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

Mommy Guilt And Taking The Day Off Work

Today my son was home sick. Today was a work day for me.  I run a business, so technically I have more flexibility in my schedule than my Hubs who works downtown Toronto in an office.

I couldn’t help but feel a deep sense of guilt. I hate to let people down but because I am a mother, family comes first. I was supposed to speak at a career day event in a local high school, followed by a day of Massage Therapy patients. I was so excited to share my passion for what I do and how at the young age of 21 I started my own clinic and have grown into a multi-practitioner wellness centre. I love to inspire youth, and tell them that they can truly do anything they love most in the world as a career. I did it!

As much as I love to be there for my son when he is sick, today I wished that it was me who went to work and Daddy stayed home to take care of our sick child.

-Nicole XO

Be At Peace With Where You Are Right Now In This Present Moment

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Every Monday, my trainer asks me “How was your weekend?” I usually answer her with how tired I am and how busy I was.

This weekend I felt relaxed and rested. Wow, that is not something a lot of moms can say but I made sure that I didn’t take on more than I could handle.

Most of my workouts consist of me talking out my stresses and complaining about some of the exercises she makes me do ( I hate lunges!). I didn’t complain at all today and made sure I gave each exercise my all! We even finished our workout a few minutes early so we decided to add in 5 minutes of mediation! The most important piece I walked away from todays session was: Be At Peace With Where You Are Right Now In This Present Moment. WOW, we could all learn from this one!

Stay in the moment, be kind to yourself, and have a great day!

Nicole xo