ABDOMINAL BINDERS POSTPARTUM

Abdominal binding postpartum has been around for a long time, but with a resurgence of more modern designs and easy to use garments, questions pop up often from women about what is best for them postpartum.

The history of belly binding is rooted in honoring the 40 days of rest “the sitting moon” for mother’s after delivery.  A time that is honored slightly differently in various cultures.  But the idea is for the mother to be taken care of both physically, emotionally and spiritually.  The mother does very little activity other than t give her self rest and nourish her new baby.

When a mother is honoring this time and limiting activity, belly binding or wraps can be a beautiful way to reconnect to the core and feel supported where there is now a void with the delivery of baby.  When the binder or wrap is applied early on, not doing too much physically is crucial.  And this is due to the fact that anytime there is a force through the core, the pressure from it must go somewhere.  And in most cases that is pressed downward into the pelvic floor, which is often healing and/or stretched from pregnancy and/or delivery.  

Therefore if a mother is walking around a lot, lifting and using the binding to allow her to do more physically, the goal is lost and the risks could begin to outweigh the benefits.  I often use a toothpaste bottle as a visual example.  If you were to squeeze the center of the tube (the binder) and place the tube upright, the toothpaste would be pushed down and out the opening, just like your pelvic floor.  And unless your pelvic floor has had an adequate time to heal and recover, the lid (pelvic floor) would not have the stamina to stay on and prevent leaking (incontinence, prolapse, pain).

Overall, I am neither for it or against it.  I just believe firmly that women need education on its proper application and what is feasible for them in their situation.  Every woman is different, so every solution can’t be the same!

Personally, I have chosen to wear the BaoBei maternity bloomers and absolutely love them.  The compression is mild and most importantly they give support to the pelvic floor as well.  I would recommend these wholeheartedly.  Check them out for yourself here!

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LABOR AND DELIVERY PREP

As I now sit with my new baby boy, most likely in the midst of nursing or changing a diaper while you read this, I thought I'd start to fill you in on parts of my pregnancy journey.  Many of you have asked how I prepared for the labor and delivery,  and though I won't yet get into the exact details of my birth experience quite yet, I will say it was an incredibly amazing experience.  

Preparing for labor and delivery takes a holistic approach, but I'll start first with the physical aspect, since this is so much of what I cover with women in the studio.  

Around 35 weeks of pregnancy is when I began consciously preparing on the physical level to meet my baby.  I did certain stretches, movements, breathing, and massage techniques to get ready for the big day.  Here is my go to list of what I did to physically prepare my body.  I hope you find them useful too, and remember only do what feels right for you.

  • Diaphragmatic Breathing (focusing on letting go of the pelvic floor): Sitting on the large exercise ball.  Breathing in as the ribcage expands laterally and the pelvic floor drops down into the ball.  On the exhale (instead of getting the sensation of the pelvic floor lifting), keep the pelvic floor relaxed and dropped down.  Do this for 3-5 minutes daily.

  • Hip Circles on the Ball:  Sitting on the large exercise ball, spread your butt cheeks so the pelvic floor is on the ball more directly.  With breathing, do hip circles 15 times in each direction.  Do this 1-2 times per day.

  • Hip Circles on Hands and Knees:  Go down to your hands and knees, knees wider than your ankles.  Push yourself back and around, making circles in one direction, then repeat going the other direction.  Do 10-15 in each direction daily.

  • Kneeling Lunges:  Kneeling on one knee with the other foot in front, and both knees turned out.  Shift your weight forward and back to open the pelvis and inner thighs.  Use support as needed for balance.  Do 10-15 on each side daily.

  • Deep Squat with Support:  Place a few pillows or a meditation pillow on the ground.  Take a wide stance and lower yourself down into a squat onto the pillow.  Make sure the pillow(s) are high enough so you can maintain a slight arch in your back.  You can place your elbows inside your knees if it feels comfortable.  Hold this position for 3-5 minutes daily while breathing and letting go of the pelvic floor.  Come out of this squat slowly and carefully, use assistance if needed. 

  • Perineal Massage:  A couple days a week in the last few weeks of pregnancy, use a lubricant that you know works for your body, I used coconut oil, to gently massage the perineal tissue.  This is the area at the back side of the vaginal opening, between the vagina and rectum.  You can do this sitting with knees bent, or standing with one foot up on a stool, and easiest to do in the shower.  Apply a gently pressure towards the rectum and sweep back and forth in a "U" shape to begin to stretch the tissue that will be stretched during a vaginal delivery.  (If uncertain about this one, please check with your doctor first and seek out a pelvic PT to teach you)  

  • Overall Sense of Letting go of the Pelvic Floor (relaxing to use the bathroom, not crossing my legs, letting go of any tension in the pelvis)

hip circles on the ball

hip circles on the ball

deep squat with support

deep squat with support

Links for my favorite L&D props:

Exercise Ball

Meditation Pillow

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WHY I CREATED THE POSTNATAL EDUCATION SERIES

Just a few months ago I launched my first ever online video series.  I started with my postnatal education program since that seems to be a majority of my clients right now and I also have so many women reach out to me on a daily basis that aren’t able to come in for a consultation.  


Professionally my biggest goal as a Women’s Health practitioner is to make a postnatal assessment more common and perhaps even standard of care after delivery.  Sadly now it is often recognized as something unique or so specialized that women (and doctors) don’t even know it’s a treatment option.


The education I give women postnatally is what I feel all women have the right to know.  It empowers women to connect with their bodies, their recovery and their goals moving forward.  It also teaches women to recognize when they should seek treatment and why.


Therefore this series is exactly what I discuss with my mamas when they come in for their postnatal assessment.  The only difference would be that if we discovered anything along the way where they needed continued hands on care, which I obviously can’t provide through a video.  But if that comes up while practicing with the video, women can seek out a Women’s Health PT in their area (see the link below to find one near you).


The series is broken down into clear chapters which teach women about the anatomy and function of their core, in my opinion the most important part of the series. Then I move on to how to connect with the core through alignment, breathwork, and exercises.  And lastly the movements are summarized to give women a concise collection for daily practice. I even throw in there a bonus about cesarean healing and diastasis recti.


Ideally women could begin this series immediately after childbirth.  But honestly, if you are years past your delivery, you will still find value and connection.  What you learn in this series can be incorporated into your daily life and movement practices, so it’s never too late!

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INSPIRING MOTHER SERIES | JENNI KAYNE

The biggest thing I have learned about being a mother is to stick with your instincts. Your intuition is spot on, especially after becoming a mom. But at the same time, I had to come to terms with the face that you just can’t control everything.
— Jenni Kayne | Mother of 3, Designer, Entrepreneur

It has been a true pleasure to get to work with and know Jenni Kayne.  She is a successful business owner, wife and mother, and some how balances it all with ease and grace.  Not to say it doesn't take a lot of hard work and organization, but she has seemed to figure out how to juggle life so eloquently.  She has been a true inspiration in the last couple of years I've gotten to know her, and her support for other women is both admirable and sincere.  I am thrilled to be able to feature her as one of our inspiring moms so you can get to know her as well. 

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AO: What is one thing you have had access to before, during or after pregnancy that has positively influenced your experience? (product/professional service or treatment/class/book etc...)

JK:  I would have to say working with you! Doing physical therapy before, during, and after I had my third baby made my pregnancy so much easier and bouncing back was much easier than my first two. Throughout my pregnancy and postpartum I felt stronger and more in touch with my posture and pelvic floor, which made recovery and pregnancy much easier and essentially pain-free.  

I also had a doula for my delivery and a few weeks postpartum which was amazing—I didn’t have one with my first two. I loved my birth doula, Erica Chidi-Cohen. She really helped me to hold out on being induced and listen to my intuition, and I was so happy that I went in to labor on my own because I was induced with my first two and I hadn’t had that experience before. When I went home with Trooper I was lucky to have Stephanie Matthias as my postpartum doula. Stephanie nourished me with delicious foods that helped the healing process our bodies need after giving birth. It made the first few weeks so much easier and much more enjoyable.  

 

AO: What are you surprised by (that no one ever talks about) that happens
to your mind or body during or after pregnancy?

JK: Honestly, everything. I don’t think anyone tells you the whole truth about having a baby, and even if they did I’m not sure you’d want to hear it, or understand it, until you go through it yourself.

With all three of my babies, I experienced a huge hormone-driven rush of emotions and anxiety the first few days at home. With each baby, it was like clockwork—literally, it would happen every day around 5 pm. When it first happened with Tanner it was really scary, and I felt panicked. I attributed it to being nervous about being up at night with him, feeling helpless and alone, even though I was surrounded by my family. Then when it happened with Ripley I spoke to someone about it who explained that the feeling is related to the hormones that make your milk. With all three babies, those feelings ended once my milk came in, and it was over faster with each, and thankfully this time it only lasted a few days. No one warned me about this and the truly felt helpless.

 

AO: With your experience, what knowledge would you share with a new mother?

JK: The biggest thing I have learned about being a mother is to stick with your instincts. Your intuition is spot on, especially after becoming a mom. But at the same time, I had to come to terms with the face that you just can’t control everything. 

 

AO: How has your body amazed you on this journey of pregnancy and/or motherhood?

JK: I am blown away that women’s bodies are able to create, carry, and deliver a beautiful baby. I am so grateful that I was able give birth to three healthy babies. Women can do everything. Making babies and being a mother is one of the greatest things we get to do in our lifetime. As hard as being pregnant can be, emotionally and physically, I absolutely love being pregnant and think it’s such a special time. 

 

AO: Fill in the blank: My current self care must do/have: _______________

JK: I have so many! Micro-current facials with Julie Civiello Polier, acupuncture and acupuncture facials with Sherri Matthews, bodywork with Lauren Roxburgh, and obviously seeing you for physical therapy! 

 

AO: Fill in the blank: Motherhood means: __________________

JK:  Loving someone else unconditionally and putting their needs above all.  


Name: Jenni Kayne

Occupation: Designer, Entrepreneur

Website: www.jennikayne.com

IG: @jennikayne