K is for Kegels

K is for Kegels

Exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor are important during pregnancy and the postpartum period.  This is why it is often suggested to start doing exercises like kegels even before you are pregnant.  To understand exactly what a kegel is and its benefits, visit my K is for Kegels blog in the Pregnancy Blog.  If you aren’t interested in kegels you should at least consider other options for strengthening your pelvic floor muscles including Pilates and yoga…

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Postpartum Depression - Guest Blog

Postpartum Depression - Guest Blog

As mothers, we often joke how there is no manual for having a baby and raising them to be functioning humans. “Shouldn’t that be included in the afterbirth?”, I find myself saying, like a bad Dad joke. There is no easing into it. When you find yourself pregnant, motherhood is thrust upon you and no book or class could possibly prepare you for the ride to come. No amount of studying prepares you for this test. As a military spouse, I prided myself on my ability to “adapt and overcome”, “hurry up and wait”, “expect the unexpected”, and every other cliché that is associated with having a spouse in the Armed Forces.

My husband and I took advantage of every free pregnancy and birth class that the base offered. I took meticulous notes while rubbing my growing belly, wishing I could fast forward to a time when I all I would know is the immense love and joy of having our baby girl in my arms for the first time. The instructors talked openly about postpartum depression and the baby blues; making sure we all knew the signs and that asking for help was okay and not a sign of weakness. Each class I left never giving PPD a second thought. I was a “go-with-the-flow” kind of person and my ego was getting the better of me… “I’m made of stronger stuff than that.” Never have I viewed mental health or illness as a weakness in someone else, but for some reason, I thought I was untouchable…

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J is for Job

J is for Job

Returning to work after your baby is born can be one of the hardest things to do—even if you really want to go back!  There are many things to consider when returning to work.  How much will it cost you to pay for child care?  Will you job cover that cost?  If so, you then have to consider who will watch your baby and where.  If you are breastfeeding you also need to speak to your work about when and where you will be able to pump. 

Before your first day back it is a good idea to work out the logistics of what returning to work will look like.  Will you need to leave earlier to drop off the baby?  That means you will also need to pack everything the baby needs for the day too, including milk.  Will someone be coming to your home to watch the baby?  You may need to have things organized clearly and meet with the nanny before you go back to work to make sure they are familiar with where everything is and how to care for your baby.  Wherever you baby ends up being, make sure you ask the caregiver to send you picture and video updates throughout the day!  This can be a huge emotional booster if you are feeling down at work, and can help you get through those pumping sessions…

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Creating the Matriarc App - Guest Blog

Creating the Matriarc App - Guest Blog

If you asked me three years ago if I would have co-founded a technology company helping thousands of women heal their bodies post-childbirth, I would have called you crazy. But in fact, that’s exactly what MATRIARC has done through our interactive FREE digital app available on IOS. SO, how did I get here?

As a Pilates instructor and the owner of a health and wellness company for over a decade, I've helped many clients recover from a myriad of issues and injuries, some so severe they required surgery. As you'd expect in these cases, my clients were kept informed before, during, and after a procedure by their doctors, were prescribed physical therapy, and were given an abundance of information on how to properly build back strength…

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I is for Intimacy

I is for Intimacy

Sex after birth isn’t something everyone is interested in, at least not right away.  Whether you want to jump back to having sex immediately or never want to think about sex again it is still good to think about intimacy.  Intimacy does not have to mean sex and can help strengthen your relationship with your spouse.  Life with a newborn can be exhausting, emotional, and a strain on your relationship with your partner.  To help lessen all of these make sure you make time to be intimate; this can help improve your mood, hormones, and your relationship…

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H is for Hemorrhoids

H is for Hemorrhoids

No one likes to think about hemorrhoids, but they are a real possibility during and after pregnancy.  Hemorrhoids occur when the veins in your rectal area swell.  You may have experienced some hemorrhoids during pregnancy due to your uterus enlarging and putting pressure on the veins around your rectum causing them to swell.  Hemorrhoids during the postpartum period can be caused by a combination of swelling during pregnancy, increased hormones, and the strain of pushing during a vaginal delivery.  They can be internal, external, or a combination of the two…

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G is for Getting Out

G is for Getting Out

Getting out of the house with your new baby for the first time can be difficult.  It can be hard to convince yourself to get up and out of the house and a little overwhelming.  But getting out doesn’t have to be a daunting task.  Getting out can be as simple as taking your baby for a short walk in the stroller or carrier.  A change of scenery and some fresh air can be a great emotional boost.  Getting out with or without your baby can also help prevent postpartum depression…

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F is for Fundal Massage

F is for Fundal Massage

When you hear ‘massage’ you think about a relaxing day at the spa, this is not that kind of massage!  The fundal massage can be quiet uncomfortable.

Fundal Massage is when your nurse presses down on your abdomen firmly massaging the uterus, specifically the fundus, or top your uterus.  The reason for this massage is to reduce your risk of postpartum hemorrhage and assist your uterus in shrinking back to its pre-pregnancy size.  The pushing and rubbing of your uterus will cause contractions also referred to as afterpains.  These contractions will not be as painful as what you just went through, but still unpleasant…

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E is for Engorgement

E is for Engorgement

Engorgement can happen once your mature milk comes in and can last for a few days or more.  When your mature milk comes in you begin producing much larger quantities of milk than you were when producing colostrum.  In addition to the extra milk your breasts also fill with extra blood and fluids to help in the milk production process.  Usually this occurs two to five days after your baby is born.  This engorgement will last while your body regulates your milk production, adjusting your supply to fit the demands of your baby – this could take a few days or weeks.  If you are not breast feeding this period can be particularly uncomfortable…

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D is for Discharge

D is for Discharge

Yes, they do eventually send you home after the birth of your baby.  For some it may seem like this takes forever, and for others it may feel too soon!  If you have other children at home it may feel like either a much needed break or torture being away from your other babies…

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C is for Cesarean Recovery

C is for Cesarean Recovery

These days it is not uncommon to labor for hours and possibly even push for hours, and end up needing a cesarean to deliver your baby.  If this happens, it means that your recovery is going to be hard.  Your body is tired and sore from the strains of labor, and then add on major abdominal surgery to that, and you are likely to be in a lot of pain.  If this happens, remember that it was the best choice for you and your baby – if you labored/pushed for hours with no change it likely means your baby was in a less than ideal position and may not have changed to allow for a vaginal birth.  Or you may have chosen to schedule a cesarean for personal reasons or due to having a previous cesarean.  In extreme cases, you may even have needed an emergency cesarean…

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B is for Bleeding

B is for Bleeding

After your baby is born you will experience a discharge called lochia which is comprised of blood, mucus, and uterine tissue.  This discharge is experienced by all new mothers whether they gave birth vaginally or via cesarean.  This bleeding is to clear out your uterine lining and usually lasts about six weeks, gradually decreasing and changing to more mucus over that time.  The first five to ten days your bleeding will be heavy (comparable to a heavy period), bright red, and have some small clots – this is known as lochia rubra.  If you have any clots the size of a golf ball or larger you need to let your doctor know right away.  After the first week your bleeding will become more pinkish or brownish, and the clots should decrease and become less frequent – known as lochia serosa.  By the end of the first six weeks the lochia should no longer contain blood and be only yellow or white mucus discharge – known as lochia alba.  If you had twins or triplets your bleeding will likely be heaver and longer…

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A is for Afterpains

A is for Afterpains

You’ve just gone through hours of labor and delivered your baby, the pain is over now right?  Wrong!  After your baby is born you will still experience contractions referred to as afterpains.  These contractions are caused by the involution of your uterus from its pregnant state back to its non-pregnant state – roughly the size of a pear.  Some moms describe these as a barely noticeable or a mild annoyance while others compare their intensity to labor contractions…

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