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!

3 KEY CONSIDERATIONS BEFORE COMMITTING TO CHILDBIRTH EDUCATION CLASSES

You may be deciding whether or not you need a childbirth education class. On one hand people have been having babies forever (and you’re busy) on the other hand you would really like to avoid a cesarean (if possible) and someone said class was a good idea! If you’re leaning towards taking a class you also have to decide which one is right for you. Private or group, one-day or series, at the hospital or at a studio? Like so much in pregnancy, it’s stress-inducing and we don’t want that! Our most-trusted childbirth educator, Ashely Brichter of Managing Overwhelming Moments, highlights three key considerations before deciding how to best prepare for birth! 

 
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  1. Know that not all common hospital practices are best practices!

For example, it has long been thought that women should receive IV fluids in labor, in lieu of eating and drinking. It turns out, there is not sufficient evidence to prove that restricting food from a low-risk laboring women increases her or her baby’s safety. We also know that women who are allowed to eat and drink are more satisfied with their birthing experiences and that there are some negative side effects if a person receives unnecessary IV fluids. While doctors and midwives have medical preferences, you the ability to direct the course of action during your labor, barring a true and rare medical emergency. Understanding the nuances within medical interventions is essential in order to prepare to be your own-best advocate. Before choosing a childbirth class, think about how much you would like to learn about specific medical interventions. (This includes best practices around epidurals!) 


2. There’s a difference between learning from an “expert” and learning from an educator. 

Many hospitals offer their own childbirth preparation classes often taught by labor and delivery nurses and many labor and delivery nurses teach private childbirth education classes. While it is amazing to learn about birth from someone who has professional experience, it is also important to consider the perspective and style of your teacher. By “perspective” I am referring to consideration #1. Will your instructor teach you what to expect from common practices or teach you about best practices? Will she teach you what to expect from the hospital or how to thrive in the hospital? In terms of style, I am sure you can think about a teacher who you loved in school and a teacher who just fell flat. I am willing to bet that the teacher you loved did something other than lecture. If you’re going to invest time and money in a class, I think it is worth making sure the teacher has intentionally created an engaging learning environment.

3. Your partner can, and should step up! 

Partners play a pivotal role in labor and delivery as well as the postpartum experience. Childbirth education classes can play a huge role in making them feel prepared and empowered to be an active team member and advocate! Has your partner had the chance to practice labor-massage techniques or learned what they should be keeping track of logistically so your process is a seamless as possible? Again, before choosing a class consider what knowledge and skills you would like our partner to come away with and how much time that will take! 



Not All Pre/Postnatal Certified Trainers Are Created Equal

Part of the impetus behind starting FPC was that our co-founders, Joanie and Carolina, personally experienced a wide range of discrepancy while working with “pre/postnatal certified trainers” during their own pregnancies. If you have taken classes outside of FPC, you have probably noticed lots of contradictory modifications from your trainers.

There is no overseeing agency that regulates the fitness industry. There are hundreds of different organizations to get certified through and while they do overlap in information, they tend to vary in terms of testing, training, and committing themselves to providing the most up to date research.

That’s just general fitness. Pre and postnatal gets even less attention. Anyone can develop a certification, charge money for it and hand trainers a piece of paper that “certifies” them to train pregnant and postpartum women. Sometimes a certification program is 2 hours, sometimes it takes 4 months.

When it comes to finding trainers for FPC, we are looking for a very specific list of credentials to ensure you are taking class with the most knowledgable trainers in the industry. Our team is small for that very reason. It’s been extremely difficult to find qualified trainers.

There is one certification that we can fully trust and we’re excited to be partnering up with them. Fit for Birth (FFB) teaches corrective exercise and functional movement with the understanding that all women are different. FFB is devoted to staying up to date on the most current research and passing that information down to all their trainers.

We want more Fit for Birth certified trainers so we've created a FPC + FFB mentorship program 

Fit For Birth is introducing a new way to take their bundle course experience that comes with ongoing support from them as well as FPC, to make sure you have the most impactful learning experience on the market!

If you have interest in a career in pre/postnatal fitness, or you are a life long learner and want the most up to date information on this topic, we'd love for you to take advantage of this opportunity. The more people who have the correct information, the stronger all new moms will be!

If you have questions, please reach out to Joanie at: Joanie@fpc-nyc.com .



USE CODE: PARTNER

at checkout for $100 off

Open enrollment runs through January 7th. and space is limited.

In order to participate you must: 

  • Enroll by Jan 7th

  • Use code PARTNER at time of purchase

  • Join kick-off call and ongoing calls throughout the process (optional)

Mama Holiday Gift Guide

Mamas are such pros at taking care of other people and we feel like you deserve ALL THE GIFTS. Just forward this list to the gift-givers in your life.

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Sakara popcorn and their 10-day reset package to get the new year off to a great start. Use code REF_FPCLOVE15 for 15% off any meal delivery.

The Pajama set from Hatch. Seriously the most comfortable pjs you’ll ever own.

A Provenance Meals Holiday gift set.

An at home, on demand massage from Zeel. Make sure to use code FPCEVENT20 for $20 off.  

A mani/pedi from our favorite non-toxic nail salon Sundays.

A “kid expert” slash professional babysitter from the best childcare company we know, Curated Care.

A lifestyle or maternity shoot with photographer extraordinaire, Rob Fitch. Thank us in ten years for the suggestion!

A membership to FPC. Enjoy UNLIMITED classes, 50% off workshop prices, and exclusive discounts.

This baby carrier from Artipoppe is everything.

Five Things I Wish I Knew About Breastfeeding Before I Had a Baby

By Carolina Gunnarsson

 
Picture by  Sharon Schuster  of our gorgeous friend and instructor  Erin Williams

Picture by Sharon Schuster of our gorgeous friend and instructor Erin Williams

 

Firstly, I would like to mention that I have no formal education in lactation support BUT I have birthed and nursed three babies so I am hoping that accounts for something. Women always ask me for tips on breastfeeding and this list is something I personally wish I had before I welcomed my first baby in to my world. If you have another one you would like to add, please share in comments or email us at info@fpc-nyc.com.

  1. Your breasts (and nipples) might hurt A LOT but there is help to be found. Reach out to us for a list of recommended lactation consultants. A good nipple cream can also be a true lifesaver.

  2. Pump frequently to trick your body into producing more milk than your baby needs. That way you can start build a freezer stash and also lower the chances that you develop an undersupply. Find my favorite pump here.

  3. Do not expect your baby to adhere to your schedule. On demand feeding for at least the first couple of months will save you from many tears and anxiety.

  4. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Sometimes it can be hard to exclusively breastfeed but that doesn’t mean you have to stop, just do it as much as you can and want and use formula or donated milk for the other feedings.

  5. Never be ashamed of nursing in public. If someone tries to shame you for feeding your baby just know that you have the legal right in all 50 states to do so (as of July 2018). Read more on TheBump.Com.

The best thing you can do to set yourself up for a successful breastfeeding experience is to arm yourself with knowledge. We host monthly Breastfeeding Basics workshop and you can sign up for our November 14th one here.

Your Baby's Sleep During the Fourth Trimester

Contributed by Hadley Seward of Bonne Nuit Baby

Ahhh, the fourth trimester. The 3-month period of time when babies biologically should still be in their mamas’ bellies, but instead they’re with us in the world, unable to tell day from night or sleep in ways that make sense.

This period is oftentimes confusing for new moms: on the one hand, you’re blissfully happy that your little one is finally here. But on the other, you realize what true sleep deprivation feels like (and why it’s used as a form of torture). Some moms are instantly enamored with their babies and love all the cuddle time, while others just want to be alone for five minutes. Either way, it’s okay and it’s totally normal.

If you’re currently in the throes of the fourth trimester (or about to give birth), let’s talk about what you can expect when it comes to your baby’s sleep:

Safety first. 

I would be remiss if I didn’t remind you to review the latest safe sleep guidelines. (And here are my thoughts on products like Rock-n-Plays, swings, and sleep positioners/cocoons — not only are they unsafe but they’re super difficult to transition away from).

The first six weeks of your baby’s life are all about healing, catnapping when you can, and getting to know your baby.

In a word: survival. As much as you’ll want to focus on sleep, there’s not much you can do right now. If your little one loves to snooze all day but party all night, that’s normal. (Just don’t try to limit daytime sleep in the hopes that he’ll sleep more overnight–it won’t work). My general rule of thumb: Don’t go out of your way to introduce unnecessary sleep associations, but don’t stress out if you need to do so.

Around 8 weeks, you should start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

While your baby’s sleep will remain inconsistent, she should begin to differentiate between day and night. WOOHOO! This typically means that nighttime stretches become a bit longer (4-6 hours). Slowly begin to introduce naps in a consistent sleep environment (crib/bassinet instead of stroller/baby carrier), even if you start out by focusing on one nap per day. Also ensure that LOTS of naps are happening — babies this age usually can’t stay awake for more than 45-60 minutes without becoming overtired. Use a timer on your phone to keep track of awake periods if need be.

Between 2-3 months, nighttime sleep continues to consolidate. 

Again, we’re not talking 12 hour stretches here, but you should all be getting more shut-eye (especially if your baby has mastered falling asleep independently at bedtime). I always advise families at this stage to chat with their pediatricians about how many nighttime feeds are needed, as sometimes it’s okay to let go of a few overnight snacking sessions.

As you likely know, around 16 weeks there’s a big sleep regression.

The silver lining: at this age, you can–and-should–begin to put your baby on a more consistent sleep schedule. The downside is that the regression oftentimes exacerbates underlying sleep issues, such as needing to be fed/rocked to sleep. (Learn more about the 4-month regression and how you can survive it here).

Join us at FPC on Wednesday, November 7, as we welcome Hadley Seward and her expertise on your baby’s first year of sleep. Sign up here.

"Do Your Kegels" or Is it, "Never Kegel"?

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For years there’s been a trend to tell everyone to “do your kegels” and we are currently seeing a shift in the other direction. We’ve recently heard both other pre/postnatal professionals and pregnancy care providers telling women they should never kegel.

We’re here to help clear up that contradictory information and educate you on why we think a general statement one way or the other is dangerous.

If you've taken class with us, you are familiar with the cue, "Pump & Kegel".  We remind you to fire this inner core unit constantly.  But why are we so focused on that? 

The muscles of your pelvic floor support your uterus, bladder and bowel.  They are important for sexual function AND work with the rest of the muscles of the core to stabilize and support the spine.  They also support the extra weight of the uterus and growing baby during pregnancy.  

Many of us don't realize that the pelvic floor, like our diaphragm, is part of our core.  Having an over active or under active pelvic floor negatively effects all the functions associated with breathing, digestion, eliminating toxins and moving through our every day lives.  It also helps neutralize intra-abdominal pressure, making us less susceptible to developing a Diastasis Recti (abdominal separation).   Your pelvic floor should contract and release with every single diaphragmatic breath which is why we cue the contraction AND release in all our classes at FPC.

We are bringing a hyper awareness to what your core should be doing naturally because most of us are dysfunctional movers and breathers. We do this because training your muscles to move functionally means that they will be able to properly support you in your day to day movements outside of class as well.

This is why we disagree with the general, blanket advice to either A: do your kegels or B: never kegel. A fully functioning pelvic floor does both! Everyone should understand the muscles of their pelvic floor. Some women need to strengthen them, some need to learn to relax them. If this isn’t information you can assess on your own (many of us can’t), you should seek out someone who can help you assess whether or not you are doing kegels correctly and if you need to devote time to training them to function properly.

If you are given the advice to either kegel or never kegel, what should you do?

Ask follow up questions! Does your care provider notice something specific that has led them to make that recommendation? If so, ask them what they see and what are they concerned about. Another thing you should do is ask for a referral to see a pelvic floor therapist to address the issue. Your midwife or OB is excellent at what they do, but they don’t have the credentials to assess your pelvic floor and prescribe exercises in the way that specialist that can. It’s important to get the help you need.


Want to learn more? Join us for one of our upcoming Protecting your Core and Pelvic Floor for Birth and Postpartum workshops. We’ll teach you to assess your pelvic floor and give you all the information needed to understand how to exercise through pregnancy and postpartum safely.

5 "Scary" Myths About Prenatal Fitness

In honor of Halloween, we’ve put together our top 5 “scary” myths that continue to persist in the pre/postnatal fitness world.

Have you heard any of these before?

 
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You should keep your heart rate under 140BPM’s.

This was a guideline that was recommended in the past but has since been eliminated by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG). Everyone’s level of fitness and resting heart rate is different before pregnancy which means giving a “one size fits all” number doesn’t make sense. We now use “perceived level of exertion” or the “talk test”. Basically if you feel like you are pushing too hard and gasping for air, it’s a sign to slow down.

It’s dangerous to lift heavy weights.

This is another guideline that was given to keep the heart rate from going above 140bpm’s. Lifting weights spikes your blood pressure for a short period of time, but so does stress, running to catch a cab, chasing toddlers, and living life! :) You want to lift weights in order to maintain and build muscle tone. Don’t forget you have a newborn that you are going to be lifting and holding on the way. It’s wise to build up that strength now and not once you are dealing with sleep deprivation and fatigue.

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You can continue doing whatever workouts you did before pregnancy.

This one is the scariest myth of all! While many of your pre-pregnancy workouts are indeed safe for the baby, they aren’t necessarily safe for your core and pelvic floor. It’s important to train differently and with a lot more intention during pregnancy in order to ensure a complete postpartum recovery. (Apply that Pump & Kegel!!) Many people that continue their pre-pregnancy routine throughout pregnancy end up doing damage to their bodies (Diastsis Recti and pelvic floor problems) that can cause pain or discomfort for the rest of their lives.

Crunches are safe before you start to “show”.

Fine for the baby, yes. Safe for your body? Probably not. We recognize that every body type is different and some women continue crunching long into their 2nd trimester without any problems, but they are lucky. Bottom line, the more you strengthen your Rectus Abdominis (6-pack) and Obliques, the more strain you are going to place on your linea alba as your belly starts to expand. We recommend you step away from your traditional crunches and oblique work and begin focusing on strengthening your Transverse Abdominis (TVA) as soon as you know you are pregnant.

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You can go back to your regular workout classes when you are cleared at 6-weeks.

You had an easy pregnancy and amazing delivery. You exercised up until the day you delivered, you feel great and just got clearance from your care provider (sometimes as early as 2 weeks) that it is safe to go back to your pre-pregnacny workouts. Doing too much too soon can cause serious lasting damage. Your core and pelvic floor has been under a tremendous amount of strain for many months. It’s going to take more than 6 weeks to heal. In fact, your first 12 weeks postpartum are considered your “critical healing period”. That’s when you body is doing all the work to bring your linea alba back together and restore strength and function to your pelvic floor. It’s great that you feel amazing, but if you misread that as “healed” and head out for a run and then do 100 crunches, you may end up giving yourself a Diastasis Recti or pelvic organ prolapse. (that’s pretty scary). Honor what your body has just been through and allow it to rest and heal. That intense sweat sesh will still be there when you are really ready for it a few more weeks from now.


Questions about pre or postnatal exercise? Ask us in class! We love questions and want to make sure you are moving through your pregnancy and recovery with 100% confidence.

Spicy Ginger & Coconut Water Mocktail

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We asked our newest FPC instructor, health coach and co-founder of Market.Kitchen.Table, Amanda Schoppe, “What would you serve up at a 1st birthday party to impress a room full of new mom friends?”

This Spicy Ginger & Coconut Water Mocktail was her answer!

Makes 4 Mocktails:

Ingredients:

  • 2 - 2inch pieces of Fresh Ginger - thinly sliced

  • 2 tsp Ground turmeric

  • Pinch of ground cayenne 

  • 2 Cups Water ( For boiling ginger tea)

  • 3 Cups Organic Coconut Water (We like Harmless Harvest)

  • 1 tbsp Organic Maple Syrup

  • Juice of 2 Lemons

  • 4 small pieces of candied ginger for garnish

Directions:

  • Place water, ginger and spices in a sauce pot and bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer and steep for 8 minutes. 

  • Mean while combine Coconut Water, maple  lemon juice and store in fridge

  • Turn off heat on stove and once mixture cools to room temp place in a glass container and place in fridge. 

  • Once you are ready to serve combine coconut water and spicy ginger tea and pour into 4 glasses over ice. Garnish with a candied ginger piece and lemon slice. 

Enjoy!!

Happy Birthday FPC!

Happy 1st Birthday to FPC!

It’s been exactly a year since we’ve opened our studio doors. Carolina and I knew there was a desparate need for a place for moms to work out out safely and create a community but we greatly underestimated the outpouring of love we would experience this first year.

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Starting a business is HARD and overwhemling work (oy, our email inboxes), especially while raising families of our own. There have personally been many times when I’ve wanted to throw in the towel (usually over the frustration of towel deliveries not showing up on time!) and then I teach a class and my heart is bursting with passion and love for what we’ve created. If it weren’t for each and every one of you, we wouldn’t be here today.

We’ve collected some beautiful testimonials over the last year and we just wanted to take a moment to share a few.

Carolina and I want to say thank you from the bottom of our hearts. This last year has been a wild and wonderful roller coaster and we can’t wait to see what year 2 brings for FPC!

Lots of love and appreciation,

Joanie & Carolina


Beyond being one of my all time favorite fitness classes; FPC is also a community of women supporting and encouraging each other while we go through this incredibly special time in our lives. 

 I've always been very active, but pregnancy demands slowing down. It also fundamentally creates a vulnerability that I really wasn't comfortable with... that is, until I found FPC. The community gave me confidence, solace and joy both during my pregnancy and postpartum. It also allowed me to continue to be active without the fear of hurting my baby or myself.  I can not rave enough about Fit Pregnancy Club! 

-E.R.

FPC was a staple for me through out  my pregnancy, and the benefits were obvious in my labor and delivery. I was induced at 41 weeks and after 27 hours of labor and 2 and a half hours of pushing, I delivered a beautiful 9lbs, 2.5oz baby boy. Because of FPC, my pushes were strong and sustained, and without question, class was the difference between my natural birth experience and avoiding an emergency c-section. After my delivery, my doula asked the nurses how much tearing I had, given the size of my baby. All the nurses were stunned to tell us that my perineum remained intact. They all asked if I had I done pelvic floor exercises during my pregnancy...another point goes to FPC’s Pump and Kegel technique!! FPC was a massive help for my pregnancy, labor/delivery, and recovery. 

-A.L.

I can’t say enough great things about FPC, the staff and my overall experience. FPC has been the source of physical and mental sanity as well as fun and sisterhood for me ever since I walked through the door. 

When I found out that I was pregnant, I immediately struggled with 2 things: how do I stay safely fit and find other women to share the experience? Then, serendipitously, I saw FPC’s flyer in a pregnancy clothing store. 

While pregnant, I loved prenatal Pilates but that didn’t give me enough variety in exercise and cardio. FPC perfectly filled that void for me and also provided a great network of women to go through the  pregnancy experience with. It became my all encompassing resource for all things pregnancy and childbirth related. But it didn’t stop there, after my daughter was born, FPC became the perfect place to bring my newborn. Their post-natal workout classes are not only extremely effective, but also super fun for my daughter and me. Thank you ladies of FPC, 5-star review all the way! 

-O.C.

Before starting at FPC, I hadn't even heard about diastasis. Everyone had told me that it was important to exercise during my pregnancy but no one mentioned that it could also cause more harm than good.  FPC taught me how I can safely exercise during pregnancy, their workouts are fun, and I learned what to pay attention to when working out on my own / taking other classes - and I probably exercised until a lot later in my pregnancy than I would have otherwise.

My plan for postpartum recovery was to work with a pre/postnatal certified personal trainer once I got the OK from my doctor. It turned out to be a scheduling nightmare and after trying for over 6 weeks to find someone, I eventually gave up. At that point I really wanted to start exercising again and this is when I discovered that FPC also started offering postpartum mom and baby classes - so obviously I went back! 

I enjoyed their classes even more after my son was born. I loved to have other moms around me who went through similar things while doing something good for myself. And the best part? 12 weeks postpartum I was fully healed, felt stronger, and able to resume my regular pre-pregnancy workout routine. I don't think I would have taken such good care of my body and recovered so quickly without FPC - thank you Joanie, Carolina and to all the other amazing trainers at FPC!

-M.W.

Current Brand Obsession

We are all about products that simplify our lives and we are so excited to introduce you to our latest obsession: YUMI.

In their own words: it’s “Superfood for Superbabies…Every week, our nutritionists design a new menu for your babe based on their age and nutritional needs. Every ingredient has a purpose, your baby's meals are mapped against thousands of clinical studies and reviewed by our experts. We nerd out so you don't have to.”

You receive a box full of delicious and nutritious food once a week so you have one less thing to worry about. As a special perk they are currently offering the FPC community 20% off any order with code FPC20.

And PS. block off your afternoon of November 14th as Yumi x FPC are cooking up a truly special event for that day.

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Meet Your Instructor: Amanda Schoppe

 
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We are excited to introduce to you our newest instructor, Amanda Schoppe! She’s no stranger to the pre/postnatal world. Sh’s a dance and fitness pro as well as the proud co-founder of Market.Kitchen.Table, a company specializing in meals for new moms. We can’t wait for you to try her class!

Hometown- Thompson, CT

Current location- Somewhere in Brooklyn

What is your background?- I have always been obsessed with dancing and any form of movement and connection. I moved to NYC in 2003 to pursue a career in dance and spent 10 years dancing with the Radio city Rockettes as well as numerous other shows like 42nd Street ( my absolute favorite show). My love of movement and body awareness lured me to complete my Stott Pilates certification, AFPA Personal training certification as well as become a Certified Health Coach.

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

I currently co-own a Health Food based company called Market.Kitchen.Table located in Carroll Gardens Brooklyn. MKT is a full service catering program as well as a home delivery nutrition plan specifically designed for Postnatal women. Between our events and deliveries I am running from client to client and spend as much time out in nature as possible.

What inspires you?-

I am inspired by confident people speaking their truth, living their dreams and being good humans.

Describe your FPC Signature class-

My class is holistic minded in that I love to create a lot of space for clients to turn inwards, with a sprinkle of hip hop and lots and lots of sweat! Working out should be fun, invigorating and safe! Looking forward to meeting and sweating with you all.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

A farmer.

Current favorite song- My current favorite song is 5 Dollars by Christine and the Queens. It is everything!!!

If you could be any animal in the world (aka your spirit animal), what would you be and why?- My spirit animal is get ready…. a Salmon. If you want to know more just ask.

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

I want to build a tiny house in Maine, and grow my own food.


BossMamas We Love

 
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Name? Erin McConaghy (who is one half of Curated Care along with fellow mama and partner, Marlene Veloso)

What’s the name of your company? Curatedcare.com 

What was the inspiration behind Curated Care? We were passionate about creating a childcare option that felt great for families to use, provided a better, cooler experience for kids and also created a new space for artists and teachers to share their passions and make good money doing what they loved. 

How many children do you have? One kiddo, Keira, 3 and sassy.

What did you do before starting your company? Managed a premiere children's facility in TriBeCa and helped found a Montessori-based drop off program for pre-preschoolers. 

Top three things, in your opinion, to think about when hiring a nanny or babysitter?

1) Do I like being around you? (is it easy and enjoyable)

2) Do you have enough experience with kiddos my child's age so that you can be fully present with them?

3) Do you light up when you articulate the reason you love working with kids?

What is your proudest moment? Birthing my child (which sounds like a cliche but it's a popular answer for a reason -  I still can't believe I got that child to exit :)

What is the most challenging thing about running your own business? Letting things go. I've always wanted to do a good job at whatever I've worked on, but when it's your own company and vision you take everything personally. 

How has being a parent changed you? When people ask me what it's like to be a parent I say "think of all the times during the day that you are sitting down...now remove all those" ha. Honestly, it's the hardest but most validating work I have ever done and you don't realize how huge your heart is until someone tiny and awesome makes it joyfully explode a little more every day. 

Where do you see your Curatedcare.com in 2023? Offering childcare-adjacent options - prenatal yoga specialists (FPC’s note: How about Pre and Postnatal Fitness Experts like ourselves?), lactation and sleep consultants or, on the other end, things like SAT prep, art portfolio prep, etc.

Where is your happy place? Paris

Tell us about your typical Tuesday. Little known fact - NYC families tend to make their family plans on Tuesdays. It's our busiest day on the site so I'm glued to my phone and computer from the moment I get out of bed. 

Lastly, name your top three NYC restaurants! For veg-friendly dining, abcV. For delicious Mexican fare and great mezcal,  Toloache, and for a giant, fantastic bowl of ramen, Kori TriBeCa.

Follow along on Instagram @curatedcare and visit their website for more info curatedcare.com 

 

Birth Like A Badass Part 2: Speak Up For Yourself!

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Contributed by Ashley Brichter who is a Childbirth Educator, Lactation Counselor, Postpartum Doula and Mom of Two

If you haven’t heard Serena William’s birth story, her daughter was born via unplanned c-section, and the morning after Serena nearly died due to a blood clot. Luckily, she suspected a the clot when she began feeling short of breath, and immediately pressed her doctors to give her a CT and heparin drip (a blood thinner). She knew her body and advocated for herself and saved her own life.

You would not expect in our first world nation that you would have to advocate for yourself in this way, but we know, among other things, the gender bias in health care is real and women are at a proven disadvantage when it comes to our healthcare system. Women commonly face being misdiagnosed or undiagnosed with it comes to gynecological issues. When doctors cannot pinpoint the cause of a woman’s pain, it often goes untreated and unquestioned. Black women are even more at risk of negligence. A recent NPR / ProPublica report showed Black women are 12 times more likely than white women to die during childbirth regardless of socioeconomic status.

It is an unfortunate reality that childbirth is not always on your side. It is always responsible to arm yourself with information, work with trusted providers, and consider a doula, but ultimately you should never trust anyone more than yourself. It’s so important to listen to your body and your intuition and to find the courage to speak up.

We’re passionate about making you the best advocate you can be during your labor and birth process which is why we’ve teamed up with Ashley Brichter of Managing Overwhelming Moments. Learn more with Ashley during her Childbirth Prep Weekend + Breastfeeding and Newborn Care at FPC.

The upcoming Sept 28-30th class is perfect for parents expecting in December and January.

To Plank or Not to Plank?

The Myth:

It's safe to hold planks during pregnancy. 

 
 

 

Why this myth exists

Women are often told by their care providers that it's safe to continue doing whatever workout they did before pregnancy.  For many women their pre-pregnancy workout included planks, pushups, planks holds, etc.  And if you aren't well versed in the topic of Diastasis Recti, it's not an exercise that you would necessarily think of as a contraindication so many women continue doing them without realizing the damaging they may be causing to their core. 

FPC's answer

Pregnancy and early postpartum is the time to train our bodies with the utmost attention to detail.  For us, that means fully integrating the inner core unit, aka what we call Pump & Kegel, (Learn all about it in our upcoming workshop here!) in EVERY single movement from the moment we find out we are pregnant...if not before!  

We perform what we call "moving planks" at FPC in order to fully integrate the inner core unit and protect the linea alba (the connective tissue connecting the two halves of our 6-pack abs together), from any additional outward pressure or strain.  Holding a plank potentially increases that outward pressure that we are trying to avoid.  When it can no longer sustain the pressure, it can stretch beyond what’s considered “normal” during pregnancy, causing what's called a diastasis recti.  

At FPC, we teach that you use your breath, with a properly engaged pump & kegel, to move in and out of a plank position.  This is the way to safely modify your planks during pregnancy and early postpartum.

 

* If you aren't able to maintain the core integration, if you feel outward pressure on the abdominal wall (pushing out) or if you ever see coning or doming through the abs, you should eliminate this exercise completely.  It's best to perform moving plank work under the watchful eye of a qualified trainer or specialist.  

 


Join us for our Pump & Kegel workshop on Wednesday, Sept 26 6:30-8Pm to make sure you are properly protecting your core during your workouts and every day movements from a potential diastasis recti.   

Birth Like A Badass Part 1: Grunt That Baby Down

Photo by Tim Bish on Unsplash

Contributed by Ashley Brichter who is a Childbirth Educator, Lactation Counselor, Postpartum Doula and Mom of Two

I’m late to the party here, but we really can’t talk about childbirth these days without calling upon Serena Williams. The thing is, I referenced Serena Williams in my birthing preparation classes long before she had a baby. I referenced her because as long as she has been in the public eye, she has been modeling how to use our bodies well! In my classes, preparing for birth is all about learning to use your body well. If you watch Serena Williams play, you know we exhale with effort. That GRUNT makes her so powerful! Since suffering with health complications after giving birth to her daughter, Serena Williams fortunately and unfortunately taught us another childbirth-relevant lesson: you are your own best advocate!


When Pushing, Exhale with Effort or Grunt That Baby Down!

Breathing is hands-down the most important coping strategy for labor and delivery. Being well oxygenated will allow your muscles—especially your uterus—to function properly. The best part of deep breathing as a coping strategy is that it is always available to you! Here’s how to use your breathe for pushing specifically.

When you feel an urge to push (it will feel like rectal pressure because the baby’s final descent is very much like sh*%ing out a coconut), take a deep breath in through your nose and exhale with an open mouth as you push down into your pelvic floor muscles (finding a bulging sensation in your vagina). You can think about moving a french press from the top of your belly down to your feet with your exhale. You can make that exhale a grunt, Serena Williams style or you pretend you’re blowing out birthday candles across the room. The key is to make your exhale longer than your inhale and to NOT hold your breath. Holding your breath (a commonly taught and hospital-approved pushing technique) will deprive your uterus and baby of oxygen. Maternal oxygen can prevent non-reassuring fetal heart rate patterns. Always exhale on exertion. You want to give yourself permission to make some noise, just like you’re on a tennis court! FWIW, cuing into your pelvic floor muscles and coordinating exertion with your breath before labor can help prevent tearing!


Looking for Childbirth Education? Learn more with Ashley during her Childbirth Prep Weekend + Breastfeeding and Newborn Care at FPC.

The upcoming Sept 28-30th class is perfect for parents expecting in December and January.

FPC's Top Natural Beauty Products!

Skimping on beauty products is never a good idea but it’s especially important to be mindful of what you put on your body while pregnant or breastfeeding. Since you have enough to worry about we did all the research for you, mama.

 

This Indie Lee toner is hydrating yet manages to balance skin to protect it from breakouts. It also acts as a barrier for outside aggressors like pollution. And, it smells heavenly! 

Nervous about getting stretch marks? Use the Hatch belly mask to hydrate the stretched out skin.

Polish free nails during pregnancy is now a thing of the past thanks to the non-toxic Sundays Studio nail polishes. If you don’t live in New York, order the polish on their website and do an at home mani/pedi but if you’re in the city we highly recommend pampering yourself with a visit to their gorgeous studio. 

Our solution to chapped, colorless lips = Herbivore Coco Rose Lip Tint in Coral

The Kat Burki Vitamin C Intensive face cream is a total splurge but trust us, you are never going to be able to go back to any other creams. Anti-aging, all natural, super absorbent and it smells like a field of flowers. 

Did you know that traditional deodorants have all kinds of toxic ingredients? We recommend switching to an all-natural for life or at the very least for pregnancy and breastfeeding. Our friends at LymphCandy makes our favorite in "lemongrass". 

People keep talking about that “pregnancy glow” but all you got was your teenage skin back? Don’t worry, it’s more common than not and this Tata Harper face wash combined with a clean diet and lots of water might help combat the issue. 

Looking for a moisturizer that is lush, rich, creamy but also absorbed in a flash? The Basq Mega Moisture cream does the job! Pro tip: you can even use it on your baby. Pick up a jar after class, we stock them at the studio.  

See you soon beauties and don't forget to #pumpandkegel 

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How Doulas Work for You

 
By Jennifer Mayer, Founder Baby Caravan

By Jennifer Mayer, Founder Baby Caravan

 

While doulas are becoming a more common addition to an expectant families birth or postpartum plan, many still aren’t quite sure what a doula actually does. Below is a brief overview of the ways Birth and Postpartum Doulas help the families they work with.


Birth Doulas

We recommend families start interviewing Birth Doulas during the second trimester of pregnancy. It can take a few weeks to line up interviews to find the perfect doula fit. Once hired, your doula is available to you for any questions you may have over email, phone or text. You can also expect:

Pre-birth: during the third trimester, your doula will schedule prenatal meetings. These are valuable sessions to help plan for the day of birth. Your doula will review any childbirth education classes you may have taken and answer any questions you might have. She’ll also help you make a few logistical plans for the day of birth. We never know exactly how labor will unfold, however having a few different plans for how labor may start can be particularly helpful.

Your doula will also help you practice different comfort measures for labor. This may be a combination of movements, breathing techniques, guided imagery, hypnosis, massage techniques and more. She’ll help your partner be prepared for when labor starts, with some guidance on helping you during early labor when contractions are mild.

 

Day of: on the day of your birth your doula will be on call and ready to meet you when you need support. She can meet you either at your home or hospital, whichever works best depending on how your labor is progressing. Your doula is your guide- she’ll help you manage contractions by coaching you through breathing and comfort techniques. She’ll encourage you every step of the way. For your partner, she’ll help normalize the experience and be a reassuring presence.

At the hospital, your doula will help you settle in and be as comfortable as possible. She’ll help you dialog with medical staff and make sure you have all the information you need to make decisions should they arise. If an epidural is requested, doulas have lots of techniques to help clients rest in different positions to help facilitate the baby’s decent into the birth canal.

Every step of the way during your labor, your doula is there for you and your partner, whether it’s gathering supplies, getting you a drink of water, or offering a massage.  

Following the birth of your baby, your doula will help you with the first latch, get you settled in with a high protein snack, take some family photos if you’d like, and help you be as comfortable as possible for those early bonding hours.

Postpartum: after you’re settled in at home, your Birth Doula will return within the first one to two weeks after the birth to have a postpartum check in session. This is a wonderful time to recap the birth experience together. This is also a good time to trouble shoot any lactation, newborn care or postpartum healing questions that may have come up. Your doula will be able to direct you to community resources if they’re needed.

 


Postpartum Doulas

Preparing for the postpartum period, aka “the fourth trimester” is incredibly important for the whole family unit. You’ll never regret setting yourself up with help so you can rest and focus on feeding your baby during those early weeks and months.

Postpartum Doulas are available to assist families either during the day or overnight. Daytime doulas spend a lot of their time focusing on guidance and education for the new family. This might include assisting with breastfeeding and latching, teaching newborn care such as bathing, swaddling, and soothing techniques.  

In addition to baby care, the postpartum doula can also run errands, prepare meals, tidy up the home, and attend to things that help the day move forward for the household. Your postpartum doula is your guide- she’ll help you develop and strengthen your parenting confidence so that when she’s not there, you feel secure with your baby.

Overnight doulas are typically hired so new parents can get as much sleep as possible. For moms who are breastfeeding, the postpartum doula can provide support during nighttime feedings if needed. Although mom will need to wake to breastfeed, the doula handles all the diaper changes, swaddling and soothing so mom can get some much needed rest in between feeds. She can also make you a middle of the night snack, and have breakfast ready for you in the morning.

Postpartum doulas typically work with families anywhere from the first 2-3 weeks following the birth, all the way up to the first 5-6 months depending on the family’s needs. We recommend families interview postpartum doulas in the third trimester of pregnancy, though many clients hire postpartum help after the baby is born.

 

What’s the difference between a Baby Nurse and Postpartum Doula?

 

We are often asked what’s the difference between a baby nurse (also called a night nanny, or night nurse) and a postpartum doula. This is a great question, as the services offered are quite different.

A baby nurse is hired to care exclusively for the baby, while a postpartum doula provides care for the entire family. For example, a baby nurse is in charge of feeding, bathing, and diapering the newborn during her time with a family. A postpartum doula on the other hand, “mothers” the mother, so the parents take care of the newborn, while the doula takes care of the parents. If the parents need a break, a nap or shower, the doula is more than happy to care for the baby.

A baby nurse typically lives with a family for a duration of time, while a postpartum doula comes for her shift and doesn’t live with the family. Depending on sleeping arrangements this can be a big consideration for some families. Postpartum doulas have additional training in breastfeeding support. Depending on a family’s feeding preferences, this can be particularly helpful in those early weeks when breastfeeding is getting established.

 

If you’d like to learn more about birth and postpartum doula services, or have questions about your particular situation, feel free to reach out to Baby Caravan: info@babycaravan.com.

 


 

About Baby Caravan

Baby Caravan provides holistic support for families, from pregnancy through returning to work postpartum. Founded in 2014, Baby Caravan’s mission is to provide families in New York City with exceptional birth and postpartum knowledge, guidance and resources through our network of professional Birth & Postpartum Doulas. We connect families with vetted doulas, to best meet their needs during this special, yet challenging time. In addition to doula services, Baby Caravan coaches moms returning to work following maternity leave to help smooth the transition back to work.  

 

Watermelon & Mint "Steak" Salad

Contributed by Pre/Postnatal Health Coach, Nisha Malani

Contributed by Pre/Postnatal Health Coach, Nisha Malani

It’s safe to say we all love to eat. Pregnant or not, it’s important that sitting down at the table is an enjoyable, satisfying experience. Otherwise we leave feeling unfulfilled and find ourselves looking to snack on unhealthy comfort foods (*cough* cheese). During pregnancy, what you eat actually shapes your baby’s preferences and tastes, so it’s important to choose nutrient-dense foods. Instead of using the old adage “eating for two” as an excuse to eat twice as much, use it as a reminder to think twice about what you choose to eat.

In the final days of this heatwave we call summer, it’s good to have nutritious, satisfying, and impressive (hello, unexpected guests!) recipes on-hand. This simple yet beautifully sweet & savory recipe is an absolute stunner – for both the eyes and the palate.

Watermelon & Mint “Steak” Salad  

Serving size: 6-8 for medium-sized watermelon 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 Whole Seedless Watermelon (approx. 6-8 rings once sliced with rind on)

  • ½ cup Organic Pasteurized Feta Cheese

  • 2 Tbsp Chopped Mint

  • ½ cup Diced Pistachios

  • Salt

  • Pepper

  • Olive Oil

Instructions (This is a dish worth presenting individually! Your guest will truly be impressed): 

  1. Slice Watermelon in 1-inch rings (keeping rind on)

  2. Sprinkle Salt & Pepper to taste

  3. Top with Diced Pistachios, roughly chopped Mint & Crumbled Feta

  4. Drizzle with Olive Oil

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BossMamas We Love

 
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Names? Jessica Canetti, Marisa Vera, Melanie Haber.

Name of your company? Milx

Inspiration behind starting your company? Jessica: As a new, stressed mom, I tried every nursing and pumping bra on the market and hated their guts. They were flimsy, non-supportive, ugly, and inconvenient. One day, in a fit of rage, I cut holes in a beloved sports bra and made a DIY hands-free pumping bra that changed my life. I proudly sent topless selfies to Melanie and Marisa, and just like that - the first ever Milx prototype was born. The three of us quickly realized that every single mom we spoke to had the exact same gripes with nursing/pumping bras on the market and we needed to make a change!

Do you have children? Name(s) and age(s)? Jessica: Daughter Layla, 3, and pregnant with #2 due in October. Melanie: Son Jack, 3 months. Marisa: Daughters Malena, 2, and Cora, 2 weeks (!).

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What did you do before starting your company? We all still work full time in addition to running Milx. Jessica and Marisa both work at Google in Ad Sales and Marketing. Jess is a Business Lead for Specialty Apparel Retailers and Marisa works in Integrated Digital Marketing Solutions. Melanie is the SVP of Brand and Communications for a publicly traded healthcare company in the addiction space.

Your proudest moment? We are always the most proud after receiving positive feedback from moms about how Milx bras have improved their lives. It truly brings tears of joy to our eyes after years of hard work trying to accomplish this mission.

What is the most challenging thing about running your own business? Finding the time to spend on Milx, our passion, on top of our day jobs and mommying!

How has being a parent changed you? Jess: Being a parent has made me realize that ultimately the only person whose opinion of me matters is my daughter’s. Mel: Three months into mommying, I’m feeling less productive, more disheveled, but also so much more in love than ever before.

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Tell us about your typical Tuesday. Mel: I’m currently on maternity leave from my non-Milx job, so my Tuesdays this summer are spent with Jack! Our day involves lots of diapers, feedings, bottle washings, long walks, tummy time, dancing, and snuggling in no particular order. While Jack naps and after he goes to sleep, I squeeze in Milx e-mails and calls. And I’m always always always (like every day) wearing my maternity jean shorts and a big t-shirt (over my Milx bra, of course). Jess: Wake up (no alarm needed with a 3 year old), and start to get Layla ready for her day with breakfast and getting dressed, (plus, if she slept in her own bed all night she gets to watch one episode of a kids’ TV show of choice!). Then I rush to Google, usually run around to client meetings, and sometimes go to a workout at 5:30pm that I have to leave early from so that I can get home by 6:30 to relieve my daughter’s nanny. Once I’m home it’s all about Layla-  play, give her 2nd dinner, play more, snack on things that are bad for me because I’m starving, bathtime, read two books (one is usually Frozen), tell her a story (usually about Anna and Elsa), scarf dinner with my husband while always being annoyed about how late we’re eating, do Milx work/get on calls for Milx, and pass out!

Where do you see your company in 2023? We see Milx as a lifestyle brand that helps modernize motherhood. In addition to creating products that will make the lives of moms easier, we want to help educate women on what to expect as they become mothers, make breastfeeding and pumping less taboo, and create a supportive community of moms who are all just doing their best!

Where is your happy place? At our future Milx headquarters in Hawaii on the beach :) Or seriously, when we find the time to work all three together on Milx in person, that’s pretty amazing!

Lastly, name your top three NYC restaurants! Kyclades, Minetta Tavern, and ABC Kitchen.


Curious to hear more from the women of Milx? Come hang with them in person at our August 22nd New Mom Support Group at 1pm. They will also bring Milx bras to try on and buy at a discounted rate!