Squeeze or not to Squeeze? Were talking pelvic floor!

Did you know the average pregnancy bump weighs around 6 kg? Therefore there is pressure building on your pelvic floor muscles before your baby even arrives! Pushing your baby out further weakens these muscles. This isn’t good news for later life, which is why it’s important to do your pelvic floor exercises now! It’s a really important layer of muscles, as it gives you control over when you empty your bladder or bowel. Don’t delay, start those exercises today.

Problems associated with weak pelvic floor muscles

A weak pelvic floor…

  1. May mean you leak a little wee when you cough, sneeze, laugh too hard or exercise. This is known as stress incontinence. Who wants to wee when they laugh?!

Benefits of pelvic floor exercises

Strong pelvic floor muscles…

  1. Will support the extra weight of your pregnancy bump
  2. Help with post-birth healing, as there is extra blood flowing to the area.

How often should you do these exercises?

It depends on whether you are pregnant, or you’ve already had your baby.

  1. If pregnant: Once a day (8-10 reps), focusing on the release – this is what you will need to do when giving birth. So, the more practice you do now, the more you will recognise the sensation and be able to repeat it.
  2. After the birth of your baby: Three times a day (8-10 reps each time), focusing on the hold – it’s all about building your muscle strength back up!

A bonus benefit…

Learning to relax your pelvic floor in pregnancy will help you recognise the sensation. This can then be done when giving birth. Helping to reduce tiredness; and even the possibility of tearing or an episiotomy! Well worth the effort, wouldn’t you agree?

Not sure how to do your exercises or not doing them as regularly as you should? try our step by step online programme here at WomenFIT or attend one of our weekly group or one to one sessions.

You wont regret it.....

Charlotte x

www.womenfitcw.com

Can a chiropractor help with Pregnancy ? Our guest blogger Rachel Talbot from Naturally Empowered shares how Chiropractor's like herself can help you!

The Webster Technique – Pregnancy or Breech Babies?

So most pregnant women want their pregnancy and birth to be as natural as possible because their primary focus is on having a healthy child. As a chiropractor, I’m passionate about this, and as a woman I get that you can feel pretty precious and sensitive when pregnant.

Sadly, most people think they know what chiropractors do. As a profession we have become associated with forceful adjustments to the spine, associated with a release of tension and pain, and not much else. I graduated in 2003 and have lost count of the times people say – oh but you can’t help me, I don’t have a bad back…… or worse that that – “I know what you do and I don’t like it….”

So let me say: Not all chiropractors “crack” the back and more are moving towards what we call “tonal techniques” and to the general public are better described as “low force” or often “no force” techniques. Personally I adjust people so gently people have been known to ask if I’ve done anything, yet the benefits are so profound they come back over and over.

Webster technique is something that chiropractors have used for decades to help pregnant women around the world, and I’d like to share how it’s been used in our practice for many years.

Chiropractic based on 3 simple premises

  1. Your body is self-healing and self-correcting.

  2. The nervous system is the master control system in the body. Optimal function of the nervous system results in optimal health

  3. Any distortions to the pelvis or spine (the protective system of the nervous system) can interfere with optimal health

“A chiropractic adjustment called the Webster technique is a specific sacral adjustment to help facilitate the mother's pelvic alignment and nerve system function. This in turn balances pelvic muscles and ligaments, reduces torsion to the uterus.”

So for someone who is pregnant, at least for most women their goals are pretty similar. They want their baby to be healthy and to develop normally. Ideally they want an easy pregnancy and a straightforward natural birth.

So what could chiropractic and Webster technique have to do with this?

Many women suffer from back pain, fatigue, generalized aches and pains, headaches and heart burn during pregnancy. A smaller group develop the painful conditions of SPD (symphysis pubis dysfunction) where even walking can be impossible.

The Webster technique is aimed at the group who want their baby to have the best possible environment to grow and expand in to. One of the things we observe in Websters is often post adjustment the “bump” appears bigger. This is because the ligaments to the uterus relax as a result of the adjustment. I like to think of the Uterus as a balloon anchored in place by 4 ligaments – 2 attach at the front, 2 at the back. Any twisting or torsion on the pelvis can tighten up these ligaments, reducing the space for the baby to grow and develop in. In some cases this twisting can result in the baby lying transverse or breech. Release of the pelvis and ligaments has been associated with re-positioning of the foetus in several papers[1][2][3][4]. When someone is pregnant we wont necessarily do Websters on every visit but we will check if it’s necessary. If the indicators aren’t there, we’ll check the full spine and do whatever is necessary to optimize function.

I was certified in the Webster approach in 2006 because I wanted to be the best I could for the pregnant ladies I cared for. It seemed like an essential skill in care for this particular group. Chiropractic has long been associated with quicker, easier births with less medical intervention which is a goal for so many of the women I’ve seen.

Many ladies do come to us late in pregnancy to see if we can help with a breech or transverse presentation. Many but not all get what they want and we use a variety of approaches to help them. We are both Webster certified and see it as a valuable tool in our toolkit. Others work with us even prior to conception to ensure that their body is in the best possible state to host a baby for 9 months. The choice is theirs, and it’s always a privilege to support them on what is one of the most amazing journeys.

By Rachael Talbot © 2016

For further details about Rachel's work visit http://www.naturallyempowered.co.uk/

 

[1] MLA Citation: Drobbin, Danielle, & La Rosa, Sarah.  “Resolution of Transverse Breech Pregnancy Following Administration of Chiropractic Using the Webster Technique: A Case Study & Selective Review of the Literature.”  Journal of Pediatric, Maternal, & Family Health.  2015.1 (2015): 9-14.

[2] Application of the Webster In-Utero Constraint Technique: A Case Series Kunau, PL.   J of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics Vol 3 No. 1, 1998.

[3] Patients With Malposition and Malpresentation Pregnancies Cared for With the Webster Technique: A Retrospective Analysis Presented at WFC/FCER Biennial Research Conference. Sydney, Australia, June 16-18, 2005.

[4] The Webster In-Utero Constraint Technique: A Case Series Presented at Canadian Consortium for Chiropractic Research. Montreal, Canada, July 9-12, 2004

 

To crunch or not to crunch that is the question?

So you have just had a baby and are desperate to rid of your 'mum tum' or kangaroo pouch some may call it. You are feeling recovered after birth and feeling like you could manage a bit of exercise, you scroll through Instagram, snap chat, pin interest, Facebook and see a whole host of ab workout challenges.. am I getting warm and you think right il do one of these, when I get that spare 5 minutes.

Now most probably you are thinking that the way to get rid of that excess body fat around your midriff is to hit the crunches? how much have we been told to believe that sit ups here and ab crunches there will flatten that belly and give you that rippling six pack.. well that maybe if you are Jess Ennis Hill, however really this could do more damage then good if you are early post partum.

Your abs are made up of a number of muscles and each play a different role in the functioning of your core, when you have just had a baby the last thing you should be doing is pushing your abs together and I am going to tell you why?  

- it could cause damage to your stomach in the long term due to the excessive movement without proper recovery and healing

- it will fix the outside of your core and not the inside

- it could leave you with a overhang that may never disappear.

so what should I do then you ask?

Here is a number of factors that can have a great affect on the reduction of your post partum tummy:

* Firstly, exercise aside, let’s remember that great abdominals don’t just come from exercise. Healing nutrition, avoiding inflammatory food such as caffeine, alcohol, highly processed food and excess sugar will all stand you in good stead to losing the tummy.

* High levels of stress and lack of sleep encourage your body to store fat around the middle, now we all know this is easier said than done with a new born in tow however taking 10 minutes each day for you can make the world of difference.

* Engaging the deep muscles of the transversus abdominus and the pelvic floor whilst exhaling on effort in all movement encourages natural tension in the muscles that will draw you in (rather than push everything out.) Here at WomenFIT we offer a range of classes and programs that target just that.. link in to my classes tab for further details via my website.  

* Functional movement patterns of pushing, pulling, squatting, lunging and rotating (with some exceptions!) whilst using the deep core muscles will effectively build the internal strength that most of us are looking for. These are used in all of my classes and one 2 one sessions as many of you will know!

So next time you are tempted to join in the that 'Belly Blast' or sign up to a 30 day Ab Challenge, just check that the exercises are appropriate for your body as it is now

For further information about all of my live classes and sessions and how I can help you reduce and strengthen your post partum core  take a look at my website.

thanks for reading

Charlotte

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