Laughing, sneezing, coughing, and other Pregnancy & Mom Goals we should have!

Part 5 – Bonus! 

Check out part 4, here


Some Core Strengthening!

Because our Pelvic Floor has an intimate relationship with our abdominals, having a healthy “Core and Floor” during pregnancy can help you find your waistline after baby is born!

These exercises are fabulous for keeping your Core strong during pregnancy, or starting back into abdominal work postpartum and are helpful in avoiding and rehabilitating Diastasis Recti (separation of abdominals)

No
Crunchies necessary!

(but that’s another blog series!)

Working the ‘Inner Core’ muscles should not burn like abdominal curls do. These are your endurance muscles. To challenge these muscles, we can ‘trick’ them into working with an unstable surface like a stability ball or disc under your hips or by moving our arms and legs and trying to keep our torso stable.

Watch that your belly doesn’t bulge outward or bump or tent down the centre.

                     

*Click the links below to view these exercises in video: 

Stability Ball Abdominals
(suitable for first trimester of pregnancy or approximately 8-12 weeks postpartum)

Knee Stirs
(elevate your torso on a soft bolster or wedge if pregnant)


During pregnancy, once that beautiful belly is starting to show, consider working your core by moving your whole body, arms or legs while using your
core breath throughout. This not only gives you a core work out but upper or lower body workout too! It doesn’t need to be strenuous to be work. We call this functional core work.

Here are a few video examples of functional core work:
*click the links below to be taken to the video:

How to roll over in bed while pregnant (yes, that’s a workout!!)

Standing Leg Presses

Seated Arm Pulls

For more videos follow me on Instagram @ruthruttandoula or come to a class to keep crushing your Pregnancy and Mom Goals!

Laughing, sneezing, coughing, and other Pregnancy and Mom Goals we should have

Part Four: Making it work!
Check out part 3, here!


Can we just be really real and intimate with each other for a moment?


1 in 4 women experience bladder problems (Leaking!)
1 in 3 experience bladder problems and/ or pelvic pain during sex

P.S. a healthy pelvic floor will keep embarrassment out of the bedroom and make sex more enjoyable.

I am not an exception to any of the above statistics! In fact I once went to the hospital due to inexplicable pain and the doctors were totally stumped. It was only after learning more about my Pelvic Floor that I realized the culprit was likely Pelvic Floor Dysfunction. While incontinence and pain are very common, it’s not normal and it can be prevented and helped.

Let’s recap what we already know from this blog series. We know where the Pelvic Floor is located. We know the Pelvic Floor has a special relationship to our Inner Core and that it must be strong and flexible.

Well, if all of this wasn’t enough, it also needs to know how to move at different speeds! This final step is what is going to get us to those goals!

We need the muscles of our Pelvic Floor to maintain a constant engagement throughout our days to hold up the contents of our abdomen and we need those muscles to be able to react quickly against sudden abdominal pressure: LAUGHING, SNEEZING, COUGHING, running, jumping and all our other pregnancy and mom goals! For simplicity, lets say that we need to know how to work our Pelvic Floor in a powerful, plyometric style (exerting maximum force in short intervals), “fast twitch” and for endurance (the ability to withstand wear and tear, lengthy physical stamina), “slow twitch“ engagement.

 

Here are some exercises to help you find both types of engagement.

A complement to our Wide Leg Stretch last post, this Wide Leg Squat in Parallel (or Plie in 2nd) can help to build proper strength.

Separate the legs just wider than the width of your shoulders, preferably with the knees and toes facing forward (alternatively, this can be done with legs turned out, but this should be avoided if there is a known issue with any sort of prolapse) Put a little more weight into our heels than toes and squat – bending and stretching your knees. Try to keep your torso upright (this time, don’t lean forward)

Using your “Core Breath” with the squat- Inhale to bend your knees and Exhale to straighten your knees. Do these squats slowly, matching the length of your breaths to the length of the movements. Keep your Pelvic Floor engaged and lifted throughout. This works the endurance or slow twitch fibers of the Pelvic Floor.

Parallel squat
  

Turned out squat
                       

.
Let’s add on…

Pause when you’re almost at the deepest part of your squat. Push into your heels to help activate your glutes (bum cheeks) and your hip muscles, and start to come up but stop yourself from coming all the way up with a short, fast Exhale to engage your core muscles, including your Pelvic Floor, as quickly and strongly as you can. Inhale to release as quickly as you can, and drop down into the squat again. Think of this as a pulse with and accent upward. Aim to be powerful with the Pelvic Floor like a striking action on the contraction. Recruiting the extra muscles of the hip, bum and legs will assist your Pelvic Floor and give you some lower body work. Start with 3 pulses and rest, several times. As you become able to contract and release quickly, you can work your way up to 5 pulses and eventually 10 pulses.

Take it up a notch

Once you’ve mastered the wide leg squat, here’s a variation that will make you work a little harder and take much more concentration on the core and floor. Switch your breath for this one – Exhale as you step out to the wide leg position and squat contracting the core and floor. Inhale to pull the legs back together (use a little inner thigh) and straighten your legs. This works for endurance and the stepping out action is plyometric for fast twitch integration. For an example: https://www.instagram.com/p/BRLVW6ZhdUi/?taken-by=ruthruttandoula

Hovering on Knees Or Bridging

Start sitting on your heels with feet together and knees apart at about a 45* angle. Using the “Core Breath” Exhale and lift your bottom off your heels (about half way between sitting and being right up on your shins) thinking of pulling the knees toward centre (but don’t actually move them) you should feel the muscles of your upper inner thigh, your glutes (bum cheeks) and maybe a little of the outside of your hips engage. Inhale and release.

For Bridging lie on the floor or a Mat, knees bent and about hip width apart. Using the “Core Breath” Exhale and lift your bottom off the Mat trying to keep your torso long not bowing, and using the glutes more than your hamstrings. Inhale and release. Maintain the contraction of the Pelvic Floor and core throughout both of these exercises.

Hovering


Bridging
  

Let’s add on…

This time hold the hover or the bridge and keep the inner core engaged. With a short, fast Exhale, engage your Pelvic Floor (in and up), as quickly as you can. Inhale to release as quickly as you can. Repeat 3 times and then release the squeeze. Work up to 5 repetitions, and then 10, as your ability and strength increases.

**Inner thigh work can be uncomfortable for some pregnant persons and could contribute to Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction. If you feel any pain in the pubic bone area with these or any exercises, stop! Likewise, not all pregnant persons will feel uncomfortable lying on their back for bridging and we do not recommend spending much time lying in this position exercising. Stop if you feel uncomfortable, breathless or lightheaded. In general, keep pregnant person’s heart above baby’s heart when reclining**


Let’s counter some of this inner thigh focus with the outer hip and thigh muscles, which work together with the Pelvic Floor and protect the pelvis and low back.

Maintain the integrity of your Inner Core and Pelvic Floor throughout and complete 5-10 repetitions of each of the Clam leg variations that you see in this:
https://www.instagram.com/p/BTBxN0rhInt/?taken-by=ruthruttandoula

Some movements should feel like you really have to think to keep yourself from wobbling and some will create a little burn on the outside of the thigh, hip and glute. Don’t forget to repeat on the second side!

Follow me on Instagram @ruthruttandoula or come to a class to keep crushing your Pregnancy and Mom Goals!

 

Laughing, sneezing, coughing, and other Pregnancy and Mom Goals we should have.

Part Three: All work and no rest make for a very stressed Pelvic Floor!

Check out part two, here!


Did you know that many of the symptoms of a weak Pelvic Floor are the same for a tight Pelvic Floor?

I think we commonly associate weakness with slack or lengthened and stretched out muscles but tight muscles can be weak and lack integrity too. A tight or hypertonic Pelvic Floor does not mean it is strong, it means it doesn’t know how to release and function well. (to truly know if you’re weak or tight, one needs to see a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist)

Along with some ill affects on our daily life pre or postnatally, at tight Pelvic Floor can make the pushing stage of labour much more work. Some women inadvertently “hold” the baby in during the pushing stage.


In the last posts we’ve spent time getting some awareness and engagement of our Pelvic Floor, now let’s look at giving it some down time.  

These stretches should be appropriate for just about every one.

Lean forward with arms on a stable surface. This opens the distance between the pubic bone and the tailbone. Separate the legs, nice and wide and turn them to parallel. This opens the distance between your sit bones. This position in itself is a Pelvic Floor stretch. Use your core breath exercises and images from the last post to help you bring awareness to the Pelvic Floor.

Lunge gently from side to side. You should feel a stretch or lengthening feeling down your inner thigh and possibly through your Pelvic Floor. If you don’t feel any stretch, try separating your legs wider and be sure your tailbone is slightly lifted. Then try bending and stretching the knees together with the torso centered.

Breath easily and with a focus on stretching and opening the Pelvic floor. Keep your jaw and shoulders as relaxed as possible. This is a great example:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BQEEn-Fl-iK/?taken-by=ruthruttandoula

This should feel lovely and relaxing and is often a place women naturally want to labour. If you’re are pregnant, this is a great place to spend some time imaging the birth of your baby. Much like an athlete visualizes the positive outcome of their sport, you too can put some positives vibes out there!

 


Another option is to rest on a slightly elevated surface (a wedge or a soft bolster) with the legs butter-flied or up the wall. Alternatively, this can be done lying on your side with one leg up the wall and then turning over to do the same on the other side.

 

                                       


Since the Hip and Glute muscles often work together with the Pelvic Floor in 
most of our daily activities (we call them “co-recruiters”) it’s great to give them a stretch too. The “Figure Four” stretch standing, sitting or on your back is a great one.

 


To further release this area, the Franklin Method Pelvic Floor & Glute release with a semi firm ball is just the trick! 
Squeeze your glutes and press firmly onto the ball, then release. Do this several times. Then use the ball to massage the glutes, hip and hamstrings. When you remove the ball you should feel dropped and open on that side. Repeat on the second side.

**Be aware if you have piriformis syndrome or sciatica as this can put a lot of compression on the muscle and nerve. Stop if symptoms get worse**


See an example in this video
https://www.instagram.com/p/BQnybb2h48n/?taken-by=ruthruttandoula

 

How To Fuel Your Energy Tank When You’re Running After Baby

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We’ve all heard it, in fact we all have most likely sang it on the playground many moons ago…“First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage”. So idyllic, and so blissful, the thought of bringing a baby into the family. And so it is!

After 9 months of preparation, and eager anticipation, the curtain drops and into your life comes a small miracle. Through the haze of emotional ecstasy comes a slow and steady realization that this ‘little one’ is now solely dependent on you, the caregiver. Even with all the love that you can provide, that is no small feat! From this point to forever, as a parent, you will expend physical, mental and emotional energy. That energy may wane as the years pass, but as a parent, it will never subside.

So what is the secret to getting energized and staying energized?

In order to perform admirably in duties such as the countless diaper changes and baby feedings, to getting up throughout the night and becoming entertainer in the daytime, your body and mind requires an abundance of energy!

Think of yourself as your favourite car for a moment. You have a gas tank. In order to function, and to travel any distance, you need gas in the tank. Gas fuels the car and can allow the car to perform optimally. As the fuel gets used, the gas tank empties, therefore the car will need more gas to continue to perform optimally. You still with me?

Now to you. Your body requires fuel to energize your system. Over time that fuel gets used up and needs to be replaced. Fuel comes in different forms for the human body. Check out my tips to stay energized and on a full tank:

SLEEP
This is one of the most important aspects of our lives and typically the area we cut back on most. Your body needs sleep for recovery and energy. Optimal sleep is anywhere from 7-11 hours per night. Naps are also proven to be extremely beneficial. Why not sneak a 20-30 minute catnap when the ‘little one’ dozes off!

NUTRITION
Much like the gas tank analogy, the quality of what you put in the tank is equally important for performance. The better the gas, the better the performance. Much has been said, written, studied, and documented about nutrition and its absolute benefits. Some general principles and guidelines: Reduce or remove all sugars, refined products, and processed foods. Eat the colours of the rainbow. Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables. Drink pressed juice, or make fruit and vegetable smoothies. Add more nuts, beans and legumes. You are what you eat! Eat good, feel good!

In addition, take time to plan meals and snacks ahead of time. Have the ingredients, have meals and snacks prepared and ready to go. This time saver alone is a huge energy booster.

iStock_000023889054Small (1)

HYDRATION
The human body consists of 50-65% water. It is a crucial part to our day to day functioning. Even a 2% drop through dehydration causes lethargy, lack of focus, and low energy. A study by Loughborough University showed a water loss of as little as 5% can result in a 30% loss of energy. The recommended daily intake of fluids by the Dietitians of Canada is 9 cups (2.2 litres) for women, and 12 cups (3 litres) for men. Now that is not easy, but learning to drink on an ongoing basis is certainly more optimal than drinking when thirsty. Have a water bottle handy and drink continuously throughout the day. Although you’ll begin by running to the bathroom more, you will notice a clear mood and energy difference.

EXERCISE
There is nothing like some exercise to boost energy and promote feeling good. Exercise stimulates the body and releases dopamine, the bodies natural feel-good drug. Whether you are tired and run down, or just flat out not in the mood, if you can muster up the strength to get through a 15-30+ minute workout, (run, bike, swim, yoga) you will feel rejuvenated, self-confident, de-stressed, and energized!

CarrierFit001

Sleep, Nutrition, Hydration, and Exercise are by no means a secret. In fact, they are the pillars to leading a well balanced and healthy lifestyle. Here are some additional tips to find energy in other ways:

JUST BREATHE
Step outside, go for a walk, or open the windows. Let some clean air circulate through your lungs and permeate your system. Breathing in clean air and ridding your body of toxins is a great way to grab an energy boost. Take 5 minutes or more to connect with nature.

BE PRESENT
Sometimes when your child is playing and all you can think of is the laundry list of things-to-do, take a moment to be present. Enjoy the moments that seem to pass in the blink of an eye. You won’t regret it! Be silly, dance, play, laugh, act like a scary tickle monster, sing like Elmo. You’re kid(s) will love you for it all the more, and guess what, you’ll love yourself that little bit more too. Yay for energy!

Looking forward to greater health

OTHER MOMS (PARENTS)
Seek out other moms. They are everywhere, and most likely feeling, and thinking, the same as you are. There is strength in numbers. Call and meet up with friends for a playdate. Looking for new mom friends? Check out your local library and community centres for events and gatherings. Head out to the park. Say hi and spark up conversation at the grocery store. Find mom groups online in your area, check out ‘Mom Meet Mom’. For many, this is a welcome relief and a win-win. Some like-minded adult contact and conversation goes a long way in dispelling any doubts, fears, and concerns. In fact, you may feel energized and supported by the network you create.

Simply put, your energy can come from intentional acts and behaviors. Raising a baby is arguably the most rewarding responsibility in your lifetime. Make each day and each moment count. Nobody said it would be easy, but they all say it was worth it!

Calea

Calea is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC) through the Coaching Training Institute (CTI) who specializes in helping moms find a balance between being a mom and being themselves. She is the founder of Yummy Mummy Life where she will help you in the confidence department, offering 1 on 1 signature packages designed to make your dreams happen + goals happen. In addition, Calea is also a mom & baby fitness instructor, and an essential oil wellness advocate. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

Lick your lips green smoothie bowl – A smoothie you can eat with a spoon!

Start your day with a hit of GREEN!

IMG_7306

Ingredients

⅓ cucumber
¼ apple
1/2 banana
3 cubes of frozen greens (spinach, kale, arugula) or 1 handful fresh spinach leaves (if you use fresh spinach, add 3 ice cubes to the mix)
1 small piece of fresh ginger, peeled (fingertip sized) or 1/2 teaspoon of dry ginger
1 cup coconut water
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon hemp seeds
optional: scoop of protein powder, 1 teaspoon of maca, sweetener of choice

Instructions

Put all the ingredients in your blender and blend away
Pour in a cup and top with nuts, berries or granola

smoothie_bowl

This recipe started as a green smoothie bowl, then after I was done I had a smoothie. Pretty much the yummiest smoothie I have made to date. So yummy I had to share it and, bonus, it’s super healthy. This is a smoothie that will help give you energy, nourish you and make you lick your lips.

If you want to make a thicker smoothie bowl (how I like it), use less coconut water and 1/4 of an avocado.


A little note about hemp hearts:

Hemp seeds are one of the most nutritionally well-balanced plant foods on this earth. They are power-packed with a healthy dose of protein, fatty acids, antioxidants, minerals and fibre that offer the perfect harmony for the human body. These amazing seeds also contain all 8 essential amino acids required for making a complete, plant-based protein source. Hemp seeds are also rich in
omega-3 fatty acids, ideal for boosting mood, increasing brain function and reducing memory loss, as well as reducing inflammation.

Enjoy and if you don’t want a green smoothie mustache, you can always try a durable glass smoothie straw.

 

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Our amazing food blogger is Kimberly Ignas from Appreciating Health, a Holistic Nutritionist with a specialty in pregnancy, postpartum, and family health. She is happiest helping mothers and their little ones live a healthy and vibrant whole food lifestyle!

Quick & Healthy Morning Ritual

Breakfast? Who has time for that?

I don’t know about you, but I find the mornings terribly difficult to manage. All I really want to do is wake up to a nice cup of coffee and sit on my terrace in the sunlight, but none of that is going to happen, for many reasons (first being not having a terrace).

What my mornings actually look like is a blur of clothing, toast crusts, and spilled juice. Usually by the time I get out the front door for class (or playgroup), I have totally neglected to feed myself and my next stop will be a quick fix scone at a local coffee shop. Not a good idea!

I think we all know how important it is to start the day off right. It is one of the best ways to combat the blood sugar ups and downs that often accompany the strenuous (and tiring) job of motherhood. A good breakfast can keep you energized all morning and full of the fruits and veggies that give your immunity a boost.

Smoothies (with a twist) to the rescue!

So, how can you squeeze a healthy breakfast into an already hectic morning? The answer is always the same: be prepared! By now you must have seen the amazing ziploc bag smoothies all over Pinterest. These have been an absolute saviour for me! If you have a blender and a freezer, a healthy breakfast can be yours in the time it takes your toast to pop!

ziplocksmoothies
The one thing I don’t love about this is waste, so I tend to package my smoothie contents in a few tupperware containers instead. Some even use jars, but I will leave that up to you! 

6 easy steps to a delicious, healthy smoothie!

1. Pick a few of your favourite freezer containers 

2. Chop a bunch of your favourite fruits and divide equal parts into your containers (about a cup). I always make sure I get bananas in each one. 

3. Add a little creamy flair to each container if desired:
            – yoghurt
            – peanut butter
            – coconut meat 

4. Pop all containers in the freezer (be sure to label them). 

5. In the morning, empty one of the containers into a blender with a liquid base
             – Almond milk
             – Coconut water
             – Water
             – Green tea (don’t knock it ’til you try it!)

6. Blend….but not so fast, let’s make it extra healthy:
              – Handful of greens
              – Spirulina 
              – Protein powder (I like Vega) 
              – Chia seeds
              – Flaxseeds 

Technically you can freeze the greens with your fruits but I find it does not blend very well, and I like my greens REALLY hidden! You can be creative and enjoy a bunch of different combinations. You can’t really go wrong, and if it needs a bit of sweetness you can add honey, maple syrup, or chopped dates.

Super Immune Booster Smoothie:

Immune Boosting
Immune Smoothie

1 cup chopped mango
1/2 chopped orange
1 tsp zest of lemon or lime
1/2 cup greek yoghurt
1 tsp maca powder or vanilla protein powder
1 cup water

Combine chopped mango, chopped orange, lemon zest, and yogurt into freezer container of choice and place in freezer. In the mornings empty container into a blender and add water and maca powder or protein powder. Blend and enjoy!

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