Browse Tag by Pregnancy

Those Third Trimester Feels

It seems appropriate that I title this blog with a failed attempt at alliteration because that’s as good as this post is going to get. I hit 27 weeks yesterday and I’m so fatigued, I could have sworn I was working in a rice paddy yesterday with a toddler strapped to my back. Actually that’s right, I took Will to the park. Same same.

I woke up this morning feeling like I hadn’t slept at all. Current situation is a combination of nausea and grogginess. Does morning sickness come back in the third trimester?? I don’t remember being this tired when I was pregnant with Will but then again I did swan around like a Real Housewife resting and getting reflexology. The audacity. 

Oh and before anyone suggests it could be my iron levels, I’ve been anemic since 1942 and have shares in Ferrograd C. This fatigue is a whole new level! I read this morning that I have 90 days to go which feels like forever, I planned a wedding in less time. 


Taking the Glucose Challenge Test (GCT)

I know the Glucose challenge test (GCT) instructions said to eat normally 3 days leading up to the test but my plan was to eat ridiculously healthy and somehow cheat the results. I doubt that’s possible but anyway that was the plan. So when we got the all clear from emergency the other night I realised it was 10pm, I hadn’t eaten since lunch and even then it was two chobani flips, hardly the nutritious meal I had planned. Anyway there I was with 30 minutes to eat before I had to fast for 10 hours. Obviously I got MacDonalds. 

So after fasting for 9.5 hours I arrived at my appointment, concerned they would ask how long I’d fasted for and cancel the test. They didn’t and 40 minutes later when I got my first bloods drawn it had been 10 hours and 10 minutes anyway. The nurse was a little intimidating and visibly annoyed when I wasn’t sure how many weeks pregnant I was. I panicked and said 26 weeks, close enough. She gave me a green bottle of sugar syrup which I had to drink in front of her. I told her I was glad it was gluten free, she asked if I was gluten intolerant and I said no. She laughed and we instantly became best friends. The drink was nice to begin with then a bit too syrupy by the end.

I went back to the waiting room which was packed full of grumpy old people, it felt like we were all in a competition to prove who’s time was more important and therefore most inconvenienced by being there. I kept expecting to feel really sick like when I was pregnant with Will and had the GCT test. The hour passed quickly though with only a mild sense of sickliness, I got my bloods taken and had one last hour to go. 

I went back to the waiting room which had thinned out. One preggo was hunched over like she had the nods from a huge dose of heroin. Another preggo was seemingly unaffected, studiously reading a book titled ‘everything you need to know before baby’s arrival’. Cute. I remembered my pay wave wasn’t working so I transferred all my money from one account to another, the idea being that paying for parking would be quicker. Then it dawned on me they were different banks so now all my money was up in the cloud and I didn’t have enough to pay for parking. Clever.

So the next hour over I had my bloods done one final time and left. Now we just need to await the results! Fingers crossed I don’t have Gesto! 

P.S The parking office informed me that if I pressed the assist button on the way out of the carpark and said ‘help me I’m poor’ they would let me pay $7. Lucky.  


5 Things That You May Not Know About Your Pelvic Floor Muscles…

Guest Blog by Taryn Watson

We all know that we have a pelvic floor, we know that it’s important to keep it in tip-top shape to prevent embarrassing little mishaps, and we know that in order to keep it working we need to do some exercises called ‘Kegels’, right? Well, here are five facts about the pelvic floor muscles that Women’s Health & Continence Physiotherapists want you to know about…

  1. Pelvic Floor Muscle exercises cannot be learnt from an information brochure

Often women are told by a midwife, a GP, a friend or the internet that they need to do pelvic floor muscle exercises (AKA ‘Kegel’ exercises, named after Mr Kegel who wrote articles about the benefits of exercising the pelvic floor muscles back in the 1950’s). This is a great starting point, but unfortunately we know from studying women performing pelvic floor contractions that many are actually doing the wrong action if they only receive verbal instruction. In fact, in one study 50% of women were incorrectly activating the muscle when checked on ultrasound, and in another study of women with pelvic floor muscle dysfunction (incontinence, prolapse of the pelvic organs) less than 40% were doing it correctly, and another 40% were activating the muscles in a way that was bearing down and could worsen problems.

So, in summary, it’s really essential to get an individual assessment of your pelvic floor before doing these exercises, especially if you already have any bladder leakage or vaginal prolapse. Make an appointment with a Women’s Health Physiotherapist who can do either an abdominal ultrasound, a vaginal examination, or both, and tell you exactly what type of exercise program you should be doing.

  1. It’s not all about the squeeze

Pelvic Floor Muscle exercises do involve squeezing around the urethra, the vagina and the anus. However, exercising this muscle is not just about maximally squeezing these sphincters. It’s really important to also feel an upward, forward lift of the area between your sit bones, it’s really important to be able to hold on and breathe at the same time, and it’s really important to be able to let go. It’s also essential that the muscle can be activated in a variety of postures and movements, and that it can automatically come on when a pressure goes through the abdomen like a cough, a sneeze, or a jump.

All of these things can be assessed by a specialist physiotherapist and can be integrated into an exercise program designed especially for you.

  1. Being able to hold on a long time between toilet visits is not necessarily a sign of a strong pelvic floor

This is something that I hear a lot of women say – “I know that I have a good pelvic floor because I can hold on for ages between going to the toilet!”. Ummm… nope. Sure, having well-functioning pelvic floor muscles can help you to get to the toilet without leaking on the way there, but going for long periods between urinating is a sign of a large bladder capacity, or not drinking enough fluid, or both.

It’s healthy to drink 1.5-2L of fluid per day, mainly water with limited caffeine, and to go to the toilet to urinate 4-7 times per day (approximately 2-3 hourly) and 0-1 times overnight. If you find yourself only needing to go to the toilet a couple of times in a 24 hour period, but you’re drinking a good amount of fluid, you should probably mention this to your GP, and work out why your bladder isn’t giving you appropriate signals to empty sooner.

  1. A pelvic floor can’t be ‘Too Strong’ but it can definitely be ‘Too Tight’.

I’ve heard women say that their obstetrician told them that they tore during childbirth, or they had trouble stretching the pelvic floor muscles as the baby’s head was crowning, because their pelvic floor muscles were ‘too strong’ and perhaps they shouldn’t have been exercising these muscles during pregnancy. This is worrying because it may turn pregnant women off doing these very important exercises – it’s just that they need to be done correctly.

If your pelvic floor muscles are tense and not able to stretch easily, you might experience pain or difficulty with sex, tampons and vaginal examinations. Tight muscles like this anywhere in the body are not usually very strong – they are weak because they are overworked and exhausted. This is why for this group of women, learning to exercise these muscle correctly is ESPECIALLY important.

A physiotherapist who does vaginal examinations can tell you if your muscles are able to relax on cue or not. If it turns out the you have tight or painful pelvic floor muscles and you are not able to fully relax, it is very important that you don’t do the ‘recipe’ pelvic floor muscle exercise program involving lots of quick lifts and long holds. Instead, the physiotherapist will give you a ‘down-training’ exercise program to teach you how to fully relax the muscles with a variety of techniques like breathing, mindfulness and feedback. Then when you have achieved this, you may then be given strength and endurance exercises to do, but these exercises should never be done without complete relaxation in between repetitions.

  1. Keeping generally fit is fantastic for your pelvic floor muscles, but there are certain types of exercises that might actually worsen pelvic floor issues if done incorrectly.

Regular exercise that challenges your muscles and gets your heart rate up is very important for all women – it can prevent heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes and many other chronic health issues. However, research has shown that certain activities have a higher rate of pelvic floor muscle dysfunction in the form of stress urinary incontinence and vaginal prolapse. These include exercise that involve heavy loads, running and jumping, like basketball, gymnastics, and many group fitness classes.

That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t participate in these forms of exercise if you have had a baby or you have some form of pelvic floor dysfunction. But it is highly recommended that if you’re a woman and you choose to do a form of exercise that is high impact or high load, you should have a pelvic floor assessment with a specialist physiotherapist to see what’s happening in your nether-regions while you’re exercising!

It’s not about the type of exercise, it how you do the exercise that matters. If you are doing yoga or pilates exercises in a way that pushes down into the pelvis, that can cause more problems than lifting very heavy weights with good technique. Individual assessment is the key, but the bottom line is (pardon the pun) that no leakage or prolapse symptoms should be experienced with any form of exercise. Don’t ‘pad up and play on’, see a specialist physiotherapist sooner rather than later – research has shown that if these issues are caught early, more than 80% of women are cured with an individualised program from a Women’s Health Physiotherapist.

So how do you get in touch with a Physiotherapist that specialises in Women’s Health and Continence? It’s easy – no referral is needed if you’re happy to see someone privately, just do some research into physiotherapy practices in your local area and ask the receptionist if they have any practitioners who have done extra training in Women’s Health & Continence. If you’d like to see someone in the public system, ask your GP to refer you. Ideally it would be good to see a physiotherapist who does internal vaginal examinations as this will give you a much larger amount of information than an external assessment.

5 things you may not know about your pelvic floor

Taryn Watson is a Women’s Health & Continence Physiotherapist from Perth, Australia. She runs a pregnancy and postnatal exercise class business called FitRight. If you’re pregnant or have recently had a baby, check out her recently launched online video series called ‘Postnatal Rehab: The First Six Weeks’ – you can learn all about early rehabilitation exercises and advice for the pelvic floor muscles, the abdominal muscles and more.

Taryn consults from Southcare Physiotherapy in Murdoch and can see patients for pelvic floor muscle assessments there – call 9332 2132 for appointments.

You can find Taryn on FB or Instagram @fitrightphysio



Competitive parenting: Please stop wasting my flava

You know when you tell someone something then they come back at you all negative just bringing down the vibe? Well that’s what I mean by stop wasting my flava.

Competitive parenting
No flavour wasted here

The competitive parenting starts in Pregnancy

You’re tired, I mean really tired. Like more tired than you’ve ever been before. Your body is growing a human being. A HUMAN BEING. You might have just gotten over six, maybe even thirty weeks of non stop morning sickness that lasted day and night like you’d come off a three day bender. You might be getting up twelve times a night to pee. You might not be sleeping because your hip aches and trying to sleep upright on the couch didn’t work, now your neck is sore so you’re fucked and can only sleep in the garden. Someone asks you how you’re feeling. It’s so nice that someone cares, you say ‘I’m tired’ then they reply – ‘Just wait until the baby comes then you’ll know what tired means’ – Stop wasting my flava.

Competitive parenting continues in motherhood

You’re dealing with sleep deprivation, you don’t understand how you used to be able to do a million things in one day at the office and now you can’t even collect a package from the post office. You make a goal – ‘Tomorrow I will collect the package’. Then tomorrow comes and time gets away from you with the constant rotation of feed, nappy, sleep. The baby keeps crying so you don’t make it out of the house today. Someone calls to ask how you’re coping. Oh it’s so nice speaking to another adult. You say ‘I just can’t seem to get anything done’ then they reply – ‘Just wait until he’s moving around, then you’ll never get anything done’. Mate stop wasting my flava.

You woke up 12 times last night, you’re exhausted but you haven’t left the house for a week so you’re determined to get out and live life. You put on some makeup and get the hell out of the house. You go to the local shops, you’re feeling good after an extra large cappuccino. You’re exercising by pushing the pram around Kmart, buying baby shit you don’t really need but it’s on special and that shopping buzz is better than no other. You make a visit to the parents room to change bubs nappy, there’s a couple in there with two kids. The lady asks how old your baby is and you say ‘four months’. The woman says ‘wow you look amazing for four months’, you say ‘thanks’ beaming at the compliment because on the inside you’re rotting. Then the reply ‘Just wait until you have two’. Seriously, stop wasting my flava.

Why can’t we just experience what we’re experiencing without somebody wasting our flava?

When our baby was less than a week old my cousin and his wife came over to take baby photos. My husband and I were buzzing with the new baby, ‘He’s a good sleeper’ I gloated to my cousin. ‘That’s great’ he said. He didn’t waste my flava and let me experience the happiness. Fast forward to 10 weeks in and I saw him at our other cousins 21st. I talked about how tired we were as a couple, how we were playing the who’s more tired game. He gave me a knowing look and said ‘I didn’t want to burst your bubble, you guys were in that newborn excitement phase’. Why can’t we all be like my cousin? Why can’t we celebrate each others wins and let people feel their lows. If someone is feeling bad about something, telling them it’s going to get worse is not the solution! I say lets stop competitive parenting. Even if you’re so jealous that your friends baby slept through the night that you could stab them in the eye. Smile and celebrate that win with them because when it’s time to share your win, you will want someone to celebrate with you.