New Workshop at FPC! Introducing Childbirth Basics for the Non-Pregnant!

Contributed by Ashley Brichter of Managing Overwhelming Moments

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From "do your kegels" to "get the epidural," everyone from the cashier at the grocery store to your boss will freely share their advice when you’re pregnant. It’s like pregnant women are wearing a sign that says, “Unsolicited advice welcome!” While most people have the best intentions, it can be reckless when the advice simply isn’t fact- or evidence-based. There is a very real lack of basic knowledge around the birth process.

With maternity care in the United States failing women, particularly women of color, I know that we need to do more—and do better. Why wait until we are pregnant or someone we know is pregnant to learn about how we are born? Birth is an amazing bodily process that we all should understand simply as humans. It’s truly fascinating (and useful!) to learn about.

Women in pregnancy and birth are their most powerful selves, yet pregnancy and childbirth is likely the most vulnerable a woman will ever feel. With all the advice and judgment out there, it’s hard for pregnant women to feel confident in their decisions and prepare themselves for the birth process, particularly for their first birth. Women deserve to have access to real, evidence-based information as early and as often as possible. That’s why I believe that everyone who works or spends time with a pregnant woman has the opportunity to provide life-changing support and resources.

Knowledge really is power. By educating yourself and sharing your knowledge with pregnant women, you can truly make a difference for mothers, their babies, and their families. It’s also an attractive way to show what you stand for and make yourself stand out in your business. I hope that making childbirth information accessible and applicable for all, we can begin to shift to a culture of better support for pregnant women in our country.

I’ll be teaching these professionals everything they need to know about the history of childbirth in the United States, and what women are up against navigating the medical system. They’ll learn all about the amazing process of birth, including the hormones and physiology at play in labor and delivery. I’ll also share incredible resources around best practices and providers so that practitioners can support and empower their pregnant clients.

Why is this so important? With the knowledge of physiological childbirth, the right birth team, and prenatal conditioning, women can dramatically increase their chance for a positive birth and postpartum experience.


And that’s where you come in. This upcoming workshop will be for yoga and fitness instructors, massage therapists, mental health professionals, acupuncturists, stylists, physical therapists, chiropractors—essentially everyone who works with pregnant women. These practitioners have the ability to positively impact a woman’s pregnancy and birth by providing her with evidence-based knowledge, resources, and support.

Do you have anyone in your tribe who you would like to have this information? This class is a totally new concept, and I’d love your help getting the word out. If you or anyone you know works with pregnant women, I’d really appreciate you sending them this post. You can also help spread the word by sharing this post on social media. 

The Second Stage of Labor: Pushing and Protecting the Pelvic Floor

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Contributed by Chantal Traub

Throughout the years of assisting women in birth, I realized that many moms are unprepared for the 2nd stage of labor. The second stage is when the mother assists her body by pushing the baby out. As a doula, I've heard many interesting stories about labor and delivery. I would find myself at the playground with my children or at a party and chat with a mother who would say “oh you are a doula, let me tell you about my birth!” Sometimes it is a beautiful birth experience, often, it is a story about a disappointing or a physically traumatic birth that led to ongoing pain with intercourse or urinary incontinence. A woman past childbearing age might tell me she had developed an organ prolapse or leaking.

During pushing, the muscle tissue in the pelvic floor will give as far as it needs to. Sometimes, this can result in a small tear, which eventually heals well, but could subsequently contract or atrophy due to the trauma and cause problems later in life. There are ways to prepare and protect the pelvic floor, for example: choosing the right providers, the positions you use to allow your baby to descend, the provider's patience at the time of crowning, your nutrition, and habits and lifestyle, and exercises that strengthen and tone the pelvic floor.

Over the years, I have talked with providers about better preparing mothers for the 2nd stage of labor. One of the answers that I'm given is that “she will figure it out while doing it and she only has to do it once, for her first vaginal birth, because pushing is so much easier and shorter the second time”. And I would think, yes that's true. The muscle strength and ability is there and there is a normal learning curve in the beginning of the 2nd stage, but...?

We, as pre-and postnatal providers, keep seeing so many postpartum issues, shouldn't moms prepare better? Wouldn't it be good to know beforehand how to strengthen your pelvic floor during pregnancy and before entering menopause?

In my workshop, you will learn how the pelvis and fetus interact as well as simple exercises to bring awareness to your pelvic floor. You will review breathing and positions for pushing, and I will offer you tools and tips to prepare.

One of the many ways to help tone the pelvic floor during pregnancy, post-baby and beyond is the practice of yoga. Below are some of my personal favorites. In my yoga classes, I will tailor the poses to your levels and abilities.

 

Chantal Traub is a certified doula, childbirth educator and yoga teacher who has been
assisting expectant mothers for over 15 years. She maintains the passionate belief that there is a better way to help mothers prepare to push more effectively and protect the pelvic floor during pregnancy and birth. Chantal offers expertise and guidance to
pregnant women who want to prepare for birth and beyond. She is certified by both
Lamaze International and the Childbirth Education Association of Metropolitan New
York and is a board member of the Childbirth Education Association of Metro NY.
Chantal runs a private doula practice and offers private childbirth workshops. She's a
mom of two children.

5 questions answered about Elvie

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Contributed by Dr. Erin Williams, DPT

I am not affiliated with Elvie but I am a Pelvic Health Physical Therapist who understands how difficult it can be to perform a kegel (pelvic floor muscle contraction) correctly and I am always looking for tools to better assist my clients with accomplishing a strong and healthy pelvic floor and took it upon myself to personally try out Elvie! Here is what I found!

1. What is Elvie?

Elvie is a small green sensory device that is placed into the vagina during use and connects with the Elvie app that can be downloaded for free onto your smart phone. The app provides strengthening and endurance training exercises with visual aids and performance tracking to better help you connect with and provide feedback for your pelvic floor muscles. 

2. Does it work? 

The short answer is, YES! I found that it was very accurate and responsive to correct pelvic floor muscle contractions (kegel) and would notify me when I was (purposely) doing a kegel incorrectly, or “bearing down” which is a common error made my many women. An important point to note is that Elvie is an up-trainer for the pelvic floor so all of the exercises are geared toward strengthening the pelvic floor and not for relaxing the pelvic floor muscles. Although less talked about, the pelvic floor can have too much muscle tightness/tension (think pain with penetration/sex or constipation) and strengthening the muscles will not benefit this presentation. If you feel like this is you, I would strongly advise getting evaluated by a Pelvic Health Physical Therapist first before trying Elvie. Overall I loved using Elvie to track my progress and identify where I was weak! I am a visual learner and competitive with myself so seeing that I was improving over just 1 week of training and having visual aides to facilitate my kegel was very helpful!

3. Is it uncomfortable/painful to place and use?

Elvie is quite comfortable and easy to place and use! If you feel like you bear-down when initiating a kegel the Elvie device will slip out of you so this can be helpful immediate feedback!

4. Can I use it while Pregnant and postpartum?

Yes, Elvie can be used while pregnant. The Elvie website states that it can be used with non complicated pregnancies and to seek medical advice from your doctor if unsure. It can be used 6+ weeks postpartum. There is no need to use it immediately  following postpartum as the pelvic floor muscles are healing and just need to rest.  

5, How much is it and where can I buy it?

Elvie is normally $199 however for Fit Pregnancy Club mammas I was able to get a DISCOUNT CODE (elvie15b) which you can enter at checkout and enjoy 15% off! www.elvie.com

I would recommend this device to anyone looking to have improved awareness of their pelvic floor muscles for pregnancy, postpartum, urinary incontinence or better sex! I would strongly encourage women to have a pelvic floor assessment completed by a Pelvic Health Physical Therapist first to make sure Elvie is a good fit for you! 

If you have any questions or are interested in getting to know your pelvic floor better please do not hesitate to reach out to me at erin@womenshealthnyc.com and let me know you read my blog on the FPC website and receive $50 OFF your first session with me! 

-Erin Williams, DPT

www.womenshealthnyc.com

Instagram: eewilliams20

A Workout & Panel with Thriving Mompreneurs

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ON APRIL 7TH, COME WORKOUT WITH THRIVING MOMPRENEURS ATTACKING BODIES AND MINDS @ FPC NYC!

WHAT:         Thriving Mompreneurs - REGISTER HERE
WHEN:        Saturday, April 7th from  noon – 2pm
WHERE:      Fit Pregnancy Club – 552 Broadway, NYC

RSVP:          HERE  (limited to 25)

 

Event brought to you by Bathwater Kids

Never doubt the power of a successful woman and mom!
Join us for a 30 minute workout followed by an honest conversation about founding, owning and operating a business while being a mom!

Expert Entrepreneurial Panel
Joanie Johnson, Co-Founder and Host FPC
Rebecca (Wallach) Gordon, VP Marketing Indie Lee
 Freya Zaheer – President, Sakara Life
Melissa Fensterstock, Founder/CEO, Landsdowne Labs
Moderated by Michael B. Fensterstock, CEO Bathwater Kids

Thank you to our sponsors:
Insomnia Cookies, Redvanly (Shopping Raffle), Hint Water, Suja Juice, Banza, Emmy’s Organics, Pregnancy Tea, Bombas, Justin’s

Understanding Your DIAPHRAGM and Pelvic floor

FPC's foundation of "Pump & Kegel" is the secret to a stronger, easier pregnancy.  It's a foundational body system that enables us to move and breathe the way nature intended.  We are all born as fully functional movers and breathers but stress, body consciousness, poor posture, desk jobs, lack of activity, etc continue to move us farther away from it.  I always say, once you re-program this system, you will NOT go back to being a dysfunctional mover again.  Our bodies WANT to move this way.  

That being said, just because it's "natural" doesn't mean it's easy.  I love the video that our friend, Lindsey Vestal, M.S. OTR/L from The Functional Pelvis shared this week.  It gives you a few more images to help understand what the diaphragm and pelvic floor are doing and how they work together to strengthen and support you. 

Check it out below!  

 
 

Save the Date!  

Lindsey will be presenting a Pelvic Floor workshop on April 18th as part of the Wednesday night series at FPC! Mark your calendar and stay tuned for the sign up details next week!  

Mother Matters Book Launch!

 
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We are excited to party with Dayna Kurtz, LMSW, CPT and celebrate the launch of her new book, Mother Matters.  We are all about self care at FPC and Dayna has written a book based on her experience as a therapist and mother.   If preserving your sanity post-birth is a priority for you, you DON'T want to miss this event.  Dayna is an unlimited source of knowledge!  

Spots are limited so sign up asap!

 (Babies welcome!)


About the book

Childcare. Eldercare. What About Mothercare?

Book reading/signing with author Dayna M. Kurtz, LMSW, CPT

The first year of childhood is filled with emotional and physical changes, setbacks, and successes, and not just for babies. Mothers face a whole new world of experiences as a parent. While there are hundreds of books about childcare, where are the resources on mothercare?
In her new book Mother Matters: A Holistic Guide to Being a Happy, Healthy Mom Dayna M. Kurtz, LMSW, CPT guides new and veteran mothers alike through the best practices to care for themselves while mothering their little one(s). Her goal is to help every mother do more than just survive the late nights and baby blues; she wants mothers to thrive!
Mother Matters covers common struggles that mothers encounter, along with better and lesser known research-based solutions to enable greater health and happiness, including how to:

• Get more sleep—really!
• Eat optimally for greater energy and faster healing after birth.
• Feel creative, competent, and relaxed.
• Avoid killing your partner, and even strengthen your co-parent relationship.
• Get the support you need!

Filled with real-life stories from mothers along with compassionate and practical advice from the author and other experts, Mother Matters will change the way we think of motherhood.

Why the "kegel" in Pump & Kegel is so Important

 
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Written by Dr. Erin Williams, DPT

The pelvic floor can be a confusing buzz word heard in the pregnant and postpartum world where most people know they should be doing something with it but are unsure what exactly! 

The pelvic floor are a group of muscles, fascia and connective tissue that act as a support system to the internal organs, and spans from the tailbone to the pubic bone.  During pregnancy the weight of the baby causes increased pressure and strain on the pelvic floor which is why it is so important to train and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles during pregnancy and postpartum much like one would strengthen the bicep muscle for increased arm strength. 

The labor and delivery process can cause injury and stretching to the pelvic fascia and muscles as well making it critical to give the pelvic floor extra attention after delivery and before resuming prior pre-pregnancy level of activity to avoid pelvic pain, pelvic organ prolapse, and urinary incontinence (ie. peeing while jumping, coughing etc.). A Physical Therapist who specializes in pelvic health can serve as a valuable practitioner with the correct assessment of ones pelvic floor and provide guidance with stretches and exercises specific to the individuals presentation. While many people are aware of a “Kegel” it is not alway advised especially if the pelvic floor has hypertension and requires relaxation and stretching exercises. 


Join us with Dr. Erin Williams, DPT, on Wednesday, March 21st starting at 5:30pm.

 Dr. Erin is be explaining what the pelvic floor is and how to engage it correctly. We will also talk about Diastasis Recti, how to reduce the muscle separation as well as safe exercise prescription while pregnant.  

 

 

Collard Green Burritos

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Contributed by FPC Instructor and Pre/Postnatal Health Coach, Carolyn Tallents

I know what you’re thinking...I can’t have margaritas and now you’re taking away my tortilla too? Just hear me out. If you’re like me and you have a weakness for Mexican food, you know it can be difficult to find a way to indulge on the regular without feeling like you’re having a burrito baby instead of a real one. However, with a few simple swaps you can make homemade burritos that not only taste good but pack a serious nutritious punch for you and your growing baby. Collard greens are high in folate which helps baby’s neural tube develop properly, black beans provide the iron necessary to fight anemia, avocado is a healthy fat that is great for hormone production, tomatoes and red peppers are high in antioxidants to help with cell repair, and brown rice contains fiber to keep your digestive track on track.

Ingredients to make 4 burritos:

  • 8 large Collard green leaves
  • 1 can Black beans
  • 1 Red pepper
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 large Tomato (or two small)
  • 2 Chicken breasts or 2 pieces of wild salmon (optional)
  • 2 cups Brown rice or 1 cup quinoa for a vegetarian option
  • 1 Garlic clove
  • 1 tbs Chili powder
  • 2 tbs Cumin
  • Lime

Instructions:

  1. Begin to prepare brown rice or quinoa according to their packages

  2. Soak collard green leaves in water and lemon juice (optional), dry, cut off thick stems and shave off some of the thickness of the spine to make it easier to fold

  3. Saute onion, garlic and red pepper (and chicken if you’re using it) in coconut oil or olive oil (if you’re using salmon please see notes below)

  4. Add in chili powder, cumin and stir-fry until onion and pepper have softened

  5. Add black beans

  6. Turn off heat and stir add in cooked brown rice or quinoa

To prepare each burrito, lay two collard green leaves on a flat surface end to end with their stems overlapping. Spread ¼ of an avocado in the center, lay slices of tomato down, add ¼ of the mixture from the skillet and squeeze on some lime. For a spicier version, feel free to add spicy salsa, hot sauce or sriracha and if you’re a cheese lover, sprinkle on a bit of full-fat cheddar or pepper jack.

To roll the burrito, fold one of the longer edges of the collard greens over the mixture, then fold in the shorter sides, press down so the leaves will be as tight as possible and roll until the burrito is closed.