Category Archives: Pelvis

Respecting the 4th trimester and your postpartum body …

Respecting your body in the 4th trimester …. we read so much about the 1st, 2nd & 3rd trimesters of what to expect … however have you considered the 4th trimester and what YOU need to have in place to support you?
Your body is expected to do this amazing feat … to feed your baby, to do nights which might be very disturbed … to get out there and get back in shape (hey what???) yup the pressure women place on themselves that they need to lose the baby weight and get back into those pre-pregnancy jeans asap is immense.

In my role as a doula and pregnancy & postpartum yoga teacher … I have heard some scary stuff … I need to get back to where I was pre-pregnancy … I need to start running …. STOP 

Consider this … your body has just worked exceptionally hard for 9 months nurturing & nourishing a baby … your pelvic floor has carried your growing baby(ies) … you have these amazing hormones whizzing around your body … why do you have to jump back onto the hamster wheel?

I see ladies come along to class struggling with discomfort in their pelvis, pain in their lower backs, misaligned pelvises, there pelvic floor feels like it is non-existent, they haven’t eaten breakfast or been able to have a hot drink … they are struggling from having had a c-section … remember this is major abdominal surgery that can take quite a while to heal from … you want to feel that what you are engaging in is nurturing and nourishing you … yes there will come a point when you feel that you can start that “buggy fit” class and that you are ready …. but what happens x number of months, years down the road when you are suffering with pelvic leakage, prolapse …. this is the time to gently reconnect with your body, to be gentle and learn what it can do and what it needs … nurture and nourish your pelvic floor ready for your next baby or for the next stage of your journey.  Just because x or y says you should do it doesn’t mean it’s right for you at this moment … take the space to nurture yourself until your baby is at least 6 months … respect your body, respect the amazing concoction of hormones.  

There are many cultures who honour the postpartum woman … with periods of lying in … special foods, herbs, treatments to keep the body warm and nourished, massage … sounds divine … I so wish when I had had my babies that I had had this … after trying to get up and out after having an amazing VBAC birth with our second baby I ended up in the local supermarket bumping into someone who had only that morning opened the email to say “M had arrived earth side … welcome & all were well and doing fine” … imagine the shock on her face to see me coming through the doors … she was catching flies … I must add that I struggled to do what I needed to do and ended up going home and doing an online shop and promising myself that I was going to be gentle … it was too soon and too much … I ended up online shopping and taking a couple of weeks to myself … I learnt the hard way … and I chat about this a lot in class … but again social expectations are that we should be bouncing back and up at it … and also the pressure we put ourselves under.  

Take the six weeks to connect with your baby, start those gentle breaths we connect with in class … reconnect with your abdominal muscles and pelvic floor, respect your body, your baby but ultimately respect YOURSELF … you are enough and you do not need to be super woman … your are nourishing & nurturing yourself and a baby … enjoy … have those pyjama days, snuggle with your baby, don’t pack your days running form an activity in the morning, lunch with a, b & c and then another activity in the afternoon.  Pace yourself … have space to spend time at home … to enjoy your baby … connect to what your body needs … 

————-

Claire runs Well Woman Happy Baby classes … she is based in Northampton from The Space in Boothville. www.rippleeffectyoga.co.uk  She has over 15 years of supporting women and is passionate about pregnancy and the postpartum period.  The classes are a combination of postnatal mummy yoga to realign and reconnect, baby massage & baby yoga plus a whole host of different techniques to support you and your baby.  There is a always a cuppa and some treat  that is created by Claire … plus the amazing support of those in class with you.  Classes are kept to a maximum of 4 mummies and babies.  Very bespoke to you and your little one.  
Claire encouragés you to listen to your baby, to journey together and if you need to baby wear in class she will adapt the class to facilitate this and it might just surprise you that you will do a relaxation with your baby fast asleep on your chest and it will be the most amazing experience … come and explore but be prepared to be here for a good few months … so build this into your postpartum care budget … it will be money well spent on you both.  Happy mummy, happy baby = happy daddy.

The ladies and their babies who come along really benefit from these amazing classes … 

“I found these classes invaluable my pelvic floor took a real hammering in labour and I have journey for 7 months working really hard to gain stability, balance and strength back.  I couldn’t have done that without your classes …. thank you I am very grateful!”

“I find the WWHB invaluable! And H loves them!”

“Please don’t stop ….. the progression from pregnancy yoga to WWHB was fab for us, J loved it and invaluable for me taking those first steps into mummy-life xx”

“Definitely keep them, I loved them with Z and N!”

“These sessions have been so important to me! I love them and have had a welcoming and safe place to come every week. I tell everyone I meet!”

“I can’t wait to have another baby just so I can come back to you Claire!”

 

The Maternal Pelvis

Link

From website with links to author:

As humans, there are many things that set us apart and make us relatively unique from other primates. Besides our capacity for abstract thought, our mastery of fire, and our obsession with reality television, the simple fact of being bipedal has had drastic effects in our ongoing biological and social evolution. Women, in particular, bear the brunt of these evolutionary consequences as they go through pregnancy and birth.

The pelvis supports the upper part of the human body and distributes weight onto our legs. While this gives us mobility advantages, it also means that the female pelvis had to evolve to accommodate bipedalism, in addition to large brained neonates, and secondary altriciality. Because we are the only mammals to walk exclusively upright, we have unique birthing challenges.

An article entitled Birth, Obstetrics and Human Evolution by Karen Rosenberg and Wenda Trevathan, says, “The series of rotations that the human neonate most commonly undergoes during birth is related to the locomotor pattern of bipedalism as well as to…a relatively large brain.” In order to keep the fetus from basically “falling out” from between a woman’s legs when she stands upright, the pelvis developed into a unique shape. Unfortunately, this shape forces the neonate to navigate the pelvis as it is being born, completing two partial lateral rotations to accommodate its large head and broad shoulders.

Traditionally, it was thought that apes and monkeys had relatively easy births because humans were the only primates whose young had to undergo rotations to navigate the birth canal. Today we know this is not always true. Karen Rosenberg and Wenda Trevathan continue,

“One important characteristic of primates as a group is a large head and brain relative to body size…For most primates, this means that their neonates at birth have heads that are close to the size of the maternal birth canal through which they must pass. This is especially true of monkeys, lesser apes and humans.”

While too few animal births have been observed to draw a decisive conclusion, some studies have noted animal neonates rotating through the birth canal, though in different ways from humans. Non-human primates still have a distinct advantage over human women because their young are generally born facing toward the mother, so she can help guide them out and up to her.

What does all this mean for our births? Well, it’s not as bad as it sounds. Our pelvis’ may be perilously close to being too small and babies’ heads a hair’s breadth from being too large, but our amazing bodies help compensate for that with the hormone Relaxin.

Relaxin helps to (go figure) relax the muscles, ligaments and bones in a pregnant woman’s body, concentrating its effects on the pelvis and lower back area. While these effects cause the unpleasant “pregnancy waddle” and balance woes associated with late pregnancy, they also allow the pelvis to expand as the baby moves through the birth canal.

And if your expandable pelvis wasn’t amazing enough, babies are also well equipped to deal with the tight fit. Neonate skulls are soft and flexible with gaps between plates in their head. This means that the head can mould and shape itself to fit through the pelvis as needed. If it’s a tight enough fit, the bones can even overlap, causing the infamous cone head. If the baby does come out looking cone headed, its head will gradually go back to its normal shape over the course of a few days.

So while being the only primate to walk exclusively upright has its serious evolutionary drawbacks when it comes to pregnancy and birth, it also means that the human birth process is particularly amazing. Women’s bodies are made to birth and babies are designed to be birthed. From an expandable pelvis to a squeezable head, mother and child work together in this intricate, exquisite process.


Special thanks to K. Holt Photography for the spectacular picture and Joanna Waechtler, who is the mother in the picture! Please visit K. Holt’s website at http://www.kholtphotographs.com , facebook at www.facebook.com/kholtphotographyblog at http://www.kholtphotography.blogspot.comor shoot her an email at kholtphotography@yahoo.com – especially if you are in the Turlock, California area! She might be able to photograph your precious moments!


Kathleen Kirkpatrick-Holt is a mother of three from Central California who moonlights as a photographer specializing in birth and newborn photography.  She is a member of the Professional Birth Photographer network and passionate advocate for women and babies.


Posted on June 3, 2014  and filed under birthpelvimetryrelaxin,hormones.