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!

plumbline_0042.jpg
signature_grey_V4.png
 

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

signature_grey_V4.png
 

IN THE KITCHEN | SMOOTHIE RECIPE

My smoothies tend to be a combination of whatever I have left in the fridge, so I really had to think about what some of my favorite combinations are these days…since they change frequently.  

But this combination (or close to it) is usually my go to.  I just made it the other day and love how refreshing, energizing and simple it is! Do you have any go to favorite green smoothie recipes? I’d love to know about them in the comments below! 

IMG_2703-768x512.jpg

Ingredients:

  • handful of kale
  • ripe apple
  • ripe avocado
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • handful of parsley
  • a bit of ginger
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4c. aloe vera
  • dash of cayenne
  • Scoop of greek yogurt
  • water, coconut water or almond milk (pour to your desired consistency)
  • ice

Directions:

  • Mix all ingredients into a blender, or my favorite is the Vitamix and set to the smoothie setting! Serve and enjoy!
signature_grey_V4.png
 

ENJOYING PERSONAL TIME WITHOUT THE GUILT

coffee_001.jpg

As a mother of two, my days are often planned down the minute…work, preschool, playdates, swim lessons and more!  And then if I’m lucky, I squeeze in a date night, a hair appointments or a mani/pedi.  But why is that I can feel guilty for taking that extra hour or two to myself?  All of the “I should’s” always quickly rush through my head…

  • I should be home playing with my boys
  • I should be home making dinner
  • I should be working

And I know I’m not alone in this struggle.  My mommy clients and friends often express the same feelings.  Some moms refer to this as “mommy’s guilt”-that lovely feeling of always feeling like we should be doing more for our kids.  It come from such a good place in all of us, but we (I) need to practice letting it go!

And this last week, while I was in Colorado taking a course, I had the perfect opportunity to take advantage of some me time, while focusing on embracing the moment versus feeling guilty about it.  I leisurely enjoyed dinner alone outside (with a glass of rose, as you can see in the picture), I got a massage one evening after class and I even took a few hikes.  I know being out of town alone makes it easier to take time for yourself, but it made me realize how I need to do it more often when I’m home.

So I’m writing this blog as a reminder to myself and to all of you.  Our time will always be limited, there is always more we can do, but ultimately we are happier, more fulfilled and more present with our children when we take care of ourselves.  So take that extra hour to yourself without guilt and do exactly what makes you happy!

signature_grey_V4.png