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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ENJOYING PERSONAL TIME WITHOUT THE GUILT

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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!

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SWEET LAUREL MOTHERHOOD WELLNESS WORKSHOP RECAP

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I was fortunate to have been a part of Sweet Laurel Bakery’s Motherhood Wellness Workshop a few weeks ago in beautiful LA. Laurel and Claire, the wonderful mothers and chefs behind Sweet Laurel, hosted a lovely Saturday afternoon get together on the most perfect fall day, where I had the chance to discuss with all the women in attendance, my approach on preparing your body for motherhood, pregnancy as well as healing your body post partum. It was so special to lead a group of women in an open and safe environment on a topic that is so important. 

In typical Sweet Laurel fashion, we all enjoyed a delicious grain free lunch, with ingredients so pure and nourishing, that we all felt energized and our blood sugar remained balanced for the remainder of the day. While we ate our desserts, we listened to Claire give a talk on what self care truly means to new moms, followed by Laurel doing a baking demo, using the best healing ingredients and foods to add to our bodies during and post pregnancy (and this can be found in cookies and brownies!)

The day concluded with the moms in attendance, continuing to share stories with one another about their own experiences and lots of numbers were exchanged before we said goodbye. All of the guests left with some of our favorite ways to take care of themselves at home, including my all time everything balm, Nucifera, which is great for daily massage especially abdominal massage (I demo’d this during my talk), and the most perfect non toxic and nourishing lipstick, from Kosås cosmetics, which I found out that day has natural SPF. Plus it wouldn’t be an LA event, without some palo santo, the perfect addition to cleanse your sacred home as well as your loved ones. 

I believe that it is so important to have a community of mothers who support each other in all stages of motherhood, so I am thankful for being a part of this important event and for everyone that attended! 

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