Posted in Sweet child o' mine

Tongue tie Aftermath

img_1544.jpgMy son was only 10 days old when he had a tongue tie release. He was not latching on properly and was losing weight since we were discharged home from the hospital. It was our pediatrician who first diagnosed him and referred us to an ENT for a second opinion. ENT confirmed and proceeded with a tongue, upper and lower lip release during the same appointment. My son latched on seconds after the procedure; we were given post op instructions on how to massage the soft tissue underneath so it would not adhere again. We followed every step.

 

As a physical therapist, assessing how people move, how they sit, stand or walk is second nature to me. My family, especially my son, is always on my radar. It was not until he was about 15 months that I realized he slept with his mouth open. He is a stomach or a side sleeper, and regardless of the position his mouth was open. I closed his mouth, seconds later his mouth was open again. He was not a sick kid, he was breastfed, he did not have any anatomical abnormalities, but why did he sleep with his mouth open? Bizarre, right? To me, it was.

When I started researching this, I came across myofunctional therapy and I was awed. I have been in field of Physical Therapy for 11 years and I had never heard of myofunctional therapy before. I asked my colleagues and they had never heard about myofunctional therapy before either.IMG_8776.JPG

What is Myofunctional Therapy?

In a nutshell, it is a non-invasive treatment of oral cavity. Now remember, that includes the tongue, jaw, cheeks, airways and the neck. I learned that if your tongue is not properly positioned in your mouth, it can lead to breathing problems then in later stages to sleep apnea.

I knew I needed to take my son for a thorough examination; therefore I went to Bella Physical Therapy.

 

Did you know220px-Einstein_tongue

  • Poor latch
  • Falling asleep when attempting to nurse
  • Swallowing issues
  • Poor weight gain
  • Ear infections
  • Excessive colic/gas/burping
  • Reflux symptoms
  • Breathing Issues
  • Interrupted sleep

                                                               ….can be addressed with myofunctional therapy?

If goes uncorrected, these problems can lead to mouth breathing, sleep apnea, chewing and swallowing problems, speech difficulties, throwing up, teeth and mouth misalignment, behavioral difficulties and incorrect posture. Isn’t this wild?

After the examination, we found out about tightness in my little one’s neck muscles, forward head posture and mild issues with his tongue. We were given instructions on sleeping positions and tongue exercises. The results were amazing and came quickly! Just in couple of days, his mouth was almost closed and he was improving with tongue exercises. Getting his tongue and surround muscles stronger can also help him with speech later on.IMG_0899

I always knew tongue was a muscle but I never realized what a key role it actually played. A baby needs to achieve each milestone in order to grow normally. An untreated oral-motor dysfunction can lead to many serious conditions later in life. On the contrary, an adult with sleep apnea, snoring, indigestion and acid reflux or bad habits such as thumb sucking and nail biting can also benefit from myofunctional therapy.

Thank you for reading!

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Image retrieved from:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein_in_popular_culture

 

 

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Posted in Super Momma

4 common injuries for a new mom

The physical burden of pregnancy, unfortunately follows high risk for more injuries for a new mom. Weakened musculoskeletal system, lack of rest and sometimes even nutrition, focusing on your new born and trying to cater to baby’s needs and depriving self from much needed recovery time are some contributing factors. Let’s look at 4 common injuries for a new mom:

Thumb sprain/ pain

Repetitively picking your little one up, can sprain your thumbs. What’s a sprain? Sprains occur when we over stretch our ligaments, since ligaments are non-contractile therefore, fiber will start tearing under excessive stress. That’s what we call a sprain. Once you sustain a sprain, your brain recognizes the injury and tells the surrounding muscles to tighten up in order to protect the area from a secondary injury. Some local massage followed by stretching, and changing the way you pick your baby up will aid in resolving your symptoms.

Shoulder and neck pain

Especially if you are Co-sleeping, hugging your little one, you are putting excessive stress on your shoulders by staying in stiff positions and feeding into bad sleeping postures. Not to mention how much stress, repetitive lifting and carrying your baby puts on your shoulders. As the day goes on, due to fatigue, and stress of multi tasking, starts being more challenging and instead of actively using our muscles, we start depending on our static stability more. Now, what is static stability? There are two types of stability in our body. Static stability is provided by static structures such as bones and ligaments. Dynamic stability is provided by moving structures such as muscles. Once muscles fatigue, we shift our dependence onto static structures. Determination in getting work done motivates our body to focus on the end result not on how we are hurting ourselves. All my super mommas know what I am talking about!

When it comes to comes to neck and back problems, they always come hand in hand. Our spine is formed of 33 bones which are all interconnected with many ligaments and muscles. If you have neck pain, it will trickle down to your back and vice versa. An over-stretched and weakened core during pregnancy, puts a new mom at a high risk to experience some sort of a back problem such as sciatica, bulging disc or simply stiffness and pain. Especially for breast feeding mom, one of the hardships of breastfeeding is the slouched posture we are put in. The result: neck and back pain. Once we start losing our natural curvatures setting off our pain receptors screaming, “I’m beyond my extensibility and I will break if you keep pushing me in that direction.” what’s the solution? Keep good posture. If you can, prefer supported sitting to unsupported siting. Benefit from a lumbar roll while in supported siting. Once you are done with breastfeeding, or at the end of the day, do couple of stretches and exercises to restore good posture.

Posted in Recipes

DIY rehydration fluid

This is an alternative to Pedialyte or Gatorade

Into 1 quart of water, very diluted juice or herbal tea dissolve the following:

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 tsp sugar source (maple syrup, organic cane sugar, coconut sugar, or honey (do not use honey if your child is younger than 18 months)

The goal is to make it taste good so your little one will drink it!

1-2 parts organic fruit juice (other than citrus) to 2-4 parts water with the sugar source and salt can be used!

Table salt is adequate for rehydration, but you may want to add a magnesium powder (1/2 tsp per quart of fluid) due to the depletion of magnesium levels from vomiting and diarrhea.

Thanks to Wellnesscare pediatrics for this amazing recipe!

Posted in Sweet child o' mine

Does your baby want to sleep in your arms and refuses to go to bed?

f430ac8e-8e9b-417d-ac79-be1e882e4e09Does you little peanut clings on to you and wakes up as soon as you put him in his crib? For some time this was the story with us. We tried many different ways so that he would go to sleep and most importantly stay asleep without mommy. Here are five steps that worked for me:

Golden rule #1 is to ensure you change his diaper. If your little one is sitting in a lot of pee or worst case poop, he is most likely to get fussy and less likely to fall asleep. The reason why he is not sleeping may be because he feel wet and uncomfortable which keeps him from getting cozy and falling asleep.

Golden rule #2 is to ensure he is not hungry. If your baby is full, he is more likely to fall asleep and sleep for an extended time. If he is hungry, he will eventually fall asleep because he is exhausted but he will wake up sooner or later. If you are putting that much work into putting him to sleep, you would not want him to wake up shortly after you put him in his bed.

img_7663Golden rule #3 is to make sure to burp him after nursing. One thing I kept forgetting is to burp my little one. After I nurse him, I would try to rock him to sleep but he would continue to cry, kick and punch. I would think he does not want to sleep and when I stand him up, he would burp and fall asleep on my shoulder.

img_7385Golden rule #4 is try swaddling your baby. Infants have a lot more involuntary motions that are jerky in nature. Any type of loud noise may startle them and wake them up. I believe that babies also dream so once they fall asleep, they tend to wake themselves up by jerking their arms/leg. Once I swaddled my little one, his movements did not wake him up and he slept for longer periods of time.

img_8139Golden rule #5 Babies know their moms by moms scent. My little one would periodically open/close his eyes to make sure I was not laying him down. Once he really fell asleep, I would lay him down and try to leave the room and he would wake up immediately. I started leaving my worn-couple-of-times shirt or cardigan in his crib right next to him. That did the trick. He thought I was laying down with him I guess so he did not wake up.

I would love to hear about your comments! Your tricks, what worked for you and your little peanut!

Posted in Super Momma

Lactation circle: how is it important?

Why join a lactation Circle? Thats what I asked myself since I did not see the value in it in the beginning. Later on my views totally changed. Once awhile, it is good to be wrong!

Before being discharged home, I had the nurse as well as a lactation counselor teach me to how to express milk, educate me on how to position the baby, latching him on and the feeding schedule. The following morning, I had one more nurse and lactation counselor go over the same information. A breast feeding booklet was included with my discharge paper in case I needed to review the information. So, I felt pretty okay going home, even though, I didn’t know exactly what I was doing. They made it seem somewhat simple, my baby seemed to be latching on and feeding. It also had to come naturally, right? Yeah, right!!!

Shortly after we got home, things didn’t go as planned. My newborn was not latching properly and he was crying all night long because he was hungry. I was afraid I was gonna lose my milk supply so I kept on pumping to spoon feed him. Even then, he kept losing weight. It was on our second pediatrician visit when she realized he had a tongue tie and, he had to have the release when he was 10 days old. Our pediatrician wanted us to do lactation sessions with her right after tongue-tie procedure. She also said she didn’t accept insurance for one hour lactation service fee of $295. We were ready to do everything in our power to get him to feed properly but the money was a bit of an issue. I was on my maternity leave so we were trying to survive on one persons’s salary for over a month already. Our budget was tight and we were going to have to do multiple lactation sessions.

img_7042-jpgI decided to work with someone that I trusted if I was going to pay that much cash. What did I do? I turned to my midwives. During my first postpartum visit, I recalled my midwife telling me about their lactation circle that run twice a week. Giving their office a call, I found out it was a free service and no appointments were necessary. So, I started lactation circle an hour after his tongue tie release. Not the midwives, but a doula- Britt Sando- was running the circle. She welcomed me to the group right away. Not only she helped me with latching my baby on, we also weigh him before and after breastfeeding to see how many ounces he gained. She kept in touch with my pediatrician giving her updates on baby’s weight gain. It was not too long before I realized our lactation circle was more than just showing moms how to latch their babies on.

We met in person on Tuesdays but we could reach out to one another all the time. I was added to private Facebook lactation circle that already had 40+ moms sharing experiences, talking about good products to purchase, posting questions and helping one another. Whoever could make it to Tuesday sessions showed up, on average four to six people, but rest of the group met online. Many times I thought I was the only one going through a struggle, or when I was not sure what I was going was right or wrong, I would post on our Facebook group. Other moms would come to my help, comforting me by letting me know that their little ones experienced similar symptoms, behaved same way and what to do about it, how to resolve the problem. It was all OKAY, our struggles would pass. My lactation circle became my support group.

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When ege was born, 7 lb 15 oz
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Right after tongue tie procedure, he was about 6 lb 9 oz
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After extensive breastfeeding, he was almost 13 lbs in this picture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having my son go through tongue-tied release was very hard; there was no anesthesia given since he was too young, I was asked to hold his head still as I watched the doctor approach him with a pair of scissors following his mouth filling with blood. As my mom says, every crisis has a blessing in it and this one led me to our lactation group. My advice to all the new moms is to find your local lactation circle which, is most likely to be a free service, and to join. You have nothing to lose but a lot to gain. When women support one another, incredible things happen!

I want to hear about your experiences. Please comment below and let me know what your thoughts and feelings are!

Posted in Super Momma

Don’t be a “I can do it” mom

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This is for all the super moms out there!

In this century, as women, we are so used to multitasking and getting everything done! We work hard and we have high standards, we are determined and we are high achievers. Falling short or not living up to our own standard is not what we can tolerate. We know what we want, how we want to it and we work hard to get it.

After giving birth, you are tired both emotionally and deprived of sleep, your body is exhausted. You also go through all different types of emotional challenges due to hormonal changes. As you are getting used to taking care of your little one,  your body is trying to heal, so let others help you. I know you’re very used to doing it all on your own and you do have a strategy on how to tackle each task but this is the time YOU need some support.

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Let others help you. Let your family help you. Let your friends help you. Do not feel bad. Do not think less of yourself. If someone asks, “what can I do?” give them a task as little as putting groceries away, taking garbage out, emptying or filling up the dishwasher or even starting a load of laundry. Each and every little help will add up at the end of the day and you will find yourself less frustrated, feeling more accomplished. We all know that you can do it all on your own! You know that you can do it all! Your husband knows you can do it all! This is one time that you don’t have to prove yourself so just relax, sit back and enjoy the moment. Remember this is not a marathon, it is the time to enjoy being with the family and bonding with your little bundle of joy. It is the time to get some rest and recover back to 100%. Remember it’s not just you any more and right now you have a little one that depends on you 100% of the time!

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let me know what you think! I want to hear about your experience, feelings and thoughts 🙂

Posted in Super Momma

$140K for being a stay home mom?! Yea, right!

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Treat being a stay home mom as a full-time job

Going from working full-time to staying home full time is a big transition for all moms. Some of us look forward to it and some of us do it because we have to. Once I hit 39th week, I was excited for my maternity leave because I was physically exhausted. I thought to myself how bad can can staying be? I don’t have a location or time commitment, I am on my own time schedule so I can go to bed whenever I want and sleep until noon! yayy! 3 days later I figured that was not the case.

I stayed home for three months for my maternity leave it was a big emotional/psychological transition because I was used to being surrounded by people, being busy with different tasks and multitasking for the majority of the time (planning non-stop- you know what I am talking about!) Being home with my son was amazing but doing the same chores over and over again, started getting very repetitive and frustrating. I would clean the dishes, and after 10 minutes, there were new dishes in the sink. I would change the baby, half an hour later, he would poop again. I would tidy the house, it would not last half a day and would get messy. In a 24 hour timeframe, I found myself attending same chores with an increasing levels of anxiety and decreasing sense of accomplishment due to lack of visual progress.

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Today the researchers estimate that the salary of a stay home mom is about $140,000 because it is a lot of work. Being rewarded by money or a desirable something is positive enforcement. In the work force, we put time and energy in, and get a pay check, build our career and sometimes our success is recognized by our colleagues in exchange. We put time and effort in to doing something and we get something in the end. But once you’re in a stay home mom, you do the same chores over and over again, and in the and you are still stuck with the same exact chores the very next day. So this lack of progress is what made it so frustrating for me.

For instance, whenever my son napped for an hour, I would try to tackle as many chores as I could. That included hell of a multi- tasking: going to basement first to put the laundry in, then putting away all pumping equipment then washing baby dishes then washing our dishes, then tidying home then having breakfast if I had time left. In the end, I was restless, couldn’t take care of myself, I was angry and tired. I knew I had to change this asap. I always say that the perspective is everything in life. So I decided to treat staying home as a full-time job. When you go back to work you have hours, right? Some of us we work 9-to-5, some work 10 to 6, whatever it is but you have limited commitment. Therefore, I decided that I would attend house chores just during certain hours of the day. I strictly said no overtime, loll! If they was still work left, I would do it the next day. I decided to use the reminder of the time to take care of myself.

img_7444How did that help? I had to self-assure that it was OK to leave some work for the next day. It took some discipline and deep breathing not washing the dishes that were piling in the sink. I realized taking care of myself emotionally made me feel better. Putting a little make up on or getting our nails done are important for us since it changes our demeanor and makes us feel better about ourselves. Changing my perspective on running house errands, changed my attitude and gave me a more positive outlook, and I tackle my frustration in a more efficient way. I even picked less on my husband too, lol!

I would like to hear about your perspective. How do you feel about being a stay-at-home mom? And how do you tackle the daily frustration? Please comment and let me know!

Posted in pregnancy

What about the Vitamin K shot for your newborn?

http://www.spineuniverse.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gallery-large/wysiwyg_imageupload/3998/2015/09/01/syringe_14497301_M_0.jpgOne of the injections that your newborn is scheduled to get is Vitamin K shot. But why Vitamin K? The medical world’s reasoning is to assist your precious one with clotting abilities to prevent any bleeding in the brain post partum or if you happen to get into an accident during your drive from hospital to home.

You would not want your baby to bleed to death right? So, after hearing the purpose, many parents agree to get the Vitamin K shot since it seems to be no brainer. However, what is really in that Vitamin K shot? Is it all natural and harmless to the baby? Is it all necessary?

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/1d/1c/e0/1d1ce043533a509665bcfec63b80a129.jpgVitamin K is found naturally in dark leafy greens such as kale, spinach, broccoli etc, however, a synthetic form of Vitamin K is administered in a shot. What is wrong with synthetic form? Well, the synthetic form is produced in the labs and is not natural for our body to process properly. In fact, any synthetic can actually cause more harm than good.

Is there only Vitamin K in that injection or is it a cocktail form of many substances? It is not a shocker that Vitamin K shot is actually composed of multiple ingredients that are used for different purposes in the medical industry. A shot of Vitamin K has about 4-6 ingredients including Propylene glycol, Polysorbate 80, Sodium acetate anhydrous and ŸBenzyl alcohol  are some of the other ingredients. The manufacturer includes the warning of severe reactions may happen. You are on your own risk pretty much..

Another question you need to ask as a parent is how much vitamin K is in the shot and how much does your baby’s body need? A full term baby has full organ function however what happens to large doses of Vitamin K in the body, no one truly knows. Where is it stored and how is it processed? Some claim that large doses of Vitamin K causes childhood leukemia and cancer but there is not sufficient research to prove that either.

What are your other options? If you were to decline Vitamin K shot in the hospital, there are couple things you need to keep in mind. The biggest challenge for us was we could not get our son circumcised during our hospital stay. We needed to wait 4-6 weeks for the circumcision until our baby had enough clotting abilities.

http://www.revital.co.uk/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/b/i/bioticsresearchbio-k-mulsion-17829.jpgIf you plan on declining Vitamin K shot at the hospital, you can choose to provide oral vitamin K for your baby. You need to give a dose at birth then at 1 week and 6 weeks. You need to make the purchase and have it with you at your hospital admission. The research claims that it is not as effective as the shot however, do they really know how much is enough? Also how much of the dose does baby’s body really absorb and process?

Also, especially during the last month of your pregnancy, ensure you increase your vitamin K intake by eating dark leafy greens, also drinking nettle tea everyday can boost your system with Vitamin K which you will share with your baby. Some sources including CDC (Center for Disease Control) claim that breast milk does not supply enough Vitamin K. The truth is some medications can block Vitamin K absorption. If the mom is experiencing gastrointestinal disorders such as celian disease, cyctic fibrosis etc., then she may not absorb Vitamin K properly from her diet, therefore the baby may be Vitamin K deficient at birth.

We live in information age and the purpose of this blog is not to make you decide in a certain way. I truly believe each and every one of us need to be aware of what we are doing to our bodies. Start obtaining information and make informed decisions before you just follow “the protocol” because our doctor says so or that’s what others do. Please do your own research before you make a decision.

I would like to hear about your perspective. What do you think? Please comment and let me know!

Images retrieved from:

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Posted in pregnancy, Super Momma

Switching providers during your prenatal care

https://www.tuftsmedicalcenter.org/-/media/Images/Slideshows/TuftsMC/640x357/Doctor_with_patient_6_640x357.ashxDuring the first 5 months of my pregnancy I was under the care of an OBGYN. When I found out that I was pregnant, I called my insurance company and inquired about a list of in-network providers in my area. After some research, I chose an OBGYN due to his 22 five out of five stars reviews online so I made my first appointment. The staff was great, he was a great doctor but I decided to switch to midwifery care when I was 5 months pregnant. Let me explain to you why…

My doctor was great; he had great credentials, great reviews and he was very professional with an awesome demeanor. He was also a medicine man. What does that mean? He wanted to rule out any possible disease or condition by ordering bunch of tests every time I had an appointment. His approach was “lets find out whats is wrong with your pregnancy” instead of “Everything appears to be normal and there is no reason why we need to predict otherwise.” His suspicion may be due to just to be on the safe side, that may be just the way he practices or just in case something went wrong, he would be covered since he would have the test results in my file.

http://www.npobgyn.com/assets/images/iStock_000016387993XSmall.jpgOur first two appointments went great. During later visits, he did not seem to engage in much conversation other than telling me what tests we needed to run next. He was very professional but I feel like I was another patient for him, I did not feel a connection. This loss of connection may be due to males do not like to talk too much and/or I was having a normal pregnancy so there was not much to discuss.

The biggest reason why I switched to midwifery care was when I told him that I wanted to do a natural birth, he was certain that I would need an epidural and a possible C-section. His argument was that since the medicine has come far, why was I going to suffer from pain while I could be pain-free?

850d12e2ff165f05135772cda1bbc8d4I wanted to be in more control of my labor experience and I did not 100% agree with hospital regulations. As females, we know what we want, we are strong headed and independent until it comes to giving birth. We give up all control and let someone else be in charge of our birthing experience. I wanted to give my best shot by trusting my body that it is capable of doing what it is supposed to do, and not let anyone tell me that I could not move and had to lie down and stay still, or I needed pitocin because I was taking too long to dilate or I needed some epidural for pain because I was screaming too much. Do not get me wrong, there are situation where medication is indicated due to dangers of complications however I did not want to expect the worst going into labor.

Every woman is different; everyone’s goals are different, every female’s medical history and health status is different. I am not telling you what you need to do or who to trust. My advise to you is interview your provider before you finalize your decision. Do your research, there is a ton of information on the internet, on the books and talk to other mothers to learn from their experiences. Be in charge of your own care and make educated decisions.

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I would like to hear about your perspective. What do you think? Please comment and let me know!

 

Images retrieved from:

https://www.tuftsmedicalcenter.org/-/media/Images/Slideshows/TuftsMC/640×357/Doctor_with_patient_6_640x357.ashx

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Posted in pregnancy, Super Momma

Essential exercises of the second trimester

good-pregnant-posture-Due to your growing baby and increased amount of relaxin in your system, your posture, your laxity and the way you move will start changing. You all have heard of Newtons third law: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. When you are carrying a baby in your belly, the weight of the baby will change the way your spine is. You arch will get exaggerated, your core stabilizers will be inhibited, then your hamstrings will tighen up to put the “breaks on” to stop that forward pull. These are just some of the changes in your lower half.

Even though, we refer to our spine as neck, mid back and low back, in reality, our spine is made up of 33 bones that are interconnected via ligaments, muscles, and fascia. The point is if your curvature in your low back changes, it will eventually change your alignment in your neck. That is one of the reasons why pregnant women tend to suffer a forward head posture that also accompanies rounded shoulders and tight chest. As the weight you are carrying in the front increases, you can imagine the increased stress on your joints and muscles.

Following a program that consists of both stretching and strengthening is essential especially during your second trimester since your body is going under more stress as your baby keeps growing inside of you. If you have not started with a workout routine, this is the time for it! Do it asap.

If you can spare 20-30 minutes daily, performing couple stretches and strengthening exercises will be helpful during your pregnancy, labor as well as postpartum. You can either alternate your days as upper and lower half, or you can dedicate stretches to one day and leave strengthening exercises for the next day.

Upper half

Some stretches to focus on should be for your neck and chest. Doorway stretches are really good for your neck while seated stretches for both right and the left side of your neck will alleviate muscle tightness and spasms. After stretching what is tight, the next step is to strengthen what is weak. My favorite muscle groups to focus on are your triceps and upper back. You can either use weights or an elastic band for both exercises. Another choice is simply using your body weight. Tricep dips on the edge of a couch, modified push ups or regular push ups if you are able to, and/or planks will help you strengthen your upper back.

 

Lower half

When it comes to stretching, keeping your hips mobile and unrestricted will aid your low back pain and prepare you for labor. Hip flexors, adductors, hamstrings and calves are the muscle groups that need to be stretched. Holding 30-60 seconds shall be adequate hence it will allow muscle to start relaxing. Strengthening your abs is out of the question and crunches make it to the top of the exercises that you need to avoid while pregnant. Whet you can do instead is focusing on your deep pelvic muscles and gluteals. Kegel exercises, double leg bridges that you can advance to single leg later on, clamshells and again planks are great exercises. As the exercises get easier, you can also add 5-10 seconds holds for each rep.

deep-breath.jpgAn important tip to keep in mind to avoid holding your breath during exercising since it can also affect your blood pressure. You cannot vocalize, without taking a breath so  easiest trick is to count out loud while you are exercising.

I would like to hear about your perspective. What do you think? Please comment and let me know!

Tune in for more information and instructions on detailed exercise programs, until then stay awesome!

 

 

Images retrieved from:

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