend into the pelvis prior to labor, aiding in dilation and shortening the length of labor. I know when I was 37 weeks pregnant, my midwife couldn’t even palpate Nugget’s head because he was already so well engaged!

The other benefit of squatting is the deep squat, like your peeing in the forest, is on of the best stretches for your pelvic floor! I know what you’re thinking, why do I want to stretch my pelvic floor? Won’t that make it looser? Who wants a floppy pelvic floor! No one! But the pelvic floor is a set of muscles. Think about your biceps, if they are tight, and you can’t extend your elbow, how useful is that arm? How strong is your bicep? Not very. In order for muscles to be strong and functional they have to be able to move through their full range of motion effectively! And if your pelvic floor isn’t functioning well, you are going to have issues like incontinence and pain.

I know a lot of women have told you, oh it’s normal to pee yourself when you sneeze or cough when you’re pregnant or postpartum. Let me tell you, it is NOT! It is COMMON, but it is NOT normal! Do you think we evolved to lose function of our body after reproducing? I don’t think so. I will get more into pelvic health in later posts, but all I have to say about this is if you are having issues with pelvic pain, incontinence, or having trouble having sex after having a baby, there is help! Please find yourself a local Pelvic Health Physiotherapist, I am telling you, they are supremely helpful! I will share my story of working with a PHP with you guys as well!

So if I could leave you with one tiny little thing from this, it would be, you guessed it, Squat!

And it doesn’t even have to be ‘exercise’ just incorporate it into your daily movement! Every time you pick up a dirty sock, your toddler, the laundry basket, squat instead of bending over!

Your butt and your back will thank you for it 🙂

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Birth Story – How Nugget Came into this World

I was dreaming that my water broke, with this odd sensation of fluid flowing from me, then I woke and it took me a second to realize I wasn’t dreaming at all, my water had actually broke!

It was 4:30am January 21, 2016, exactly one week before baby’s due date. I was very thankful I had placed a soaker pad under the sheets a few days before! I woke hubs and told him the news, he jumped out of bed and I reminded him we weren’t in a rush and to get back in. The first call I made was to my mom, she answered the phone screaming, and was so excited to hear things were happening. The next call was to the midwife. She was very calming and reassuring, and suggested hubs and I go back to sleep in preparation for little one’s arrival. We both laid in bed and nodded on and off, but we were so excited we couldn’t sleep. We got up and went about our day. I was full of energy, we cleaned the whole house, I made cookies!

Contractions had started around 6:30am but they were not painful and disorganized, My midwife would later tell me this was typical of early labor and that I wasn’t in true labor yet. Throughout the day I kept active, doing the stairs in hopes of getting things going. Around 4:30pm I was getting discouraged, the contractions were getting farther apart, though they seemed a little stronger. My midwife happened to call and check in at this time, I told her how I was feeling and she decided to come over and see how we were doing. She checked me and I was 3cm, did a membrane sweep and was able to stretch me to 5cm, and decided I was officially in active labour at around 5pm. She left and encouraged me to call her when things started getting more intense. Hubs and I decided to go relax and watch some movies, and the contractions slowed waaaay down, some even stretching to 30 minutes apart. This was extremely discouraging, I even cried a bit in fear that I would have to go to the hospital and get induced. I decided to try and sleep a bit and closed my eyes and then all of a sudden I was struck with the strongest, longest contraction yet, I had to moan through it and even swore a bit because it caught me so off guard.

That’s when things really started happening, the contractions all of a sudden picked up to 3-5 minutes apart and within 30 minutes I knew things were happening. I called my midwife around midnight and she decided to head over. When she arrived she checked me and said I was 7cm, transition had arrived! Although I didn’t have that breakdown that most women experience in transition, I felt energized! I was excited to know that our little boy would be arriving soon! Hubs filled the birth pool and I jumped in, and it was the greatest thing ever! Contractions picked up to about 2 minutes apart, we chatted, watched friends and laughed. It was all so relaxed and peaceful! Around 3:00 the contractions started feeling overwhelming and I decided to try and push, what a relief! I told the midwife and she was excited. I pushed for a little while in the tub, then she decided to get me out and check me because I wasn’t making as much progress as she would like. She found I wasn’t yet completely dilated and helped me along. I got back into the tub and pushed some more. About an hour into pushing I started experiencing excruciating pelvic pain, my midwife explained this was my pelvic bones (pubis symphysis) separating to allow baby through. This was the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life! I tried to push through it, but it was so, so painful. The midwife saw I still wasn’t making much progress so she got me back out of the tub to try some different positions. It seemed like forever. We tried every position you could think of; squatting, hands and knees, on my back, on my sides. Nothing seemed to make any difference.

At about 5 am, I was exhausted. I had been awake for basically 24 hours, save for a few short naps. My contractions slowed to 8 minutes apart and I was literally passing out from exhaustion between contractions. Every contraction was a nightmare and I cried through pushing. The midwives suggested we try one more push then if nothing changed we transfer to the hospital to try a vacuum and give me some gas for pain relief. I was so over pushing so I said screw one more push, let’s go now! We quickly packed everything up, I managed to walk myself up the stairs, to the door and out to car, pausing for a few contractions along the way.

The car ride was awful. The longest 10 minutes of my life.

I had 3 contractions in the car and something felt different but I was too tired to tell what. When we got to the hospital and were on our way to the labour ward, the midwives heard me pushing and knew something was different too! When we got to the room, I tried to pee but couldn’t, and just ended up pushing on the toilet! They got me into the bed, and I pushed again and there was little to no pelvic pain, and they found that the baby was crowning! Something had shifted in all of the movement between the house and the hospital and he managed to get past my pelvic bone! They encouraged me that we were almost there, and after another ½ hour of very careful pushing, he was here! He cried immediately (before he was even completely out!) and it was the most profound sense of relief I have ever felt. I remember the moment so vividly. Nugget crying and being placed on my chest, and all I could say was “I did it! I can’t believe I did it!” He was a perfect 8lbs 1oz, 21 ¼” with the cutest little brown birth mark on his left arm. He nursed right away and we cuddled for 2 hours! Everything went perfectly, no complications for me or our little man, and we were at home in our own beds, off to sleep 3 hours after he was born!

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I truely, strongly, 100% believe that being able to get up, move, and walk up those stairs and out to the car is what saved me. That amount of movement, plus pushing in odd positions was the key to get baby past my pubic bone and into this world. I am so thankful I chose to attempt a home birth and go as natural as I could because it saved me so many potential interventions!

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Move That Body, and That Baby Bump too!

I was so relieved when I learned that I could continue working out through my pregnancy. Prior to becoming pregnant I was an avid weight lifter. Working out was my sanity. I always had a new goal in mind, squat over 200lbs, do a chin up (or two!) and always grow that booty!

The first thing I asked my doctor was how I needed to modify my workouts. She advised me to listen to my body, and continue doing what I was already doing. I also did some research online and learned about Relaxin, the hormone that loosens ligaments to allow a woman’s pelvis to expand for the growth and passage of her little babe. This means that you have to be careful with weights and stretches, but like my doctor said, listen to your body! Some women have issues with their pelvis and symphysis pubis dysfunction from the start, and some have no issues at all. I personally started having some sacral-iliac pain at around 9 weeks. I don’t think this is any coincidence that it occurred around the same time I traveled across the country to announce my pregnancy to my family and as a result had to spend a lot of time sitting on airplanes.

When I returned home, I eased back into my workouts and my pain went away. I found the pain would return every time I slacked off, which was motivation for me to keep going. I didn’t have any trouble continuing to squat, deadlift and do other weight training until the week before I delivered. Of course by the end my weights had significantly decreased, but squatting an extra 35lbs of bodyweight made up for it! In fact the night before my water broke I did a full body workout and went for a 45 minute walk! I like to think this contributed to me going into labour, but no one will ever really know for sure. I think this also helped me maintain my stamina through labour, as I did 50+ flights of stairs that day in hopes of getting things going!

I strongly believe that my avid workout regimen and maintaining good posture and alignment helped Nugget be head down from 20 weeks and present occiput anterior (read:perfectly!) in labour. I credit a lot of my knowledge about working out in when I was pregnant to Lorraine Scapens of pregnancyexercise.co.nz. At 12 weeks pregnant I purchased her Fit2Birth and Birth2Fit Mum programs and learned so much from her videos about Diastasis Recti, pelvic floor health and dysfunction and how to best prepare my body for labour.

Later on in this blog I will share the workouts I followed in addition to the Fit2Birth program and strategies I used to prepare myself for labour. I will also share my labour story and how I now know that being able to move in labour is absolutely essential to a intervention free birth.

Uncategorized

Pregnancy – death sentence to my body

I’m going to be honest with you, when I found out I was pregnant with Nugget, I was terrified. And not for the ‘usual’ reasons, for vain, superficial reasons. I was terrified of ‘losing my body’ of ‘letting myself go’ because, let’s face it, those messages are everywhere. Once you have a baby your body is no longer your own, it doesn’t matter that it becomes flabby and stretched and saggy, because look at it what it made! Which, to some degree is true.

But what if we could have the best of both worlds?

What if I could have a beautiful baby AND a beautiful body that makes me feel sexy and strong?

What if I could give birth and then still feel like myself?

…Is that even possible?

Or am I just kidding myself?

These are all thoughts that passed through my head. So I set out on a mission. I googled and Pinterested (is that even a word?) and Instagrammed ‘Fit Mom’, ‘Fit Pregnancy’, and guess what? I came across SO much inspiration! I felt so lucky that one of my fitness idols, Jess Hilgenberg, happened to be pregnant just before I was, and she shared the same fears as I did. I followed her journey and it made me realize that I didn’t have to give up on being fit and sexy in order to be a Mom. The two things were NOT mutually exclusive.

So now what? I know that it’s possible to have a baby and ‘get your body back’, so to speak. But how? What do I need to do? There are so many messages out there suggesting that pregnant women are inept. That once that little zygote forms, that little embryo embeds itself in your womb, you must ‘take it easy’ and ‘slow down’. So what does that mean? Do I have to stop lifting weights? Do I stop training? Before getting pregnant I was regularly squatting and deadlifting my body weight, do I have to stop? What is unsafe? If I continue am I putting my pregnancy at risk?

So I did my research. The truth is the answer to most of those questions is ‘No’. Most recent research suggests that women who were active prior to becoming pregnant can maintain the same level of activity. As my doctor put it, ‘keep doing what you’re doing, but if you weren’t training for a marathon before, now’s not the time to start’. That made sense, it was logical, common sense even. The key in all of it is, listen to your body. If it hurts, don’t do it. Plain and simple.

Exercise: check!

But we all know exercise is only half the battle. Nutrition is also key to ensuring weight gain stays in the healthy range. Another source of mixed messages. ‘You’re eating for two!’ ‘don’t eat sushi, or steak, or tuna, or cookie dough – you’ll poison your baby’ ‘not a sip of alcohol from the time that line turns pink’ ‘a glass of wine here and there is okay’ ‘you can only eat soda crackers and ginger ale with the morning sickness’ ‘eat whatever you can keep down’

So who do you listen to?

First, your doctor. Most obstetrics or midwifery practices have nutritional information for pregnant women. Second, common sense. You are growing a human. What are humans made of? Protein, cholesterol, fat. This was great news to me! I already enjoyed a relatively high fat, animal protein rich diet. But I craved carbs. I craved carbs harrrrd. Bland, boring, flavorless carbs. So what did I do? I ate carbs! But I did it smart. Whole grains, high fiber, lots of fruit, and tried my best to eat veggies although I couldn’t be bothered. There were definitely days when I couldn’t bring myself to eat anything besides bread with butter. But I didn’t let those days become my every day.

In the end I gained 35 lbs (exactly!). Although my goal was to stay at 25 lbs, it just didn’t happen, and that’s okay, because I stayed within the healthy range, there’s nothing done that can’t be undone.

And so began my post-partum journey.

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Welcome

Welcome to HealthyMoms HappyBabies! This blog is dedicated to both telling my fitness story after the birth of my first son as well as to help and inspire other moms to be their best selves for the sake of their families.
I have a passion for fitness and nutrition. I believe that how you move your body and what you put into it have a major influence on your overall health and well being. I know that mom’s have challenges that make it difficult to focus on caring for yourself. When we are so concerned with the well being of families often we leave ourselves on the backburner. Days go by and next thing you know it’s been days, weeks, months (years!) since you last exercised more than picking up the toddler 30 times a day. Sometimes we feed our family nutritious, healthy meals, while we are busy shoving who knows what into our mouth between loads of laundry and diaper changes. We feel run down, frustrated and sometimes overwhelmed with motherhood and can’t imagine finding the time to give a little love to ourselves. When the baby is finally asleep and the toddler has stopped asking for yet another bedtime story, the last thing we want to do is get off the couch and move.
But I am here to tell you, a healthy mom is better able to take care of those around her. When we spend those little moments between temper tantrums and dirty dishes taking just a little care of ourselves, we are able to feel energized and have a little more to give back to those little ones who take so much out of us.

So stick with me, as I navigate through this ocean of motherhood and help you become a little bit better too.