Friday, November 22, 2013

Anatomy for Mamas 101 - Postpartum Healing meeting a huge success

Women really care about their bodies! And as well they should! We had a wonderful turnout for our Postpartum Healing meeting. Many thanks to physical therapists and pelvic floor specialists Ann Udofia and Marisa Alonso of Body Connect Health Wellness.

We learned a ton! We'll be sharing the handouts and detailed notes with members and with guests who requested them and can share with others as well upon request.

The big takeaway of the night was to be mindful in all exercise during and after pregnancy. Strengthen your transverse abdominal muscles throughout by pulling up and in but not doing crunches. Repeat gently immediately postpartum and increase as you heal, but take a full  6 weeks before even considering any strenuous activity. The pelvis is all over the place and the muscles and ligaments take a while to relearn where to go.

Braces and binders of various kinds can be effective at providing support during and after pregnancy. Our bodies do need support through these tremendous changes, but they also need stretching and lengthening, so don't forget stretches and yoga.

Women who are already runners may continue running when they get pregnant but should stop with ANY kind of pain and get an evaluation from a therapist. Walking is great for anyone, including women who were sedentary before getting pregnant.

Avoid running postpartum until/unless you know your core integrity to be strong (without a significant abdominal separation) and your pelvis to not be rotated or asymmetrical. An evaluation by a physical therapist trained to work with pregnant and postpartum women and with pelvic floor training can assess your body, release tightness through myofascial work and give you appropriate stretching and strengthening exercises.

Marisa used 38-weeks-pregnant Ann as a model -- along with a plastic pelvis -- and demonstrated how she does an evaluation and what she's looking for.

Once you do start running, if you choose to and think you have the abdominal integrity to do so safely, go slowly with a run/walk routine until you know what your body is able to handle. Listen to any pain and get yourself evaluated by someone trained in postpartum healing, even if your doctor or midwife has told you just to wait and everything will all go back to normal. It probably will not without support, and there are lots of things you can do to improve your body's recovery.

Strength-training without rest is not good, and impact training when there is scar tissue, tightness, a weak core, an abdominal separation (diastasis recti) can cause life-changing prolapse and also lead to back and hip pain. Abdominal separation can be reduced with time and with appropriate exercise, but for some women it will never go away completely.

We learned some self-care techniques, including lying on a Franklin ball to help loosen scar tissue from c-sections and to loosen other tissue as well. Marisa and Ann even brought some Franklin balls for our members and visitors to take home!

They also taught us how to use a scarf to approximate abdominus rectus closure when doing mini-crunches when you have abdominal separation. Pull the sides of a scarf or sheet in across your body to pull the sides of your abs together. Then raise your head just a little being mindful to engage the corset-like transverse abdominal muscles between your belly button and pubis. Any kind of crunches or sit-ups done without proper suppor for a separation can potentially lead to a worsening of the separation and to a whole host of problems, including with digestion and elimination.

Overall, we learned a lot about how abdominal and pelvic health can relate to whole body health and to vibrant, pain-free and prolapse-free living!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Getting your body back after baby! (Even if it's been years!)

Whether you are expecting for the first time, or are recently postpartum, or are even several years after giving birth but still wondering why your body hasn't gotten back to normal, do we have a meeting for you!

Physical Therapists Marisa Alonso and Ann Udofia of Body Connect Health and Wellness will teach us about how to support our bodies (during and especially) after pregnancy for optimal health and well-being.

They will explain how issues related to pregnancy can have long-lasting impacts on overall health and on specific issues including digestion and ability to exercise safely and strongly.
When and how should you exercise after pregnancy? What should you avoid?
What about kegels?
How do you know when your body is ready to get back to activities like running? When is it better to stick to a bike, to walking, or to an elliptical?
What should we keep in mind when breastfeeding and babywearing to avoid injury and to speed healing?

What are some basics of anatomy that every mom needs to understand about her changed body?
What exactly is fascia, and why should we care?

Included in the presentation will be discussion of:
  • pelvic floor dysfunction
  • abdominal separation (diastasis recti)
  • scar issue (c-section, appendix and others)

as well as:
  • posture
  • alignment
  • strengthening exercises
Come dressed ready to move and stretch!

Holistic Moms Network Arlington/Alexandria chapter November meeting:
Thursday, November 21, 2013, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
AUMC, 716 S. Glebe Road, Arlington, VA 22204

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Location changes for December and March meetings

This just in! Our December 19 meeting on Paleo Eating for the Holidays ... and every day! and our March 20, 2014 Five-Year Anniversary celebration will both be at a special location:
Fairlington United Methodist Church in the fellowship hall.

The address for both events is FUMC, 3900 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22302.

To get to FUMC from 395, exit east, and the church is right there on your right!

So that's just these two meetings at FUMC:
Thursday, December 19, 7:00-9:00 p.m. - Paleo Eating with Stacy and Matt of
Thursday, March 20, 2014, 6:00-9:00 p.m. - Five-year anniversary celebration with entertainment and giveaways.
Park in the main lot that you see from King Street and follow signs through the building to the fellowship hall.  For loading and unloading or for handicap access, there is an entrance by the playground off of Van Dorn street that can be used, but otherwise please park in the main lot.

We needed lots of room for our big party in March so that we can invite back all our old speakers and other practitioners, have some entertainment, and have a silent auction and raffle, and, we hope, a great crowd!

While we were looking for a venue for March, we decided to upgrade the size of our space for our December meeting, too. Stacy and Matt of have a huge following, and we wanted to be able to accommodate lots of folks! And to be able to sample treats! The FUMC fellowship hall will be a great location for both of these events. Holistic Moms is not affiliated with any religious organization.

We will be at our regular location of AUMC at 716 S. Glebe in Arlington for our November 21, January 16 and February 20 meetings.

Thank you to both FUMC and AUMC for letting us use their space! Please consider bringing food or diaper or clothing donations to AUMC for our regular meeting dates.