Growing another human takes a toll on the body, there is no denying it! Some of the most common issues we hear about in the health and wellness industry are; SIJ joint pain, sciatica, and general low back pain. I've taught prenatal yoga for years now and these are typically the issues I hear about the most when ladies hit their yoga mats.
What are some common causes for these issues?
Weight gain. Duh. It has to happen gals!
The centre of gravity is shifting due to baby in your womb.
Postural changes which can create a lordotic curve in the spine.
An influx of relaxin and oestrogen which can create joint laxity, (especially in the pelvis).
My second pregnancy is going well so far, but I've had some low back discomfort after out epic road trip down to Melbourne. We drove from Sydney to Melbourne in one day, a total of 12 hours of travel. I did quite a bit of yoga that week at The Base Yoga, which helped a lot, and I also walked frequently. A week later, we packed up the car again and made an 11 hours trip home in a single day. Needless to say, my low back was not so happy with me at this point, and I wanted to get on top of the issue before it worsened. After all, once issues start compiling during your pregnancy, they seem to worsen if they are ignored.
I booked in to have an adjustment with Dr Evan, affectionally called Chiro Evan, followed by a remedial massage with Rima at the incredible Selph Health Studios in Rosebery, NSW. Evan recommended the adjustment first which helps to reestablish the new tissues and the massage to follow through with the corrections. This was truly an incredible combination, and one that I would not have thought of myself.
Although it wasn't my first time meeting Evan, it was my first time having an adjustment with him. I felt so welcomed into the space and really confident with his skills. Evan has a bachelor of Chiropractic Science as well as a Masters in Chiropractic, which is very impressive. He found congested places in my body that I had not even mentioned on my admission forms. Evan was so open for discussion about what I needed and we found the perfect ways to move and adjust my pregnant body. One of my favourite parts of the appointment was the ability to safely lie on my stomach in their little egg cup pillow. This made my low back treatment a lot easier, and we were able to fix the discrepancy in my leg lengths and loosened up the muscles aggravating my SIJ. I also had my upper thoracic adjusted and my neck as well, a personal favourite. Even though I had implicit trust in Evan, he must have noticed I was ever so slightly tense as he cradled my head in his hands. He told me to wiggle my right toe, and BAM, there was my neck adjustment beautifully executed. Clever redirection technique right there! I think it's paramount to find a chiropractor that you can trust in a day and age when people so base their search on preferred health providers alone.
Lastly, Evan performed N.E.T. which stands for neuro emotional technique. Evan was the first person to ever tell me about this incredible treatment, and I was baffled that I'd never heard of it before. The idea behind N.E.T is to find and address where stressful responses have taken hold in the body. Emotions are believed to be at the core of every stress, symptom and disease. Therefore, the goal of N.E.T. is locate and remove these imbalances in the body that are associated with the physiology of this unresolved stress. My evaluation went well, but Evan said my kidneys needed some attention and that I should increase my fluid intake and add some fresh berries and beans to my diet for my benefit bub's too.
DEEPER LOOK: Have a look at a simplified N.E.T. assessment chat here
After the adjustment I went into an adjacent room to meet Rima for my massage. Rima has 10 years of experience in the health and wellness industry and specialises in remedial, sports, pregnancy, and Swedish massage. The first thing Rima did was welcome me and ask me how I was feeling today. I noticed this common thread with the practitioners there; they are all genuinely interested in how you are as a person, not just your symptoms. We talked about what was to be expected from my treatment and I snuggled into another pregnancy pillow which allowed me to relax safely on my belly. The room, the music, even the essential oils that were being diffused made this an sensory experience to remember. I throughly enjoyed the massage and it was the perfect pairing after the adjustment. Rima delivered excellent pressure during the treatment as well, which I really appreciated because sometimes masseuses will barely apply pressure on a pregnant woman!
I left Selph Health Studios feeling more comfortable, completely relaxed and more clear headed. I meandered to my car and drove home in complete silence- no radio, no phone calls, nothing. I felt nurtured, supported and I will 100% be returning to keep up with my pregnancy care and birth preparation.
For some, pregnancy is a breeze. My first pregnancy was a cat walk (for the most part), in that I never got sick and felt really good 95% of the time. My biggest complaints were a strong intolerance for the smell of garbage and I didn't crave veggies during the first trimester. Oh, and how could I forget, I was 30+ weeks pregnant during Queensland summer, which was tough.
This time around has been a doozy, and I've had some really, really rough days (yup, not just morning sickness, all-hours-of-the-day-sickness).
Here are a few things that have helped:
1. Ginger tea
I'm not a fan of ginger, but when I found out that it was a quick and easy remedy for morning sickness, I was all about it! Ginger is a part of the zingiberaceae family, alongside the well known turmeric and cardamom, and it's most commonly used for reducing nausea, pain and inflammation. I try to add it to my cooking, especially if I'm making an asian dish, such as this.
Need tea inspo? You might like this or this brand.
2. Candied Ginger
I purchase this from The Source Bulk Foods to have on hand in a jiffy. It's great to eat as is, or to place in a cup of tea, or mug of boiling water for a quick fix.
My daughter likes to snack on these as well, so win-win!
3. Plain biscuits
I normally avoid plain biscuits because they have zero nutritional value and serve no purpose except a massive hit of carbs to your daily intake. Every night I'd place a mini pack of Premiums (4 crackers) on the night stand, and if I needed to take the edge off, I'd grab 1 or 2 on my way back to bed and catch some more Z's after my morning trip to the loo. I also needed to take my steroids as early as possible each morning (no later than 7am), so if I felt like I could stomach it, I'd take my tablets with the crackers and head back to sleep. This was a bland and tolerable snack that really works wonders for me.
4. Frequent, small meals
5 times a day, 8 times a day, whatever you need to keep that sickness at bay.
For me, in the early days, it looked a little something like this:
6:30am: Small brekkie with morning meds (simple toast, peanut butter with banana and hemp/chia seeds)
7:30-8am: Second breakfast (eggs and a fruit salad or a smoothie)
Morning tea: 10am (homemade energy ball, or 2)
Lunch:12pm (Salad with veggies, nuts and a protein)
Afternoon snack: 2/3pm (apple with peanut butter or a hard boiled egg x 1)
Dinner: 5-5:30pm (nothing too heavy)
7pm Evening treat: Cob's organic popcorn, a cold orange, or a mediterranean platter with preggo-safe cheese, nuts, pickles and dried fruit
5. Ask for help
"There is no award for being a martyr," I say. Stop trying to do it all for the praise of... whom? Ask your parents, friends or neighbors if and when you need assistance. Call the babysitter to come over and stay in the house while you nap. Make yourself a priority because you can't pour from an empty cup. I'm not a first time mum, so I need to keep well in order to look after my daughter and keep my own body a healthy and happy place for my growing bub.
6. Connect with your community
Pretty straight forward this one. If you're pregnant with your second child, make sure you hit up everything on offer in your town, such as: music classes; playgroups; church groups and gymbaroo. Keeping busy is a great way to help pass those long pregnancy months, and you will probably meet some other mums that are expecting as well.
If you're a first time mum; keep busy! Go to prenatal yoga classes, volunteer, join a book club or keep pinning all your favourite baby things on Pinterest. The first trimester can feel like forever and a day, especially if you aren't feeling well! Focus your energies on productive activities and keep a positive mindset!
Know a friend who is pregnant and might enjoy this advice? Pease share this post with them!
I thought I would share a little bit about our experience returning to life after our toddler's first bout of gastro.
If you follow me on Instagram, you know that my daughter is an amazing eater, not picky and eats a variety of multi coloured fruits and veggies. I'm not ashamed to say I take a lot of pride in this, and I hope she is always adventurous with her cuisine. However, transitioning her back to normal food after being sick worried me immensely. Would she only want dry crackers and toast for ever? Would she go back to eating veggies after three plus days without food?
I figured that if I had these anxieties, I probably wasn't alone. So, I decided to share a few things we have tried and worked well for us. I wrote this post over the course of a week as we navigated these new waters, and man it has been challenging!
Feel free to take bits and pieces that suit you and your children. Some of our movements were deliberate, others were trial and error.
1. BRAT diet:
Bananas, rice, apples and toast.
These are great places to reintroduce food to your toddler, or anyone recovering from gastro quite frankly. I grew up with this method and I swear by it to this day. These foods are gentle on the tummy and bland, which is easy for digestion.
Dry toast is a good place to start, and you can always add topping as you go. I added a little bit of honey to my daughter's toast to entice her to eat it, but also to help get her sugars up since they were so low from severe dehydration. Honey is great for antioxidants and is also antibacterial.
* Honey IS NOT RECOMMENDED for children under the age of one.
Other ideas are to progressively add to the toast as time goes on. For instance, maybe a thin spread of calcium dense tahini and then mashed banana on top.
Not a fan of plain rice? Add grated apple into the rice for some sweetness.
Do they find bananas boring? Slice them up and sprinkle them with a few chia seeds.
2. Avoid Dairy
Avoid milk and dairy for the first few days. You may want to see your child eat again, no matter what it is, but things like whole milk, sugary foods, soda and candy can all worsen diarrhea.
3. Keep Fluids Up!
Do whatever you can to keep those fluids up!
Our daughter refused water off and on for about two days after we left the ER which was pretty stressful. After a follow up with our GP, he suggested using a syringe to give her water and gave us a 6ml syringe to take home. She loved it! I guess it was the novelty of something different, but it worked for us. You don't need to go to the doc to get your hands on one, you can simply use the ones you have to administered medicine like Tylenol. Just make sure it's washed well and cleaned after each use.
4. Stick To The Rules
This might divide the crowd, but so be it. Once my daughter started to eat again, I assumed she would keep eating normally. This wasn't the case sadly. For instance, one morning, just a few days after her sickness, she surprised me and had toast, a scrambled egg and a few tablespoons of yogurt. That afternoon she didn't eat any lunch or dinner! I was confused and frustrated because I didn't know why she was putting up a struggle. Did she not like what I offered? Was this the opportunity for her to finally be picky? Or was she still not feeling fantastic and couldn't communicate that to me?
The following night I made a veggie quinoa salad and salmon (her fav). She didn't eat the meal, so I packed it up and put it away in the fridge. An hour later she said she was hungry, so sticking to our rules, I re-offered what she had, not something else. She gagged on the salmon and my mouth nearly hit the floor. Gagging on her fav food of all time- I was so perplexed! Clearly she wasn't ready for that taste, texture smell or whatever. Instead of offering her a sugary sweet or something else, she was fine with water and going to bed. I don't offer her other food if she has refused what was given at dinner, because once you start making substitutions to appease your children, you'll never be able to stop.
5. Reintroduce Dairy Slowly
When you do decide to reintroduce dairy, start small... think baby steps. We started with gut healthy kefir and greek yogurt in tiny doses a few days after her episode.
6. Keep Offering The Norm
Even though she was hit and miss on some meals, I kept offering her what she would normally like on her usual Love Mae tray, as if nothing had ever happened. Consistency is key in my experience. This did mean a lot of food was put back in the fridge, and some stuff was sadly thrown out.
Don't just offer the norm, but stick to the normal schedule too. If your toddler can still sit at the table and watch you eat your meals, this is a good thing. When she wasn't eating, I'd still keep my daughter in her high chair at meal time and let her play with play dough while I ate.
7. So what shall I make?
1. The BRAT diet mentioned above is always a good start
2. If normal finger foods are a challenge, you can't go wrong with bone broth or a heathy soup. Creamy and smooth for the pickier kids during this sensitive time, or chunky if they can tolerate it. You can transition to pouring the homemade soup over some simple, kid-friendly pasta as time progresses.
3. Smoothies are great as well because you can make them with veggies and/or fruit. You also don't need to add any dairy to them. I made my daughter's recovery smoothies with water for added hydration.
In all honesty, she didn't really return to her normal, food loving veggie eating ways until about 8/9 days after she was admitted to hospital. So don't lose hope parents! This was a big surprise for me, but I'm happy that we are back to normal now.
Have you had a similar experience? I would love to hear about it in the comments below.
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