Category Archives: Body

Yoga Post-Partum- Put Away Your PreNatal DVDs

When new moms feel that they are ready to get back to their yoga practice, many ask me if they can start with their Prenatal Yoga DVDs.

It sounds like a good idea, but actually preparing for birth and recovering from it are completely different projects.

When we prepare the body for birth, we focus on opening up and widening the pelvis.

When we recover from birth we need to pull everything together. Our pelvis is already wide enough after 9-10 months of pregnancy and childbirth itself- the last thing we want to do is stretch and open it more.

The post-partum period, especially the first three months, is a great time to expand your view of what fitness is.  Rather than focus on getting back in shape, see if instead you can focus on building your vital energy. Vital energy is the amount of life force that it took for you to grow a new life inside you and then birth that life into the world. Now you are sustaining that life through your attention and care, which affect you on a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual level.  Trying to get back in shape when you are already low on vital energy doesn’t work that well and may actually be more depleting.

But that doesn’t mean that you have to do nothing!

The two main ways to build vital energy are to rest and to eat nourishing, mineral rich foods.

Another great way to build your vital energy and to begin building your abdominal and core awareness is through conscious breathing.

In fact, conscious directed breathing is ESSENTIAL for your recovery. It is the building block for re-establishing strength in your pelvic floor, so that you can avoid or alleviate symptoms like incontinence, prolapse, and simply feel supported so that you can resume all the activities that you love without the risk of injury.

Before you start a movement practice, you want to be sure that you have re-established a connection with your pelvic floor and your abdominals. You also want to make sure that you do not have a diastasis, which is a split in your abdominal wall, before you begin. You can check yourself- this video shows you how.

So if you are looking to begin a yoga practice again after having a baby, put away your prenatal yoga DVDs and start with directed breathing, gentle spinal movements, and remember that your focus is on pulling everything back together. You may need to do some rehabilitative core stabilizing before jumping into something that looks like the yoga you are accustomed to.

Changing Post-Partum Culture- It’s Not Just a Women’s Issue

I was thrilled to be interviewed by my friend and colleague, Lara Catone. She is a yoga teacher and Sexological Bodyworker who also works intensively with women.

In this free podcast interview, we talk about:

-women’s pelvic floor health
-the difference between sensuality and sexuality
-pelvic floor physical therapy
-the role of orgasm in birth- it’s not what you think
-how female ejaculation is related to birth
-the fourth trimester
-eliciting erotic trance for birth

It’s pretty cutting edge- a lot of material that is at the forefront of women’s health- embodiment. Feminism 301! Enjoy- Changing Post-Partum Culture with Lara Catone.

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Painful Sex After Childbirth-and What to Do About It

Magamama | Painful Sex After Childbirth-and What to Do About It

Many women come to me wondering why sex is painful after childbirth. Here is what I tell them:

First of all you are not alone. It is something that as women we don’t often talk about with each other.

The bad news is most women experience pain during sex after having a child.

The good news is that there are many potential causes for the pain you are experiencing and they are all resolve-able.

The most common causes for discomfort during intercourse are lack of lubrication and scar tissue impediments.

Lack of lubrication is generally caused by dehydration or lack of sufficient arousal.  If you are breastfeeding you are already secreting A LOT of liquids.  Vaginal lubrication requires even more secretion. The best remedy for this is to drink even more water. Up all your fluid intake but especially water, fresh juices and herbal teas.  You also may want to include moistening foods in your diets, like pears, and even consider an aloe vera shot a day.

The second reason for lack of lubrication is lack of arousal- but don’t worry that doesn’t mean that your partner doesn’t turn you on… it just means that you may not be taking enough time to get yourself primed for intercourse. If you are like most new parents, you are exhausted and in a juggling act of keeping your work and home in order while learning how to parent a child. You have less time for intimacy. And the time you do have is often interrupted.  Full physical arousal for women meaning that you are fully engorged and lubricated takes on average 45 minutes.

While that might seem like forever, it is worth it to go for quality and not quantity right now in your partnership. When you tell your partner that you are interested in devoting more time to your intimacy, I can guarantee he or she will be thrilled to care for you in that way and receive your attention as well.

So set aside one hour a week when you can be alone. Choose a time when your baby is napping or can be taken for a walk with a close friend or babysitter and devote that time to your partner. This time may be spent lying on the couch talking, kissing, or touching- it doesn’t necessarily have to involve intercourse.

Another reason you may be experiencing discomfort is because of scar tissue- if you tore, had an episiotomy or had a Cesarean section, there is scar tissue in your pelvic floor. Scar tissue is like a dense web with little gumball size “knots”- scar tissue does not stretch as easily as healthy tissue and when stretched there is a burning sensation. Depending on the surrounding tissue and individual situations, scar tissue can heal on its own.

Dissolving Scar Tissue

However it is faster and more effective to dissolve it through massage- manual pressure, heat and castor oil.  While that may sound daunting, it is easier than it sounds and provides enormous relief because that scar tissue can spread to other areas of your body contributing to lower back and pelvic pain. You can do this yourself, bravely exploring your own scar tissue, you can ask for help from your partner, or you can also seek out a pelvic floor physical therapist to help you.