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“I had no idea how hard this parenting thing was going to be!” This is a common refrain from so many new parents. I had a conversation just this week with a former student with a 4week old baby. She said that people tell you how hard it is, but you just don’t get it until you are going through it. Yup!

AND NOW THE HARD PART

I do tell my childbirth students that pregnancy is the easy part of parenting. You know where your kid is all the time. It is a finite period. Yes, you are probably having interrupted sleep during pregnancy. But it’s nothing compared to the sleep deprivation in that postpartum period and on into that first year.

Your partner will feel ignored or deprived of your attention. Initially, this can cause some rifts in the relationship. As a new mom, you might say to yourself, “Are you kidding me? I’m on call 24/7 with no sleep and you want attention too?  I have nothing left at the end of the day.” 

“WARNING – I HAVE NO NICE LEFT!”

That is what one friend’s mom used to say occasionally, after a 12hour shift as a nurse. That is totally understandable, yet if we want to nurture our relationship, that statement probably won’t have a positive effect on either new parent.

AFTER BABY, EVERYTHING CHANGES – WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT?  

Your life has been altered, remodeled, and transformed into something you could not have imagined. So, you need to change too. “A new crib and pretty wall paper in the nursery are sweet, but the best gift for your newborn is baby-proofing your [relationship].” Birthing from Within by Pam England and Rob Horowitz.

11 WAYS TO KEEP YOUR RELATIONSHIP HEALTHY AFTER BABY
  • SLEEP – pick a bedtime and stick with it, especially when you go back to work. During the day, sleep when your baby sleeps. If you’ve got another child, ask a friend or family member to come over and play with the older child so you can have a mid-afternoon nap in those first few postpartum weeks. Feed your baby after dinner, then go to bed while your partner cares for the baby (and the other child). You’ll be awakened in another 2-3hours to feed the baby. Take advantage of having time to sleep. This early bedtime will be a great opportunity for your partner to bond with your baby and care for your baby. You will cope so much better with life in general if you get a bit more sleep.
  • TIME TOGETHER – In addition to all the daily chores and tasks to get done, make sure you schedule time to spend together that is relaxing and enjoyable. Don’t expect to have this time for at least 4-8 weeks but after that, put it in your calendar as though it’s an appointment and treat it as such. Make it a priority.
  • SCHEDULE INTIMACY – My students look at me like I’m crazy when I tell them this. But they all get it after their babies arrive. Spontaneity is hard to come by when you’ve got a little one or two in the house. Take your baby to a friend or relative, then go home and relax and enjoy this time together. Or hire a babysitter and go to a hotel. Get creative.
  • TAKE PARENTING CLASSES TOGETHER – It is so important to be on the same page when it comes to parenting. Kids learn really fast who is the push-over parent and who is the disciplinarian parent. If one says no and the other says yes, resentment is going to build and build until there is a big explosion. Support each other and be on the same parenting page by taking classes together. Decide what your boundaries are and what your routines are going to be. Then stick with each other!
  • SET BOUNDARIES WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS – Immediately postpartum, you may want to show off your baby to everyone, but having lots of visitors who stay too long, can create so much stress. It’s a great ingredient in a recipe for postpartum depression. Kindly and gently let them know they can come over but mainly to cook, clean, do laundry, NOT TO HOLD THE BABY. Babies belong with their moms and the partner, but mostly with mom. This will help you get breastfeeding off to a good start.
  • ASK FOR HELP – Don’t hesitate to ask for help. I just saw a new mom’s post on Instagram. It’s been a week since giving birth to her 3rd She posted that it was her first day alone with all 3 kids. Her friends commented how strong and tough she was. Well, my reply was, “Don’t be tough. You’re not supposed to be tough. You’re supposed to get lots of help and ask for it when you need it and when you don’t need it. Reach. Out. Bring Jennifer prepared food. Come over and do some laundry. Send a house cleaner. Come entertain the girls so she can sleep when baby sleeps. She is NOT SUPPOSED TO DO POSTPARTUM ALONE!!!
  • LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS OF EACH OTHER – The drop in marital satisfaction is dramatic after a new baby. Communicate with kindness. Surrender your individual goals and try to work together as a team. It may take some time and practice, but stick with it. Don’t keep your feelings inside. Communicate. Express what’s bothering you and express also what you appreciate about your partner. Positive reinforcement goes a long way. Try to state how you are feeling without placing blame, ie: “I’m feeling overwhelmed and tired and would love it if you could put the baby to bed, or feed the baby, or give the baby a bath, etc.
  • COUPLES COUNSELING – Work with a Licensed Family and Marriage Therapist. Shop around. Ask for a referral from your physician or insurance company. Ask friends for a referral. You’d be surprised how many people you know go to therapy. A therapist should be able to help you both communicate effectively. Emotionally Focused Therapy is a great form of therapy that helps couples understand their emotional responses and can learn to respond rather than react. Don’t wait till things get bad. Intervene early so you can avoid the many pitfalls and bad habits that can lead to major relationship problems.
  • MAKE YOUR RELATIONSHIP TOP PRIORITY – This means that you don’t want to have a child-centric relationship. Some people focus on their children, or live through them, and forget the importance of the partner. Take a genuine interest in your children’s lives but don’t find your glory or identity through their lives. They will be leaving in a couple of decades and then you’re stuck with your partner. Make sure you’ve got a good working relationship when those kids leave the nest.
  • HAVE A RESPONSIBLE FINANCIAL LIFE – 75% of relationships break up over financial differences or financial troubles. Don’t live beyond your means. Communicate with each other about your budget, expenditures and financial boundaries. Take a class like, Financial Peace University with Dave Ramsey. My husband and I took this class a few years ago. I highly recommend it.
  • PICK YOUR BATTLES – Some things are just not worth fighting over. I used to have a family member who always had to be right, no matter the cost. Do you want to be right? Or do you want to get along? How important is this fight? Is this really a priority?

Tony Robbins said, ““Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.” Try to get help before things are get to that point. Just like going to the gym regularly, or going to the doctor for a check-up, it’s positive way to maintain a healthy relationship. Keep your relationship healthy, strong and fit. It may take some adjustments and some work. But it is so worth it.

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Nothing By Mouth

So many women, 60%,  are told by their hospitals, nurses, and doctors that they should have no food during labor and nothing to drink. This is a perfect example of one of those hospital policies that has perpetuated for years and years but is not based on medical evidence. The policy is “NPO” which is defined as nothing by mouth and comes from the Latin Nil (nothing) Per (by) Os (mouth).

Labor is an Athletic Event

Dr. Robert Bradley called labor and birth and “athletic event.” Just like running a marathon, or hiking, or any kind of extended physical demand on the body, labor is demanding on the body as well. One of the strongest muscles in the human body is the uterus, and since it is made up of muscle tissue, it needs energy and fuel, just like your body needs during any demanding physical activity.

You Need Carbohydrates, Protein, and Fats

We do know from research in sports nutrition that carbohydrates are essential energy and fuel for the body in any physically demanding situation. Protein combined with carbohydrates and essential fatty acids can be calculated for optimal energy for each athlete depending on the level of physical activity, gender, weight and height of the athlete. Why has this not been considered for women going through labor?

Here are the evidence-based reasons why most women should continue to eat and drink during labor:
  1. Five studies ncbi.nlm.nih.gov were done on looking at restricting food and water during labor. The Cochrane review https://www.cochrane.org/evidence concluded that “the evidence shows no benefits or harms, there is no justification for the restriction of fluids and food in labor for women at low risk of complications. No studies looked specifically at women at increased risk of complications, hence there is no evidence to support restrictions in this group of women. Conflicting evidence on carbohydrate solutions means further studies are needed and it is critical in any future studies to assess women’s views.”
  2. After studying both the above 5 studies and adding 5 more studies the Cochrane review found that women who ate and drank during labor had shorter labors by an average of 16 minutes.
  3. The researchers also found that women who were allowed to eat and drink during labor were more satisfied with their birth experiences.
  4. A study done in Iran found that women who were restricted from eating and drinking during labor experienced more stress and more pain. Labor hurt more!
  5. Women felt that they “ran out of energy,” “had no more strength,” and felt hungry from going so long without eating. When you are out of energy in any situation, it is difficult to focus, easy to lose confidence, and easy to give up. You need stamina and sustained energy and fuel to keep going.
  6. The policy of NPO was established in the 1940’s when women were given Twilight sleep and combination of scopolamine and morphine. They were unconscious during labor and the risks of aspiration of stomach contents was great.
  7. According to Evidence Based Birth, “The risk of death as a result of aspiration during Cesarean was 0.7 per million births, or 1 death for every 1.4 million births (Hawkins et al. 1997).
  8. In 2015 The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) concluded that “Nothing By Mouth” is not necessary for low-risk women in labor. “There is insufficient evidence to draw conclusions about the relationship between fasting times for clear liquids or solids and the risk of aspiration during delivery.”
  9. Neither American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) and the ASA recommend limiting a woman’s intake to ice chips or sips of water.
What foods should you eat during labor?

Carbs, protein, and fats for labor

Remember that labor puts demands on your body similar to those during an athletic event. Yet, during labor, your digestion slows down to a crawl. If you are a low-risk patient – basically you and your baby are healthy and there are no medical issues or complications, research suggests that eating and drinking during labor does not raise your risks. It is always a good idea to discuss eating and drinking during labor with your care provider/doctor/midwife before labor begins. Refer to these research studies and print them out and give them to your care provider.

  • Think of things to eat that are light and easily digested. You won’t want to binge on a pizza even in early labor because it may come right back up in transition!  Try to combine foods that are high in carbohydrates (not high in sugar) with protein and fats.
  • Some good carbohydrates examples are: Quinoa, raisins, oatmeal, milk, yogurt, ice cream, sweet potatoes, fruit (bananas, blueberries, apples, etc.), bread, rice, crackers, beans, chickpeas/hummus, honey, applesauce.
  • Fats to eat with the carbs are: nut butter, avocado, small portions of hard cheese, eggs, nuts, coconut oil, full fat Greek yogurt.
  • Protein to eat/drink during labor: chicken(early labor), fish(early labor), broth, miso soup, bone broth, eggs, full fat yogurt, nuts, kefir, whey protein smoothie, pea protein smoothie.
What Should You Drink During Labor?
  • Water is essential in staying hydrated but women over-hydrate with standard waters and they and their babies have had low sodium and low calcium issues in the immediate postpartum period. Instead drink water with electrolytes. You can also make my “Labor-Ade” ahead. Pour it into ice cube trays and add it to Smart Water or suck on the ice cubes.
  • Gatorade is an okay choice. My only opposition to it is that it’s high in sugar.
  • Coconut water
  • There are so many options on the market for water with electrolytes. Electrolytes are essential for:
    • Controlling your fluid balance.
    • Regulating your blood pressure.
    • Helping your muscles contract — including your heart.
    • Maintaining the correct acidity of your blood (pH).
  • Another option is  Clif Bloks. They are yummy chews with electroytes in them.
Related Content: What to Eat and Drink in Labor The Take Away:
  1. Take a childbirth class that teaches you informed consent questions, comfort techniques, and benefits and risks of medical interventions.
  2. Ask your care provider if they restrict eating or drinking during labor.
  3. Ask your provider to show you the research that supports this policy.
  4. Show your care provider the research that does not support this policy.
  5. If your care provider does not agree, find another care provider who practices evidence-based medicine.
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There are so many myths about pregnancy out there in the universe. Some of them are kind of funny, (like putting your hands above your head will cause a miscarriage), and some are just downright WRONG (like you shouldn’t have sex because it can hurt the baby). What is fact and what is fiction when it comes to information about pregnancy? Where should you go to get your information? Down the Google Rabbit Hole? There are plenty of guilt-inducing things to do during pregnancy, but there are lots of lovely things you can do guilt-free.

1. NO EXERCISE IN THE FIRST TRIMESTER – FICTION

You can fall asleep anywhere in your first trimester of pregnancy

You may not feel like exercising in your first trimester. You’re probably feeling super fatigued and could fall asleep just about anywhere. That fatigue is caused by a hormone called progesterone. Progesterone is produced by your ovaries. It helps the fertilized egg attach to the wall of the uterus and then your placenta starts to produce progesterone to prevent a miscarriage. If the only thing you do during your first trimester is walking 20 minutes a day, your body will be better off than not exercising at all.

Sometimes pregnancy nausea makes us just want to lie on the couch and wait till the nausea goes away. That will be a pretty long wait for most women though. Pregnancy nausea usually lasts 3months – the first trimester. More than half of all pregnant women will experience nausea, also known as Morning Sickness. Although ask any pregnant woman and she will confirm it doesn’t only come in the morning!

The increase in hormone levels really begins around week 6 and continues through the next 6-8 weeks of your pregnancy. You will be surprised to find that exercise actually help alleviate the Morning Sickness. Even if, you feel like crap, you can rest assured that this is a sign of a healthy pregnancy. I know that is not much consolation but if you get out and exercise, you will feel so much better.

If you have been exercising before you got pregnant, keep moving. Getting started is half the battle. As Nike says, “Just Do It!” If you haven’t been exercising, it’s okay to start. Some things that are safe to do during pregnancy are:

  • Prenatal Yoga or Yoga for Pregnancy

    Prenatal Yoga – www.yogajanda.com

  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Pelvic Tilts or Cat Cow stretches and Squatting
  • Belly Dancing
  • Indoor Cycling
  • Any aerobic activity that gets your heart rate up, as long as the room you are in is not kept warm or hot.
The Bottom Line About Exercise in Pregnancy:
  • Exercise is so good for your health, in any trimester of pregnancy.
  • Research has shown that the expecting mother who exercises, regularly, will improve her baby’s cardiovascular health as well as her own.
  • You will decrease the risk of too much weight gain, back pain issues, and you will recover faster from childbirth.
  • According to Medical News Today “Research shows that when pregnant women exercise, fetal heart rate is lower. Newborns may also have a healthier birth weight, a lower fat mass, improved stress tolerance, and advanced neurobehavioral maturation.”

    Yoga Janda Prenatal Yoga

  • Unless your doctor or midwife told you not to exercise…
  • GET MOVING NOW!
2. YOU MUST EAT THREE MEALS A DAY AND YOU’RE EATING FOR TWO – FICTION

3 meals a day is simply not enough! The main reason 3 meals are not enough for a pregnant woman is that you need to keep your blood sugars level by actually eating 6 or 7 small meals a day. Eating 6-7 small meals before you get hungry can help regulate your blood sugars and help you to get the right foods. Not waiting till you are hungry can also help you eliminate the chance of feeling nauseated. You are eating for two but you really only need and extra 300 calories a day.

Pregnancy Nutrition

What does 300 calories look like?

  •  2 Cups of whole milk = 292 calories
  • 2 eggs, 1 piece of whole wheat toast, 1 pat butter, 2 strips turkey bacon = 360 calories
  • 1 Jack in the Box breakfast sandwich = 280 calories
  • Burger King Bacon Cheeseburger Deluxe =– 290 calories
  • 1 Cup of vanilla ice cream = 270 calories
  • (2 ½ cups watermelon = 100 calories
  • 16 strawberries = 100 calories)

You can see that 300 calories can be made up of quite a few things. Make those 300 calories count. You need 80-100 grams of protein daily. One way to make sure you are getting enough protein is to set your phone alarm to go off once every hour during the day. When the alarm goes off, eat something with protein in it. This will help you avoid nausea and feed your baby the protein your growing baby needs. Every single cell is formed from protein.

Here a few protein snack suggestions to get you through the day

Pregnancy snacks

  • 10 almonds = 2.5 grams protein
  • 2 TBS peanut butter = 8 grams protein
  • 1 stick string cheese = 7-8 grams
  • 1 Cup Greek Yogurt = 17 grams
  • 1/3 Cup hummus = 6.5 grams protein
The Bottom Line on Eating a Healthy Pregnancy Diet
  • Add 300 extra calories/day and get 2200-2400 calories daily.
  • Eat 80-100 grams of protein every day
  • Eat 6-7 small meals/day to keep blood sugar steady and feed your body for the hard work of growing a person.
3. NO COFFEE DURING PREGNANCY – FICTION

If you used to visit Starbucks several times a day before you got pregnant, or drank several sodas throughout your day, yes, IT IS TIME TO KNOCK IT OFF! That extra caffeine and sugar can really add a buzz to your day. But it is also adding a buzz to your baby’s day. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 200 milligrams of caffeine each day during pregnancy is safe.

Since the levels of caffeine in different coffees, teas, or sodas can vary, you will need to read some labels.

How Much Caffeine is in my Favorite Caffeine Beverage?

Can you drink coffee in pregnancy?

  • 12oz coffee = 200mg
  • Decaf = 3mg
  • French Press = 107mg
  • Drip Brewed = 95mg
  • Cappuccino = 154mg
  • Cold Brew = 159mg
  • 1 Cup Black Tea = 47mg
  • 1 Cup Green Tea = 25mg
  • 1 Cup Cola = 39mg
4. NO DELI MEATS AND NO SOFT CHEESES DURING PREGNANCY – a little bit of Fact & Fiction

The biggest fear about eating deli meats come from being exposed to Listeria. The risk of being exposed to Listeria is very low. The processes of pasteurization and cooking helps eliminate Listeria. If you are a cautious person, you can skip the deli while you’re pregnant. That may take a bit more food prepping time for you; but it may be worth it you. You can re-heat the deli meats before you eat them. You can totally avoid them during pregnancy and eat other foods. That’s up to you.

The fear of Listeria also arises when it comes to eating soft cheeses during pregnancy. Pregnant women should avoid eating any cheeses that were mold-ripened, or are uncooked, or un-pasteurized, or have a white rind. You could eat Brie that has been cooked, like Brie cooked in a filo dough, as long as the cheese has been heated well. Eating goat cheese is safe as long as it has been cooked. To be on the safe side just don’t eat soft cheeses.

Bottom Line on Deli Meat and Cheese
  • Re-heat the deli meat if you’re concerned
  • Eat Cottage cheese
  • Mozzarella
  • Cream Cheese
  • Ricotta
  • All hard cheeses are okay to eat in pregnancy.
5. NO FLYING AFTER YOUR SECOND TRIMESTER – FICTION and FACT

Flying While pregnant – is it safe?

You can fly whenever you want up to 36-37 weeks of pregnancy. If you’re worried, ask your OBGyn, or your midwife. Check with the airline you’re planning to fly on to see if they have any requirements or specific restrictions. The cabin of an airline is pressurized so it should not affect your pregnancy. It is safe to fly when pregnant for most healthy low-risk, uncomplicated pregnancies.

But depending on the airline, some may require a letter from your doctor or midwife saying you are healthy and safe to fly. Some airlines have no restrictions up to 36 weeks of pregnancy and you can fly whenever you want to.

Bottom Line on Flying While Pregnant:
  • Check with your doctor or midwife
  • Check with the specific airline to see what requirements or restrictions they have.
6. NO SUSHI AND NO SEAFOOD – FICTION

Certain fish is really healthy for expecting moms because fish is loaded with Omega3 fatty acids and high in protein and low in fat. Omega3 fatty acids boost the heart, immune system’s ability to fight disease and inflammation. It also supports the mom’s and baby’s brain, eyes, and central nervous system.

Eating raw fish can be risky because of the risk of parasites in the raw fish. Since most fish is flash frozen before it’s shipped, that kills the parasites. You’re unlikely to find parasites in farmed fish, so ask where they get their fish if you really want your dose of sushi. After all, there are millions of Japanese women who are eating and have eaten sushi throughout their pregnancies.

The other fear of eating fish is the level of mercury in the fish. The fish that are high in Mercury are: shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish. According to Parents Magazine “it is safe to eat up to 12oz. of tuna a week and other low-mercury fish like salmon, shrimp, catfish, pollock, and fish sticks.”

The Bottom Line About Sushi and Other Fish in Pregnancy:
  • Check with the restaurant for the supplier source for sushi
  • Ask if it’s been flash frozen
  • Avoid shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish
  • Limit Tuna and other low-mercury fish to no more than 12oz/week
7. YOU SHOULD STOP DYING YOUR HAIR – FICTION

Studies have not conclusively shown that hair dye affects the fetus. Since chemicals can be absorbed through the skin, it might be prudent to avoid hair dye in the first trimester. Or you might ask your hair dresser if there are more “natural dyes” with less chemicals she can use at least through that first trimester.

It’s okay to dye your hair in pregnancy

The smell of the dye and other chemicals around you in a salon might be the biggest problem, especially in the first trimester. Make sure you’re in a well-ventilated area especially if you’re sensitive to smells during pregnancy.

Bottom Line About Hair Dye and Pregnancy:
  • Go ahead and look your best.
  • If you want to dye your hair, it is considered safe.

You can go ahead and enjoy your pregnancy. Get active. Eat well. Look your best. Travel. Enjoy this special time in your life.

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You truly can enjoy your pregnancy and not worry so much or feel miserable. Try these 6 pregnancy tips to get the most out of this life-changing experience. 1. Eat More Protein and More Calories for a Healthier Pregnancy

Yes, that’s right!  I just gave you permission to eat more! But pick your extra 300 calories wisely. This doesn’t mean that eating for two gives you permission to binge on ice cream and pizza and junk food. I’ve seen some moms gain 50-80 pounds during pregnancy. This is just not safe or healthy. You actually need to make sure you are eating 80-100 grams of protein daily. Start at the very beginning of your 2nd trimester or week 12-14 of your pregnancy. Every single cell is formed from protein. That means: baby, placenta, amniotic sac, amniotic fluid, blood, and the muscles of the uterus. You’re probably thinking, “That’s a heck of a lot of protein!” Yes it is, but your body and baby need it!

Click here are some tips on getting enough protein and having a healthy pregnancy. and other related content: the Dr. Brewer Diet for a Healthy Pregnancy

2. Start Exercising Now or
Just Keep Your Pregnant Body
Moving

exercise-in-pregnacy-daily.1.jpg

Exercise and pregnancy may take a little motivation. You benefit from exercise and so does your baby. Exercise and pregnancy actually improves your baby’s cardiovascular system. It’s a win win situation. Walking daily during pregnancy is the easiest and probably most accessible exercise to do during pregnancy. 30 minutes of walking every day is enough. If you have time and energy for more, go ahead and get those 10,000 steps in.

Swimming is also very good for maintaining a healthy pregnancy. It also may help the baby to get in the best position for birth.

Another daily exercise every pregnant woman should do are pelvic rocks. Get on your hands and knees. Starting with a flat back, inhale and tilt the tailbone up. Exhale and tuck the tailbone under. You will be moving just the pelvis and low back. The upper back is stationary. If you suffer from carpal tunnel pain, you can rest your forearms on the floor or place a pillow under your hands. Do 50/day.

3. Practice Yoga for a More Enjoyable Pregnancy

Stretching, specifically, Yoga for Pregnancy. Prenatal Yoga has so many benefits for both the expecting mom and her baby. Studies have shown that practicing prenatal yoga 2-3 times/week in the last 10-12 weeks of pregnancy shortens labor, and reduces the mother’s perception of pain in labor. Pregnant moms learn how to breathe, stay in the moment, and respond to their contractions instead of react to them. You will meet other moms in a yoga class and make new friends with other pregnant women who are going through all the same changes that you are. Prenatal Yoga has been shown to reduce anxiety, and depression. See related content here: Yoga and Pregnancy

4. Take a Nap

You are growing a new little person. You’re bound to be tired. Your body is working hard and overtime. Before you might have just pushed yourself through this feeling tired. But during pregnancy your body is giving you a message. You need to rest and, it’s not only okay, it’s necessary! And don’t forget to invest in a pregnancy pillow.

Sometimes we do feel tired and a nap is the solution. But if you find yourself still feeling tired, or fatigued, or even listless,  you may need an iron supplement. My favorite iron supplement is Energizing Iron. The only side effect is an increase in hemoglobin, the oxygen carrying protein in your blood. You are making blood for your baby every day, so beef up on the iron. You’ll start feeling better within a day or two if you take 3-6 daily with each meal.

5. Don’t Skip the Birth Class!

It is unbelievable to me how many people Do Not take a childbirth class. They are missing out on so much! You meet other expecting parents. You learn to work together as a team. There is so much to know. The biggest benefit of taking a childbirth class is that the information you get replaces the fear most people have about birth. When you understand what a normal process labor is, you realize there is very little to fear. You also will learn Comfort Techniques and other tools and skills to deal with the challenges of labor, together as a team.  It takes two people to make a baby and it takes a team to bring a baby into the world.  Additionally, it’s important to understand all of the ins and outs, and risks and benefits of the common medical procedures done in a hospital. Giving birth in the hospital can get complicated, especially if you don’t understand all of your options. So GET EDUCATED! Take the time to invest in one of the most important and memorable days of your lives.

6. Treat Yourself

Your body is changing so go shopping and buy just a few nice outfits to show off that baby bump. Retail therapy is always a nice treat. Go ahead and splurge and buy yourself some well-made stylish outfits. Don’t limit yourself to just big tee shirts or cheap leggings. Some other splurges might be a pregnancy massage, acupuncture, or a pedicure. Check out my Pinterest Board for Pregnancy Fashion Ideas. And plan on looking fantastic during this pregnancy.

Enjoy!
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“Fill your cup first before you can fill other people’s cups”

Ever heard of the saying, “Fill your cup first before you can fill other people’s cups”? Well,
before you can take care good care of someone else, you must be able to take care of yourself.  Taking care of yourself doesn’t only include physical health, but also your mental health.  Especially as a parent, your mental learning and psychology can make an impact on your motivation as a parent.

1. Sense of Effectiveness

One of the pillars and foundations of building a healthy mind is having a sense of effectiveness.  Parents can develop their sense of effectiveness by discussing their wishes, hopes, desires, and goals. In coaching sessions, personal goals and behavioral problems are also addressed to improve physical and mental health.

Once parents have clear action steps and a proper game plan in mind, they will be able to feel
competent. If they have a higher sense of self, parents will be able to regulate emotions more and
strike better relationships with their kids. This can also boost the well-being and confidence of
parents. In turn, they are more motivated to be effective parents.

Especially for working parents or entrepreneurial parents, developing a sense of effectiveness
will help you avoid carrying negative baggage at home. The University of Southern California
has also studied how working on your mental health can improve your motivation as an
entrepreneur as well as a parent. By succeeding in your professional life, you can also become
better parents.

2. Autonomy

Autonomy is the amount of choice and the volition that a parent has. Building autonomy means
being able to choose what you value the most and act on your core values. By having this kind of
mindset, you will have the motivation to plan things out more with your kids. This is important
since it will increase persistence. Thereby, motivation is also increased.

Here are some questions on how to increase autonomy:
● What kind of parent do you want to be?
● How do you want to behave around your kids?
● What values are most important to you?
● Ten to twenty years from now, what would you want your kids to feel and say about you?
● What principles do you hold close to your heart?

By asking these questions, parents can have a clearer vision of their values and picture of the
kind of parents they want to become. By building their intrinsic motivation, parents will be more
driven to become the best parent they can be.

3. Relatedness

To improve one’s well-being, relatedness or the feeling of being cared for and caring for others
must also be cultivated. Having a strong sense of relatedness, parents will feel less depressed. By
feeling more love, parents can also give more love to their kids.
Relatedness can be fostered by making more connections with people through community
organizations, organizing play dates among your kids’ friends, parenting groups, school
functions, walks in the park, and online forums. Having a community by your side, the
acknowledgment and encouragement you get from the rest of the members will provide a sense
of kinship. By taking care of others and connecting with others, you are also taking care of
yourself. With a sense of belonging, you will be able to feel good about yourself, connect with
others more, and take care of your children better.

4. Self-Care

Another way to stay motivated as a parent is to have time for yourself. This may mean having
time for yourself to improve, or just having time out for leisure. Self-care is incredibly integral in
maintaining your physical and emotional health. You have to find time for yourself so that you
will be able to take care of your children better.

Here are some ways to work on self-care:
● Going out for a jog, walk, or hike
● Having regular exercise
● Having a routine
● Reading books● Developing a hobby
● Making a reverse bucket list
● Taking time off
● Taking knitting or art classes, something to nurture your creative side
● Taking cooking classes

This practice of mental health and learning can aid in staying motivated and on top of things.
Self-care can go a long, long way in boosting motivation among people, even with parents.

Final Thoughts

Parenting can be challenging, but as a parent, you must never lose your motivation in taking care
of your children the best possible way. As you can see now, by using psychology and taking care
of your mental health, you will be able to sustain your motivation for your kids.

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If you’ve ever thought, “I hate being pregnant!” I guarantee you that you are not alone. So many people say they love/loved being pregnant, but I sure can’t identify with those people either. Below are some tips to get you through these long 9 months of pregnancy.

You Are Normal

You’re not a bad mom because you hate being pregnant. You’re not doing anything wrong. Being pregnant is hard and can be really uncomfortable. Your body and your emotions are going through so many changes on a daily basis. There are a lot of things to deal with during pregnancy:

  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Back pain
  • Multiple trips to the bathroom
  • Lack of sleep
  • Heartburn

I could go on and on. You could probably add a few more signs and symptoms I didn’t list here.

Pregnancy Can Be a Real Drag
  1. So, admit to yourself and to others that, for you, this pregnancy is challenging. You’re probably saying something out loud others are thinking. It will be a relief to others who feel just like you do.
  2. Let go of that guilt. It’s not doing you any good. You’re not guilty of anything wrong.
  3. Accept that this is a hard part of your life and then treat yourself with a little extra kindness.
Ask, “What Would I Do for a Friend in This Situation?”

If you think about it, you would probably treat your friend with some empathy, kindness, thoughtful gestures. So, do that for yourself. Indulge in a nap, a walk with a friend, a special treat, a day off work – whatever kind thing you would do for a friend.

Get Support

There are many ways to find support through your pregnancy:

  • Tell your friends and family that you are finding this pregnancy difficult and having to answer questions and comments is off-limits. You can say something like, “Since I’m finding this pregnancy difficult, it would be easier for me to be more positive, if you don’t ask me a lot of questions or draw attention to me.”
  • Find an online local group. Look on Facebook to find local support groups for pregnancy and post-partum so you can network with other local moms and moms-to-be.
  • Look on Facebook for pregnancy and/or parenting groups. You’ll be amazed at the number of pregnant women who feel the same way you do. You can get (and give) tips, advice, and even just empathy from pregnant women on the other side of this great big planet. You’ll find everything from Natural Birth to Cesarean to MTHFR and PCOS and many other topics and focuses.
Signs of Depression or Anxiety

All those pregnancy hormonal changes can have a huge impact on your mood. If you are feeling overwhelming sadness, anxiety, panic, distress, worry, these are signs of depression and anxiety and you should get professional help. If you’re unable to pull yourself out of feeling isolated, unable to sleep or your eating habits have changed to unable to eat or bingeing, you need to reach out.

Contact your ObGyn or your primary care physician and get a referral to a psychologist or counselor ASAP. Deal with these issues quickly before they affect your physical health and your baby’s health and development. Getting help will ensure you learn tools to cope. You may not enjoy your pregnancy more, but you’ll know how to deal with life’s challenges better and you’ll know when you need to get help in the future.

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If you had a vaginal birth, your postpartum “Lady Bits” are going to be sore, and swollen. These tips can help you heal faster and feel better postpartum. Drink Lots of Water.

The more water you drink after your baby arrives, the less acidic your urine will be. You also need to drink lots of water if you’re breastfeeding. Set your alarm on your phone to remind you to drink more water often. During that 4th trimester postpartum, you’re going to be overwhelmed with everything. So a little reminder to drink more water is one easy thing to do when there’s a new baby in the house.

While You Pee and After

Peeing postpartum is no easy task. Get ready before by filling the peri bottle with warm water and squirt at the same time that you pee. Don’t squirt into the vagina. Just squirt the skin around the vaginal opening. You’ll get a peri bottle at the hospital or birth center and in any home birth kit. Or you can get a personal bidet.

Cleaning your perineum postpartum actually feels soothing. Use the peri bottle or personal bidet and warm water to clean yourself. Gently pat dry with toilet paper. Do not wipe. Or you can use the cool setting on your blow dryer to dry yourself.

Stool Softener

Make things easier on yourself by taking a stool softener daily in those first few days or week postpartum. It can be very uncomfortable to poop especially if you had a vaginal birth or you have stitches. Medication during labor can affect your digestive system too by slowing things down or stopping you up.

Witch Hazel

You can also add witch hazel to the warm water in your peri bottle. But READ LABELS. Some witch hazels have alcohol in it. Try Dr. Thayer’s. Use one part witch hazel to 4 parts warm water to clean yourself postpartum.

Herbal Sitz Bath

Take an herbal Sitz bath after baby arrives and you get home. It’s a combination of herbs that help to soothe and heal the perineum after a vaginal birth. The sprays are good too but a Sitz bath is better.

Epsom Salts

Take a Sitz bath in Epsom salts. Fill the bath tub with water as hot as is comfortable for you, only enough to submerge your genital/perineal area. Put in 2-3 cups of Epsom salts. Soak for 15 minutes. If you want to take a full bath, pour in 3 lbs. of Epsom salts and soak for 15 minutes.

Ice, Ice, Baby!

There is nothing better than an ice pack on your perineum postpartum to relieve pain and reduce swelling. My husband grabbed a handful of medical gloves before we left the hospital (I’m not recommending you steal from the hospital). I put ice in them and put them on my lady parts. Ah! It felt great.

“Pad-sicles”

Create some postpartum “padsicles” before the baby arrives. Take several maxi-pads – the largest ones you can find. Pour half a cup of witch hazel into a bowl. Add 10 drops of lavender and helichrysum to witch hazel. Stir, then pour on to the pads. Place pads in a ziplock bag and place in the freezer. When you get home form your birth place, place a frozen pad-sicle on your perineum. They help relieve pain and swelling on hemorrhoids too.

Take Ibuprofen.

Yes you can take it while breastfeeding. It helps reduce pain and swelling, and after birth pains.

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posted with permission from penwarriors.co

For expectant moms, finding the best and most suitable exercise can be difficult because their bodies undergo a lot of changes, daily. Staying fit and healthy while pregnant can alleviate symptoms such as swelling, fatigue, and back pain.

Prenatal Yoga is now one of the most chosen ways of getting fit during pregnancy. It is a form of workout and meditation, where breathing and doing several positions help connect your mind and body. There are a lot of benefits you can get from yoga that will help you get through your pregnancy and enjoy it more.

Benefits of Prenatal Yoga
    1. Manages Weight
      Gaining weight during pregnancy is inevitable because there is a growing baby in your uterus. Prenatal Yoga will help you stay active even when you are pregnant. You can also manage your healthy pregnancy weight gain by eating healthy snacks. If you feel tired, too lazy, or just too busy to head out to buy some food, you always have an option to make use of a great snack delivery service.
    2. Improves Sleep
      During pregnancy, sleeping can be a real challenge, especially in the second and third trimester as the baby grows exponentially bigger. Falling asleep is usually not a problem but staying asleep can be.  Pregnant moms wake up for a variety of reasons: hormones, having to pee, uncomfortable sleep positions. Yoga will help lessen the awakening of pregnant women, especially late at night. Researchers at Harvard discovered practicing yoga improved both quality of sleep and quantity of sleep. If you are experiencing insomnia, enrolling in a prenatal yoga class is the answer to your sleeping problem.
    3. Reduces Stress
      Your body goes through a lot of changes during pregnancy which causes physical, mental, and emotional stress. Joining a yoga class is an excellent choice for stress management because it reduces depression, and enhances your mood and overall sense of well-being.

      Posted with permission from penwarriors.co

 

4. Strengthens Pelvic Floor
Exercising your pelvic floor muscle is important during pregnancy because it supports the weight of the baby. It weakens from pregnancy and childbirth that is why it is vital to work these muscles. Practicing Mula Bandha or toning your pelvic floor/kegel muscles is part of a good yoga practice. Having a strong pelvic muscle can enable you to carry your baby comfortably during pregnancy.

5. Prepares You for Labor and Delivery
The breathing exercises you have undergone during yoga classes can be calming during labor and delivery. Practicing deep, slow, abdominal breathing during yoga and labor has been shown to lower mothers’ pain perception – they experience less pain in labor. Then, all the stretching and strengthening moves you have learned from yoga can help improve your delivery experience and help you recover faster.

Pregnant women who participated in Prenatal Yoga have reportedly undergone a more comfortable delivery with less pain than those who did not. Even if you are not used to working out, you will definitely enjoy every class because it also serves as bonding time with your baby. Another bonus is meeting other expectant mothers.

Prenatal Yoga Poses

There are yoga positions that were designed for pregnant women’s bodies to help them be comfortable during their practice and pregnancy. Here are some of the best poses or asanas that can help expectant moms stay fit during pregnancy.

  1. Ankle to Knee Pose
    In yoga terms, it is known as the Agnistambhasana. This position is good for women who experience back pain during their pregnancy (almost everyone!). It also helps relieve tension in the muscles in and under your glutes and hips. But you need to warm up and prepare your body for this pose. It also helps to sit on a folded blanket or a block so that your hips are higher than your knees.

    Fire Log Pose Yoga Journal

  2. Wide-Knee Child’s Pose

    Child’s Pose Yoga Journal

    This pose is also called the Balasana by yoga enthusiasts. As a pregnant woman’s belly grows, its weight can become a problem because it becomes heavier and heavier. Balasana relieves belly weight because this is  a powerful restorative position.

  3. Supported Fish Pose

    Supported Fish Pose Yoga Journal

    It is also known as the Supported Matsyasana pose which helps for a pregnant woman’s overall relief. It involves a small back bend that feels great for relieving the intense body pain you have been experiencing the whole day.  Use blocks, bolsters or blankets under your back for support

These are just some of the most popular positions done during prenatal yoga classes that help soothe common pregnancy ailments. They are specially designed to help pregnant women increase their flexibility and strength through techniques that are taught during classes.

Final Thoughts

If you are an expectant mom, joining a Prenatal Yoga class is the best exercise that you can do. Whether you have done yoga before or not, it is okay to try this activity as long as your doctor gives you the green light to stay physically active during your pregnancy. Make sure to add “Enroll in a Prenatal Yoga Class” to your birth preparation checklist to help you with labor pains and have a more comfortable delivery of your precious one. Now try my FREE 25 minute prenatal yoga class from Yogadownload.com.

Prenatal Yoga 1 - 25 min version - YouTube

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Pregnancy is usually associated with physical and mental exhaustion due to the changes happening in your body. Prenatal yoga is one highly recommended activity for pregnant women who want to prepare for childbirth. It can improve the strength and flexibility of your muscles, and develop proper breathing during labor.

Pregnant women can start performing prenatal yoga as early as they like, but doctors usually recommend starting during your second trimester or after morning sickness has subsided. Unlike regular yoga, prenatal yoga is more conservative to ensure the safety of the mother and the baby. There are limitations on the poses– no inversions, extreme twists and poses that put strain on the belly, and poses lying on your back or stomach.

Here are 7 benefits of prenatal yoga and why you should try it: 1. Reduces stress and irritability associated with pregnancy

There’s a lot of hormones at play during pregnancy that can cause stressful and anxious feelings. Prenatal yoga can help you relax your mind and body since it promotes wellness and meditation.

Pregnant women should opt for Kensho Way yoga cushion or yoga towel to provide them with added comfort and support.

2. Reduces discomfort associated with pregnancy

Since the body is changing, pregnant women usually complain of headaches, nausea, carpal tunnel syndrome, insomnia and shortness of breath. Since prenatal yoga involves stretching muscles in your body, blood flow is significantly improved. This results in the proper functioning of all systems in the body and therefore decreasing the occurrence of pain and discomfort.

3. Improves the mental state of pregnant women

Prenatal yoga involves proper breathing and exercises the mind as well to focus and meditate. This is helpful in improving the cognitive health of the mother. Most pregnant women suffer depression and anxiety during this phase in their life. Engaging in prenatal yoga can help to prevent depression and promotes mental and emotional wellness for the expectant mother.

4. Develops a healthier baby

A healthy mother is most likely to have a healthy baby. It’s been proven that mothers that practice yoga during pregnancy are less likely to produce offspring that are premature and have low birth weight. Prenatal yoga can also improve the development of the fetus during the first trimester of pregnancy.

5. Prepares your body for the whole course of pregnancy

As you journey on in your pregnancy, your body also continues to change to support the growing baby inside. Practicing yoga, especially poses and techniques that target the lower body, will strengthen and tone your body enabling you to carry the additional weight on your body. Exercising your muscle strength and flexibility will also help you ease body pain associated with pregnancy.

6. Strengthens the pelvic muscles and the core muscles- back and abdomen

The interesting feature of prenatal yoga is that it aims to strengthen the pelvic muscles. During pregnancy, these muscles are weakened due to the gravitational pressure in the tummy. Prenatal yoga involves lifting and strengthening the pelvic floor which results to easier control during labor and childbirth.

It also involves exercising  all the muscle groups in the abdomen. Since the tummy is getting bigger to accommodate the growing child, the abdominal muscles are also stretched causing it to get weak. Prenatal poses that target the abdominal muscles are essential to strengthen them. Make sure to check with your instructor first before engaging in these exercises especially if you are in the early phase of pregnancy.

Some women want their childbirth to be natural or free of epidural and pain relief as much as possible. This can be achieved by enrolling to prenatal yoga. Breathing and meditation techniques involved in this activity will help the mother to perform deep and mindful breathing and proper body relaxation when experiencing labor pains.

7. Maintains your social life

Enrolling in prenatal yoga classes allows you to interact with other expecting mothers. A good support system is essential especially if you’re pregnant. This can be fulfilled by joining yoga classes, where you can bond and learn from other mothers about their preparation and experiences during pregnancy. A social connection also contributes to the overall wellness of a pregnant woman.

Conclusion

There are a lot of benefits of prenatal yoga for both the mother and unborn child. But before you try this activity, make sure to consult with your doctor if you’re fit to do this exercise.  Make sure that you’re always careful and hydrated when you’re doing prenatal yoga. There’s also poses that you need to avoid, so make sure to check with your instructor if it’s okay to do it. Stop immediately if you’re experiencing even the slightest discomfort or pain when performing the exercise.

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