Posts tagged with "pregnant"

Go Ahead, Stop & Pee: Running During Pregnancy and Postpartum ,Dr. Blair Green PT, DPT, 360 MAGAZINE

Five Exercises to Alleviate Symptoms of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction


By Dr. Blair Green PT, DPT

Do you leak urine when you cough, sneeze, run or jump? Do you experience pressure in the pelvis that feels like something is falling out? Do you struggle with chronic constipation? Do you experience pain with intercourse or with wearing tampons? If you can answer yes to any of these questions you may suffer from pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD).

PFD affects at least 25% of women, and the prevalence rises in an athletic population to nearly 40%. While pregnancy and childbirth are risk factors for PFD, many women who never become pregnant may also experience these symptoms.

The pelvic floor muscles (PFM) connect from the pubic bone to the tailbone and form a hammock-like structure on the underside of the pelvis. PFD occurs when these muscles are not able to perform their normal function. The PFM assist with urinary and defecatory function, sexual arousal and orgasm, and pelvic organ support. In addition, the PFM make up the most inferior part of the core, working with the diaphragm, abdominals and low back muscles to provide central core control.

Alleviating and preventing problems with the PFM can sometimes be as simple as incorporating specific exercises. Research shows that one of the best ways to prevent urinary leakage is to work on strengthening the PFM. However, to maximize function and improve problems, the PFM must also learn how to relax as well as contract, and work alongside the other muscles in the deep core, as well as with the muscles of the hips and legs. If you are experiencing symptoms of PFD, consider trying the following exercises:

  1. Deep Diaphragmatic Breathing – The diaphragm and PFM work as a team. Deep breathing through the diaphragm can help the PFM relax, and can also help them contract properly. When you inhale, the PFM relax and lengthen, and when you exhale they contract and shorten. Try lying on your back with your knees bent. Place your hands on the outside of the rib cage. As you inhale, the ribs should expand and the chest and belly should rise. As you exhale, the ribs should move down and in, and the chest and belly should fall. Continue to breathe for up to 10 – 20 repetitions. This can also be done sitting, standing, lying on your side, or on all fours.
  2. PFM Activation, aka “Kegel” exercises – This exercise serves to contract the PFM, which is an important mechanism to assist control of bowel and bladder function, and support for the pelvic organs. While the PFM should be strong, to counter high forces that the body encounters with lifting, jumping and running, It is just as important that the muscles can fully relax between contractions. Begin with deep diaphragmatic breathing. Inhale to prepare. As you exhale, imagine a kidney bean at the opening of the vagina. Squeeze and lift the kidney bean, contracting the PFM. Hold for up to 10 sec as you continue to breathe. Relax. Repeat up to 10 times. For variety in the PFM Activation exercise, try to imagine that the muscles are an elevator. As you exhale, the elevator is rising from the first to the fifth floor. As you inhale, it lowers back to the first floor. You can also practice quick contractions where you hold the muscle tight for one to two seconds and then let it go. It is important to keep breathing through all of these exercises.
  3. Bridging – This exercise incorporates breathing, PFM activation and spinal movement. It lifts the hips above the shoulders which can help assist gravity to improve pelvic pressure. Lie on your back and begin with diaphragmatic breathing to prepare. As you exhale, contract the PFM and begin to curl up one vertebra at time, lifting the hips off the floor. At the top, the trunk should form a straight line from the shoulders to the hips. Inhale to pause at the top, and exhale to reverse the movement, rolling the spine and hips back to the floor. Repeat 10-20 times.
  4. Happy Baby – This yoga pose is a great way to coordinate breathing with pelvic floor relaxation. Lie on your back. Lift your legs, bending the knees, so that the feet are facing the ceiling. Grab under your feet with your hands. Hold this position as you take 5-10 deep breaths.
  5. Assisted Squatting – Deep squatting may exacerbate signs of urinary leakage or pelvic pressure. Using a strap or holding onto a door for assistance, or limiting range of motion, are two ways to complete a squat movement with less downward pressure on the PFM. Stand, holding onto the back of a chair, doorknob or strap. Take one breath to prepare. On the next inhale, lower down toward the floor, bending at the hips and knees. As you exhale, activate the PFM, and use the glute (buttock) muscles to stand up. You can use your arms for assistance to pull up to reduce pressure on the pelvis. Repeat 10-20 times.

Not every problem with the PFM can be fixed with exercise, and not all exercises are appropriate for every person. If you feel like you are not improving, or these exercises make your symptoms worse, please consult a pelvic health physical therapist or your doctor. The best way to treat PFD is a multi-disciplinary approach combining physical therapy, medical management, behavioral strategies and exercise.

BLAIR GREEN, PT, DPT, co-author of Go Ahead, Stop & Pee: Running During Pregnancy and Postpartum, is a Doctor of Physical Therapy with a focus on pre/post-natal health and wellness, the founder/CEO of Catalyst Physical Therapy, and a board-certified orthopedic specialist. Known as the “go-to” expert in her field, Dr. Green is also a Polestar-trained Pilates instructor and a Certified Manual Trigger Point Therapist. She serves as an instructor in the Physical Therapy program at Emory University, and as a faculty member for several Physical Therapy continuing education companies.

7 Things To Give Up To Help You Get Pregnant This Year

by Mary Jane Minkin, MD, Clinical Professor of OB/GYN at Yale University

Unfortunately, a simple do-it-yourself plan doesn’t exist, but fertility specialists and women’s health experts agree that certain measures can create the best possible chances for fertilization to occur. So, without ironclad guarantees, here are 7 things to give up to help you get pregnant this year:Every couple mired in infertility, every woman who has ever spent hours scouring the Internet for new breakthroughs and conception tips has had the same wish: For a clear-cut, easy-to-follow program that would guarantee a healthy pregnancy. 

    • Alcohol. Studies focusing on alcohol’s effect on conception have produced mixed results, with some indicating that pregnancy is more likely if women give up drinking entirely and others suggesting that those who drink moderately might increase their chances of conception – perhaps because an occasional glass of wine makes them more relaxed. But experts agree that women who give up alcohol will increase their chances of a healthy baby once conception does happen, and that alone is reason enough for most women to quit.

 

    • Tobacco. Unlike alcohol, the data smoking’s correlation to pregnancy is undisputed. Both primary and secondhand smoke are detrimental to a woman’s chance of conceiving and to a developing fetus as well. Quitting is never easy, but resources and support to help you find a plan and stick to it.

 

    • Caffeine. As the daily substance of choice for most Americans, dependency on those morning cups of coffee is difficult to break. Try cutting back on your intake if you drink multiple cups a day- a recent study confirms ACOG guidelines that one standard 12 oz. cup of regular coffee (200 mg of caffeine) is safe for pregnancy. 

 

    • Your Spot on the Couch. In other words, get up and move around! Couch potatoes aren’t helping any aspect of their health, but women who are trying to conceive have an extra-compelling reason to kick it into high gear. Experts agree that women who stay within their ideal weight have a better chance of becoming pregnant, and a study published in Obstetrics and Gynecology reported that women who exercise 30 minutes or more a day had a reduced risk of ovulation disorders, which often lead to infertility.

 

    • Junk food. Generally speaking, any change that moves you toward a healthier lifestyle will promote fertility. But when it comes to diet, advice seems to fall all over the map. Specific fertility diets advocate for eating foods like oysters, garlic and yams, but an extensive 2009 study advised women to follow simpler guidelines – healthy fats, selective proteins, whole grains and plenty of iron and other vitamins. It’s important to start taking supplemental folic acid to help prevent birth defects. The sooner you can start taking a prenatal vitamin with sufficient folic acid like vitafusion, the better! You should begin taking prenatals even before you begin trying to conceive. And, obviously, putting down the potato chips and the candy bars is an excellent first step to take to help you get pregnant this year. 

 

    • Excessive Stress. Granted, this step is easier said than done, especially when the chief cause of the stress is the infertility itself. But if external factors are causing undue anxiety, a woman’s chance at conception can decrease, and the stress of waiting for that positive pregnancy test month after month could be the last straw for her emotional health. Give up extra responsibilities whenever possible, talk to your boss about reducing your job stress and work in regular “mental health” days to be refreshed by activities and people you enjoy.

 

  • Lubricants Containing Glycerin. According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) “Guidelines for Optimizing Natural Fertility”, several leading vaginal lubricants (e.g. K-Y) may decrease fertility based on their observed effects on sperm survival. Another study showed that lubricants containing glycerin had an adverse effect on sperm motility. Fertility experts recommend using a fertility friendly lubricant like Pre-Seed that is specially formulated without glycerin that will not harm sperm and allows sperm to swim freely. 

Like we said, there is no checklist you can complete that guarantees a healthy pregnancy, but giving up these 7 things can help you get pregnant. It’s all about creating the ideal environment for the pregnancy to happen; a healthy, happy and active lifestyle is a solid base and giving up the aforementioned things will get you there.

Why Some Women are Delaying Pregnancy

New Survey Shows Women Lacking Information for Informed Healthcare Decisions

New findings from a recent survey show that women living with chronic inflammatory or autoimmune disease feel they don’t have enough information to make informed decisions about how to balance pregnancy with disease management. Some women feel they have no choice but to stop treatment or delay their plans for pregnancy. These women are living with a variety of autoimmune conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and Crohn’s disease.

Now, a new initiative called the AIM (Autoimmune Motherhood) Movement is being launched to rally these women and provide support, information and a place for them to share stories about motherhood with chronic inflammatory disease. The education campaign and online community aims to help women learn the facts about their conditions and appropriate disease management options, while allowing them to share experiences to empower one another.

AIM Survey Shows:
• Almost half (44%) of U.S. women surveyed had concerns serious enough that they delayed their plans to become pregnant
• 61% believed they could not combine treatment and breastfeeding
• Only 41% consulted a healthcare professional before becoming pregnant, suggesting the need for women to become more engaged in treatment and pregnancy planning earlier

Dr. Grace Wright, rheumatologist at New York University Langone Medical Center is interviewed about the topic along with patient Rosanna, who shares her compelling story of living 30 years with rheumatoid arthritis and the physical and emotional challenges she endures while dealing with her disease. Both guests will help bring awareness to the issues surrounding ways to manage chronic inflammatory disease throughout the family planning journey. They’ll also reveal the results of the AIM Patient Survey to help others in similar situations make the best decisions for themselves and their families. See the recent interview down below:

Why Some Women are Delaying Pregnancy

New findings from a recent survey show that women living with chronic inflammatory or autoimmune disease feel they don’t have enough information to make informed decisions about how to balance pregnancy with disease management. Some women feel they have no choice but to stop treatment or delay their plans for pregnancy. These women are living with a variety of autoimmune conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and Crohn’s disease.

Now, a new initiative called the AIM (Autoimmune Motherhood) Movement is being launched to rally these women and provide support, information and a place for them to share stories about motherhood with chronic inflammatory disease. The education campaign and online community aims to help women learn the facts about their conditions and appropriate disease management options, while allowing them to share experiences to empower one another.

AIM Survey Shows:

  • Almost half (44%) of U.S. women surveyed had concerns serious enough that they delayed their plans to become pregnant
  • 61% believed they could not combine treatment and breastfeeding
  • Only 41% consulted a healthcare professional before becoming pregnant, suggesting the need for women to become more engaged in treatment and pregnancy planning earlier

On Wednesday, July 11th, join Dr. Grace Wright, rheumatologist at New York University Langone Medical Center and patient Rosanna, who shares her compelling story of living 30 years with rheumatoid arthritis and the physical and emotional challenges she endures while dealing with her disease. Both guests will help bring awareness to the issues surrounding ways to manage chronic inflammatory disease throughout the family planning journey. They’ll also reveal the results of the AIM Patient Survey to help others in similar situations make the best decisions for themselves and their families.