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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

5 Ways to Physically Prepare Yourself for Pregnancy

If you've made the decision to embark on the journey of pregnancy, you probably have a million questions and concerns running through your head as you move into this phase of planning and trying. And as a busy, parent-to-be who values fitness and well-being, you may be wondering about how this is all going to affect and change you body. 

I know for me, personally, it was the reason I got into this work. I spent 10 years in NYC as a professional modern dancer and the changes my body was going to go through during pregnancy was a big concern. That may sound vain, but my body was my business. I had spent my entire life training and strengthening it to be able to rehearse and perform. I wasn’t willing to risk injury or not being able to return to dancing in postpartum. 

And here’s the most important thing I learned: PREVENTION IS KEY. 

If you are thinking of becoming pregnant or already trying, now is the time to start taking some proactive steps to physically prepare your body for what will prove to be a transformative experience, both mentally and physically.

By establishing a solid foundation through corrective exercise, pelvic floor education, diaphragmatic breathing, and stress management, you'll not only optimize your physical health but also support your mental well-being. Here are five ways to prepare your body for pregnancy, in order to ensure a smoother and more enjoyable experience.

1. Establish a Corrective Exercise Routine:
Pregnancy means your body is going to undergo numerous shifts and changes, and it's crucial to start with a solid foundation of balanced muscular strength and flexibility. Corrective exercise is the study of how your brain is sending signals to your muscles. Those signals will tell some muscles to fire more and others to fire less. Booking a corrective exercise assessment with a specialist will help address imbalances, weaknesses, and compensations in the body, ensuring that everything is in alignment before pregnancy. By pinpointing and overcoming your muscular imbalances, you'll reduce the risk of injuries and discomfort during pregnancy, setting the stage for a healthier and more comfortable journey. Not to mention you are setting yourself up to minimize or negate the risk of developing some of the most common pregnancy related injuries such as: low back pain, incontinence, diastasis recti, and pelvic girdle pain.

Benefits of Corrective Exercise before Pregnancy:

  • Improved posture and alignment, supporting the changes in your body during pregnancy.
  • Enhanced joint stability, reducing the risk of joint pain and strains.
  • Better core and pelvic floor function, essential for pregnancy and postpartum recovery.
  • Reduced chances of developing diastasis recti (abdominal separation) and pelvic floor dysfunction during pregnancy.

2. Learn About Your Pelvic Floor:
Your pelvic floor plays a critical role in supporting your growing baby during pregnancy and understanding these muscles is incredibly beneficial during childbirth. Learning about the muscles of the core and pelvic floor and their proper engagement AND release is essential! Consider meeting with a pelvic floor physical therapist for a thorough assessment to identify any imbalances, weaknesses, or tension in your pelvic floor muscles.  A certified pre and postnatal corrective exercise specialist can help with much of this work and education as well.

Benefits of Pelvic Floor Education and Assessment:

  • Improved awareness and control of your pelvic floor muscles, reducing the risk of issues like incontinence, tearing during birth and pelvic organ prolapse.
  • Enhanced ability to relax and release tension in the pelvic floor, promoting better childbirth outcomes and overall shorter pushing times.
  • Prevention of potential pelvic floor issues during pregnancy and postpartum, leading to a smoother recovery after giving birth.

3. Master Diaphragmatic Breathing:

Diaphragmatic breathing, also known as deep belly breathing, is a powerful technique that involves breathing by using the muscle of your diaphragm. This type of breathing not only provides relaxation benefits because of it’s connection to your autonomic nervous system, but also helps to strengthen the core and pelvic floor muscles. Many people don’t realize that their diaphragm is part of the their core. Learning to optimize diaphragmatic breathing means learning to optimize the strength and function of your core.

Benefits of Diaphragmatic Breathing:

  • Improved oxygenation and circulation, benefiting both you and your baby during pregnancy.
  • Strengthened core and pelvic floor muscles, providing essential support for your growing belly.
  • Reduced stress and anxiety levels, promoting overall well-being during pregnancy and beyond.

4. Get a Handle on Stress and Mental Health:

Yes pregnancy is a beautiful journey, but it can also be challenging and bring about various emotional obstacles. I’m sure you know this but I’m telling you again, managing stress and prioritizing your mental health is essential during this time. You may already feel busy or stressed when it comes to your career and personal life. Pregnancy, postpartum and parenthood is not going to make life any easier. If you struggle with stress, anxiety or mental health it’s crucial to get a handle on it now.

Benefits of Managing Stress and Mental Health:

  • Reduced risk of pregnancy-related complications associated with high stress levels.
  • Improved emotional well-being and resilience to cope with the ups and downs of pregnancy, postpartum and parenting.
  • Better overall pregnancy experience, leading to a happier and healthier postpartum period.

5. Incorporate Cardiovascular Exercises:
If you are like me, you love to move your body and workout. As a fitness enthusiast, staying active during pregnancy is likely important to you. If you aren’t doing it already, incorporating cardiovascular exercises like walking, swimming, running, cycling, etc to maintain your fitness level is an important routine to establish. The WHO recommends that all humans get 150 of moderate intensity exercise every week. That’s about 20 min a day. Your heart health is important and that health is going to directly translate to the health of your baby.

Benefits Cardiovascular Exercises during Pregnancy:

  • Improved cardiovascular health, benefiting both you and your baby.
  • Enhanced mood and energy levels, contributing to a positive pregnancy experience.
  • Reduced risk of complications and discomfort associated with high-impact activities.

As I’m sure you know, each pregnancy journey is unique. This isn’t by any means an exhaustive list of how to prepare your body for pregnancy but it will certainly get you off to a great start. By taking these proactive steps to prepare your body physically for pregnancy, you'll be better equipped to enjoy this miraculous journey while maintaining your physical health, achieving your postpartum fitness goals, and embracing the joys of parenthood with confidence and grace.

If you have questions about fertility, pregnancy or postpartum fitness, don’t hesitate to book a no cost consultation with Coach Joanie of Transformation Nation. Or sign up for a 7-day free trial. There is lots of education built into the online studio as well as a 4- week fertility cycle workout to guide you through exercising to gain the benefits of moving in sync with your cycle.


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