Your Vagina Muscles and All That Stuff Down There

As you have noticed from my blog, I have been trying to get back into “shape” after having a child and have been weightlifting and feeling great. Until it happened… One day I sneezed and opps I peed a little. Crap! I thought that I had done everything to prepare myself and avoid this!

Actually, I did everything to prepare my area “down there.” Saw a pelvic physiotherapist during pregnancy and postpartum, stretched and strengthened my perineum for birth, and practiced my kegals-or so I thought!

Last year I decided to immerse myself into courses that taught me about the pelvic floor and diastasis recti. I wanted a true understanding of what my body had gone through during my own pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum recovery. As a Massage Therapist, I also wanted to find new ways to help empower my perinatal patients about their bodies and all the changes that can happen.

There is so much you can do during pregnancy to help prepare your pelvic floor muscles (you push your baby through these muscles). There is also a step by step system to help your body heal after childbirth (vaginal or cesarian) called the Core Confidence Program from Bellies Inc. This is NOT the old fashioned kegal exercises.

What is a kegal anyways?

Created by a OBGYN named Arnold Kegal in 1948. It is an exercise that consists of repeatedly contracting and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles with the intention to strengthen, thus no more peeing! Most people describe to me that they are preforming a squeezing type exercise down there.

Game Plan

The idea of rehabilitating your pelvic floor and core muscles postpartum is to first identify what is going on down there! This can be done by going for an internal examination by a pelvic physiotherapist or sitting down with a RMT and doing an external assessment of the core/surrounding muscles, postural assessment and a questionnaire.

Next, you will need to learn how to properly breath! Most of us tend to chest breath or belly breath, which can put too much intra-abdominal pressure on our pelvic floor. The focus should be from the mid-lower ribs, expanding them like an umbrella opening and closing. No more drawing your belly button to your spine!

After this, you want to visualize that you are picking up or doing a lifting motion of your “vagina muscles.” Pick up a blueberry, or imagine an elevator door closing and going up. Once these two techniques are learned and done it is now time to put them together.

When you inhale, relax the pelvic floor. Exhale and contract/pick up your blueberry. Repeat.

Another great resource online, Julie Wiebe Physiotherapist, talks about the brains response to doing purposeful action with a pelvic floor muscle contraction. So not only is it good to practice the breathing and pelvic floor contraction together, but to also do this with movement and exercises.

It may seem like a lot of work in the beginning but once you have the hang of it and practice with every exercise, it will feel very natural to do.

Why even bother?

Well unfortunately as our bodies age, they can weaken. Any minor pelvic floor issues from having children or doing improper exercise left for 20-30 years can eventually turn into incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse. Not to mention lower back pain, and other injuries associated with years of compensating. More and more research is being done to show that the proper rehabilitation of the pelvic floor or doing preventative exercises, not only improves quality of life but also prevents problems later in life.

So, stop peeing when you sneeze, lift weights or jump-and get a proper assessment and exercise routine to help you get healthy from the inside out!

-Nicole xo

Toddler Sleep: Trust Your Instincts and Change Things Up

Trying to figure out sleep for my son has been one of the hardest things since becoming a parent. I want to make sure he is getting enough rest and that he allows me to sleep a full night, otherwise we are both a zombie mess.

He has been sleeping through the night since 10 months old and  I have always kept him on the same schedule. Lately, my hubby and I have noticed that our sweet boy (who was once so calm and happy)-started to turn into a little whiney monster.  I thought he slept enough but noticed that I wasn’t being strict on the time he went to bed. It was always between 7-8pm sometimes 8:30pm if we waited until Daddy got home. We decided this weekend that we would experiment and put him to sleep between 6-7pm instead.

We wasted no time, last night he was super grouchy so he went down at 5:30pm (his afternoon nap was in the car-so that screwed his rest). and tonight at 6:30pm. He woke up at  7am this morning so lets hope he does the same tomorrow morning.

I have a mom-sense that he is going through a growth spurt. So I am happy that we worked together as a team and decided on a new sleep routine for our son.

Don’t be afraid to change the way you do things. Make sure to keep a close eye on any routine in your life, because sometimes they need readjusting. I  always trust my mom-gut, it never steers me in the wrong direction.

Nicole xo

Daycare and Raising My Kid

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Today when I dropped my son off at daycare, I mentioned to his teacher that he was starting to scratch when he was upset. He scratched my fiance in the face and tried to bite me the day before. I felt it was due to him teething a molar, or being tired.

Fast forward to the end of day when I picked him up from school. As soon as I entered the room, the teacher told me “your son scratched and tried to bite another child today.” Apparently the boy had something Ares wanted and so Ares left a scratch mark on his face. They told me “it’s normal, they are kids, they go through this stage sometimes.” I get it, they are kids-still learning BUT absolutely NO parent wants to be told their child was the aggressor in this situation!

I felt embarrassed, sad, and disappointment. I know he is only 14 months old and still learning about communication and boundaries, but I really hope this stage doesn’t last long. My fiance Aaron and I work hard at showing Ares how loved he is and teaching him to communicate in a more positive way when he wants something.

What did you do to resolve this type of behaviour with your kids?

-Nicole xo