Why you should "train" for pushing during childbirth

 
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Contributed by The Fit Doula, Maddy Wasserman

train (v.) -teach a person a particular skill or type of behavior through practice and instruction over a period of time.

Popular belief about the “nature” of childbirth and that “ it just happens” leads many families unprepared and uneducated for what lies ahead. While you don’t need to clock-in for a shift everyday to grow your baby, there are many behaviors you can implement and practice to ease your journey.

My passion for birth work with my experience in exercise has landed me as The Fit Doula. Here are my top 3 reasons why mothers should train to push.

1. Childbirth is an Major Athletic Event!

We train for most athletic events we set out to do, often for months on end, why not train for the physical and emotional demands of pushing your baby out of you body. And remember proper training sets you up for proper recovery and injury prevention.

2. Body Literacy!

The more you can learn about you body and how the muscles and bones in your pelvis function during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum the more educated birth experience you will have. There are specific muscle groups in your body that need to prepare to push your baby into the world.

3. Pelvic Floor Preservation!

The musculature of the pelvic floor is the gateway for your baby during the pushing stage of labor. We must learn where those muscles are and how to activate them through a full range of motion. By doing so you can mitigate tearing & episiotomies and possibly shorten the time you spend pushing.

During pregnancy your body shifts into a training mode itself, including an increase in blood flow, lung capacity and the ability to dissipate heat! Training for childbirth and pushing should include: diaphragmatic breathing exercises, pelvic floor exercises, strength training and cardio intervals, rest and speaking with your care provider about standards of care.

Ready to train?


Starting Solids: Common Feeding Myths

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After months of bottle or breastfeeding, starting solids with your baby can be a topic that evokes a lot of anxiety- especially since there are a ton of myths surrounding the topic!

We asked Molly Knauer, MS, RD, of Molly’s Best , Nutrition Director at Daily Goods, and FPC mama what are the most common myths she hears when starting solids with your littles? Check out her answers below!

Common Feeding Myths
Contributed by Molly Knauer, MS, RD

  • You have to offer veggies before fruits to raise a veggie lover
    The real way to prevent a picky eater is through introducing a variety of fruits and veggies, order is not as important. Once you get more comfortable introduce new fruits and vegetables each week along with spices to expand your child’s flavor profile

  • If your baby doesn’t like it the first time they won’t ever like it
    It may take around 17 times introducing a new food, giving a few days in between before you can claim the child doesn’t like that food! Just because they don’t like it today doesn’t mean they won’t like it in 2 days or 2 weeks. Getting frustrated? Try that food in different combos or textures

  • It’s unsafe to introduce high allergen foods before one years old
    Talk to your pediatrician but unless allergies run in your family, introducing these foods earlier on can actually reduce the risk of allergies!

  • You have to introduce the same food for multiple days before moving on
    In the first weeks of solids you may want to tread lightly but once you’re more comfortable, get creative with introducing lots of variety!

  • First bite has to be rice cerealThe days of rice cereal are over! For breast fed babies, start with iron fortified oatmeal mixed with breast milk. For babies fed at least 1/2 formula, you can actually get right to food!


Check out the event we’re hosting with Molly and Fit & Feast at the studio next week!

 
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Essential Tips for Your Ride to the Hospital 

 
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Ashley Brichter, CCCE, CLC. Our most trusted Childbirth Educator, Doula, and mom of two. Follow her on IG @birth_smarter or at birthsmarter.com

Assuming you’re not getting induced or having a planned cesarean, your ride to the hospital is something to plan for. Contractions – in a car – for many of you in New York City? I learned to drive on the FDR and still don’t envy anyone laboring on that road. In all seriousness, I would say the car ride is never as stressful as most people assume it will be. But to help you plan, here are four things to keep in mind and five tools you want to have on hand! 

  1. Tell your driver to be safe. This means don’t rush and don’t zig zag to avoid potholes. It is so unlikely that you will have your baby in the car a few extra minutes is not going to make a difference. And let’s be real, avoiding potholes is often more nausea-inducing than hitting them. Baby will be ok if you hit a bump! 

  2. Know where you’re going. Many hospitals have multiple entrances or difference entrances depending on the time of the day or night. Take a tour or get clear instructions from your midwife or doctor about where to go, when. 

  3. Don’t go too early.  Unless you’re staying in a hotel or at a friends house nearby, getting the care ride “over-with” before your contractions pick up just means that you’ll likely be sent home. When should you go? This is something to explore in depth during a birthing class and/or with your midwife or doctor.  

  4. Take a photo of your cab. This one is new to me, but I’ll share it. A dad in one of my classes recently suggested, if you’re taking a cab to photograph it before you get in. Apparently there have been some cases of Uber drivers faking damages to their car to claim cleaning fees from riders. Might not be bad to protect yourself. Besides this I will say, I am partial to taxi’s over driving yourself if you’re in an urban area. You free up your partners hand’s for massage and don’t have to worry about parking. They can go back and get the car and carseat the next day. 

In the car, cosy up in the back seat. No need to confine yourself to the front here. Here’s what you’ll want to have handy: 

  1. Eye mask or scarf. This can help you block out the lights and traffic patterns around you. That kind of processing can stress you out and disrupt your labor pattern.

  2. Head phones. Block out the sounds! Put on a dance mix or some meditation tracks and stay in your own world. 

  3. 2 pillows. For hugging or leaning over. Comfort is key! Maybe an airplane neck pillow too, if you have one!

  4. Depends. So, if your water has broken you’re going to be leaking some fluids. If it hasn’t, it might break in the car. Either way, a pair of Depends (the adult diapers) or a large pad can avoid the need for you to sit on a towel or clean up after yourself. 

  5. Sickness Bag. Along the same lines, contraction or motion sickness may cause nausea, so you’ll want to be ready in case you need to throw up in the car. Have a friend take some from their next airplane ride or use my personal trick paper towel trick: fold up a bunch of paper towels and put them at the bottom of a regular plastic bag or large ziplock. The absorption factor works wonders.


Learn more with Ashley at our next All Things Birth Workshop (for those in their first or second trimester) or during a Comprehensive Childbirth Education Weekend @ FPC. 

Meet Your Trainer: Dr. Alicia Ferrier

 
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Meet Alicia, FPC’s newest addition. She grew up dancing, is a full time physical therapist and has a drive and passion for women’s health. Was there ever a better match for FPC? Read on to learn a little more about her and be sure to catch her class on Tuesday evenings!

Hometown? Sandyston, NJ


Current location? Jersey city, NJ

What is your background? Dancing led me to search for a career that involved movement. Physical therapy allows me to keep moving, and help people in so many ways. While in school, I specialized in pediatrics which lead me to talk to a lot of pregnant and postpartum mothers. I began taking continuing education for women’s health and the pelvis and felt an overwhelming desire to spread the word. There’s so much that we can do to ensure we stay healthy throughout all stages of life!

What do you do when you don't teach at FPC? I am a full time physical therapist! I treat at Finish Line Physical Therapy in Chelsea, NYC. I am currently starting a women’s health program for athletes within Finish Line. When I’m not working, I love exercising, cooking and spending time with the people I love.

What inspires you? I’m inspired by people that are passionate about life. I love being around people that are excited about what they are doing both in their career and personal life. That energy is contagious.

Describe the energy of your FPC class. Challenging, fun and safe :)


What do you want to be when you grow up? The go-to physical therapist for prenatal and postpartum issues


Current favorite song? Get it by Busta Rhymes, Kelly Rowland and Missy Elliot


If you could be any animal in the world, what would you be and why? A koala bear- those guys sleep 20 hours a day!


Tell us something that not a lot of people know about you. I’m a sucker for funny children’s movies

BossMamas We ❤️

We were recently introduced to Janel Molton Hertz of Dopple and fell totally in love with her and what she does to make all our lives a little bit easier. We sat down with her to get the scoop on what she did before founding her company, what her take on balance is and hear about her proudest moment.

 
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What was the inspiration behind your amazing brand, Dopple?

The idea was first “conceived” when I was pregnant with my first baby Carmen six years ago. I had been in women's fashion e-commerce for over ten years yet and when I started looking for clothes to buy for her I was floored by how limited (and basic) the childrenswear market was. I wanted to find cool unique product but also didn’t want to pay $100 for a onesie that she would wear once and destroy.

Now we know you have a daughter named Carmen, does she have any siblings?

Yup, I have Carmen, who is five and her little brother is Gustav, who is three.

What did you do before starting your company?

I majored in Art History in college but interned at two art galleries and didn’t feel as inspired as I thought I was going to be. So at 19, in-between my sophomore and junior year, I interned at W Magazine in NYC and fell in love with the fashion industry (even with the Devil Wear’s Prada type of experience!). After college I actually started my own designer consignment site before going to Net-A-Porter to learn from the best of the best until I then met my (now) husband and moved to SF for love. I then spent two years commuting to LA to work as the first Brand Marketer @Revolve (and launch FWRD by Elyse Walker) before we moved back to NYC (pregnant) where I headed up brand marketing at a wedtech company called Weddington Way.

Seriously impressed with your background! From your expert opinion what are the top three children’s clothing brands to look out for today?

So hard as we have hundreds of amazing brands! My current faves are Rylee & Cru, Misha and Puff, Malu Organic, Soor Ploom, Les Petit Carreaux, and Dagmar Daley, and Beau Loves. Super excited we just started working with Stella McCartney and Chloe and definitely obsessed :P.

Tell us about your proudest moment.

Proudest moment so far was when we closed our seed round of fundraising.  

CONGRATS on raising money! That is not easy to do. What is the most challenging thing about running your own business?

You can’t turn off, ever. The business is always first and foremost and it’s really challenging to disconnect (even momentarily) which is imperative for creativity which will inevitably drive the business forward.

Right! What does balance mean to you?

Nothing!  I hate the word balance when it comes to having kids and a career. There is no balance post children. Whether you work or stay-at-home, raising human beings puts you perpetually off kilter as you actually can’t control every moment, making everyday balance impossible.

How has being a parent changed you?

It’s forever altered who I am and want I want. It’s taught me unconditional love, it’s taught me total selflessness, it’s taught me unbridled passion. I’m forever grateful for those two beautiful beings!

Where do you see your company in 2023?

Holy moly -- in startup world that feels like decades away. I see a lot more people believing in the Dopple dream :)

Where is your happy place?

With my closest friends, and mezcal.

Lastly, tell us about your ideal Saturday.

Sleep! I would give anything to sleep past 8am on a Saturday.

Instagram handle: @thedopple

Website: www.thedopple.com

To try Dopple just take the quiz and use the code FPCBFF to waive the service fee and try for free!

Exercise Breakdown: Balance and Relaxin

 
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Have you ever heard us mention Relaxin during classes at FPC? Relaxin is a hormone that plays a big factor in designing all our FPC workouts. We format the class to give your body time to focus on stabilizing before moving onto bigger and more demanding movements.

During pregnancy, your body is circulating an increased amount of a hormone called Relaxin, with it peaking at around 30 weeks. This hormone is important because its job is to soften the ligaments of the pelvis to give the baby room to grow.  The problem is, it doesn't discriminate.  It also softens the ligaments in your hips, knees and ankles, making life a little more unstable than it used to be.  Not to mention, your center of gravity is now in a different location. Fun fact, Relaxin stays in your body for up to 4 months post lactation so it’s something all breastfeeding and pumping moms need to take into consideration as well!

This is why focusing on stabilizing exercises during pregnancy and postpartum is so important. We add “balance” into every FPC class to help you practice stabilization but if you can’t make it to class every day, here’s an easy one you can practice at home.

1) Begin by finding your balance on one leg. (Find a wall or chair if you feel you need a little extra support)

2) Inhale, relax all the muscles of your core and pelvic floor.

3) Exhale, activate your pelvic floor (kegel) and pull your baby (or abdominal wall) closer to your body (pump). Tilt your weight forward and fly your arms out to the side to test your balance.

4) Repeat 5-10x's on each leg.

Why is the exhale so important?

This exhale described above activates your TVA, diaphragm, and pelvic floor to give you greater stability as you move into a position that tests your balance.  FPC’s Pump & Kegel ™ ensures you are engaging all your core muscles from the bottom, sides and top.  Think of all these muscles working together to form a box.  Pulling those core muscles in towards the center of the your "box" will give you more strength, balance and support anytime your body is in a unstable position.

Questions about this exercise or others to increase your balance? Ask us in class!

Meet Your Trainer: Jamie Jones

 
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Meet Jamie! She’s comes to FPC with the experience of a mom of 2 and a wealth of knowledge when it comes to pre/postnatal training. Read on to get to know her a little better.

Hometown? Farmington, NY (In the beautiful Finger Lakes!)

Current location? Manhattan

What is your background? I started in Hospitality and Tourism managing VIPs in 5-star hotels. I was essentially the fixer for everyone’s challenges or needs surrounding their experience - which is basically what I do as a mom now so it all correlates! But after having Postpartum Depression and a variety of body injuries after having my first son, I became passionate and driven to help women avoid those things and have an outlet for rehabilitation and strength postpartum.

What do you do when you don't teach at FPC? Chase tiny humans, enjoy lots of new restaurants with my family, and train lots of awesome, strong women.


What inspires you? Seeing women I have the pleasure of working with step into their strength and realize what they’re capable of. And showing my boys that they have a strong mom.


Describe the energy of your FPC class. Upbeat, form-focused, and fun!

What do you want to be when you grow up? Ever since I was little, I’ve wanted to be a crime scene investigator, but it’s probably more realistic now - I’m a little more adjusted to bodily fluids that aren’t my own...


Current favorite song? Don’t Call Me Up, by Mabel. I’m actually an old soul musically so I only listen to current songs for class, but this one always makes me want to move.

If you could be any animal in the world, what would you be and why? A Giraffe. Because being tall, lean, and graceful, while having nothing to do but graze in the sunshine all day sounds like an amazing thing if you ask me.

Tell us something that not a lot of people know about you. When I was 8, I walked by an audition to be in American Girl Fashion shows at our local mall and got selected. I modeled Addy and had a blast. You can only do it for as long as you fit their sample size, so outgrowing them quickly was a bummer. Now I have lots of cool accessories and two boys that could care less about anything American Girl (of course!)



Carolyn's Birth Story

We are overjoyed for FPC instructor, Carolyn, and new baby Max! We all miss her dearly at the studio and can’t wait for her to get back to strengthening our butts and arms soon. In the meantime, she’s home soaking up all the new baby snuggles and adjusting to life as a mom of 2.

Check out her birth story below!

 
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Introducing Max Murphy Tallents! 

Inheriting his punctuality from his parents, Baby Max began his journey into the world on his due date of March 11th, and officially arrived at 1:49am the next day at 8lb 15oz and 22.5 inches long.

When my early labor began in the afternoon, we headed to the hospital at the advice of our doctor - only to be told it was too soon to be admitted, but that we shouldn’t go all the way back home. Believe it or not, there are very few places in Midtown where one would feel comfortable laboring, so my husband and I checked into a hotel (now referred to as our “baby-moon”) where we dined on deli sandwiches and watched “The Voice” from the comfort of a hotel bed. 

Not even 2 hours later, we were in a cab back to the hospital with contractions that were less than 2 minutes apart. After going from 4 to 10cm in 30 minutes, Max made a fast and furious entrance and was out in 5 pushes! 

While labor and delivery was shorter and way more intense this time around, I felt strong, knowledgeable and as physically prepared as possible to get through it (thank you FPC!) 

We are all home now, recovering well and adjusting to life as a family of 4. Charlie has been an amazing big brother so far (despite us having to say “gentle please!” a billion times a day!) and I know they will eventually be best of friends.

Looking forward to getting back into the studio soon and can’t wait to see everyone!

Lots of FPC Love,

Carolyn

Meet Your Trainer: Heather Giesa

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Meet Heather! We scouted her (or she scouted us?) and she became a devoted FPC client during her 2nd pregnancy. We’re excited to bring her onto the team with her fun vibe and extensive pre/postnatal expertise.

Hometown? Queens, NY

Current location? Brooklyn

What is your background? 
I started dancing as a toddler and by my senior year of high school had began teaching dance classes. While pursuing a degree in elementary ed, I danced professionally and taught enrichment dance programs in public elementary schools - grades pre-k through 5th. After many years of Pilates being my go to workout I decided to become comprehensively certified. From there I went from instructor to teacher trainer, and found my passion for training the pre/postnatal population.

What do you do when you don't teach at FPC?
I chase my two sons around, ages 3.5 and 8 months, try to keep a neat home, and watch the current season of RuPaul’s Drag Race

What inspires you?
Other women who are powerful in what they do

Describe the energy of your FPC class.
Funky, fresh, dressed to impress, ready to party 

What do you want to be when you grow up?
A homeowner in my hometown. And to be cool enough to be featured in Advanced Style (my favorite blog) one day.

Current favorite song?
Come Sail Away by Styx, my big boy is VERY into singing this at the top of his lungs and it is the cutest. Default answer is anything by Biggie.

If you could be any animal in the world, what would you be and why?
In order: a manatee, an elephant, or a giraffe. They’re vegetarian, gentle, and huge, so no one messes with them

Tell us something that not a lot of people know about you.
I’ll have to get back to you, I’m kind of an open book...

Meet Your Trainer: Jenny Hoofnagle

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We are excited to introduce to you new FPC trainer, Jenny Hoofnagle! She’s an actress, pilates instructor and pre & postnatal corrective exercise specialist. You can catch her class on Tuesday mornings at 8 and 9:30AM.

Hometown- Houston, TX

Current location- Upper East Side

What is your background?-

I grew up acting in musicals and plays at a community theater. That led me to NYC and NYU for undergrad.

What do you do when you don't teach at FPC?-

I’m also a Pilates instructor, one on one and in group settings. I love to go to the theater, travel and my favorite weekly appointment is my vocal lesson!

What inspires you?-

Travel inspires me. I love seeing new places and experiencing new cities and cultures because it takes me out of my own bubble, reminds me that the world is so much bigger than even NYC and allows me to build upon my personal experiences.

Describe your FPC Signature class-

Encouraging, technical, empowering and FUN!

What do you want to be when you grow up?

A mom! :)

Current favorite song-

I cannot get Girls Like You by Maroon 5 out of my head. Its so catchy-which is why you’ll find it in my classes in March!

If you could be any animal in the world (aka your spirit animal), what would you be and why?-

I would totally be a flamingo because I think it would be great to live in the tropical weather, eat shrimp and be pink!

Tell us something not a lot of people know about you-

In 4th grade I won a radio karaoke contest by submitting a tape of me singing “It’s My Party”. For the prize I got to sing on a major concert venue stage with Tommy James and the Shondells. We sang “Mony Mony”.

4 Ways to Create Developmental Play Experiences for Baby

Contributed by Lauren Vien, Education Director at Rose & Rex

 
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Ever wonder, “What should I be doing with my baby all day?”

We get it. As parents, we try to fill our babies’ days with anything and everything that positively impacts their development.

To create rich play experiences, try interacting with your baby in the following ways:

TALK

Speak, read, or sing to your baby. Language development is influenced by the amount of language that a baby hears during his or her first year. Narration is one way to incorporate lots of language into your play. “I see you reaching for the yellow ball. Oh! You touched it with your finger tips. Uh oh! Now it’s rolling under the table. Can you reach the ball with your foot now?”

TOUCH

Massage, tickle, or rub your baby’s body. Touch reduces stress and increases the unique bond between parent and child. In addition to cuddling up together, try providing your baby with independent sensory experiences. Naked playtime allows babies to move freely, while exploring how their bodies relate to the surface beneath them.

MOVE

Encourage your baby to reach, kick, grasp, and wiggle. Seek safe, padded play spaces for your baby to explore- both indoors and out. Tummy time troubles? Try introducing books or musical instruments. Babies should spend nearly every waking moment experimenting with movement; be conscious of how much time your baby spends confined to a bouncer or stroller each day.

CONNECT

Eye contact, facial expressions, and tone of voice are crucial elements of emotional development. Playfully exaggerate feelings of happiness or sadness. Stand in front of a mirror with your baby, study each other’s faces, and mimic each new expression.  Connecting with your baby in this way teaches your baby how to communicate with others.



Reverse those Kegels for Labor Prep!

 
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Contributed by Ashley Brichter our most trusted Childbirth Educator, Doula, Lactation Counselor, and Mom of two.


Want to minimize your risk of tearing? Ensure a smoother pushing phase of labor? Think about letting go!

Each month I teach a small group of expecting parents about the labor and delivery process and each month I ask, who’s been told to “kegel?” [The majority of hands go up.] Then I say, “great! Can one of your explain how to do a kegel for those that might not know.” There is always one eager student who answers quickly: “squeeze like you’re trying to stop the flow of urine.”

Here’s the thing. The vagina and the surrounding muscles of the pelvic floor do not actively help push a baby out. I understand why you might have thought that. No one really learns about childbirth (before they come to class) but it’s not true. Vaginas don’t push babies out. Uterus’ push babies out. “Tight vaginas” can even cause some trouble when it comes to labor.

Let me explain! Check out these images of the pelvic floor.

 
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There are 14 muscles that run from pubic bone to tail bone and from sitz bone to sitz bone. The pelvic floor is akin to having an artisanal woven basket between your legs, especially created to help you eliminate waste (from bowel and bladder), support internal organs and your general upright structure, and provide sexual pleasure! The pelvic floor has very important jobs to do.

The muscles around the vaginal opening are, in general, tight on all of us. If you’re curious, I would highly recommend seeing a pelvic health specialist for a prenatal or postpartum evaluation! They are not always tight, just often. The reason I don’t want to you to super-kegel your way through labor-preparation is because tight muscles are more likely to tear under pressure!

That said, if you did want to kegel to “strengthen” the pelvic floor muscles, “squeezing like you’re trying to stop the flow of urine” wouldn’t be the way to go. If you look at the pictures again, the muscles around the vagina are just part of the equation.

Excuse my language, but can you squeeze like you are stopping the flow of urine at the same time as you are holding in a fart? Let go and try again. There it is!? Now you have access to the front and back of the pelvic floor muscles! If you can do it one more time, stopping urine, holding in a fart, and pull your low belly in – you have the famous FPC Pump + Kegel!

WAIT WAIT WAIT! For labor preparation specifically, I really want you to focus on the release. When a baby passes through the vaginal canal, the muscles of the pelvic floor should be used to relaxing and releasing.

Let’s go the other way.

Can you try to push out a drop of urine? Let go. Can you try and push out a drop of urine at the same time as pushing out a fart? Again, excuse my language! Can you try and push out a drop of urine at the same time as pushing out a fart and see if you can let your belly go (presses out and away from you)? That’s it. That is your pelvic floor release. Some women will describe this as finding a bulging sensation. in their pelvic floor or between their legs. If you do it a few more times, you may really notice how and why this would be useful for labor preparation. We want our muscles and tissues to be comfortable spending time in their relaxed state so they are happy to do so when a baby passes through.

For extra-credit, feel free to play around with finding the contraction and then the release. Can you move through the full range of motion seamlessly? Imagining moving a dimmer as opposed to a light switch. Can you coordinate with breath? Exhale contract, inhale release. It’s a challenge!

You can also look into Perineal Massage for labor preparation and if you have friends abroad think about getting your hands on an Epi-No.

Also, come to ALL THINGS BIRTH on March 20th at 6:30pm (with or without partners) to learn about some of the other things you hadn’t considered before having a baby!


Returning to Running after Pregnancy

 
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Contributed By Alicia Ferriere, DPT, PRC

 

Returning to exercise is one hurdle postpartum, returning to running is another. Running requires a lot from the body. Cardiovascular stress aside, running requires you to respond to gravity pulling down on your joints at 4-8x your body weight. It requires your muscles to be explosive while controlling high amounts of torsion going through your body. Running outside requires you to respond to your environment smoothly, without tripping or falling. As postpartum women return to running, it is important to take steps to get there safely to minimize injury down the road.

Basic mechanics of running and jumping

Let’s break this down into basics without getting too complicated. Running consists of transferring your weight from one foot to the other with a slight flight phase in between. That flight phase is what differentiates it from walking. Flight is also what makes running more impactful on your body. You’re essentially hopping from one foot to the other repeatedly. Now, depending on run form and speed, the amount of force going through your joints varies. Regardless, if you’re performing any sort of “run” you’re putting increased load through your joints. There is also increased torsion that is going through your body with each step. Without getting heavy into biomechanics, you need to have control over that rotation to prevent injury with the increased load of running.

What does this mean for your body?

Both pregnancy and labor/ delivery change the body in different ways. Simply being pregnant can put you in a posture that over-lengthens the abdominal wall and shortens hip flexors. Delivering a child can mean some sort of trauma either to the pelvic floor musculature or the abdominal wall. There is also increased elastin hormone running through your body which tends to make your ligaments a little looser. After discussing the force going through the body during running, it makes sense that we want to be as stable as possible to prevent injury when returning to running. If there was any trauma to your core or pelvic floor, you need to make sure that those muscles are properly working to ensure they will stabilize your trunk and pelvis during running.


Where to start

Start by making sure you can adequately work your abdominals, glutes and pelvic floor muscles. Start out with basic exercises such as breathing, and body weight squats. Start to build up some single leg stability by practicing single leg squats or lunging. You also want to build stability in the core through movement. You can try anything from dead bugs to 3D planking. The important part is to feel that you can use the muscles that have previously been put in a poor position to work or even damaged.

Return to plyometrics and jumping

Once you feel confident that your muscles are along for the ride and strong, you want to start to introduce plyometrics back into your body. A great way to start out postpartum is to begin on your hands and knees in a pike position, and practice jumping from here. Be sure to incorporate different directions and transition from double leg to single leg. Once this gets a little easier, introduce light jumping. You want to get your body used to stabilizing against increased gravitational force. You can progress all of this by introducing running drills and bounding before going into your first light run or even walk/run. As with any activity, you want to build your endurance gradually.

When returning to any activity postpartum, it is important to be kind to yourself! Allow proper time for healing and retraining of your muscles. Pregnancy and delivery does a lot to your body! Try not to compare yourself to your pre- pregnancy level of fitness right after delivery. It’s amazing to have goals in mind, but just make sure you give yourself enough time to achieve those goals safely!



What's this belly pump and kegel all about?

If you’ve taken class with us, you know we start every single class with our Pump & Kegel activation. If you’re a regular, you may find yourself getting bored with this repetition. If you are brand new, you may find yourself extremely frustrated with trying to understand what we are talking about!

No matter where you are in fully grasping this foundation, we assure you, it’s the single most important thing you are doing for your pregnant or postpartum body. Our goal at FPC is to make sure you are going through pregnancy with minimal aches and pains and that you make a complete recovery, postpartum.

Devoting as little as 4 minutes a day to breathing into your diaphragm, feeling full range of motion in your pelvic floor and deeply connecting to your transverse abdominis muscles is the key to minimizing the risk of diastasis recti (abdominal separation) and pelvic floor dysfunction.

It’s also important to take the time to separate the 3 elements of this process every time you do it. If any one of them isn’t functioning properly, you are jeopardizing the entire system.

#PumpAndKegel in 3 Steps

  1. Breath into your diaphragm. (The opposite of a stress breath where you see your shoulders rise and fall with every breath. Send the air, deep and low)

  2. Sense the muscle of your pelvic floor. Practicing feeling them engage lightly as you exhale and release fully as you inhale.

  3. Exhale and lift your pelvic floor again while adding a lower abdominal activation. Think of zipping up your entire abdominal wall from the bottom up. (If you are pregnant, imagine hugging the baby as close to your body as possible)

 
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If you are curious to learn more, join Joanie in one of our monthly, “Protecting your Core for Birth and Postpartum” where we’ll cover:

  • the anatomy and function of the "inner core unit" (aka the muscles you need to continue to train during pregnancy and in postpartum)

  • What exercises to do starting day 1 post birth

  • Diastasis Recti prevention and rehab

  • How to avoid pelvic floor dysfunction

Check out our Events page for the next upcoming workshop!

Tips for Returning to Work as a New (Pumping) Mom

Contributed by Milx

At Milx, we strive to modernize motherhood in all forms, which includes making life easier for working moms (like us!). We all three had babies in 2018 and understand the physical challenges around pumping and nursing, along with the emotional challenges that come with leaving your precious new babies. Read below for some tips on how to make things a little easier!

 
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1) Make time to pump. If you’re breastfeeding, you also need to regularly pump milk to store for your baby to drink whenever you’re not with them, and to remind your body to continue to lactate. If you stop pumping when you’re away from your baby for long periods of time, you’ll stop producing milk all together. If you’re breastfeeding and going back to work - assuming you work an 8 hour day - you’ll have to pump 2 to 3 times a day for about 30 minutes each. Do not skip pumping sessions, as it will cause your milk supply to decrease. Breastfeeding rates significantly decline after women go back to work because it’s such a challenge to fit pumping into your schedule. Many women don’t feel empowered to communicate that they need to carve out this time. Remember, it’s your right to take the time to pump so speak up, set scheduling expectations up front and block time off on your company calendar for regular pumping sessions.

2)  Invest in the right tools. If you’re pumping and nursing, for example, make sure you have a nursing/pumping bra (like Milx!) that you can wear all day to save time changing during pumping sessions. Make sure whatever you wear has hands-free capabilities (like Milx!), so you can be productive even while pumping. Also, have an extra set of pumping accessories you can keep at work in case you forget something. This happens all the time - trust us!

3) Set scheduling boundaries with yourself and your coworkers. This applies not only with your pumping schedule, but also with time restrictions. For example, you may have been the stay-late-to-get-things-done colleague, who now needs to leave work by 6pm sharp to relieve a caretaker at home. Let your boss and coworkers know your hard stop, so they don’t book late meetings and offer up an alternative evening time (say, post baby’s bedtime), if a later meeting’s imperative. Also, maximize your efficiency at work by being organized. Rumor has it that women with children are some of the most productive in the workplace!

4) Go easy on yourself. They call it the Fourth Trimester for a reason. Your body is still adjusting to mental and physical changes and you’re adjusting to being a working mom. It takes time to adapt to your new routine -- you’re trying your best at work while also caring for your babies. Change your mindset to focus on all you’re accomplishing rather than what you’re not able to do. And remember, moms are superheroes!

5) Lean on your village. Build a support system of other moms and ask for help in and outside of work. Reach out to us @milx.mom directly on Instagram if you have any questions. We share our own nip tips and also get great advice from moms all over!

Mother Untitled - Resources

 
Neha Ruch, Founder of Mother Untitled

Neha Ruch, Founder of Mother Untitled

The gathering for the new mom happy hour with Mother Untitled was evidence enough of the MU thesis - that a career pause or shift to create space for motherhood warrants a new and empowering narrative.  The modern story is one of the creativity and community that this chapter unlocks if you choose to lean into it.  Heavy caveat, per the conversation on Wednesday, the complexity is real.  As most of us in the room were in early stages of contemplating our choices, conversations around ego, negotiating flexibility, relationship changes and entrepreneurship naturally came up.  Two hours left just enough time to hear from everyone and find camaraderie so Neha followed up with a few helpful links to build on some of the key topics.  On answering "what do you do?" (and a follow up to that), negotiating flexibility (more and more on that), building and measuring passion projects, work that works for mothers and embracing the pause plus ways to stay connected.

For more on all the angles, explore the Mother Untitled platform and stay in touch with Neha @motheruntitled

 

3 Ways To Keep Moving When You Get To The Hospital

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Contributed by The Fit Doula, Maddy Wasserman

Whether you’re in active labor or trying to get things going, keeping your body moving during labor is fundamental. Movement is an essential tool for pain relief and relaxation. As you change positions, you and baby work together to navigate the birth canal.

Below are three ways to keep your body moving throughout labor once you get to the hospital. The key is to follow your intuition and be creative.

  1. Dance with your IV pole: Your caregiver will likely suggest you receive fluids intravenously (IV) to prevent dehydration. This should not limit yourfreedom to move; stand up, sway, squat and dance with the pole. You can even bring a portable speaker with your favorite tunes to inspire movement and rhythm.

  2. Spend time on the ”Labor Throne” AKA the toilet: Emptying your bladder and bowels during labor will help make way for baby. In addition, I encourage you to spend some additional time on the toilet as you labor through contractions. It is a great place to hang out, it puts you in an upright position and encourages your pelvic floor to relax. If you are comfortable there, there is no reason to leave.

  3. Bring a birth ball: If you don’t have a birth ball yet, Get one! It may seem excessive to bring in a cab but trust me you will be happy you did. Just deflate it a little and your partner can re-pump at hospital. There are lots of ways to use the ball to get your body in positions of rest & relief and to promote progress:

-Try sitting on the ball and swaying your hips side to side & front to back, either upright or rest your head on pillows on the bed. (adjust bed height to accommodate)

-Kneel on the bed and rest your upper body on the ball relaxing shoulders.

-Place ball on bed and lean over it, swaying lower body.

When buying a birth ball size is important. A ball with a 65cm diameter is best for a woman of average height (63-70 inches). A much shorter woman may require a 55cm ball, and a much taller woman may require a 75cm ball. If you are planning to have an epidural get your self a peanut shaped ball, these are great to keep your hips open and support your legs in various positions. See Positions Here

Movement during labor is the best comfort technique for pain relief and labor progress.

When a position is working stay with it and have your birth team support you and remind you. And when it no longer helpful, change it up. sometimes moving positions can re adjust your mental space, which is just an influential as the physical.

Your Pregnancy is a Wellness, your Body is Wise, Trust Yourself & MOVE!

High Impact Exercise During Pregnancy

 

By Alicia Ferriere, DPT, PRC

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A question I am asked a lot by my pregnant patients is, “Can I continue my high impact workouts during pregnancy?” With a variety of treadmill running classes to trampoline jumping classes, it may be hard to know what is safe to do as your body changes.

First things first: always get approval from your doctor. Depending on your body and your pregnancy, your doctor may have restrictions to your exercise activity. To ensure the health of you and the growing baby, talk to your doctor.

Let’s talk about what high impact activity is. During any sort of movement, gravity is pulling your body down to the ground. If the movement involves leaving the ground and coming back to it, that force increases. High impact activity is anything that increases that force with a component of speed. To keep it basic, if both feet are leaving the ground at the same time, you’re performing a high impact activity. This can be anything from jumping rope, to running, to trampoline workouts.

It is important to acknowledge what your prior level of fitness was before pregnancy. If you were an avid runner and did high impact exercise before, your body is accustomed that kind of workout. Your body goes through a lot of physical changes during pregnancy, it’s not the best time to try something new or ramp up your fitness routine.

The body has to adapt to a lot during high impact exercise. It is not just cardiovascularly challenging, it’s challenging on your musculo-skeletal system.Your joints and muscles have to develop the proper coordination to control the force going into them. That being said, even if you did a lot of high impact exercise prior to pregnancy, it is important to listen to your body and acknowledge the changes that are happening.

As your body changes over those 40 weeks, your center of gravity changes due to the weight gain in your abdomen. This changes your posture and therefore muscle control. Your body also has increased elastin hormone that can loosen your ligaments. With any high impact activity, there is always the risk for injury. Take the time to sense the changes in your body at different times throughout pregnancy. How you feel in week 25 is going to be different to week 29. It is okay to adjust your activity accordingly. If you ever feel downwards pressure or heaviness in your pelvic floor or if you pee yourself, it is time to stop.

Overall, exercise is great during pregnancy. It improves blood flow to all parts of your body as well as to the baby. If you’re feeling that high impact activity isn’t for you, there are a variety of other workouts that can elevate your heart rate without the impact (hello FPC!). Something as simple as walking uphill can be cardiovascularly challenging and generate healthy movement to your muscles and joints without the high forces on your body.

The main thing is to listen to your body! It does a great job of giving you information- you just have to tune in to it. Don’t be afraid to ask for modifications or adjustments as you need them and make sure to always work with a perinatal fitness professional (make sure their certification is from a reputable company).



 

Ask a Physical Therapist

We asked Dr. Alicia Ferrier, what are the things she wished every woman understood about physical therapy during pregnancy and postpartum. Here are her answers!

Dr. Alicia Ferriere, PT, DPT, FAFS, PRC

Dr. Alicia Ferriere, PT, DPT, FAFS, PRC

What are a few things you wished pregnant women knew about PT?  

  • Physical therapy can address pelvic position to make sure your pelvic outlet is in it’s optimal shape for delivery

  • Pregnancy leads to changes in posture and overuse of certain muscles- this can be painful! We can work together to correct these postural changes to decrease pain as well as improve muscular control for delivery.

  • Education is key! There are precautions you can take that will help to limit your likelihood of diastasis recti and postpartum injury

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What are a few things you wished postpartum women knew about PT?

  • Labor and delivery is traumatic to your body. It’s important to take care of yourself! I highly recommend that every postpartum mother have an evaluation by a physical therapist. Think of any other muscle in your body; if it is cut into or injured, you have to rehab it! Having a c-section or vaginal delivery is no different.

  • PT can help you re-learn how to use muscles that were potentially injured during the birthing process. We can also assess your movement patterns to find out what muscles are under-working or over-working to help you avoid injury as you return to activity.

  • If you want to return to higher level exercise, we can work together with sport specific exercise to ensure you return to exercise safely


FPC believes every pregnant and postpartum mom should be working with a woman's health PT in order to develop a deeper understanding of her core and pelvic floor. We understand that’s not always financially or physically feasible so be sure to check out our “Ask a PT” workshop on the community workshop calendar. We’re striving to bring access to this information to as many women as possible!