Issue 23

  • fit brit prenatal and postnatal fitness

    Mind Body Bump

    fit brit prenatal and postnatal fitness

    We love it when someone shares our passion for staying active during pregnancy, recognising all the  benefits of exercising, eating well and preparing your body for the birth of your baby – not just for the physical process of labour (probably the biggest physical challenge you’ll experience) but so you’re strong and prepared in readiness for your new baby.

    Hard scientific evidence has repeatedly confirmed that an active pregnancy results in a healthier mum and healthier baby before and after childbirth but after experiencing some of the conflicting advice about prenatal exercise, fitness guru Brit Williams was determined to share her pregnancy-positive message and unique strength training programme with expectant mothers.
    Brit developed this book after trialling hundreds of exercises during her own pregnancy, as well as creating and modifying her training plans for postnatal mums too.
    Organised by trimester, the prenatal exercise routines are easy to follow and take you through exactly what is happening in your body and how your baby is developing at each stage, with month-by-month workouts to meet your body’s needs.  The pregnancy workouts are designed to be adaptable for all fitness levels and can be easily practised at home or in the gym, with minimal equipment.

    mind-body-bump book
    fit pregnancy with fit brit

    Brit’s plan includes a bodyweight and a weight based workout for each month of pregnancy, brought to life with a combination of photos and illustrations.
    What sets this book apart though, is all the extra advice and helpful insights into what is happening to your body during pregnancy – clearly written by someone who has recently experienced all this for herself.  For each stage of pregnancy there’s an update about what is happening to your body and an update about what is happening to your baby too.
    The regular wellness agenda will help steer your pregnancy workouts, reminding you that you’re not simply exercising for you, you’re staying fit for your baby too.  Your strong, healthy body will be better prepared for lifting, carrying and managing your baby – anyone who has ever manoeuvred a wriggling infant into a car seat (or tried to lift one out without waking them) will know that the myriad tasks that come with motherhood engages many different muscles.
    We loved the recipes too….packed with superfoods for pregnancy the recipes were provided by the Mindful Chef to support specific stages of your pregnancy diet.
    And we especially love how good Brit and the models look in FittaMamma gear!

    Mind, Body, Bump by Brit Williams, published by White Lion Publishing, RRP £16.99 Available from WHSmith, other online retailers and bookstores

  • Deepali pregnancy dancing for two

    Dancing For Two

    Deepali dancing for two in pregnancy

    Deepali Jamwal, from Seattle describes herself as a ‘real estate economist by profession and a dancer by choice’.  Mom to four year old Ansh, Deepali is pregnant with her second child…and has danced throughout her pregnancy. Deepali shares her views about being a pregnant dancer.

    When it comes to dancing during pregnancy, like everything else, people are quick to share their opinions. For me, the right view is – don’t stop. Dancing is not hurting your pregnancy. If anything, you’re celebrating it and taking control of your image. That’s not negligence, but a revolutionary act of claiming your fitness, your body, and your passion.
    I mean, honestly, there’s so little you can control when you’re pregnant (including your mood swings) that at least you can feel like you’re doing your best to stay healthy and happy.

    Deepali dancing for two in pregnancy

    I’m 34 weeks pregnant today and my hips are numb from rolling side to side trying to find a comfortable position to sleep. My feet have swollen to the point where the only shoes I can wear are my house slippers. My lungs are compressed thanks to my growing uterus pushing against it, and I can’t take more than five steps without running out of breath. And don’t even get me started on morning sickness and midnight cramps. I hear of women who have sublime, serene pregnancies, and envy grows deep in my chest – or maybe that just the heartburn from last night’s dinner (I’m not sure!).
    Severe ‘morning’ sickness can be a real burden to bear, limiting your activities because you’re not sure when the next wave of pregnancy nausea will strike. The least you can do for yourself is something that truly keeps you happy.
    The one thing that has kept me sane for the last 34 weeks is *Dance*. It brings me immense happiness. I’m blessed to be surrounded by a very loving and encouraging community who understands the positive effects that dance has had on my pregnancy and they couldn’t have been more supportive. However, every now and then I come across a few people who like to pass judgement and troll me for “not being responsible” or for “potentially harming my baby”. I’m writing today to break all the myths surrounding ‘dancing through pregnancy’.

    Dancing (or staying physically active) is great, in fact, recommended during pregnancy. Researchers say that it has multiple benefits including (but not limited to):

    • Easing common pregnancy-related problems like backache, posture issues and constipation
    • Increasing the supply of oxygen in you and your child
    • Helping you handle the strain of giving birth
    • Strengthening your cardiovascular system, making you feel fitter and more resilient
    • Preventing blood clots and varicose veins
    • Improving the quality of your sleep
    • Reducing your risk of gestational diabetes

    Gone are those days when pregnancy was often treated as a condition that should be greeted with as little activity as possible. Dancing through pregnancy is not a taboo anymore. As long as you have a clear chit from you doctor, let the music take you!
    Growing a baby is such an amazing thing our bodies do, but I don’t see it as a time to sit back, relax and take it easy.  Studies have shown that staying fit can help you have a more comfortable pregnancy, an easier labour and benefits your baby too.  And who wouldn’t want that, right? Certainly not the people who’re trolling you. Ignore negative comments from ignorant minds and do what makes you happy.

    Pregnant Deepali Indian dancing for two

    For me, the main benefit of dancing through pregnancy is – I’d be lost without it. I like to believe I haven’t had any mood swings so far (ignore my husband if he tries to tell you otherwise), and I credit that to dancing. Those endorphins released while dancing, certainly seem to be working for me. And if I’m happy, the world around me is happy and that makes this a happy pregnancy.
    With my swollen ankles and weight unevenly distributed, scratching an itch at ankle level is a feat of flexibility. However, as soon as the music goes on, my mobility is restored, and doing knee drops is no biggy. I forget about the constant joint aches and pregnancy nausea is banished from my mind.

    Thankfully the strong community at FittaMamma.com understands the need to stay fit during pregnancy and have the most comfortable clothes that feel custom made for you, giving that perfect support to your bump. Also, they’re super cute! Do check out their collection.

    Check out Deepali’s #35weekspregnancydance video!

     

  • Candace Nicolle Austin prenatal yoga

    Yoga To Prepare Your Mind & Body For Birth

    Candace Nicolle Austin prenatal yoga

    Prenatal yoga instructor Candace demonstrates some key yoga poses to help prepare your mind and body for the intensity of labour.

    However you choose to exercise during pregnancy, we would recommend including regular prenatal yoga – it’s a fantastic way to build strength, stretch and relax your body and mind.  Familiarity with some key yoga poses can be hugely beneficial when you give birth too.
    Prenatal yoga instructor Candace, who is pregnant herself says ‘Yoga will help prepare you for a powerful yet calm and positive birth experience through strengthening, lengthening and mindfulness techniques. The postures I recommend are great poses to get into during labour, as they provide spinal comfort, hip opening and pelvic release, as well as gravity pull. Choosing a birth position that does not involve lying on your back gives you the benefit of gravity when you birth your baby.’

    Below are Candace’s top yoga poses to help with labour

    Chair Pose
    Chair pose is wonderful for teaching body stamina during pregnancy, something we’ll definitely need when giving birth. Stand with your feet hip-distance apart, toes facing forward and bend at the knees – imaging you’re about to sit back onto a sofa (making sure they never exceed the toes). Put most of your weight into the heel of the foot; tuck your tail bone as if you’re trying to get it to look at the floor; hands gently resting on your thighs or at your heart centre in prayer or raised above your head. Keep your gaze straight ahead. This pose can also be done against a wall for extra support if needed… smile and hold for 5 – 10 deep breaths.

    CHAIR POSE pregnancy yoga sequence

    Cat/Cow
    Get on your hands and knees, stacking wrists with shoulders and knees with hips. On the exhale, round your back – tucking chin to chest. On the inhale, come into a neutral spine or a gentle back-bend and look up at the sky. This pose helps to release pregnancy back pain. Repeat 5 times or more.

    CAT COW pregnancy yoga sequence

    Goddess Pose
    Stand with your feet wider than your hips and toes pointing outwards. Sink low, tucking your tailbone under. Go as deep as possible, opening up through the knees. Hands can rest on thighs, be in cactus or at the heart centre in prayer. Goddess pose is truly one of the best birth training postures you can practice, as it increases strength, stamina, concentration and hip flexibility.
    Hold for 5 – 10 long, deep breaths.

    GODDESS POSE pregnancy yoga sequence

    Butterfly Pose
    Bring the inner soles of your feet together, sit up tall through the spine, finding any movement that feels good. You can gently lean forward or roll from side to side. This pose stretches out the inner thighs and hips, preparing the hips for the deep opening of childbirth. It also releases lower back tension and provides an optimal pelvic tilt.

    BUTTERFLY pregnancy yoga sequence

    Candace adds, ‘I would recommend you regularly practise Easy Pose with belly breathing, throughout your pregnancy’. Take a comfortable cross-legged seat, close your eyes and let go of thought.
    INHALE slowly and deeply through your nostrils (if possible), filling your belly like a balloon, relaxing the pelvic floor.
    Then EXHALE slowly through the nose, contracting and hugging your baby back towards your spine. Lift up through the pelvic floor as you do so, imagining sucking upwards through your pelvis.  Repeat 10 times.
    Practising this technique every day will prepare a calm mind and a strong yet flexible pelvic floor. It will also strengthen the transverse abdominis, reducing the risk of diastasis recti and pelvic floor weakness.

    prenatal yoga with candace

    Enjoy guided yoga with Candace…

    Enjoy mommas-to-be, I wish you all a happy, healthy pregnancy and birth! Use #YogaCandi if you’d like to share your prenatal yoga journey with me on social media.
    Just remember, we’re all unique. Yoga is a safe and beneficial exercise for pregnant women but pregnancy can come with all sorts of ailments, if you have any concerns, seek advice from your health care provider before taking on any exercise regime.

    Namaste Mammas!

  • enjoying an active plus size pregnancy

    Enjoying An Active Plus Size Pregnancy

    enjoying an active plus size pregnancy

    Shanna is mother to two gorgeous children and married to Bruce, founder of Chubstr.com, a site dedicated to helping big men find their big and tall style.  Shanna is currently pregnant with their third child – and showcasing her active plus size pregnancy.

    Shanna talks to us about some of the reasons she decided to stay more active with her third pregnancy.
    She says, ‘I worked as a busy hairdresser during my first two pregnancies and didn’t make much time for exercise beyond that.  I’ve been fortunate with all my pregnancies, as I have never suffered from morning sickness and only experienced those pregnancy aches and pains in the last few weeks. I was able to have unmedicated births with my first two and recovery was fairly easy.
    Exercise has always played an important role in the postpartum phase for me. It’s amazing how even a short walk around the block and some fresh air will refresh you when you are sleep deprived and feeling a bit low!
    This pregnancy has been much different. Not only am I a stay at home mom now, but I’m also older. When we started thinking about having another baby, I really made time to exercise and get my body into shape. I realised I had neglected myself for years so I could focus solely on being a good mother and wife.  Initially I felt a bit selfish making the time to exercise but I knew that staying active would help me feel better during the pregnancy and make my delivery easier. While I’m struggling to maintain the same level of exercise into my third trimester, I have no doubt that being fit has helped make this pregnancy much easier!’

    Shanna enjoying an active plus size pregnancy

    Shanna is fantastic ambassador for the adage ‘active Mammas raise active kids – her older children are six and eight and the family often make time for an evening walk or a bike ride together.  Shanna continues, ‘My son has even expressed an interest in jogging with me, so we plan to “train” together for a race after this pregnancy. I love including them in exercise.
    Growing up, exercise was all about competitive sports and weight loss and I want my kids to recognise that exercise doesn’t have to mean those things. It’s such a great stress reliever and it’s so nice to feel strong and be able to appreciate your body for what it can do.

    Shanna enjoying an active plus size pregnancy

    Having said that, I absolutely use it as my ‘alone’ time as well. I have found find space to exercise is incredible at relieving stress and anxiety. It’s difficult to maintain autonomy as a stay at home mom, so I tend to use exercise as my “thing”. I like to run 5ks, so it’s fun to have Bruce and the kids cheering me on at the finish line! I also love setting goals and crushing them!’
    Keeping her family fit is strong motivator for Shanna but her long term goals are very much about her and Bruce: ‘I’m about to have three children and want to live a long, healthy life with them. I also appreciate being able to keep up, whether we are running around at the playground or taking a bike ride. But it’s not just about the kids, or exercise during my pregnancy, for me staying fit is a long term lifestyle plan.  I want to feel good after my kids are grown and move out of the house. My husband and I have some adventures to take!
    Fitness, even pregnancy fitness, is often associated with ultra lean, toned bodies that can set unrealistic expectations for many women.  But FittaMammas come in all shapes and sizes – it’s not important to be tiny and toned, it’s about staying active, aiming to raise your heart rate for at least 150 minutes every week and doing what’s best for you, your baby and, ultimately, your family.

    We asked Shanna for her final tips and advice to share with other plus size mums to be.

    ‘When I worked as a hairdresser, I saw so many seemingly perfect women who hated their bodies. They were so focused on what other people thought about them that they forgot about all the wonderful things life has to offer. I vowed that I would never do this. My body has given me two, almost three, healthy children and fed each of them for three years –  I’m really proud that my body is so strong and capable! There were times it didn’t feel strong and I worked with it slowly to build up strength and stamina.  Of course there are still times when I struggle with different parts of it but I remind myself what it has done for me and what I can do.  I believe self love is an ongoing process like anything in life – it’s important to recognise your strengths, feel good about yourself and not be afraid to get up, get out and work out!’

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