pregnancy

Self-Care and Healthy Habits for Pregnant Mamas – Part 3

Hey hi hello! Today we’re moving onto the third and final part of this series.

In Part 1 we talked about how your life needs to change to prioritize your baby, activities you can add to your weekdays to nurture yourself and baby, and what you can add or takeaway from your weekends to prepare for your little one.

Part 2 dove into the biomechanics of pregnancy, and went through the benefits of getting adjusted by a chiropractor during this time.

As promised, Part 3 now is going to be more about lifestyle.

The first thing I wanted to talk about is focusing on good posture early. Due to hormonal and gravitational changes, your body is going to be constantly adapting for the next 9 months. A lot of times this looks like a widened stance, and an increase in the curve of your low back. Being conscious to avoid standing with your hands on your hips and sticking your bottom out will help to decrease this exaggerated curve. Another good practice is to stand with feet shoulder width apart, shoulders relaxed, and imagine that a string is pulling you up.

Next is to still exercise regularly. Now I’m not saying to do CrossFit 6x/week by any means, but performing modified exercises can be extremely valuable for a huge list of reasons:

  • Exercising while pregnant allows you to have more energy, sleep that is more restful, better able to adapt to and manage stress, and decreased frequency of mood swings.
  • It’s been studied that women who work out while pregnant will gain 21% less weight. If the average woman gains 40 pounds during pregnancy, that’s 8 less pounds!
  • More research shows that 80% of women who exercise during pregnancy give birth either on or before their due date.
  • Vigorous exercise can cause unnecessary stress on placental function. But moderate exercise increases placental function and encourage growth of the fetus.
  • Exercise doesn’t only benefit you. It helps improve the flow of blood and oxygen to your baby’s brain. This in turn will help you grow a baby that will be more alert, calm, and responsive to outside stimuli.

During these exercises, keeping your heart rate under 150 beats per minute will offer all of these benefits you’re looking for. If your heart rates gets over 180 bpm, that’s when fetal distress can occur. You don’t have to ask too much of your body time-wise either. Moderate intensity exercises can be performed for 15-20 minutes, and low-intensity workouts can be performed for 45 minutes. You want to choose exercises that don’t affect your center of gravity. Great examples include walking (not at a steep incline), swimming, water aerobics, stationary bikes, and low impact aerobic classes.

Women who choose to exercise during this time are shown to have easier and shorter labors, less medical interventions, less fetal distress, and a faster recovery after baby. There is also less need for induced labors and/or epidurals.

*High blood pressure, history of incompetent cervix, cardiovascular disease, vaginal bleeding, history of of preterm labor, pre-term rupture of membranes, anemia, fetal complications, sickle cell anemia, anemia, and thyroid disease are contraindications to exercise during this time* If any of these apply to you, enjoy this time of rest momma!

Another note about exercise is avoiding abdominal exercises during this time is crucial. About 30% of women experience abdominal tearing or separation down the middle of their abs due to the lack of blood supply in this area. The lack of blood supply also means this is very hard to heal if separation does occur. I encourage you to get up from a side-lying position. Stack your legs and swing them around, while using your upper body to push you off. I have an Instagram reel demonstrating this! If you do need to get up from your back, cross your hands to opposite sides of your belly to help with inward support.

Coming from a background in exercise and sport science before pursuing my chiropractic degree, I wanted to make sure I talked about the benefits of exercise during this time. I’m strongly debating becoming a BirthFit leader in the future. This is an exercise and education program for pre and postpartum moms that was designed by a chiropractor. If I do pursue this, you’ll be the first to know! Well maybe besides my Instagram followers.

I want to wrap this post up by listing a few other healthy habits:

  • Visualize your ideal birth
    • How labor begins, what you’ll do, how you’ll feel, and who will be there. Then move into picturing what your baby will look like, who would you like to be the first visitors.
    • This is a great tool to do each night to help access your conscious and unconscious mind. The repetition helps your mind trust and believe these thoughts.
  • Stimulate your baby
    • Talk to your baby
    • Interact with your baby
  • Discuss your ideal birth – all your hopes and fears – with your partner and/or birth team.
  • Invest in rest and sleep
  • Focus on music and meditation
  • Attend birth classes or workshops
  • Drink plenty of filtered water

Hopefully by now you’ve found something useful to takeaway from this article! If there’s anything else you would like more details on or have questions about, don’t hesitate to contact me!

Kiddos

Backpack Health

Hey hi hello! With school starting up, I thought this was a perfect time to go over something that is not talked about enough.

And that is – the proper way kids (and adults) should be wearing backpacks!

There are two major things that are done incorrectly when it comes to how people wear their backpacks.

First, straps. Either you or your kid aren’t using both straps over your shoulder, or they are too loose. Using just one strap unevenly distributes the weight on your child’s developing spine, and causes a lot of unnecessary compensation in awkward areas.

Also, if the straps are too loose, the weight of the bag hangs lower and causes the neck to compensate by jutting forward. Picture a text neck position, but with the chin raised.

Second is the weight of the bag. I’ll keep this explanation easy and say that your kids’ backpack should only weigh 10% of their body weight! All other books, notebooks, etc should be carried in their arms.

Depending on how small your child is, I know that’s not a lot! You’re also probably worried about them forgetting or loosing items if they’re not all in their bag. To help with this, I suggest carrying your child’s bag for them as much a possible if it’s on the heavier side.

Hope this short post sets your child up for success this school year! If you are in the Rochester area and want me to look at how your child is wearing their backpack either in person or with a photo, please feel free to reach out at any time!

pregnancy

Self-Care and Healthy Habits for Pregnant Mamas – Part 2

Hey hi hello! Thank you for tuning into part 2 of this series of self-care for pregnant mamas.

I fully intended to have this out sooner, but as I’m sure we’ve all been experiencing, summer 2021 has been crazy! So many good things though. I’m in 3 weddings this year believe it or not. So that’s weekends for bridal showers, bachelorettes, and the actual big day, all times three. I’m so so so honored though to be a part of all these special days though.

That’s my life update, now onto the post!

My first post in this series talked about asking yourself how your life needs to change to prioritize your coming baby. It was very focused on activities to add, and activities to remove. If you haven’t read that, go check it out as well!

This part is all about, you guessed it, chiropractic! Part 3 I’ve already decided is going to be more tips on lifestyle, but I can’t not talk about my favorite population to adjust, and all of the benefits that come from getting adjusted throughout your pregnancy.

The main claim to fame of getting adjusted while pregnant is to keep mom comfortable. I’m certified in the Webster technique, which is a specific technique to balance all of the bones, muscles, and ligaments in moms pelvis. This allows for optimal room for baby to move around as they please, and allow mom to be in the best position as she continues to adapt to her growing body.

Besides just adjusting the pelvis though, adjusting mom’s whole body allows me to make sure she has a well functioning nervous system. Before I go any further, you’ll hear me talk a lot about the nervous system. A big myth is that chiropractors are bone doctors, when really, we are nervous system doctors. Your brain, spinal cord, and nerves (all 3 of which make up the nervous system) are all housed by your bony spinal column, so we use that as a conduit to affect your nervous system. Your brain communicates with your ENTIRE body via nerves, and your body sends messages back up to the brain via those same nerves. We’re talking every organ, gland, tissue, muscle, etc. With how stressful life is though – physically, chemically, and emotionally – that causes a change in these communication pathways. Us as chiropractors restore this communication to make sure that your body is FUNCTIONING at it’s best. And pain relief just also happens to be a positive side effect of what we do.

That was a lot, so take a breath with me…. Inhale…… Exhale…..

Back to our pregnant mamas. A lot of times moms think they have to just deal with all of the discomforts that come with pregnancy. I’m talking heartburn, constipation, nausea, hemorrhoids, shortness of breath, frequent urination, etc, when really they don’t need to. A well functioning nervous system helps to combat a lot of these common symptoms.

Your spine is broken up into different section. You have your cervicals (neck), thoracics (mid back), lumbars (low back), and your pelvis which is composed of your sacrum, two ilium, and coccyx (aka tailbone).

Maintaining the middle of the thoracic spine with adjustments not only helps alleviate mid back pain due to growing breast size, but this area also supply nerves that if communication is interrupted, leads to shortness of breath and heartburn. Adjusting the lower thoracics all the way down to the coccyx are what help with frequent urination, low back pain, sciatica, constipation, and pubic symphysis pain.

Besides keeping mom comfortable, a huge reason to get this nervous system communicating properly is to prep her for labor. There are multiple studies out there showing that women who get adjusted while pregnant are more likely than women who don’t get adjusted to have easier labors. A hospital in Illinois did a study that showed women who were adjusted during their pregnancy, had the need for painkillers decrease by 50%! Dr. Joan Fallon also did research and a study on labor times. First time moms that were adjusted throughout pregnancy averaged a 24% shorter labor. Moms who had been pregnant before showed a reduction of 39%! Having a well aligned and properly functioning nervous system allows labor to be more straightforward. It also allows less pain and trauma for both mom and baby.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me! Also if you’re an expecting mom and you want to experience a better pregnancy and birth, let’s get you on my schedule!

pregnancy

Self-Care and Healthy Habits for Pregnant Mamas – Part 1

I just posted a quote on Instagram saying “preparing for the birth of a child, is really preparing for the rest of your life as a parent”

While that is a daunting thought, self care is so important and nurturing for you and your little one. There’s SO MUCH information to cover regarding this topic, so I figured I’d do a mini series.

I want to start with asking yourself how does your life need to change to prioritize your baby? So often for a pregnant mom the thoughts that are prioritized are centered around the birth. Then when motherhood comes, it’s daunting and overwhelming. Now this post isn’t going to be what about what to do to prepare for motherhood, but rather how you can slow down, and really take the time to focus on your little one.

First, what activities can you add to your weekdays to nurture yourself? This doesn’t need to take up your whole day or evening. Just something to help you slow down, relax, and focus on connecting with your growing little one. This could be a walk after dinner, a bath with candles, or some slow prenatal yoga.

Next, think about what your typical work day looks like, and what stressful things can you remove from it. We want you to be focused on nurturing yourself and your baby, and stress is the complete opposite of that. The main thing that comes to mind for me is people’s lunch hours. So often those get filled with little tasks or errands. Take that time to eat outside, read some of your book, or even take a nap if you work from home!

Moving on from the weekdays and onto the weekends – what can you and your partner do together that nurtures your relationship, and helps you focus on your baby together? This is also a great time to sneak in more private moments while you’re still a family of 2 (or before you add another family member to the mix). Walk through a botanical garden, go to a fancy adult-only restaurant, or even relax together at a movie.

Now that we took away stress from the work week and added in nurturing stuff, and talked about how you can nurture yourself during the week, let’s take the stress away from your weekend.

As I’m writing this, it’s June 2021, and especially in the summer, it seems like everyone’s weekends are jam packed. I want you to ask what you can remove from your weekends, so that you have more time for self care. Maybe you save all your social engagements for Saturday’s, and leave Sunday’s as a time to be together. If there’s an event or activity on Sunday that brings you both joy, by all means go for it.

With how crazy prepping for parenthood can be, I hope this got you excited about slowing down and connecting with your baby. Stay tuned for more self care tips!