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Kegel Exercises

Posted by Alina on Friday Mar 27, 2009 Under health, useful tips

Kegels are named for Doctor Arnold Kegel, who first described these pelvic floor exercises. Pelvic muscles create a hammock inside your pelvis for the organs that lie above. The aim of Kegel exercises is to improve tone in the pubococcygeal and other muscles that encircle the urethra (bladder tube), vagina, and rectum.

To practice isolating these muscles, try stopping and starting the flow of urine. When performed correctly, no outward sign of effort should be visible. You can do these any where any time, and most women would benefit from performing a set of 10 repetitions multiple times per day. The exercises can be performed in a variety of ways, for example; a) contracting and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles, b) contracting, holding for 5-10 seconds, then relaxing, c) elevators: contracting the muscles incrementally (like an elevator going to 1st, 2nd, 3rd floor) and releasing gradually, more advanced ways include barbells, springs, and rubber bulbs made especially for this purpose. You can perform these exercise in various positions, such as lying, sitting and standing.

Benefits of Kegels include easier birthing with fewer tears, enhanced sexual enjoyment for both partners, prevention of prolapsing of pelvic organs, and prevention/treatment of urinary incontinence (such as with sneezing or coughing). It is an important exercise and something that can easily be worked into most people’s routine.

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Researching baby related products

Posted by Alina on Thursday Mar 19, 2009 Under Baby Products, useful tips

baby-bargainsWhen you’re pregnant, you suddenly discover a whole new world of shopping that consists of baby related products. This may be a very new area to you and it can be overwhelming. If you’re anything like me, you will probably want to research categories and types of products before your baby arrives, so that you can decide what you need, what you want, and what is just unnecessary. Of course, every situation is different and that is why there are tons and tons of products on the market.

consumerreportsA couple of books that I found helpful in my research, were: Baby Bargains by Denise Fields and the Consumer Reports Best Baby Products. New editions of these books are printed every year or two, to ensure that you get the latest information. These really helped me to make decisions for some of the larger purchases. Reading through these books educated me on what is out there and helped me focus to what features to look for in particular products. Another very helpful tool was reading through people’s product reviews on Amazon.com. Although I think dissatisfied customers are more likely to want to complain and write bad reviews, there are many helpful reviewers out there. All that said, it’s a good idea to actually go to a store and see some of these products, play with them and decide if they are right for you.

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Women’s Health

Posted by Alina on Saturday Mar 14, 2009 Under health, useful tips

There are various musculoskeletal issues that may manifest in the prenatal and postpartum periods for a woman. During this time, many women suffer from pain in their back, pelvis, hips and possibly other joints. Many of these pains can be attributed to hormonal changes, muscular imbalances, and altered joint mobility.

Here is what happens. Ligaments are soft tissue structures that connect bones to other bones and provide joint stability in our bodies. During pregnancy and the postpartum period (especially when nursing), the hormonal changes cause these ligaments to become more loose, allowing increased joint motion (loss of stability) and possibly resulting in pain. As a woman gains weight in pregnancy, postural changes take place as well, causing some muscles to stretch out and others to shorten. This may result in weakening of various muscles, especially core and pelvic floor.

The good news is that many of these pains are transient and eventually resolve. However, at times it would be beneficial to seek the help of a trained physical therapist who specializes in women’s health. If your symptoms are affecting your daily function, you may benefit from such a consult. A physical therapist will perform a thorough evaluation and design an individualized program for each patient. He/she may also recommend various adaptive equipment to help you function independently through the tough time. For example, I had a period in the middle of my pregnancy where my pelvic pain rendered me unable to put on my socks. Luckily there is a special adaptive device which allowed me to dress independently once again. This may not sound like a big deal, but at a time when my hormones were affecting my emotions and my body was feeling like it wasn’t mine, suddenly being unable to dress myself in the morning was quite frustrating and depressing.

The American Physical Therapy Association has a special section on Women’s Health, and can help you find a qualified therapist in your area. These therapists go through advanced training which includes continuing education courses and hands on experience. They treat women with a variety of conditions including pelvic pain, urinary incontinence, sexual dysfunction, as well as issues that arise during prenatal and postpartum periods.

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Update on Skip Hop

Posted by Alina on Wednesday Mar 11, 2009 Under Baby Products

This is a brief update to my recent post about the Skip Hop changing pad.

The company replaced my damaged changing pad with a brand new one in about a week and paid for all shipping! Thanks Skip Hop! I’ll continue to buy and use their products knowing that the company has a commitment to quality and customer service.

Unlike some manufacturers who are difficult to reach, I was easily able to find all the contact information I needed, directly on the company’s website,  www.skiphop.com, (under “customer care”) This will take you to a page listing their phone number, fax, and email address, as well as frequently asked questions. There is also a PDF of the return/exchange form. This was a very positive experience.

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The Red Tent

Posted by Alina on Sunday Mar 1, 2009 Under Baby Products

tentMy 10 month old son seems to enjoy playing in enclosed spaces. When we go to children’s play areas around the city, he often spends a fair amount of time inside toy houses, and tubes that he can climb through. Lately, after nursing him in the morning, my husband and I have been raising the blanket up over his head and he loves climbing through the bed underneath it.

My latest and greatest discovery in the world of baby products is a small red tent from Ikea. My son absolutely loves it. He enjoys playing peekaboo and hiding in there. He likes peeking out and finding us through the little windows, and he gets super excited if my husband or I follow him into the tent, at which point he begins to laugh and yell and spin around in place. It is quite amusing to watch him. The tent very simply snaps together and has mesh windows, which adds an extra element of play. It folds flat for storage and is easy to clean. Overall: a great product at a great price.

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