Naomi Judge, Naturopath & Nutritionist

naomi-judgeAs part of the health journey I’ve been on this year, I have been working with an amazing Sydney-based Nutritionist & Naturopath, Naomi Judge, and a passionate Health Coach, Brenda Janschek. Both of these women are incredibly knowledgeable, experienced, and extremely generous with their time.

I started working with them after watching a series of 3 webinars called “6 Simple Steps To Reset Your Hormones and Shed Stubborn Weight”. I was really intrigued, particularly as I work with so many women who have experienced issues with their hormones, whether it be early onset of menopause, struggling to fall pregnant or just feeling like they’re on a never-ending rollercoaster of emotions. However, after the first webinar, I realised that I needed to know more and I joined their amazing 28-Day Break Through Program this past June.

I am still working with this amazing lady through the follow-on BreakThrough Plus program. I have learnt so much about how we can use nutrition to nourish our bodies, reset our hormones and not only shed weight, but feel more invigorated and energised! I notice that when I stray from the recommendations made, I do start to feel sluggish, more stressed and more rundown.

Naomi’s YouTube Video “How Stress Impacts Your Hormones” is one of the many interesting videos she’s done to help women understand their bodies and empower them to make the changes that will help them and their families live healthier, happier lives.

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Jody is a pregnancy and post-natal specialist, with tertiary qualifications in exercise science and registered as a Level 3 Exercise Professional with Fitness Australia.
Jody is also a mum of two small children under 5, and therefore understands the demands and challenges of being a mum.
Jody is passionate about educating, energising and empowering pregnant and post-natal women through the provision of safe but effective exercise programs and fitness sessions.
Contact me today to see how I can help you with your fitness and health!
Disclaimer: This article is advice only. All individuals should discuss the suitability of their health and exercise program with their doctor, exercise professional, physiotherapist or midwife.
For further advice about your individual fitness needs, speak to a pregnancy and post-natal exercise professional, women’s health physiotherapist or health professional.
Further, I receive no financial incentive or remuneration for promoting Naomi Judge or her associated products and services.

4 Simple Steps To Reclaim Your Health & Fitness

If you’ve been following MumaBubs on Facebook or Instagram, you will have seen that a few weeks ago I started a little challenge called “Fit As F*&k!”, a 5-week program developed by Nardia Norman, the 2014 Fitness Australia Fitness Professional, after she completed the #howfitfeels social experiment by Fitness First Australia. (It’s worth checking it out)

It’s been awesome spending some time on my fitness, which I have neglected a little over the winter.

Saying that, I have been spending time on other aspects of my health and wellness, mainly in the search of a little more balance in my life.

And, to be honest, I’m still trying to achieve the balance part (aren’t we all?!!). However, I have learnt a lot along the way, including a lot about myself.

But, with spring arriving, albeit a little slowly, and my top goal being to go for
runs along the beach this summer, which I haven’t done in a few years, I decided it was time to get back on track! And, I kept receiving emails from Nardia about this “Fit As F*%k” Program she was running in October. So, I took it as a sign, and joined up!

Since starting this new challenge, I remembered how much I really do love working out and the feeling it gives me. It made me realise just how important fitness is as a part of my life, how much I missed feeling strong and accomplished from completing a great workout session.

It also made me realise how much my body does actually speak to me if I listen closely enough – and this past week it’s been saying “seriously, WTF are you doing to me?!!”. But, in all seriousness, I have been more centred, more energised, more motivated and just generally much better able to cope with the demands on my life. And, yes, a little sore and tired!

The daily workouts have been short (perfect for a busy Mum!), but, intense and tough, and I love them! But, they’re not everyone’s cup of tea. And that’s ok.

Just because it’s my way of reclaiming my fitness, it doesn’t have to be yours. We’re all different, and thus have different goals, different family responsibilities, different activities we enjoy and different priorities.

So, how do you get yourself back on track with your health and/or fitness?

How do you reclaim your body after having your precious little munchkins, when there are so many demands on your time and on your body?

Here are my 4 top, and very simple, tips to reclaim your body and get your health and fitness back on track:

1.Plan

As Mums, we are all busy in our own ways. Whether you’re a full-time stay-at-home Mum, a full-time career Mum, or your juggling a bit of both, we all have responsibilities and demands that easily fill up each and every day.

But, taking time to look after you, and your health and fitness, is so important. And, yes, you are worth taking the time to look after.

We always have numerous activities planned for our little ones, there’s after school activities, play dates and often our partners also have their set work hours, and their own planned activities. So, why don’t you?

Taking the time at the start of the week to plan when you will go for a walk, attend an exercise session, or even meditate for 10 minutes, is the best gift you can give yourself.

So, get out your phone, diary or whatever else you use to plan your family’s schedule, and put your “me-time” in as well!

2. Progress Not Perfection

october-blog-pic-bOne of the biggest pieces of advice I give to my clients is to not over-commit themselves, therefore setting themselves up to fail before they’ve even begun.

If you haven’t been doing any sort of exercise for a few years, apart from the odd walk or exercise class here and there, the last thing you should do is fill up your week with what you think you should be doing or what your “fitness freak” girlfriend, who makes exercise look effortless, is doing!

Look at your current commitments and responsibilities, and schedule in times that you know you can commit to and won’t cause you stress or anxiety to complete.

And, if it’s only 1 session initially, then that’s ok. Regularly attend that session and be proud of yourself for making that progress. Then, when you’re ready, add in more where you can that works for you.

3. Do Something You Enjoy

I have a simple theory in life when it comes to exercise and fitness – if you don’t enjoy it, don’t do it!

And, if in the process of reclaiming your body and your health and fitness, there are things you have to do to achieve this that you don’t enjoy but know you need to do, then compliment them with an activity that you do get enjoyment from.

And, if you’re not sure what fitness activities you do like, spend some time exploring the different options that are available. Talk to friends about what they’re doing, purchase something like a ClassPass or search online for what’s available in your local area. Directories like Bub Hub or Green Goodness Co list local businesses providing a range of different activities for all fitness levels.

However, if you have recently had a baby or do suffer from any issues or injuries, please ensure you listen to your body and seek initial assistance from the appropriate health professionals, such as Pregnancy & Post-Natal Exercise Specialists, Physiotherapists (Women’s Health or Musculoskeletal, depending on the issue) or your GP.

4. Seek Help From The Professionals

With so many demands on us as Mums, sometimes we do need someone to look after us. Someone else to help us workout how to fit fitness into our lives, help us work through issues that we push to the side while looking after our families, guide us with what we need to do and motivate us to achieve.

That’s where services like MumaBubs comes in, as Pregnancy and Post-Natal Exercise Specialists. Or a suitably qualified personal trainer or fitness professional. Or, you may need to first turn to a Women’s Health Physiotherapist. If it’s other areas of your life, you may need a Naturopath or Nutritionist or a Health and Wellness Coach.

There are people out there to help you be the best version of you – sometimes you just need to take the first step, prioritise you with a plan and focus on progress before perfection! 

 

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Jody is a pregnancy and post-natal specialist, with tertiary qualifications in exercise science and registered as a Level 3 Exercise Professional with Fitness Australia.
Jody is also a mum of two small children under 5, and therefore understands the demands and challenges of being a mum.
Jody is passionate about educating, energising and empowering pregnant and post-natal women through the provision of safe but effective exercise programs and fitness sessions.
Contact me today to see how I can help you with your fitness and health!
Disclaimer: This article is advice only. All individuals should discuss the suitability of their health and exercise program with their doctor, exercise professional, physiotherapist or midwife.
For further advice about your individual fitness needs, speak to a pregnancy and post-natal exercise professional, women’s health physiotherapist or health professional.

Lavender – The Oil of Communication

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Pure lavender oil is one of the gentlest of the essential oils, but also one of the most powerful. It is all things calming to the body, and it is amazing for your mood and for your skin.

Further, due to Lavender’s versatile properties, it is considered the must-have oil to have on hand at all times, especially for Mumas & Mumas-To-Be:

Quick Fix: Dilute 1 part lavender essential oil with 3 parts fractionated coconut oil (or other organic carrier oil such as jojoba oil or almond oil) in a spray bottle or roller bottle to help clear up skin irritations, such as chaffing. Great for little ones!

A Sleep Time Trick: Add a few drops of Lavender to pillows, bedding, or bottoms of feet to promote a restful night’s sleep, for all members of the family.

Take Out The ‘Ouch’:  Put on insect bites to reduce the sting  and encourage q16x9-1152x648-after-sun-soothing-spray-us-english-webuicker healing. Use on burns to encourage faster healing. Relieve the pain & sensitivity of sore gums, dry or chapped lips and occasional scrapes. And, use to assist with soothing skin after too much sun.

Clear Your Mind: Apply to the temples and the back of the neck to lessen the effects of stress and anxiety, which comes with both pregnancy and being a Mum. And, if you have time, add it to bath water with epson salts or magnesium flakes to soak away the day’s stress and to promote a restful nights sleep.

Care For Your Baby Belly: Rub lavender essential oil mixed with fractionated coconut oil (or other organic carrier oil such as jojoba oil or almond oil) onto an itchy tummy while pregnant.

Baby Massage: Dilute 1 – 2 drops of lavender oil in 1 tablespoon of fractionated coconut oil (or other organic carrier oil such as jojoba oil or almond oil) and gently massage, allowing your baby to enjoy the benefits of your touch and attention.

Emotionally lavender is the oil of communication. It aids verbal expression. It calms the insecurities that are felt when we risk our true thoughts and feelings. Lavender addresses the fear of being seen and being heard.

Lavender encourages emotional honesty and insists that we speak our innermost thoughts and desires. It is through open and honest communication that we experience unconditional love and acceptance.

Through lavenders courageous spirit, one is free to share their true self with others.

Would you like to know more about doTERRA® essential oils and products…..

If you’d like to learn more about doTERRA® therapeutic essential oils and how you can use essential oils to support you and your family’s health and wellbeing, then come along to my next doTERRA® workshop (contact me for dates), contact me to have a chat or go to my doTERRA®website to find out more about doTERRA®.

Disclaimer: All information provided are recommendations & advice only. All individuals should discuss the suitability of their health and exercise requirements with their doctor, exercise professional, physiotherapist, midwife or health professional.
For further advice about your individual health, wellness and fitness needs, speak to a health professional, women’s health physiotherapist and/or pregnancy and post-natal exercise professional.

The W.O.W Collective Podcast

 

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I love listening to podcast’s when I finally get some mummy-time and get out for a walk, a jog or simply have some time to do some cardio in my studio. But, finding a podcast that was about women’s health, fitness and other issues we women deal with, that was produced in Australia, has been a challenge.

After commencing my recent challenge, “Fit As F*&k” with Nardia Norman, the 2014 Personal Trainer of the Year, I decided to check out her podcast, The W.O.W Collective.

W.O.W stands for women of Wellness, Wealth, Wonder, Wisdom and Weird, and Nardia chats with amazing women who share their stories and impart important messages about life, love, hurts, challenges, health and all sorts through their individual stories.

So, if you’re looking for a great podcast to listen to, definitely check out Nardia Norman’s podcast “The W.O.W Collective Podcast”.

If you want to tune in I suggest subscribing by clicking this link ===>  https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/w.o.w-collective-inspiring/id1045879036?mt=2

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Jody is a pregnancy and post-natal specialist, with tertiary qualifications in exercise science and registered as a Level 3 Exercise Professional with Fitness Australia.
Jody is also a mum of two small children under 5, and therefore understands the demands and challenges of being a mum.
Jody is passionate about educating, energising and empowering pregnant and post-natal women through the provision of safe but effective exercise programs and fitness sessions.
Contact me today to see how I can help you with your fitness and health!
Disclaimer: This article is advice only. All individuals should discuss the suitability of their health and exercise program with their doctor, exercise professional, physiotherapist or midwife.
For further advice about your individual fitness needs, speak to a pregnancy and post-natal exercise professional, women’s health physiotherapist or health professional.

Just Breathe

Having children and being a mum really is one of the most rewarding, but also one of the most challenging, jobs in the world.

There are so many days where there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours to get everything done. Days where you feel like your moving through a fog due to sleep deprivation, and where there are way too many things to do while you are caring for a little person who is completely dependent upon you.

And, even when they’re not babies anymore, there really is no time for rest, no holidays as you knew them, and, well, the show must go on!

It’s not surprising that sometimes you can feel overwhelmed and stressed!

 Just breathe….

When we feel overwhelmed, upset or stressed, our breathing can become quick and shallow. Taking the time to stop and breathe deeply will instantly calm you down both mentally as well as physically. It will help relax your entire body, and, once you have calmed yourself, you are better able to cope with what you need to do or work out how to move forward.

What are some of the signs that I’m stressed?

We all display the signs of stress differently. Shallow, quick breathing is one sign. However, here are other signs to look out for:

  • Muscle tension, particularly in the jaw and shoulders
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty coping

  Just breathe….

 Simple Breathing Exercise – “Five, Five, Five, Five”

Find a comfortable position. You can sit, stand or lie on your back or side. And you can hold your little one while doing this exercise.

If you like and it is possible, close your eyes.

Breathe in through your nose, counting 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Now hold your breath, counting 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Then, breathe out gently through your lips as if blowing through a straw, counting 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

With every breath out, relax your body a bit more.

Repeat this longer breath five times, feeling the release and relaxation with every breath.

If initially counting to five is too much, especially when holding your breath, then start with three counts and work up to five counts.

Ok, so, I took some long deep breaths, but what else can I do? 

1. Introduce some mindfulness or meditation into your day

Take 5 to 10 minutes each day, either when you wake or before you go to sleep, to simply be still and breath. It is one of the best gifts you can give yourself.

There are so many wonderful guided mediation apps available now, with my favourite being Smiling Mind , that it really is easy to integrate a few minutes each day. Other apps that I have liked to use are Calm and Headspace

And, for those Mumas-To-Be (and Dads-To-Be) there is another beautiful guided mediation app, Mind The Bump that has been developed by Smiling Mind and beyondblue to help individuals and couples support there mental health and wellbeing as they go on this amazing journey of becoming a new parent.

I’ve never been one to be able to stop, be still and quieten my mind. But this year I realised it was something that I needed to include in my day. And, from my experience over the past few months, it really has improved my ability to cope with my daily stresses and challenges, reduced my anxiety, helped with my perspective on life, and, when I do it before I sleep, I believe it has contributed to the quality of my sleep improving.

2. Be thankful each day

Sometimes, when you’re overwhelmed, anxious or stressed, it really is hard to be positive or focus on the good things that are happening in your life.

However, taking the time to be in the moment and feeling gratitude for something in your day, however big or small, will make your heart smile or make you feel a sense of accomplishment, both of which will support your mental and physical wellbeing.

A smile from your child, a new milestone by your little one, the sun shining or the simple fact that you woke up to a new day (it’s certainly better than the alternative!)

3. Focus on one task at a time

We always think that to be the perfect mum, you have to be able to be ‘multi-tasker extraordinaire’! But, as you probably know, when the brain isn’t functioning quite as well as it has previously, just completing one task can be a challenge, let alone two or three at a time.

So, give yourself a break, and try and complete just one task before moving onto the next. It will give you a sense of achievement, and, I can almost guarantee that you will be as efficient as before, if not more efficient!

4. Enjoy the benefits of essential oils

Last year, I was introduced to the beautiful therapeutic benefits of doTERRA® Essential Oils. The power of pure, natural, aromatic oils can really contribute to supporting your emotional and physical health and wellness.

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And, though I am still exploring the different ways these oils can contribute to supporting my health and wellness, I have found that the simple action of diffusing a calming and balancing blend of these gorgeous oils, such as Lavender, Frankincense and Wild Orange, have really helped to bring me a sense of calm when I really am struggling (especially during the evening “witching hours”!)

These therapeutic grade oils provide a palette of aromas, which can assist in energising, calming, healing, balancing, uplifting or any other therapy you are seeking.

If you’d like to learn more about doTERRA® and explore natural solutions to support you and your family’s health and wellness, please do not hesitate to contact me.

5. Seek help 

“Perinatal anxiety and depression is common, does not discriminate and has many faces. Up to 1 in 10 women and 1 in 20 men experience antenatal depression and up to 1 in 7 women and 1 in 10 men postnatal depression…The earlier help is sought the better the outcome for mother, infant and family unit” – PANDA (Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia)

If you are not able to deal with your stress, anxiety or depression, it is ok to seek help, and, there is help out there.

If you don’t feel you can speak to a friend or family member, speak with your GP, your Child Healthcare Nurse or contact an organisation like PANDA, Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia, who provide a national helpline which you can contact:

PANDA

Monday to Friday 10am – 5pm (AEDST)

Tel: 1300 726 306

 

 

 

There are also organisations, such as beyondblue and Lifeline, who are able to provide support:

Beyond Blue                                     Lifeline

 

Remember, your babies are only little for a short time, so, try and enjoy the precious, happy moments, and know that the challenging times will pass. Take the time to breathe slowly and deeply when things are getting hard and you are feeling overwhelmed or anxious.

And, if that is not working, make sure you talk to someone or seek the help that you need. It doesn’t make you a bad parent to look after yourself. In fact, taking the time to care for yourself and seek help if you need it will lead to you being a happier, healthier mum. And it will have a positive impact on your relationships with your child, your partner and your friends and family.

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Jody is a pregnancy and post-natal specialist, with tertiary qualifications in exercise science and registered as a Level 3 Exercise Professional with Fitness Australia.
Jody is also a mum of two small children, and therefore understands the demands and challenges of being a mum.
Jody is passionate about educating, energising and empowering pregnant and post-natal women through the provision of safe but effective exercise programs and fitness sessions.
Contact me today to see how I can help you with your fitness and health!
Disclaimer: This article is advice only. All individuals should discuss the suitability of their health and exercise program with their doctor, exercise professional, physiotherapist or midwife.
For further advice about your individual fitness needs, speak to a pregnancy and post-natal exercise professional, women’s health physiotherapist or health professional.

7 Reasons To See A Women’s Health Physiotherapist

I am so passionate about women’s health, particularly during the journey of becoming and being a mum.

In my ideal world, every woman who has a baby would be reviewed by a women’s health physiotherapist following the birth of their child.

A woman’s body goes through so much during the journey from conception to the birth of their precious child, that on the outside no one would know just how much recovery a woman’s body has to go through while adjusting to her new life  as a mum and caring for her new baby.

What exactly is a Women’s Health or Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist?

A women’s health or pelvic floor physiotherapist is a physiotherapist who holds post-graduate qualifications in musculoskeletal issues associated with pregnancy, birth, post-natal, breastfeeding and menopause. They are trained to understand the life-stages and changes experienced by women, and the impacts these have on a woman’s body.

So, why should I see a Women’s Health or Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist?

As an exercise specialist, there are many reasons why I refer my clients to a Women’s Health Physiotherapist.

However, the following are the 7 main reasons why any woman, particularly a new mum, should make an appointment to be reviewed by a Women’s Health Physiotherapist:

  1. Painful scar tissue (caesarean, episiotomy, tear)
  2. Have a bulge or feeling of ‘heaviness’, discomfort, pulling dragging or dropping in the vagina
  3. Accidently leaking urine, wind, stool when you exercise, play sport, laugh, cough or sneeze
  4. Urgency to pass urine or to use your bowels
  5. Passing urine frequently or constantly needing to go to the toilet
  6. Finding it difficult to empty your bladder or bowel
  7. Suffer from pelvic pain or experience pain during or after intercourse

“Take care of your body, it’s the only place you have to live”

– Jim Rohn

Returning to exercise or sport after having a baby is one that should be gradual and with care. If you are looking for some guidance, please refer to my blog Getting Active As A New Mum.

And, if your personal trainer, coach or fitness professional does not ask you questions about your pelvic floor, test your deep abdominal strength, take time to ask about any other conditions or issues you are currently dealing with as a new mum or make modifications for the stage you are at postpartum, it may be time to find a new trainer!

At MumaBubs, we throughly screen all of our new clients, and ensure that we know as much as possible about each women’s motherhood journey, before they start sessions with us. And, we now recommend all of our new clients, and expectant mums, both current and new clients, take the time to be reviewed by a Women’s Health Physiotherapist. 

You have to live with your body for the rest of your life. And, if it looks good but is not functioning well, then that affects the quality of your life both now, and when your little ones have grown up.

Take the time to care for yourself so you can live life to the full and enjoy every moment with confidence!

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Jody is a pregnancy and post-natal specialist, with tertiary qualifications in exercise science and registered as a Level 3 Exercise Professional with Fitness Australia.
Jody is also a mum of two small children under 5, and therefore understands the demands and challenges of being a mum.
Jody is passionate about educating, energising and empowering pregnant and post-natal women through the provision of safe but effective exercise programs and fitness sessions.
Contact me today to see how I can help you with your fitness and health!
Disclaimer: This article is advice only. All individuals should discuss the suitability of their exercise program with their doctor, exercise professional, physiotherapist or midwife.
For further advice about your individual fitness needs, speak to a pregnancy and post-natal exercise professional, women’s health physiotherapist or health professional.

Pram Posture Tips

One of the best activities for new mums is going for a walk with their new baby in the pram. It is a wonderful way to get in some exercise, and most babies love the movement of the pram and the sights and sounds of being outdoors.

 However, the way you push your pram is very important. It may seem like a simple, uncomplicated activity. However, if you are not using good form, you could do more harm than good.

Here’s a few quick tips to remember when walking with you pram: shutterstock_235348963

Keep your body upright, or slightly leaning forward, and your focus forward not down to the ground.

Your hips should be kept close to the pram and be aligned underneath your shoulders. This is particularly important when you start including more hills in your walks, as it will help prevent back pain that can be associated with walking. And, by using this posture, you will start to use your leg and buttock muscles instead of your back. And, well, who doesn’t want stronger legs and a tighter butt!

Keep your shoulder blades relaxed with your elbows bent and close to your body, or just slightly in front of your body.

Your chest should be upright, however, your ribs should be soft and closed, not sticking out. And, your hands should be relaxed on the handle bar and your wrists should be in a neutral position. Most prams come with adjustable handle bars so make sure the handle of your pram is adjusted for you and this will ensure that you can maintain your upright posture.

shutterstock_196137764Allow your breathing to be natural so that as you breathe in, your rib cage expands, your diaphragm fills with air as it lowers, your belly softens and your pelvic floor can expand and work with the rest of the core muscles to manage pressure within the abdomen. As your breathe out, the reverse process should occur, resulting in the gentle activation of the pelvic floor and deep lower abdominals, and the closing of the ribs. This will help to support your lower back and pelvis, and ensuring that you are supporting the recovery and rehabilitation of your pelvic floor and core muscles.

Alternate swinging with one arm. Rather than keeping both hands on the pram during you walk, consciously alternate swinging one arm by your side, while pushing the pram with the other. It is more natural to swing our arms when we walk (we don’t normally walk with our arms still do we?), and this will help prevent neck and shoulder pain.

And, these same tips apply when you get the all clear to start jogging with your pram.

Check out my other post, Get The Most Out Of Your Walk, for other tips of getting the most out of every walk!

Happy walking!

 

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Jody is a pregnancy and post-natal specialist, with tertiary qualifications in exercise science and registered as a Level 3 Exercise Professional with Fitness Australia.
Jody is also a mum of two small children under 5, and therefore understands the demands and challenges of being a mum.
Jody is passionate about educating, energising and empowering pregnant and post-natal women through the provision of safe but effective exercise programs and fitness sessions.
Contact me today to see how I can help you with your fitness and health!
Disclaimer: This article is advice only. All individuals should discuss the suitability of their exercise program with their doctor, exercise professional, physiotherapist or midwife.
For further advice about your individual fitness needs, speak to a pregnancy and post-natal exercise professional, women’s health physiotherapist or health professional.

Get The Most Out Of Your Pram Walks

Walking is such a great low impact, pelvic floor safe, energising activity, and perfect for helping you feel energised and start reclaiming your body after having your baby.

We are all aware of the benefits of walking and getting out into the fresh air, including:

  • stimulating those feel-good endorphins
  • managing your stress and anxiety levels
  • improving your health and fitness
  • contributing to the prevention of chronic health conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease and osteoporosis.

Your little ones also enjoy the movement of being in the pram, the fresh air and all the new sights and sounds around them.

For some women there is a strong desire to get back to more challenging and intensive workouts, such as jogging or running, after having a baby, especially if they’ve had to stop during pregnancy. However, during those first 6 months, your pelvic floor, your abdominal muscles and possibly even your pelvis may not be ready as you are.

So, how do I you get the most out of your walks in the early months?

Start out gradually. In the early weeks, focus on gentle walks to get you out into the fresh air and provide a break for you and your baby.

Use these walks as a way to:

  • clear your mind
  • manage the stress and anxiety that sometimes comes in the early days of having a new baby, and
  • to release those feel-good endorphins.

Then once you’ve been cleared by your health professional, and you’re ready to increase the intensity, start with adding in intervals of brisk walking.

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Always choose flat surfaces. This helps with avoiding additional impact and jarring on your body or additional loading on the pelvic floor.

Always keep hydrated and ensure that your blood sugar is not low. Take some snacks with you in case you start to feel hungry or light-headed.

Make sure you are wearing supportive exercise gear, particularly a good bra or sports top. This will ensure you feel comfortable and supported while walking. There is nothing worse then bouncing, sore boobs when you’re trying to have an energising walk!

And don’t forget to wear a good pair of supportive walking shoes to prevent any injury to your lower body, including your feet, ankles, knees and pelvis. Remember, in the first 6 months after having your baby, the hormone relaxin is still subsiding, therefore, your joints, ligaments and other tissues are still more susceptible to injury and damage.

If you are breastfeeding, try and feed your little one before going for your walk. This will help with your own personal comfort, and, hopefully, your little one will be more content, and hopefully, have a nap during the walk!

Keep the pram load low. Apart from the weight of your baby, try and minimise any additional load in your pram. Though your general muscle strength may still be good, your entire body, including your pelvic floor strength, will still be recovering. After having your baby, focus on training the weakest part of your body, your pelvic floor. Keeping the load in your pram to a minimum will ensure you are preventing any downward pressure on the pelvic floor from the strain that can come with pushing a heavy pram, which in turn, protecting your pelvic floor.

Pram Posture. The way you push your pram is so important as you could do more harm than good. Making sure you are standing upright (no hunching!), your shoulders are kept relaxed.

Check out my blog about Pram Posture for more important tips!

Breathe. Allow your breathing to be natural so that as you breathe in, your rib cage expands, your diaphragm fills with air as it lowers, your belly softens and your pelvic floor can expand and work with the rest of the core muscles to manage pressure within the abdomen. As your breathe out, the reverse process should occur, resulting in the gentle activation of the pelvic floor and deep lower abdominals, and the closing of the ribs. This will help to support your lower back and pelvis, and ensuring that you are supporting the recovery and rehabilitation of your pelvic floor and core muscles.

Interval walking.

Michelle Kenway, an Australian Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist and author of Inside Out, has written an article about Interval Walking. This gives you some great tips on how to increase your walking intensity safely, while still enabling you to get a great workout to burn body fat and increase your fitness.

If you really are keen to get jogging, and you have checked your abdominal muscle and pelvic floor control, start with a “walk jog” first, alternating periods of jogging with walking, to test out your body.

Finally, with both walking and jogging, if something doesn’t feel right, it probably means something isn’t right and shouldn’t be ignored.

If this is the case, always seek advice from a Women’s Health Physiotherapist or a Pregnancy and Post-Natal Exercise Specialist.

For those early months, while your body is still healing and rebuilding, focus on walking and, more importantly, making the most of every walk!

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Jody is a pregnancy and post-natal specialist, with tertiary qualifications in exercise science and registered as a Level 3 Exercise Professional with Fitness Australia.
Jody is also a mum of two small children under 5, and therefore understands the demands and challenges of being a mum.
Jody is passionate about educating, energising and empowering pregnant and post-natal women through the provision of safe but effective exercise programs and fitness sessions.
Contact me today to see how I can help you with your fitness and health!
Disclaimer: This article is advice only. All individuals should discuss the suitability of their exercise program with their doctor, exercise professional, physiotherapist or midwife.
For further advice about your individual fitness needs, speak to a pregnancy and post-natal exercise professional, women’s health physiotherapist or health professional.

Getting Active As A New Mum: Guidelines For The Early Months

Returning to exercise, including fitness classes, sport, running or any other high-impact activities after childbirth, may in fact do you more harm then good.

High-impact activities, such as those listed above, in the first 4 to 6 months after you’ve brought your new baby into the world may result in weakening the pelvic floor, and potentially leading to bladder or bowel issues, or pelvic organ prolapse – none of which anyone wants!

When considering re-introducing some form of exercise or sport back into your routine,  keep the following exercise guidelines in mind during the first 6 months after having your baby:

1. Include Pelvic Floor Exercises

The main function of the pelvic floor muscles are to support the bladder, the uterus (womb) and the bowel, and therefore play an important role in bladder and bowel control, as well as sexual sensation.

By strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, the muscles become stronger, and therefore provide increased support for your abdominal and pelvic organs, and your pelvis and lower back, as well as preventing such issues as incontinence and prolapse.

If you want more information on why you should do your pelvic floor exercise, see my blog 6 Great Reasons To Do Pelvic Floor Exercises.

Correct technique is also crucial, which is why it is something we focus on during the 4-week MoveMuma Restore Program.

Following the birth of your baby, most women are provided with information in relation to pelvic floor exercises. If you are unsure how to do your pelvic floor exercises, seek advice from your Obstetrician, Midwife, a Women’s Health Physiotherapist or a Post-Natal Exercise Specialist.

There are also great resources available for you to refer to, such as those put together by the Continence Foundation of Australia and Pelvic Floor First.

2. Include Post-Natal Abdominal Bracing

Abdominal bracing is a light contraction of your deep lower abdominals, and holding that very light contraction while maintaining normal breathing and moving your arms, legs and/or torso. Being able to effectively brace your abdominals will ensure your lower back and pelvis are stabilised and your pelvic floor is supported.

Like your pelvic floor exercises, correct technique is crucial, and therefore it is another major focus of the 4-week MoveMuma Restore Program.

Gentle progression is also very important. If you try to progress to quickly, or miss any stages of learning to brace your abdominals, you may have underlying deep abdominal muscle weakness, which could potentially cause back pain, or place downward pressure on your pelvic floor.

3. Aim for 30-minutes of Low-Impact Activity Each Day

Walking, post-natal exercise classes and swimming or aqua classes (once bleeding has stopped) are all great low-impact activities to include when you’re a new mum.

These types of exercises are not only good for your physical health, but are also so good for your mental wellbeing and managing the additional stresses of caring for a newborn.

However, remember that this is a time when you, your family and your new baby are all adjusting to a new chapter of your life. You will be dealing with the extra demands of being a new mum, feeding and interrupted sleep.

So, be gentle with yourself. Start with short walks, about 10 minutes, then gradually increase a minute or two with each walk. Listen to your body, and ensure that the activity you include leaves you feeling energised with a lifted mood, and not exhausted.

Finally, if something doesn’t feel right, seek advice from a Women’s Health Physiotherapist, your Child Healthcare Nurse or from a Post-Natal Exercise Specialist.

4. Avoid High-Impact Activities

Jogging, running, and any activity that sees you jumping and jarring your body, which also places additional load on your pelvic floor, is considered a high-impact activity to be avoided in the first 6 months after having your baby.

Why should I wait?

During pregnancy, research shows that pelvic floor strength gradually declines, and the increasing weight of your baby contributes to this reduction in pelvic floor strength.

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Further, your body releases the hormone ‘relaxin’ during pregnancy, which softens the tissues in your body, including your pelvic floor, which makes your body more susceptible to injury or damage.

During childbirth, the pelvic floor muscles are placed under great stress resulting in stretching, and even possible damage, depending on the type of delivery.

One of the roles of the pelvic floor is to support the pelvic organs, which includes your bladder, uterus (womb) and rectum (back passage).

The ‘Boat Theory’ analogy is one way to help you think about the role of the pelvic floor muscles in supporting your pelvic organs.

Imagine that your pelvic organs (your bladder, uterus and bowel) are a boat sitting on the water, your pelvic floor. The ‘boat’ is attached by ‘ropes’, your supportive ligaments, to a jetty. If the ‘water level’ is normal, that is your pelvic floor is healthy, and there is no tension on the ‘ropes’.

As a result of pregnancy and the birth of your baby, your pelvic floor muscles have been stretched and lengthened, then the ‘water level’ will be lower, and there is more tension on the ‘ropes’, your supporting ligaments.

Boats-compressed

If you do not strengthen your pelvic floor, therefore reducing the tension on the ‘ropes’ by increasing the water level, then over time the supportive ligaments can overstretch and weaken, particularly if you return to high intensity or impact activities, and you are at increased risk of developing a prolapse.

Thank you to The Continence Foundation of Australia for this wonderful diagram showing “The Boat Theory’.

Therefore, following the birth of your baby your pelvic floor muscles need time to recover and strengthen, and for the effect of relaxin to subside so that your joints and ligaments return to their original position and stabilise, which can take up to 5 to 6 months for some women.

High-impact exercise is generally best avoided for at least 4 months after the birth of your baby, to enable your pelvic floor and deep abdominal muscles to learn to re-activate and to strengthen. This will reduce the risk of prolapse, incontinence & chronic pelvic pain & pelvic joint injury AND prevent injuries to your pelvis, spine, hips, knees and ankles.

From 4 months on it may be suitable for some women to gradually return to such activities, including jogging or running. However, it is highly recommended that you consult with a Women’s Health Physiotherapist to ensure that your body, particularly your pelvic floor, is ready for these high impact activities.

5. Include Your Baby In Your Exercise

In the early days it is so important to spend time with your baby, getting to know them and bonding with them.

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It is also so important to take the time to look after yourself, as a happy, healthy mum means a happy baby.

Including your little one in your exercise means that not only do you get the activity you require to strengthen and rebuild your body after the amazing journey it has just been through, but also enables you to spend time bonding with your little one.

Going for walks and mums and bubs post-natal exercise sessions, such as our 4-Week MoveMuma Restore Program, are great ways for you spend time with you new baby but also get the much needed activity you need to be happy and healthy.

Remember, it took 9 months for your body to grow and nurture your precious cargo, so be gentle on yourself and give yourself time to get back into shape.

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Jody is a pregnancy and post-natal specialist, with tertiary qualifications in exercise science and registered as a Level 3 Exercise Professional with Fitness Australia.
Jody is also a mum of two young children, and therefore understands the demands and challenges of being a mum.
Jody is passionate about educating, energising and empowering pregnant and post-natal women through the provision of safe but effective exercise programs and fitness sessions.
Contact me today to see how I can help you with your fitness and health!
Disclaimer: This article is advice only. All individuals should discuss the suitability of their exercise program with their doctor, exercise professional, physiotherapist or midwife.
For further advice about your individual fitness needs, speak to a pregnancy and post-natal exercise professional, women’s health physiotherapist or health professional.

What Is Diastasis Recti?

Well, most simply, Diastasis Recti, or abdominal separation, is the widening of the gap between the 2 sections of the rectus abdominis (6-pack) abdominal muscle.

AbdominalSeparation_VectorA Diastasis Recti or Rectus Abdominis Diastasis (RAD) or Abdominal Separation occurs when the linea alba, the connective tissue joining the rectus abdominis muscle (or ‘6 pack’) at the midline of the muscle splits and separates. The linea alba is no longer able to provide tension and stability to all of the muscles of the abdomen – the transversus abdominis, obliques and rectus abdominis – which means that all of these muscles are compromised, in turn affecting the whole body aesthetically and functionally.

Studies have shown 100% of women will have some some level of diastasis of the rectus abdominis in the third trimester. This separation will be present in the days following the birth of their baby, but should resolve as the uterus reduces in size over the 2 to 6 months postpartum, which is the time it will take the uterus to fully contract.

However, though is it common condition in pregnancy, pregnancy does not cause separation of the abdominal muscles. Rather it is a result of excessive intra-abdominal pressure or loading, or years of excessive abdominal loading with poor technique. During pregnancy, there is an increase in load and, combined with shifts in postural alignment, exacerbate the deeper problem of excessive and un-supported intra-abdominal pressure.

So, what does this mean?

For women with ongoing abdominal separation it will lead to reduced abdominal muscle strength, which will compromise abdominal muscle function.

For these women this means they are more susceptible to

  • Pelvic floor issues
  • Poor optimal alignment (posture)
  • Lower back pain and injury,
  • Spinal and pelvic instability
  • Difficulty restoring tone in the abdomen (i.e. abdominal bulge or ‘pooch’).

How will I know when my diastasis has resolved functionally?

  • The abdominal separation gap is less than 2cm (2 finger-width)
  • You are free of back pain
  • The abdominal separation does not increase when attempting an abdominal curl, or ‘bulge’ when sitting or attempting an abdominal curl
  • You have regained ‘core control’ and can sustain core recruitment throughout an exercise or movement

How do I know when I’ve regained my ‘core control’?

Having core control means the following:

  • You don’t lose deep abdominal recruitment, your ‘abdominal bracing’, when performing an exercise
  • You don’t hold your breath at any stage during an exercise
  • You don’t  lose form during an exercise
  • You don’t use unwanted muscles when you perform an exercise
  • Your lower abdominals don’t bulge but rather remain flat, and the diastasis does not increase

So, how do I know if I have a diastasis?

There is a simple test that you can do to test for a diastasis, or abdominal muscle separation:

  • IMG_3862Lie on your back with your head relaxed, and with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor
  • Place your fingers along the midline of your abdomen (palm facing you), starting just above your belly button
  • With your other hand, place it behind your head to provide support
  • Slowly lift your head and neck, while feeling for a gap or bulge above your belly button
  • If you find a gap, you will feel the muscles close in around your fingers as you lift your head and neck
  • If you feel a gap, measure the gap or space in finger widths
  • Lower your head and proceed to measure just below your belly button, 3 fingers length above the belly button and 2 fingers length below the belly button, ensuring that you lower your head between each measurement

If you identify a gap of more than 2 fingers wide, it is important that you seek advice from a Post-Natal Exercise Specialist or a Women’s Health Physiotherapist as you will require extra exercise modification and possibly further intervention.

However, even more important than the width of the gap though, is the tension in the midline – the linea alba. Contracting the muscles should create tension and resistance when you apply gentle pressure with your fingers to the midline. If it doesn’t, you definitely have some re-connecting to do.

I have a diastasis – what do I do now?…

Firstly, don’t panic! There is help out there from Post-Natal Exercise Specialists and Women’s Health Physiotherapists.

But, if this is you, then your first focus needs to be recovery of the separation and stabilisation of your spine. Overloading your outer abdominals, such as your rectus abdominis, with ab curls and planks, can increase the diastasis and potentially hinder any resolution of the condition.

Making small changes, such as stopping the habit of always drawing in your belly, or “bracing your core” (read my blog Awesome Abs Tip #1) , learning to breath optimally and making adjustments your posture and body alignment (read my blog Awesome Abs Tip #2), will contribute to the regulation of intra-abdominal pressure, and therefore decrease the load on the abdominal muscles.

And, re-engaging and strengthening muscles of the entire core muscle system, including the pelvic floor, will be important to the long-term function and aesthetics of your core and abdominal area.

Then, if you still feel you need professional guidance and support, speak with your fitness professional, if they have knowledge of the post-natal body, or make an appointment with a Women’s Health Physiotherapist.

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Jody is a pregnancy and post-natal specialist, with tertiary qualifications in exercise science and registered as a Level 3 Exercise Professional with Fitness Australia.
Jody is also a mum of two small children, and therefore understands the demands and challenges of being a mum.
Jody is passionate about educating, energising and empowering pregnant and post-natal women through the provision of safe but effective exercise programs and fitness sessions.
Contact me today to see how I can help you with your fitness and health!
Disclaimer: This article is advice only. All individuals should discuss the suitability of their exercise program with their doctor, exercise professional, physiotherapist or midwife.
For further advice about your individual fitness needs, speak to a pregnancy and post-natal exercise professional, midwife, doctor or women’s health physiotherapist.