Schedule your free chat to learn how Nested Mama's virtual doula support can help you find ease in pregnancy and postpartum.
Real talk time. One of the hardest aspects for me as I move through pregnancy and postpartum comes from my changing body.
While I deeply respect and understand the work my body does during the childbearing year, I'm also a person who struggles with transition. And, the constant transitions of my body are hard on me both physically and mentally.
After finding out I was expecting baby #4, I vowed to be even more intentional this go-round in how I prepared my body for the work of carrying this baby and giving birth.
Then first trimester exhaustion plus the work of keeping up with my trio of kiddos, homeschooling, and business hit me like a truck - survival became the name of the game.
As I emerged (finally) from the fog of that rough trimester, I found myself with energy again (yay!) and the desire to put it to good use. Looking around at the options for prenatal fitness, I knew that in this incredibly busy season that found me solo parenting and juggling all the things while also growing this baby, I would be squeezing anything into the nooks and crannies of my days.
Perhaps even more importantly, I needed a program that would help me turn my focus away from the noise and the numbers of my changing body and instead toward meeting my needs for support with understanding and gentleness toward myself.
A chance recommendation in a local parenting group led me to find my way to MommaStrong. Immediately, I was drawn to the message of MommaStrong, a message that eschewed the narratives of "transformation" so popular in the fitness industry writ large for one of function, strength, and treating yourself with kindness as you navigate the tricky seasons of growing and raising tiny humans.
The first video I clicked on discussed the way in which our culture has normalized incontinence after birth - a normalization that does not equal the health or wellness for those who deal with this issue. As a postpartum doula, I found myself nodding and yelling "yes!" at that video, pretty much sold at that point.
I signed up early in the second trimester and have been "showing up" regularly to my mat now for several months. Below are some of the many reasons MommaStrong has been such an important part of this pregnancy.
As a professional who works with families before and after baby, I love being able to refer clients to this fabulous resource. And, MommaStrong has a specific section dedicated to clinicians, so if you are a doula or birth professional, check this out!
So far I've seen the benefits of MommaStrong, but I'm excited to see how it impacts life after baby - I'll be sure to follow up with a blog on that in the coming months.
Schedule your free chat to learn how Nested Mama's virtual doula support can help you find ease in your fertility journey.
The first time I dug into reading and learning about signs of fertility, charting, and what that could mean for me, I was in my early twenties. A few years on hormonal birth control - supposedly to "fix" issues with ovarian cysts and eventually for family planning - resulted in a symptom after symptom that required more medications just to keep me functional enough to attend graduate school.
While my providers initially dismissed the connections between symptoms and the pill, I now know that my some of my symptoms indicated that I could be at increased risk for stroke when taking hormonal birth control. At that point, I knew there had to be a better way.
While jokes about natural family planning abound - I remember a midwife telling me it was "naturally planning to have a family" - there are a wide variety of methods to chart and interpret fertility. These methods can be leveraged for a variety of purposes - to understand your body, to conceive a child, or to prevent pregnancy.
So here's a little bit more about fertility charting and why you may love it, too.
1. Understanding your body
When I first dove into research concerning various methods of fertility charting at age 23, my initial reaction was one of extreme frustration. Why had no one provided this education to me 10 years ago when I went through puberty? Beyond noting the difference between healthy and problematic discharge, I had NO IDEA that the variations in cervical mucus I observed when going to the bathroom had a rhyme and reason connected to my cycle and fertility.
Charting your fertility allows you to connect more deeply with yourself and your understanding of your own biology. Regardless of whether or not you employ this to plan your family, it is a powerful tool simply in that - knowing they whats and whys of your own body.
2. This isn't your grandmother's rhythm method.
A lot of the jokes and assumptions you'll hear about any mention of charting your fertility or a variety of approaches to natural family planning assume that you are discussing the rhythm method - an approach to family planning where you time your intercourse around the assumption of a 28 day cycle, where ovulation is predicted at day 14.
While these numbers of 28 and 14 are often cited in a discussion of how fertility works, in actuality many women experience a large spectrum of variation in the length of their cycle which in turn means that ovulation does not occur when a simple counting of calendar days would put it.
So if counting doesn't work, how do we chart fertility? Much more reliable than simple generalizations is an observation of your OWN particular signs of fertility. Here, several approaches to fertility charting fall under the umbrella of Symptothermal Methods - that is, methods that rely on charting your basal body temperature as well as other signs of fertility such as cervical mucus and the position of your cervix.
3. Timing conception.
Charting your fertility can allow you an understanding of your fertility window - the time in which conception is likely to occur - as well as confirming that ovulation occurred. Instead of aiming for day 14, you can tailor your plans directly to the specific indications of fertility given in your own cycle.
If you've been trying to conceive for a few months and are starting to feel frustrated, fertility charting can be a noninvasive approach to gaining more information.
4. Trouble Shooting
The data gained in fertility charting can also aid you in trouble shooting potential issues. Wondering if you are ovulating after going off hormonal birth control? Your basal body temperature can help you confirm whether or not an ovulatory event occurs. Some data could indicate a variety of natural supplements to explore, while other aspects of charting could indicate if their are concerns with hormone levels. All in all, it provides a host of data points to bring to a knowledgeable medical provider if and when you have questions about your cycle.
5. Family Planning
When I discuss the family planning aspect of fertility charting with clients, I'm always reminded that choices around this topic are intensely personal and should always be in tune with a client's values, needs, and preferences.
Recently, the CDC changed its view on the efficacy of Fertility Awareness Based Methods for contraception - citing a failure rate of 2%-23%.
Why such larger variation? This big span in numbers is due to the wide variety of methods that fall under the umbrella of this category, with some offering more efficacy than others. And, when you consider the failure rates cited for a variety of common birth control methods - condoms (13%), pill/patch (7%), shot (4%) - those looking for an alternate tool for family planning may find a fertility awareness method with a lower failure rate appealing.
Regardless of your plans for conception or family planning, fertility charting allows you to connect with your cycle in a new and helpful way. I hope I've piqued your interest to learn more.
Do you already chart your fertility? Share about your experiences in the comments!
*This post contains an affiliate link. This link gives you a small discount and me a commission that helps keep the Nested Mama blog up and running! A good deal all around!
Are you interested in learning more about fertility charting? As a fertility doula, I offer preconception support as well as charting education and support. Read more about these services here. Sign up for a discovery call, and we can have a quick chat to see if Nested Mama services are the right fit for you!
If you are anything like me, all thoughts of jewelry beyond stud earrings and the occasional silicone teething necklace went out the window once I had little ones. I didn't like the feeling of a necklace being yanked as I held and wore my kiddos, and the thought of them mouthing most jewelry motivated me to keep it all in a drawer. That's why I'm beyond thrilled to share about a local-to-me, super stylish mama whose "mama metal" creations make beautiful and practical jewelry for parents of little ones a reality.
I know you are full-time working mom with two beautiful little ones. How did you come to start designing jewelry in addition to that?
I was looking for some uniquely shaped centerpieces, as well as different options for chains. Fox + Bear offers a variety of options to personalize your chain including adding semiprecious gemstone beads, fine silver charms, and multi-strand chains. I love the addition of a charm because you can adjust the length of the necklace by changing where you clip the clasp.
Anyone interested in purchasing jewelry by Fox + Bear Designs can visit my page on Facebook @FoxPlusBearDesigns and send me a message. I have in-stock and ready to wear pieces listed in albums, and I’m happy to work on custom pieces. With Mother’s Day fast approaching I’ve set aside 10 custom spots for anyone interested in treating the special mother in their life or treating themselves to exactly what they want.
When I worked with sleep clients, I often hear them lament that because of their babies’ or toddlers’ tricky bedtimes or sleep interruptions they have no “me time.”
I sympathize with this greatly, because I’ve been there, too, believing if only my baby behaved like “normal” babies that I could get the self-care time I craved.
Indeed, many popular books on sleep and child rearing equate baby's sleep time with sacred alone time for the caregiver.
While this sounds logical enough on the surface, in practice it sets up those whose babies have more or different needs around sleep for difficulty.
And, for me, it meant self-sabotaging my happiness.
When I made self-care time contingent on my baby’s sleep, I unwittingly raised the stakes of my baby’s sleep to a new level. No longer about my baby’s need for rest, now my adult need for self-care came along for the ride of any sleep frustrations.
The “shoulds” in my head became louder and my feelings about sleep became bigger.
You see, I’d invited my baby to a power struggle so far beyond her comprehension. Given the roller coaster that is baby and toddler sleep, even the most predictable of sleepers will have tricky spots and interruptions. My expectations were ahead of her abilities and my frustrations loomed large.
This mindset often proves even more challenging in the toddler years, as little ones become more vocal about their many needs at bedtime. Asking for one more drink, one more hug, or parental reassurance can turn the implicit power struggle of baby sleep to a very explicit one.
When I work one-on-one with parents, I often hear that they feel like their self-care time is held hostage by their little one’s ever so vocal and pressing nighttime desires. As a result, bedtime becomes a time of stress and conflict rather than ease and connection.
Imagine having an argument with your partner or a beloved family member and then trying to fall asleep. How long do you think it would take you to drift off?
When we create a power struggle that not only includes bedtime but a narrative around how and when we can care for ourselves, we set ourselves up for the opposite of joy. Bedtime as a battle means everyone’s stress level is high and rest and relaxation is that much harder to achieve for all parties involved.
So, what can we do when we find we’ve fallen into this sleep-time trap? Here are a few quick tips to dissolve the power struggle and find more room for self-care.
Change your mindset
If you take an honest look at your own attitude toward bedtime and acknowledge that the “shoulds” and power-struggle mentality have taken hold, you’ve take the first powerful step in changing the narrative and experience of that time. Hold limits with love, find ease and connection in closeness with your child, and turn sleep time into one that feels good for everyone involved. It may not immediately equal “one tuck and done,” but know that gentle transitions and growth are always on the horizon.
Schedule it in
One powerful way to change your narrative around sleep is to change what is at stake. Instead of making your yoga practice contingent on naptime, schedule a class or two a week in your calendar that don’t depend on your baby’s sleep for you to attend. Communicate clearly with your partner about your needs, dial in your support people, exchange childcare with a friends so you both get the time you need - basically, separate the baby sleep = self-care equation by making your self-care a priority.
Find joy together
Sometimes, especially with tiny ones, it is possible to make progress toward self-care and sleep at the same time. Maybe you enjoy a quiet coffee obtained via drive-though after errands because you know little one will nap a bit in the car. Maybe your little one sleeps best for naps in a carrier, so you leverage that time to take a walk, a hike, or a babywearing dance class. Look for parent and baby classes in your community that give you more of what you love while being with your little one.
Sometimes the thought of changing the narrative, making gentle transitions, or finding collaborative solutions that work for the family may seem completely out of reach. Here, a one-on-one consultation with an infant sleep educator may be just what you need to refocus and have a plan to help your whole family flourish.
Looking to make some gentle changes or want support as you switch up the narrative around your experience of baby and toddler sleep? Schedule a free 15 min discovery call to see if Nested Mama services are the right fit for your family.
What is a Postpartum Doula?
Wondering what in the world is a postpartum doula? Happy to share the answer to this question and more over on the Doulas of Iowa City Blog today!
As a doula and sleep educator, I work with a lot of parents when they are at their most tapped out.
As a parent myself, I have plenty of moments that seem more like surviving than thriving.
I coach my clients to uncover areas where they can find balance and meaning, and self-care is often a pivot point that can tip survival mode into flourishing for the whole family.
When I take a fair assessment of my own life, I find that my moments of frustration with my children or my partner often emerge from my own lack of balance. As the saying goes, you can't give from an empty cup. And, no one knows that truth more deeply than a parent of young children.
As important as self-care is to overall wellness, there is another piece that I suggest can be just as significant - finding joy WITH your children. Here, I'm not talking about delighting in every moment - some are challenging and some are just plain hard - no one needs the pressure of loving every second.
Instead, try to find mutual points of joy in your life. Maybe you all enjoy a particular series of stories or chapter book read alouds. Maybe you all love your routine of getting a donut on Saturday morning. Maybe each of you can relish the feeling of sand between your toes at the beach. Maybe you geek out together over the same comic book.
Whatever that source of joy is for all of you, seek it out. Be intentional. Make time for it, and soak it in.
For me, I am my happiest when I'm outside, and I discovered early on with my first child that she loved to be outside, too. Now that I've got a busy trio, I plan to be outside every day, if possible, and make a couple significant excursions to local trails and parks every week.
On the best of days, I can carry that feeling with me through the tricky pre-dinner time and all the way until my kiddos are at rest. And, my ease sets the tone for everyone. Most importantly, we all find joy together.
How do you find joy with your little ones?
Are you in need of relief for back, hip, or pelvic pain in your pregnancy? Want to keep your pelvis aligned for optimal fetal positioning? Check out this list of highly recommended chiropractors who offer prenatal chiropractic care in the Iowa City and Cedar Rapids area.
At Robinson Family Wellness we believe Chiropractic is a more proactive, conservative approach to health & wellness. As a chiropractor my main focus is to support patients in reaching their optimal health by allowing the body to reach its full functioning potential. By using very specific low force adjustments I have helped and continue to help many families overcome many obstacles. I love to serve families through all walks of life, particularly focusing on mothers and children. Having a passion for growing families, I chose to continue my education and next summer will officially become a Board Certified Pediatric Chiropractor. In our office we do everything we can to accommodate our patients and families, we even have a private nursing & play space complete with a comfy rocking chair, changing table and a scale for moms to do weighted feeds. We look forward to continued growth in the local community, empowering families to be well and live well.
We offer concerned parents who feel like something is missing in their birth team, a different path that allows them to achieve their best birth possible. Pregnancy can be one the most exciting times in a woman’s life. It can also be one of the most uncomfortable. A properly aligned pelvis and nervous system will help create an optimal environment for your baby to grow. Dr. Mike is certified in the Webster Technique that helps to reduce nerve interference and restore pelvic balance. Chiropractic care can also aid in a smoother labor and delivery.
I have a passion for treating women during the motherhood transition! From preconception to prenatal to postpartum, mothers will receive the absolute best in holistic care. My approach includes chiropractic care with the Activator instrument, which is very gentle, while also utilizing the Webster technique for pregnancy. Additionally, I treat many women with acupuncture for infertility, nausea, pain, inducing labor, and postpartum depression. Being a mother of twins myself, I know how difficult this season of life can be! It’s truly an honor to care for mothers.
My goal is to make moms as comfortable as humanly possibly during pregnancy. I'm certified in the wonderful Webster Technique to relieve tension on the uterus, which gives baby the room they need to grow and develop without restriction. However, all the certifications in the world don't hold a candle to experiencing pregnancy, loss, birth, and postpartum myself. Being a mom helps me treat other moms because I've been there. I've had horrible morning sickness, and the dreaded "lightning crotch." I've wrongly blamed myself for miscarriage. I've rebuilt strength after giving birth. I've cared for a baby with terrible reflux. I adjust moms and babies to help their body's function at 100% and reach their full health potential, but I'm also attentive to their needs nutritionally, mentally, and emotionally. I want moms to feel cared for because they deserve it.
At Awaken Family Chiropractic, we understand that optimal health for a pregnant woman is crucial, as her health and well-being affects the health and well-being of her baby. Ensuring proper nervous system function is vital to the development of the baby, as well as to the health and comfort of the mom. Chiropractic care during pregnancy offers a number of benefits for mom and baby, and I am certified in Webster Technique . Chiropractic adjustments can help alleviate the aches and discomfort that often come along with pregnancy. Expecting women under regular care have reported shorter labor times, less birth interventions, more energy, improved sleep and more. Adjustments while pregnant are safe and gentle for mom and baby. Our goal is to help moms experience the best pregnancy, labor and delivery that they can!
I enjoy working with pregnant women because of the huge effects chiropractic has on the woman and her baby. This, and caring for babies and children, is the reason I completed my Diplomate in Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics through the International Chiropractic Association in 2005. Chiropractic helps women stay more comfortable during their pregnancies, which allows them to stay active and be at their best during pregnancy. For pregnant women who already have children, it helps keep them active so they aren’t slowed down by pain and unable to engage with their family the way that they desire. I use a combination of chiropractic and soft tissue release, including Webster’s, to allow for optimal position of the pelvis and to balance the supporting ligaments so there’s no constraint preventing the baby from getting into optimal position for birth. By removing interference in the nerves that are exiting the spine, it allows optimal communication to the uterus so there are coordinated contractions to drive the birth process. I also think it’s important to coach pregnant women in regards to nutrition and lifestyle. The investments a woman makes in her body during pregnancy will positively effect her and the baby!
Moms choose me as their Chiropractor because I help them achieve the healthiest and most comfortable pregnancy and birth. They bring their whole families to me to achieve and maintain optimal health so that their children may grow and develop to their optimal potential.
I have been in chiropractic since 1996. I have been a doctor of chiropractic since 2010. I have extensive post graduate training in pediatric and prenatal chiropractic. I am also a member of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association. I have been certified in the Webster Technique through the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association since 2008. I re-certified in 2017 and in 2018 became an examiner for other doctors to receive their Webster certification. In addition to my extensive prenatal and pediatric chiropractic training, as of 2016 I am also a birth doula, so I have extensive knowledge on how to care for women physically and emotionally through out pregnancy and birth. As well as extensive experience adjusting newborns, adjusting 100's in my career, some of my doula clients only hours old.
We have so much beauty here in Iowa and that really shows during the fall months. If you haven't already tried hitting the trail with your family, this is a great time to do it! Mild temps keep everyone happy and the crunchy leaves make for awesome nature sensory play. Here area some of our favorite fall hikes in the Corridor that we enjoy as a family.
Note: The hikes mentioned vary in difficulty and child safety concerns. As always, use your best judgment in choosing hikes that work for your family.
Sandbar along the Cedar River
A popular site for family pictures, Palisades-Kepler combines the beauty of fall foliage with the drama of the cliffs along the Cedar River. Pending river level, the extensive sandbar makes for an excellent space to play in the sand. (****Please note that river currents are dangerous and no one should enter the water.****) The Cool Hollow Trail runs through the park and provides a moderate hiking experience. For more of a challenge, the Cedar Cliff Trail goes along the river and provides amazing views -- sturdy kid hikers will still likely need an adult assist at points on this one and young walkers will need to be up in a carrier.
Entrance to Cedar Cliff Trail
Just down the river from Palisades is the quiet Ennis Preserve. This Linn County Park includes a 1-mile loop trail that takes you through prairie and woods, down to the river's edge and back. The trail has a steep stretch as it approaches the river, where little ones may need to be up in the carrier or hold a hand. Pack a picnic and enjoy a peaceful meal in the grass by the park's entrance.
This Asian Maple is a favorite spot to play on fall hikes
Looking for a little walker and stroller friendly fall hike? The Morgan Creek Arboretum features a crushed stone path that takes you on a loop through trees and prairie with lots of open grass space to romp and play. Side explorations into the creek are available at points, so make sure to wear water proof footwear and messy play clothes.
Sun through the trees on a fall morning at Woodpecker
Woodpecker Trail is a favorite of my kiddos from the time they can toddle down the trail. You can make it a kid-friendly 1 mile hike or loop it together with the connecting Squire Point Trail for more mileage. Woodpecker does come to one beautiful stone outlook point with a bit of a drop, so keep kiddos close as you approach the water.
A great adventure with kid hikers
Across the pond from the outdoor classroom
The Outdoor Classroom at ICNC is the perfect option if you have a little hiker who wants to explore every leaf or stick on the path. Situated around a pond, the outdoor classroom offers the chance to climb, swing, build, and explore. For more distance, you can check out ICNC's great trail network or the nearby Sac & Fox Trail, too.
Exploring with natural materials
Still hiking despite the rain
This stroller-friendly paved path provides the opportunity to combine your fall hike with coffee by heading north along the trail to Capanna Coffee (which will take you through wetlands) or east to a fork and then up across 6 to Hurts Donut Co. Either option can motivate even the most reluctant of riders or walkers. And, the fall colors along the creek are a treat all on their own!
Easy hiking for an early walker
Looking for a quieter yet still stroller-friendly stretch of trail? The Clear Creek Trail, entered from Half Moon has a wide path and a peaceful vibe that feels more akin to a dirt trail.
Looking for more Corridor adventures? Head here now for all Nested Mama posts on Local Family fun.
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Moving through Pregnancy and Postpartum: interview with Kelli Marie Rice, professor of kinesiology
Our bodies change in incredible ways as we move through the months of pregnancy and the childbearing year. Wondering how you can nourish your body and find balance amid such rapid change? Today, I'm so pleased to share an interview with Kelli Marie Rice who is a professor of kinesiology at Coe College and an expert in wellness and fitness. Kelli is also a mother of two. She graciously shared with me about moving through pregnancy and postpartum from both her academic and practical experience.
Before we talk about physical movement through pregnancy and postpartum, I'd love it if you'd share a little bit about how your background drives your passion and expertise in this area.
The next chapter in my life took me from Central College in Pella, Iowa, to the University of Iowa and Mercy Hospital in Iowa City. I started pursuing my M.A. in Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity, while also working as an exercise physiologist at Mercy Hospital.
My Master’s thesis was my first significant look into this fused interest of mine: movement, mothering, and gender. It is titled “Chasing the Kids, Does it Count?” It was a qualitative study that quantified ‘chasing the kids’ through the use of continuous monitoring (accelerometry), the Kaiser Physical Activity Survey, & interviews with all 66 participants. The results were compared with national physical activity guidelines to determine whether or not chasing the kids provided enough movement for moms to achieve health outcomes. The findings indicated that for this sample of moms (ages 35+ with kids 5 & under) chasing the kids, while exhausting, was not enough to meet the national guidelines for physical activity; however, women who planned physical activity (with or without their kids) were adequate in meeting these guidelines. I also found it interesting that the perceived ‘most vigorous movement of the day’ almost always involved chasing the kids, while the qualitative data debunked that. In short, chasing the kids is not nearly as vigorous or continuous as it feels, and moms generally aren’t moving enough by simply chasing their kids around; however, by holding space for planned times of movement, moms can absolutely be successful in meeting national physical activity guidelines.
I transitioned to an online Adjunct Instructor position with the University of Dubuque as I moved to San Francisco for the opportunity to launch my wellness consulting firm, which was established for the purpose of working alongside a Bulgarian Atomic Physicist on his latest invention, the TAO WellShell. After TAO launched & took Best of CES in Las Vegas, I moved back to Iowa City, got married & began teaching at Coe College.
I am entering my 4th year in the Coe College kinesiology department, while continuing to teach online in my 7th year with the University of Dubuque (13th year of teaching overall). Outside of teaching, I am living out my passion for uplifting mamas to love themselves. I support and encourage them by moving with them in ways that empower us, whether that is through leading hikes or by teaching a babywearing dance and fun family fitness class at Anytime Fitness in Coralville. Being a mom is hard work, but with a supportive tribe and feel-good movement/strength, we can truly maximize every ounce of our awesome selves.
I love how you point out the importance of support and community as well as movement to a mom's well-being. Your family-oriented classes seem to embody that fusion! How has your knowledge and experience of physical movement and wellness informed your journey into motherhood? And, how has your journey into motherhood shaped informed or shaped the knowledge you bring to your teaching?
My knowledge in these areas began with pregnancy and birth preparation. I planned for our home births much like I would train an athlete. I incorporated feel-good movement (walking, prenatal Kundalini yoga with Gurmukh, dance), squatting while Hypnobirthing for 60-75 minutes every day, and I performed a variety of abdominal exercises to prevent diastasis recti. I also adjusted my diet to support the demands of pregnancy and altered my vitamin supplementation. I journaled through 3 books with each pregnancy: Waiting in Wonder, Sacred Pregnancy, & Love Letters to Baby. Both of my babies were born in a birth tub at home: 8 lb 15 oz Delaney in a 4 hour labor, and 8 lb 7 oz Garrett in a 3.25 hour labor, 22 months later.
Moving on from birth, I incorporated babywearing, breastfeeding, and many other aspects of Attachment Parenting into our lifestyle. I conducted my own secondary research before making decisions about parenting and lifestyle choices, just as I would read a nutrition label or investigate an essential oil in our adult lives. My husband and I did what worked for us, in terms of maintaining balance in our lives, despite what may seem popular, common, or pushed by others. In addition to placenta encapsulation, movement and socialization were key components in my postpartum life. I remind myself that to offer whole lives to our children in a sustainable manner, we must be whole mamas. For me, this means maintaining balance among physical, emotional, social, intellectual, spiritual, environmental, financial, and occupational dimensions of wellness. Many of these areas can overlap! For example, babywearing hiking with friends: physical, social, environmental, and arguably emotional, intellectual and spiritual; plus even financial since it’s a great free activity! I try to incorporate every dimension of wellness into every day, for both myself and our kids.
Pregnancy and especially the postpartum period is both empowering and humbling. Not only does it challenge our bodies and shift our hormones and sleep patterns, but these tiny humans change our hearts in ways only a mama can describe. In addition to compassion and lifting up other mamas, a key way motherhood has altered my views is through the need for slowness. At least a decade ago, I met with author Carl Honore to discuss his book In Praise of Slowness. The greatest single thing I do as a mom that fosters the overall wellness of myself and my kids is embracing a lifestyle of slowness. We admire insects. We touch trees. We catch tadpoles and gently hold baby toads. We go to yoga classes for each of my babies (2 years and 4 months). We read nearly 1200 books before my daughter turned 1. I plan 10 minutes for us to get our shoes on and leave the house, just so we don’t have to rush. I find when I am slow and present, everyone is gentle and happy.
I carry these values into my teaching, both at the gym and in the college courses I teach. I create a relaxed, come-as-you-are environment. Everyone deserves to have their body celebrated. Everyone should we warmly accepted exactly as they are. Everyone benefits from being supported and uplifted by others in whatever way is most comfortable for them. Everyone has a need for multidimensional wellness, balance. I also find the AP principle of connection prevents or solves the vast majority of conflicts and challenges. People love the way it feels to feel connected. As we are practicing this 24/7 with our children, why not extend that same love to the world around us? It’s pretty inspiring!
As far as incorporating physical movement into daily life - beyond "chasing the kids" - do you have any advice for pregnant or postpartum moms?
I do! Many moms feel selfish prioritizing things for themselves, while others find logistics (childcare, breastfeeding) or money to be obstacles that make physical activity particularly challenging. To overcome these obstacles, I encourage mamas to keep it simple, think outside of the box, and choose movement that is enjoyable and feels good.
Keep it simple:
While both are nice, you don’t need a gym membership to be active and you don’t need a personal trainer to see results; walking, body weight exercises, hiking and dancing are great physical activities that are free! Rather than waiting for the perfect plan to emerge, simply choose one way to move each day and listen to your body along the way!
Think outside of the box:
I am a big fan of setting up moms for success. It can be helpful to include our kids in workouts so we aren’t relying on good naps or things that may be out of our control. I love babywearing workouts as a way to accomplish this! In addition to making a workout more likely, babywearing workouts are a sweet way to bond with Baby. Hiking, dancing, walking and even things like squats are great options that can be compatible with babywearing. For mamas with older children, movement can be as simple as putting on music and dancing together! Games, such as tag, soccer or racing to a tree can be fun ways to move as a family. Playing twister or bending our bodies into shapes and letters can be a creative way to stretch alongside our tiny helpers. Moms are some of the most creative people on Earth; we can use these mothering skills to turn essential self-care into magical memories with our tribe.
Choose fun, feel-good movement:
Keep in mind it takes 9 months to gain pregnancy weight; patience and consistency are critical components of pregnancy and postpartum fitness. Between physical body changes, hormonal shifts, changes in sleep patterns, and just figuring out our new role, now is the time to move only in ways that are enjoyable. Incorporating music or moving with friends can help make physical activity more enjoyable, as well! Set your sights on feel-good movement and celebrate your beautiful, strong, amazing self!
Thanks so much to Kelli for sharing her wisdom and experiences here on the Nested Mama blog!
Looking for a way to stay active that is specifically tailored to the changing needs of a pregnant body? Prenatal yoga offer a chance to build strength and flexibility even as your body changes and your belly grows. And, prenatal yoga classes are an awesome chance to meet and bond with others who are expecting a little one.
Not sure how to find the right class for you? Check out these awesome options we have for prenatal yoga classes in the Corridor! Click the links to find out studio info and read below to hear from the prenatal yoga instructors why they are passionate about what they do.
The goal of prenatal yoga is to help guide the body through pregnancy in a healthy and intentional way. Prenatal yoga helps prep your body for the act of labor but also helps keep your body comfortable as it changes in dramatic ways. We work on encouraging pelvic floor strength and intentional movement to maintain strength and mobility. As a facilitator I support all choices and birth preferences. I also provide information on various resources for pregnancy, delivery and postpartum life. I LOVE being able to part of the journeys of soon to be moms and am so honored to be part of this beautiful community in Iowa City.
I have been teaching yoga for many years and the reason why I specialized in prenatal yoga was how it tailors to the expecting mama. Most people know what yoga is, the physical postures, meditation and breath, which are all needed in labor and birth. However, prenatal yoga takes it a step further, the connection and relationship between mama and her baby(ies). Preparing for labor is physical but even more emotional, which is something mamas don't hear much about. In prenatal yoga I am able to teach and show mamas different poses they are able to utilize in labor and birth but also guide them through breath and meditation to listen to their own body and tune into baby, too. Another cool aspect of prenatal yoga is the community. Mamas come together each week, on a different journey in their pregnancy, but they are all expecting! They are able to ask one another questions, give advice in a safe space, from trusting mamas they have come to know each week.
At balance kids & family yoga we pride ourselves in creating a community of moms and soon-to-be moms who share resources, information, and experiences, while build a lasting support system for one another. Supporting mamas to be the healthiest and happiest version of themselves during this very special time in their lives is what I love most.
My combined prenatal & postnatal classes are designed to expertly guide mom-to-be through a gentle, modified yoga practice with your changing body in mind. Experience relief from aches and pains commonly associated with pregnancy, while building strength, flexibility and confidence in preparation for labor and delivery. This class is also great for the new mom to gently ease back into a practice or a fitness routine post delivery.
I believe that empowering women to trust their bodies and tap into their breath as they prepare mentally, physically, and spiritually for labor is so important, as these tools can translate equally well into preparation for parenthood as well as life skills that serve us on and off the mat. I truly hope that each and every woman leaves my studio feeling relaxed yet rejuvenated, stronger, and more confident, knowing that they are the perfect person for the job of becoming mama to their precious bundle. Just breathe mamas, you got this.
As a new mother, I found so much peace and community by attending prenatal and baby yoga classes in Iowa City (Sweet Feet Yoga). When I moved up to the Cedar Rapids metro, I found myself wanting to create the same environment and community around pregnancy, birth, and motherhood to support a family’s growth through the transition. Within the last year, I became certified as a prenatal and children’s yoga (3 months – 5 years) instructor through Dana Robinson at Sweet Feet Yoga. And today, I am now the owner/instructor of Sage Nest Yoga, where I teach Baby & Me, Tots, and Tykes yoga. In July 2018, I will begin teaching prenatal yoga on Wednesday evenings in Marion.
I love that our yoga practice builds community, gives us time to bond with our sweet babies, and allows us to be breathe and be active together!
My approach to prenatal and postnatal yoga weaves together ancient wisdom and modern women. My classes are designed to help mamas prepare for birth and beyond in body, mind and spirit. You can expect a practice focused on the breath with opportunities for meditation, pranayama, relaxation, alignment based movement and a sacred space to connect with other mamas. The season, weather, time of day and energy of the room are all integrated in my classes. My passion for supporting women in pregnancy and postpartum comes from my own motherhood journey. I hopes to help mamas feel empowered to make the best decisions for their individual needs and families. I completed my RYT200 at Hothouse Yoga in Iowa City and have since studied at Prajna Yoga in Santa Fe and completed my level 1 RPYT with Hannah Muse at the Mount Madonna Institute in Santa Cruz. My postnatal class is open to mamas up to two years postpartum. I ask kindly that babes only up to crawling join mama and after that for mamas to come solo.
Looking for more resources as you move through pregnancy and transition into life with baby? Nested Mama offers prenatal and postpartum doula support, childbirth education, breastfeeding education, eco baby consultations, and infant sleep education. Connect with Nested Mama on Facebook or Instagram to get more tips and insight into pregnancy and life with baby in the Corridor.
Johanna received a Ph.D. in English in 2014. Now a postpartum doula and educator of childbirth, breastfeeding, and infant sleep, she blogs about pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and parenting.