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Wellness Findings

Stacking up your spine to discover your core

Did you know that your abdominal muscles may not be strong even if you are performing core exercises?

Poor body mechanics and poor posture can greatly contribute to pre and postnatal discomfort and core dysfunction. For a balanced body throughout your pregnancy and throughout your life, various muscles should work in harmony for your pelvic floor to function well. Performing a bunch of Kegel exercises may only help you from holding in that “sneeze pee” temporarily. 

Imagine standing with a posterior pelvic tilt (your buttocks tucked under).

This woman likely has tight pelvic floor muscles, muscles that when inflexible are not functional muscles. During labor, these muscles need to relax, and after labor, they need to fire properly for various practical reasons. This is the muscle group that helps you to control your urine. This is also the muscle group that, when functioning well, makes sexual intercourse more enjoyable. 

Travel up the torso, and this woman’s ribs aren’t stacked over her pelvis. In-between the imbalanced pelvis and ribs is the abdominal core. Because of misalignment, the abdominal muscles are both pulled and shortened, leading to dysfunction. 
Stacking the joints is a great first step to a healthier core—a healthier you. Imagine it’s you starting with a clean slate. From a stance of proper alignment, you then can move with the ability to employ the correct muscles. Pilates uses a lot of imagery.

I tell my clients to imagine that they are a hanging fruit basket, the head the first, the ribcage the second, the stomach the third, and the pelvis the fourth basket. If properly stacked, all of the baskets will balance
with ease. 

I have worked with a number of postpartum clients who experienced “sneeze pee” after giving birth. They came to me because they’d been instructed to perform Kegel exercises yet weren’t getting better. With hip strengthening, such as gluteal work (squat, squat, squat!) and postural work, their bodies responded well. The pelvic floor consists of two types of fibers, slow twitch and fast twitch. Therefore, it’s good to practice both the quick “flicking” contraction and the slow contraction, like the rise of an elevator. 

The Kegel work was performed in conjunction with other muscles in various exercises, resulting in a stronger and more functional core from the pelvis up through the trunk. The harmony of muscles engaging together is like listening to a well-tuned orchestra. You deserve to feel like your best, well-tuned self.


MEET SANDRA SPRINGER

Sandra is a Pilates Master Trainer and Rehabilitation Specialist. Beyond her Pilates rehabilitation and fitness certifications, Sandra studied prenatal Pilates extensively and Pilates for diastasis recti. Sandra works with spinal injuries and repetitive strain injuries, as well as clients in stages from pre- to post-surgery, including Cesarean.
Sandra focuses on inefficient patterns of movement and imbalances so that clients can not only gain awareness about their bodies, but also integrate the lessons into their daily lives.

In her prenatal Pilates courses, she tailor exercises to each client’s needs as the group classes are small—only three per class. The classes were developed to safely move you through each trimester. You will be exercising with other moms-to-be while both relaxing and strengthening your body during incredible, life-changing time!

Beyond pilates, Sandra is a lauded writer, earning a Fulbright Scholarship and the Joseph Henry Jackson Award. 

“Prenatal” Vitamins Help Every Woman Every Day

Are you exhausted?  Try taking some of your prenatal vitamins like Floridix Florivital!

Floridix Florivital provides ample doses of iron, Vitamin C and B Vitamins. Iron supports your immune system, boosts red blood cell generation thereby supporting your heart, your liver and your digestive system. Vitamin C works synergistically to boost iron absorption, and support your immune system. Florivital’s B1, B2, B6 and B12 vitamins keep the body functioning optimally. You’ll notice increased energy and healthier hair, skin and nails.

Floridix is safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding but, as usual, check with your healthcare provider if you have health concerns that may preclude you from taking Floridix Florivital.

Buy Floridix

Cytomegalovirus and Your Family

There are a million things that cause anxiety during pregnancy; this doesn’t need to be one of them. The following information is powerful and significant because this virus is preventable. Please ask your doctors about the risk of CMV infection during pregnancy.

Did you know?

50-80% of the population will be infected with Cytomegalovirus (CMV) by the time they are 40 years old yet. Coming into contact with the CMV virus is a common occurrence and is generally harmless for healthy kids or adults, but it can present critical problems for babies who are infected with CMV before birth, referred to as congenital CMV

Approximately 30,000 children are born with congenital CMV infection each year in the U.S. and 5,000+ will develop permanent health problems such as hearing or vision loss, cognitive or developmental disabilities, cerebral palsy or seizures

More children will have disabilities due to congenital CMV than other well-known infections and syndromes, including Downs Syndrome, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Spina Bifida and Pediatric HIV/AIDS

CMV is preventable! Only 13% of surveyed women of childbearing age know about CMV prevention tactics

There are simple and effective prevention measures you and your loved ones can take to mitigate the risk of CMV transmission during pregnancy. Please join Glow and the National CMV Foundation on October 8th to learn more.

The National CMV Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting awareness, providing access to resources and sharing prevention information to eliminate congenital CMV. With your support, we intend to empower women, facilitate communication, generate social outreach, and ultimately drive behavioral change.

Learn More

The National CMV Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting awareness, providing access to resources and sharing prevention information to eliminate congenital CMV. With your support, we intend to facilitate communication, generate social outreach, and ultimately drive behavioral change. Please visit the CDC.

Pelvic Floor Health for All Women

(And Maybe a Flat Tummy Too...)

The French medical system devotes an entire 10-20 professionally-guided sessions to la rééducation périnéale or postpartum vagina education. Following this course of therapy, abdominal reeducation begins with a further 10-20 sessions. This program successfully reduces incontinence, postpartum depression, sexual dysfunction and organ prolapse (look it up!).

In contrast, our American system eschews rehabilitation, instead focusing on a return to normal physical activity. With no guidance in between, many of us exercise to get our outermost layers smokin’ hot and yet we’re unable to jog around the block without a maxi pad. So what’s the skinny?

Warning Signs

You may have pelvic floor dysfunction if you experience the following...

  • Incontinence: Urinary or fecal (with cough, sneeze, running, laughing)
  • Urgency: Having to rush and not quite make it to the bathroom
  • Frequency: Going more than every 2-4 hours
  • Pain with sex, pain with orgasm or inability to orgasm
  • Pelvic, hip, lower back and/or SI joint pain

Resources

WATCH | A succinct five-minute video of the perfect abdominal workout appropriate for all women: prenatal, postpartum or non-natal. Do it 3-5 times per week.
VISIT | Back to Life Physical Therapy in San Francisco and Oakland. Kaiser patients are covered by referral at this practice.
VISIT | Pelvic Health & Rehabilitation Center in Berkeley.
READ | Postpartum Strong, from the inside out. Real talk about your pelvic floor and all the fun organs it supports.
READ | A hilarious Slate article about the French postpartum care system.

Probiotics Every Day for Every Woman

Did you know that probiotics like lactobacillus and bifidobacteria are good for your mental health?

Studies are finding that daily probiotic ingestion increases our ability to cope with stress, reducing both depression and anxiety.

The neurochemical composition of your brain is impacted by what you’re eating and how it’s populating your intestines. Furthermore, a healthy gut will reduce your cortisol levels, elevating your mood and balancing your hormones. As women, our gut flora impacts the chemical environment of the entire body, impacting the flora in our reproductive systems as well. Fighting candida (yeast) and promoting regular bowel movements, probiotics are a girl’s best friend.

Probiotics and Pregnancy 

From a Chinese Medicine perspective pregnancy increases damp heat, making us susceptible to swelling, increased blood pressure and yeast growth. Probiotics populate your body with good microflora, fighting the growth of pathogenic flora like candida or yeast. Probiotics are an easy way to promote a healthy amniotic environment for your baby’s growth.

Probiotics and Postpartum

Candida growth can impact uterus healing and breastfeeding. Thrush is a yeast infection that can plague your nipples, your baby’s mouth, your own healing uterus and your vagina. Help your healing body by taking various strains of probiotic. Your breast milk will benefit from probiotic use, giving you and your baby a boost of beneficial bacteria.

Purchasing Probiotics

Pharmaca sells a home-brand probiotic line produced by Natural Factors. The 12 billion count capsules will provide ample probiotic support at any age and stage of life. If you aren’t close to a Pharmaca, you can find Natural Factors Acidophilus & Bifidus Double Strength Capsules at your local health food store.