prenatal exercise

Mamas on Bedrest: The Home Stretch!

January 28th, 2013

As I am easing back into exercising after my bout with the flu, I’ve been amazed at how stiff and deconditioned my body has become after just 4-5 days in bed. This really brought me back into the world of Mamas on Bedrest. Some Mamas on Bedrest spend as much as 18-20 weeks or more on bed rest during their pregnancies. Is it any wonder that many Mamas on Bedrest end up with assisted vaginal deliveries or cesarean sections?

Regardless of the mode of delivery, after a long period of inactivity (or very limited activity) Mamas on Bedrest are going to be plagued with various aches, pains and musculskeletal irregularities as they emerge from their bed rest tenures. In an effort to decrease the physical shock to the body, Bedrest Coach Darline Turner takes mamas through a short lower body stretch. This stretch can be done daily (with consent from your obstetrician or midwife!) and will begin the process of waking up your dormant, deconditioned lower body.

Mamas on Bedrest: 10 Fun Things To Do While on Bedrest

August 22nd, 2012

Dr. Linda Burke-Galloway is one of my mentors and someone that I look up to in the world of obstetrics and maternal fetal health. An OB/GYN turned patient advocate and medical expert for obstetrical legal matters in the state of Florida, Dr Linda’s blog is always one that I read promptly upon receiving it in my inbox. Today she had a fun, lighthearted post, 10 Fun Things to do While Pregnant. This is a bit of a departure for Dr. Linda because normally her posts are hard hitting, factual commentaries on issues in high risk obstetrics and maternal fetal health. It was fun to see a lighter side to her.

As I read through the suggestions, I thought, “these are good, but not all of them are possible for Mamas on Bedrest“. Passing the time is one of the most difficult things for Mamas on Bedrest, and one of the most common complaints that I hear from Mamas. So, following the lead of my mentor, I present 10 fun things Mamas on Bedrest can do while on bed rest.

1. Start a Baby Journal. While being on bed rest may be a drag, chronicle the experience so that later, perhaps much later, you can share the experience with the little love that you are now carrying. Looking at pictures of me pregnant is one of my children’s favorite things and my son is thrilled that he is in my belly in Bedrest Fitness. You can create either a paper journal/scrapbook or, with today’s technology, you can create a digital photo album, blog or video blog. What a wonderful way to remember such a special time!

2. Speaking of Fitness…Yes, Mamas on Bedrest need to move! Move you say? Seriously? Yes.   Bed rest is known to cause muscle atrophy along with loss of strength and bone loss. You should be stretching at regular intervals and Bedrest Fitness is a great way to get you going. Additionally, we have several youtube videos (Search under Mamasonbedrest)available to help you along the way.

3. Have a Party! Now this may seem utterly ridiculous, but why not?? What a perfect way to gather your friends and spend some quality time together. You can have a theme or simply make it a get together. At a time when you are spending an inordinate amount of time on your own,  a party may be just what you need to keep your spirits up. The social interaction will do you good and many friends and loved ones are at a loss for how to help, yet they really do want to help you. Take this time to give some concrete ways in which friends, family and loved ones can help and support you. You may be surprised and touched at how much they “show up!” (And what a pleasant surprise it always is!)

4. Stay Connected. The isolation of being on bed rest can be maddening. Again, technology to the rescue! We have a budding facebook page where mamas can share their experiences, exchange tips and get advice from one another on how to navigate this thing called bed rest. And I do chime in from time to time to keep things fluid. Another website forum that I highly recommend is My friend Angela has created a wonderful, vibrant community of mamas on bed rest sharing their experiences.

5. Educate yourself. On bed rest you have nothing but time. Why not learn something new? My friend Ingrid got certified as an infant sleep coach and stress management coach while on bed rest. In July, I took my re-certification examination for my physician assistant certification. I studied for that national examination for 8 weeks prior to sitting for the exam (I was not on bed rest, just saying…). If you are a professional for which you have to have continuing education units to stay current, no time like bedrest to catch up on your units! It’s also a good time to learn a new language, a new hobby or new skill. If there is something you’ve been dying to learn, here is a great chunk of time in which to do it.

6. Educate Your Baby. Several studiesshow that babies are actually taking in and processing information while in the womb. Babies love music in particular and music has been shown to be a positive stimulant for brain development. Babiesalso love voices. You, your partner or even older siblings can take turns reading stories to the baby (ies). It’s a great way to involve other family members in your experience and a great way for them to begin bonding with baby.

7. Volunteer. What?? But I can’t go anywhere! May I remind you that we are in an election year. If you are politically minded, you can volunteer to make phone calls, stuff envelopes or even write letters on behalf of your favorite political candidate. If you are not politically minded, you can volunteer on behalf of your favorite charity; The March of Dimes, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, The American Diabetes Association, Susan G. Komen…The possibilities are endless. Volunteer as little or as much as you feel comfortable. Believe me, these organizations will be happy to have you and will gladly send you things to work on or have someone stop by with materials.

8. Start a Book Club. Remember all those books you promised yourself you’d read? No time like the present! And reading so much more fun when done with others!

9. Set up a Trust or College Fund. College costs are skyrocketing and it seems like without planning and concerted effort, a college education may be out of reach for may babies of Mamas on Bedrest. Get a jump on saving for your child’s future by setting up a trust or college fund today. Now I will warn you, this can be a lengthy endeavor, so having the time while on bed rest to get many of your papers, trustees and such in order is a boon. However, you may not be able to finalize the trusts or funds until your baby is born and has a social security number. But believe me, having everything else in order will make the process so much easier! Besides, once your precious little one is born, you’ll have precious little time for gathering the necessary documents.

10. Look Forward to Your Future. You have a new baby on the way. Surely you have some hopes, dreams or goals you’d like to fulfill-personal, family or aspirations for your little one. Write them down and begin brainstorming how you will make changes in the future as a result of having your baby or in honor of having your baby. It’s a great time to “begin life anew” with a new life coming!

How are you passing your bed rest time? Please share your comments and tips with us at

Mamas on Bedrest: Mamas, do you pee when you laugh or cough?

July 25th, 2012

Mamas, do you pee when you laugh or cough?

Many of us (note the “us” here!!) think that peeing when we cough or laugh is an inevitable consequence of pregnancy. However, loss of bladder control and/or pelvic floor strength is not and should not be an expected pregnancy outcome.

Recently, while speaking with a mama on bed rest, she asked if there are more effective ways of maintaining pelvic floor strength while pregnant that won’t be harmful to her pregnancy. To better answer her question, I posed the question to some pelvic floor experts of mine. Here are some awesome resources for mamas on bed rest as well as any woman who would like to maintain pelvic floor strength for a healthier pregnancy, a stronger and more empowered labor and delivery and a stronger core strength post partum. As always, consult with your OB or midwife before engaging in any sort of exercise or movement program.

The Enchantress-By Lara Eardley.

Lara Eardley is a pelvic floor strength instructor devoted to strengthening pelvic floor muscles in women for superior sexual fitness and skill. She is extremely passionate about eradicating the epidemic of incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse in Western Culture. I have taught hundreds of women over the last 6 years for curable incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse and sexual fitness with astounding success. In 2010 she wrote the world’s first compendium on internal weight lifting practices “Enchantress” which exposes the abilities some Asian women have developed that enable them to lift up to 20 kilos of weight with their vaginal muscles alone. The book is available in hard copy as well as a PDF download from her website.

Julie Wiebe is a physical therapist who specializes is sports medicine and women’s health. She has created a series of videos that specifically address strengthening a woman’s pelvic floor. The first video in the series is below and I encourage you, if interested to view all the videos in the series of which there are three.

These resources are enough to get any mama started on the road to good core strength. Do you have other great core/pelvic floor strengthening resources? Please share them with us in the comments section below.