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Bladder Leaks and what you can do about them

  Bladder Leaks & What You Can Do About It  The holiday season often brings together extended family- and, well, it also means that incontinence jokes tend to join the festivities as well! In case you haven’t heard, many mothers of the world have unwittingly joined a secret pelvic floor dysfunction club, often courtesy of childbirth. I was admitted seven years ago, even though I don't personally experience bladder leaks. Apparently, membership is assumed for us all .  This secret club is where the moms, aunts, older cousins  and grandmothers make private jokes and eye rolls about leaks, “oops moments” and not being able to jump on trampolines. Glamorous, right? And occasionally the whole family joins in on the joke whenever cousin Johnny breaks out his comedy routine and mom has to make a sprint to the bathroom.    Why is this happening, you ask? First, a bit of science.  Bladder leaks, medically known as urinary incontinence, affect millions of individuals worldwide. Despite i

10 Terms Every Pregnant Fitness Enthusiast Should Know

As a fitness enthusiast, your commitment to staying active during pregnancy is probably non negotiable.  I know it was for me!  The problem is that there is a plethora of information out there which can cause a lot of confusion when it comes to the do's and don'ts of getting a safe and effective workout.  

I'm here to help you clear up the questions and get back to moving your body with confidence.  Understanding a few key terms related to pregnancy and postpartum fitness will ensure that you are getting your brain and body exactly what it needs.

So here you go: The 10 essential terms every pregnant fitness enthusiast should know, along with their significance in helping you achieve a healthy and balanced pregnancy and postpartum journey.

1. Corrective Exercise: Corrective exercises (CE) is the study of how your brain is sending signals to your muscles.  A customized CE plan is will packed with specialized movements that address your personal imbalances, weaknesses, or compensations in the body. Understanding how to implement corrective exercises during pregnancy and postpartum can help you maintain proper alignment, prevent the most common pregnancy related injuries, and support your changing body.  I always tell my clients, there will be no "waddling" on my watch!  We are going to nip all the aches and pains and keep you as mobile as possible throughout your entire pregnancy journey.

2. Pelvic Floor: The pelvic floor is a group of muscles, ligaments, and connective tissues that support the bladder, uterus, and bowels. These muscles play a crucial role in maintaining continence, providing pelvic organ support, and contributing to core stability. Learning how to engage and relax the pelvic floor correctly is essential for overall pelvic health before during and after pregnancy.  I'm here to help us all put an end to the running joke that mom's can't jump on trampolines or pee when they sneeze.  It may be common but it's not normal and there are steps to take to prevent and cure it.

3. Transverse Abdominis: Often referred to as the "corset" muscle, the transverse abdominis is a deep abdominal muscle that wraps around your torso.  It's the muscle that naturally does the work of all those belly bands on the market.  Strengthening the transverse abdominis is crucial during pregnancy and postpartum as it supports the growing belly, aids in core stability and is going to help you minimize and prevent pregnancy aches and pains resulting from a weak core...which includes a lot of aches and pains!

4. Diastasis Recti: Diastasis recti is a condition where the connective tissue, the linea alba, holding the two halves of the rectus abdominis together stretches during pregnancy. Understanding diastasis recti will take the fear out of it.  Knowing how to modify exercises to prevent anything further than natural separation is essential to promote effective postpartum recovery and restore core strength.  It's important to understand that this is a separation that is supposed to happen and it shouldn't be something to fear.

5. Inner Core Unit: The inner core unit consists of the diaphragm, pelvic floor, transverse abdominis, and multifidus muscles. These muscles work together to stabilize the spine and pelvis. Learning how to engage and integrate the inner core unit into your exercises will provide a solid foundation for your workouts during and after pregnancy.  Strengthening the inner core unit is THE key to preventing aches, pains and injuries.

6. Diaphragmatic Breathing: Diaphragmatic breathing, also known as deep belly breathing, is a technique that involves breathing deeply into the diaphragm to promote relaxation and optimal core function. Practicing diaphragmatic breathing can help reduce stress, improve oxygenation, and support a healthy pregnancy and postpartum experience.

7. Perceived Level of Exertion: The perceived level of exertion is a subjective measure of how hard you feel your body is working during exercise. During pregnancy, it's crucial to listen to your body and monitor your exertion level to avoid overexertion and ensure that you're exercising within a safe range.  Outdated science used to have pregnant people monitoring their heart rate but was removed and updated by ACOG in 1994. If you've been given the guideline of staying under 140bpm, don't feel scared to ask your provider why and what science they are basing their recommendation off of.  You deserve to know and if they continue to stick with that recommendation, you may have to work a little harder to get the amount of movement that you need in order to gain the health benefits of movement for your and your baby. 

8. Stress Management (Physical and Emotional): As we all know, managing stress is vital for both physical and emotional well-being in life as well as during pregnancy and postpartum. High stress levels can lead to physical tension, affecting your nervous system, breathing mechanics, core function, and overall health. Incorporating practices like mindfulness, yoga, and self-care activities or therapy is beneficial for both you and your baby.  It's something that is much easier in theory than practice.  It may take a little trial and error to find what works best for you. 

9. Relaxin: Relaxin is a hormone released during pregnancy that helps relax the ligaments in the hips and pelvis to accommodate the growing baby and prepare for childbirth. While it's necessary for the birthing process, understanding the role of relaxin is crucial for modifying exercises to prevent overstretching and injuries during pregnancy.  It's noteworthy to recognize that relaxin could lead to some places in your body feeling too tight and some feeling too loose.  For example, a muscle that is too loose can feel tight because it's stretched to it's max.  Stretching it more may do more harm than good.  A specialist can help you determine what you need to be stretching vs strengthening during this time. 

10. Prenatal and Postnatal Corrective Exercise Specialist (PPCES):  Aka me!  A pre and postnatal corrective exercise specialist is a certified fitness professional with expertise in guiding pregnant and postpartum folks  through safe and effective exercise programs.  A PPCES will take you through a total body assessment and build you a program to ensure that your workouts are tailored to your unique needs, reducing the risk of injuries and supporting your journey to reclaiming your strength postpartum.

As a busy, working mom or mom to be who values their fitness and mental well-being, understanding these terms can be empowering. 

To sum this all up: 

Corrective exercises will help you address any imbalances and prevent injuries. And it's never too soon or too late to start.  Familiarity with your pelvic floor and transverse abdominis will aid in maintaining core strength and stability. Recognizing diastasis recti and the importance of the inner core unit will support your postpartum recovery. Diaphragmatic breathing and managing your perceived level of exertion will optimize your workouts, ensuring that you stay within safe limits. Stress management is essential for both your physical and emotional health, and being aware of the hormone relaxin will help you modify exercises as your body changes during pregnancy. By seeking guidance from a PPCES, you'll gain valuable insights and customized workout routines that align with your goals. 

Armed with this knowledge, you can approach your pregnancy workouts with confidence, knowing that you're taking care of your body and well-being without the worry and stress that you are doing something wrong.


As a dedicated mom, PPCES and advocate for your well-being, I'm here to support you in this transformative experience. I'm here to help you achieve a healthy, strong, and balanced pregnancy and postpartum recovery. If you have questions, are looking for customized workouts or need some guidance, please book a no cost consultation with me, Coach Joanie, and we'll get you moving in the right direction. 



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