Too often, I hear women talk of their fear of childbirth, but it is this very fear that causes the pain. My first baby was a 30-hour saga of pain, stress and ineffective drugs. It took me 15 years before I had the courage to fall pregnant again, because I was so afraid.
Once I realised that giving birth was as natural to us as is eating or breathing or going to the toilet, I decided to eliminate my fear and work towards a pain free birth, which I have had, 3 times.
Here are 10 tips I’ve learnt through nearly 5 births for a natural, pain free birth
Have a birth plan.
If you don’t have a plan, you will be at the mercy of someone else’s
Plan for changes or emergencies
Plan for all sorts of changes (like labour in the car, or your obstetrician being on holiday). These things happen, include them in your plan
Involve your partner in the birthing process
Allow your partner to be your right hand man, he communicates between you and the medical team, while you concentrate on birthing.
Stay as fit as you can
Birth is like a marathon; much easier the fitter you are
Eat for your baby, not for 2.
Nourish your baby, which will in turn nourish you; don’t fall for the old wives tale of “I’m eating for two”
Stretch your perineum
Either by yourself or get your partner to push down on your perineum, stretching it every day or two so that it is supple and ready for childbirth
Involve water as much as possible
Water has an amazing calming capacity. I’ve birthed in the shower and in the bath – each time it has completely relaxed me.
Don’t push, breathe the baby out
Pushing has a stressful effect on your uterus, closing it up. Breathe big, deep stomach breaths and relax your groin, makes for much easier passage
Have some calming music
Start listening to some calming music before bed every night, the music you wish to play while you’re birthing. Both you and your baby will train yourselves to calm down to it.
Work with gravity, not against it
Many women find that standing, squatting, kneeling are much better positions to birth in than the old doctors favourite, lying on your back.
Have a post birth plan
You’ll be left alone pretty fast, and the shock of this is worse than the shock of childbirth, have a plan for after the baby is born.
Sharny is the Author of Fit, Healthy, Happy Mum
Have you had a pain free birth? Share your tips below (or just comment, we love hearing from people – 5 kids means that this is our social life! lol)
If you have a fat kid, it is your fault. Research has shown that you can start the damage while the child is still in the womb!
Before I explain why, understand this:
you cannot lose fat cells, you can only empty them of fat. Think of fat cells as tiny balloons that fill with fat. So a fat cell is a fat holding cell. Some people have fat cells that are empty, others have fat cells that are full. Very full.
Your fat cells are distributed over your body primarily depending on your gender. That is why a woman stores fat in her butt and thighs, while men store fat in their belly and lower back.
Traditionally, women need enough food (stored as hip fat) to last full term in a pregnancy. Men need enough food (stored as belly fat) to run all day chasing buffalo.
The number of fat cells in the human body are determined in 3 stages of life. The third trimester of pregnancy, the first year of birth, and adolescence. Imagine each of these phases of life as audit time in the body. “Have I got enough fat cells?” being the important question here.
This means that in each of these stages, if your baby is malnourished i.e. you skip meals (naughty, naughty!) or if it (or you) is overfed in each meal, the baby’s body will respond by creating more storage space.
Worst is if you miss meals AND eat big meals!
Eat regular sized meals, and space them evenly throughout the day. Do not allow yourself to get hungry, and do not let yourself eat to being too full. Drinking more water is your friend. Did you know that quite often, when you feel hungry, you are actually thirsty. Drink a big glass of water and see if the hunger goes away.
Just because you (or your children) have a lot of storage space (fat cells), doesn’t mean that they need to be filled. All you need is enough fat to keep you alive for one or two missed meals (in an emergency!). About the size of a small pack of sandwiches is enough to keep you alive for a week of chasing buffalo, so ask yourself: “why are you storing a whole buffet?”
It was brought to my attention yesterday that there is some kind of war going on in the mummy body image space and normally I wouldn’t bother, but the more I look into it, the more I’m afraid that it’s all just a media grab, and the people supposedly being helped are becoming victims, torn between messages.
Last night, Today Tonight revisited the Maria Kang story, saying she is “the world’s most hated mother.” Point number one, media stories need catchy headlines, it’s what they have to do so don’t be hating on them when you realise that it’s not rape or murder that has earned her this title, but a picture of herself with her kids.
I read through a lot of the comments from the keyboard warriors and most of them were negative. Variants of “I’d rather spend time with my kids than look like that.” were the most popular.
That is such a clever argument point, because nobody wants to deny a child the love of their mother, she definitely should prioritise her kids over gym time, right? But I have one question for them…
“How did you find time to post a comment?”
Julius calls it deadshitting. Smart phones make people dumb. Instead of interacting with their kids, we see so many mothers scrolling through the news feed. Kids on the playground, kids in the swimming pool, kids asking life affirming questions… and what is said mum doing? Deadshitting on her phone. A few kilometres down the newsfeed.
Swimming? playground? Both perfect places to exercise. In fact, if you’re not playing or swimming with your kids, I’d go so far as to say that you’re emotionally abandoning them. Put your phone in your bag and climb the equipment with them!
Which brings me to my next point.
Health isn’t something you go away to do. It happens at home. It happens in your mind, it happens every day in every choice you make. Don’t for once believe that you need to go to the gym to lose weight.
Get healthy with your kids. Get fit with your kids.
Our fitmum online community (a group of mums who have abandoned excuses to become the best mothers and wives they can be) all agree that the single hardest, most exhausting but rewarding challenges is to follow your kids around a playground, doing exactly what they do for as long as they do it for.
And when we say health happens at home, we mean all day every day. One hour at the gym (or playground) isn’t a cure for spending the rest of the time gluttonously eating.
In fact, exercise does very little to directly burn fat. It provides structure and purpose. Fat gain comes from food. Fat loss therefore comes from less food.
But before we worry about less food, try better food.
“Oh, but I have no time to make better food.”
Yet you’ve got time to read this article?
Better food gives you energy. Shit food makes you tired. Make the switch and you too will see that the net result of spending a tiny bit of extra time preparing a salad is a day of higher energy and motivation. More energy and more motivation equals more time with your kids being present.
Being present is the opposite of deadshitting.
The more you are present to your kids, the better they will behave. Someone once said kids spell love T.I.M.E. I would preface that with the word “interaction.” Interaction time.
Kids want attention and will get it in any way they can. Most parents have attention all ass backwards.
They yell at the kids when they are misbehaving
Give them attention when they are misbehaving
They sneak off to do chores when they are behaving
Ignore them when they are behaving
Switch it up.
But it doesn’t mean you’re going to play Barbies all day, you can control the interaction. My kids love helping me with chores, or just being around me while I do chores.
It may take a little extra time, but it’s time spent with them developing motor skills and a love of work, along with a sense of achievement and an understanding of teamwork. I also get to have fantastic conversations with them.
Think of it like a bank balance. If you spend more than you earn, you will end up broke.
If you eat more than you burn, you will end up fat.
Being broke is being restricted – you become financially incapable of doing what you want. Being fat is being restricted – you become physical incapable of doing what you want.
If you don’t spend anything for a week, you’ll have a higher bank balance, which will look healthy, but you’ll be stressed out and unhappy because you’ve missed some bills. Not healthy.
If you don’t eat for a week, you’ll have a lower body fat, which will look healthy, but you’re starving, nutritionally exhausted and emotionally stressed out.
Here’s the good news.
No matter what your current cashflow situation is, it can be improved by cutting out mindless spending.
In the same vein, no matter what your current body composition is, it can be improved by cutting out mindless eating.
If you have no control over your eating, the result is excess body fat. Reword that to say, if you have excess body fat, it is a result of having no control over your eating. Something you did in the past. You can’t change your past, but you can change your future.
Once again, if you have no control over your finances, you’ll be broke. Reword to “if you’re broke, it is because you have no control over your finances.”
The only difference is that financial income and expenditure is for most people dictated by someone else. You don’t control your pay, you don’t control your rates or your rent.
With body fat though, you control both sides, income and expenditure. Nobody force feeds you. You feed yourself.
So, if you are broke, you need to gain control of your finances. If you are fat, you need to gain control of your food. Every cent should be accounted for, just like every calorie should be accounted for.
It’s simple. Get control.
Until you feel you have a firm grip (control) over your consumption (financial or physical), you’ll need to account for everything.
I guess there is one other distinction between financial loss and weight loss. Most people who are broke, know they are broke. Most people who are fat, don’t know they are fat. Most people who are broke, know that they made themselves broke. Most people who are fat, blame everything but themselves.
With the media frenzy going on about Maria Kang, we’ve seen a lot of body shape lobby groups come out of nowhere to slam her, and they have a lot of support.
Most of these lobby groups have a slogan along the lines of “love yourself at any weight.” There are two conundrums with that.
Firstly, an obesity lobby group like that could never have been started by a thin person. That would be condescending. It’s like a man starting a single mother’s lobby group – people would be offended.
Secondly, you wouldn’t start an organisation like this if you were happy with what you looked like, would you? “Life is so damn good, I’m gonna start a lobby group for big women.”
I’d imagine it would go something like this: “I hate myself so much right now, I’m gonna start a lobby group and surround myself with other victims so we can all celebrate being fat together.”
I thought long and hard about a more sensitive way to say it, but couldn’t. So sorry about that, but it brings home the next point.
If you are a fat woman, who has started a lobby group for fat women, what happens when one day you decide you want to lose weight? What happens when you decide you’d like to complete a triathlon, but your knees can’t take the weight?
Let’s take it further. What happens when you get told your thyroid is overworked and you have to lose weight? What happens when you get type 2 diabetes and get told that to cure it or survive you have to lose weight?
You should lose weight, right? You would lose weight, right?
But what about the millions of other fat women you’ve preyed upon, gained followers from, that you are a spokeswoman for. Women who think it’s OK to gain a couple of kilos a year (20kg in a decade).
What message are you going to send them if you lose weight?
What are you going to do? Are you going to stay fat and suffer to protect your herd, or are you going to save your life by losing weight and turn your herd against you?
What if your daughter grows up and gets type 2 diabetes and you know you have to sit down at the dinner table with her and talk about it. You’ve spent her entire life lobbying, chanting, blogging and preaching about how it is OK to be fat, and now you need to go back on your word.
If you own a lobby group that promotes the concept that fat is beautiful, please spend some time looking at the big picture. Look further than your own nose. You want to make a difference and you have the motivation. Surely there is a better way to combat the body issue.
How about stopping it at the source. If you weren’t fat (the result of an unhealthy past), you wouldn’t feel the need to lobby (defend yourself).
If there were no more fat people, there would be no more fat shaming.
Go to the school and help in the canteen, influence the menu there, give people healthier options.
Setting up a body image website just seems like the lazy way to make a difference. It’s easy. There are thousands of women who binge eat and want you to say it is OK. Just like there were thousands of smokers who wanted to believe it was OK.
“It’s OK to be fat” websites and lobby groups are selfish. Don’t kid yourself, you’re not helping anyone but yourself. You’re like the alcoholic who organises parties so she doesn’t have to drink alone.
To finish, I think it is important to reiterate the point that body fat, or lack thereof is a result. A measure. Just like a bank balance.
If your goal in life is to have a large bank balance, you’ll end up falling short, or missing a lot of what life is about.
Make a positive difference in people’s lives while you reduce mindless spending, and you’ll see your bank balance rise. If you only goal is the big bank balance, you’ll hate yourself every time you spend money and you’ll never feel like you have earned enough.
Transfer that logic to body image. A “thin body” is not a sustainable goal. If all you think about is losing weight, then you’ll hate yourself for every bit of food you eat and you’ll never be happy with how much exercise you get to do.
Change your goal to “reducing mindless eating and exercising to make a difference in your families lives. “
It’s hard to grasp unless you’re doing it, but of all the FITmum graduates, the ones who have lost the most weight are the ones who do the course to become better mothers and wives… All of them say that they never started for weight loss.
The journey to being the best mum starts with self control, time management and putting yourself first. Once you work this out, you’ll be amazed at the result in your body composition.
And so that I don’t miss out on the most important issue here, having excess body fat is a result of overindulgence in food.
The more body fat you carry, the worse your experience of each day (daily health) and the higher your risk of traumatic disease or death.
Just like cigarettes. Having excess tar on your lungs is the result of overindulgence in cigarettes. The more tar you carry around, the worse your current health and the higher your risk of traumatic disease or death.
So please, on behalf of your children and the children of the people who love you, stop trying to accept excess body fat (self inflicted illness).
Lobbying to stop “fat shaming” because of anorexia is immature and lacking sense.
Telling an obese young girl that she’s not that fat is like telling an anorexic young girl that she’s not that thin.
Can’t we just focus on habits? Your habits are unhealthy. Let’s start replacing them with healthy ones. We can’t say “you’re fat, stop eating so much” but we can say “until now, you’ve eaten dangerous foods – let’s change them for healthy foods. In a few hours you’ll feel better, in a few days you’ll look better, in a few weeks you’ll be better”
Just like a lobby group. Just like facebook comments. Before saying anything, think about standing in front of your daughter and explaining it to her. Imagine explaining it to her if she were dangerously thin, and then imagine explaining your comment to her if she were morbidly obese.
There’s strength in numbers, right? But a million cowards (deadshitting keyboard warriors) still haven’t got through to Maria Kang, because she has integrity. She’s done it. She’s sacrificed TV time for exercise. She’s sacrificed drinking with her mates for a Sunday morning at the playground with her kids.
If you’re spending the weekend hung over, you’re sacrificing your kids for your social life. If you’re spending the day exhausted from eating junk food, then you’re sacrificing your kids for your addiction.
But you guys know that.
The reason I am writing this is because I know you want to make a difference, I know you know how these people feel. For most of us, it’s like looking into the past.
We could get up in arms and fight back with our own spiteful comments, but war never worked for anyone. Even the victor.
All we can do is let people know that it’s ok to be healthy. It’s not that hard. Like riding a bike, it takes a bit of effort to get momentum, but once you’re rolling you click off the miles with very little extra effort. But you’re flying.
Fly girls. Become that shining beacon of possibility for other mums. Play with your kids at the park, join in with their swimming lessons. Do it enough and people will believe it is normal. Once exercise and health become normal, the result (fat loss) will be evident.
It will be something we talk about like interracial marriage or homosexuality. Something we all got so worked up over a long time ago, but so normal now.
Save the world?
Let’s start with ourselves.
And please, can we stop the girl on girl hate speech. I though tall poppy syndrome was left in the boys locker room. We’re better than that!
In the first 4 pregnancies, I was a basket case – I’d dread going to bed because I knew I was going to be sooooo sick in the morning.
Solution: Eat an early dinner. Our kids eat at 5, so we do too. By the time we go to bed the meal has moved past the stomach to where it is needed.
Solution: If you wake up for a toilet stop early in the morning (after 1pm), have a shot of my morning sickness smoothie before going back to bed. After a while you’ll get used to waking up 30 minutes before you actually have to wake up, just so you can take the shot (and it works miracles).
Solution: The body needs to know that it’s woken up, so immediately upon waking, do some relatively intense exercise (like 50 quick squats, or run around the block). Morning sickness generally tend to be in the first trimester, when you’re not even showing, so you don’t need to exercise like you’re 9 months pregnant. Get up and crush a quick workout. Even if you’re feeling a little woozy, kicking your heart rate up does wonders for your morning sickness, and is the best start to the day!
So, to recap, here’s your 5 step process to curing morning sickness:
“I caught Sharny multitasking today. In public. #breastercising,” Australian personal trainer Julius Kieser, wrote on Facebook and shared on Instagram last week. “I don’t get the whole breastfeeding in public problem. It’s not disgusting at all,” jokes Kieser. “I actually think we need more chest equality. If more girls got their boobs out, there would be less alcoholism and less drugs.” Not sure if Kieser should quit his day job to become a comedian, but he and his wife certainly are motivated.
Here are all the articles on Breastercising
A proud husband's photo of his wife working out while breastfeeding has sparked controversy on Facebook.
Exercising is nonnegotiable for 35-year-old mom Sharny Kieser, who is also a fitness trainer and the author of theHealthy Junk cookbook
, which was inspired by her own journey losing the 66 pounds she'd gained after her first three children.
It's no surprise, then, that she's already back to doing lunges just two weeks after popping out another baby—her sixth!. What is surprising is the reaction Sharny received after a photo of her breastfeeding while working out went viral.
"I caught Sharny multitasking today. In public. #breastercising," her husband Julius wrote on Facebook, captioning an image that showed his wife lunging while nursing their two-week-old son, Magnus. "I don't get the whole breastfeeding in public problem. It's not disgusting at all."
We couldn't agree more!
But the proud husband's photo apparently sparked controversy for a different reason. "Don't have an issue with breast feeding at all, I think it's wonderful, but for the little time you have them as tiny tots could you cut the multitasking crap for 10 mins and enjoy the one on one time with your child," wrote one commenter. "We are/were all busy mums but I think our children deserve us to be completely in the moment with them."
Added another: "I honestly don't understand why it's necessary to exercise whilst breastfeeding? Is it even comfortable? Can you concentrate on doing the exercise properly?"
Apparently she can. "A lot of people think it's gross or strange or that I should be bonding with Magnus, but I feed six times a day, I'm not exercising every time and when I do I'm also watching the kids ride around on their scooters and play outside,"Sharny told the Daily Mail Austrailia. "It's not like I'm running or leg pressing or doing weights, I'm doing squats and lunges as they are the easiest things to do while feeding. Then at night we sit quietly and feed."
A perfect response! Though it's sad that in this day and age, the mom of six even felt the need to have to defend herself. To each her own, right? Go get 'em, Sharny!
When Julius Kieser posted a photo of his wife,Sharny Kieser
, breastfeeding while lunging during a workout, we were pretty much in awe. Any mom knows that when you're raising kids, time is a precious commodity. And since this particular mama is raisingsix
children, it's a small miracle that she's even able to sleep, let alone exercise regularly.
Kieser dubbed the move "breastercising," and we're in favor of both the act itself and the term given to it, provided it's carried out in a safe way. After all it is so easy for parents to neglect their own bodies and needs in the first few years and we think it's incredibly important for moms to keep up with the things that make them feel great. If you can get in a workout while also taking care of your child, what could be wrong with that?
But viewers of this picture don't all feel the way we do. Naysayers were quick to criticize Kieser, who is a personal trainer, for not focusing solely on breastfeeding. The comments below the photo include things like: “Cut the multitasking crap for 10 and enjoy the one-on-one time with your child. We are/were all busy mums but I think our children deserve us to be completely in the moment with them.” And: “I honestly don’t understand why it’s necessary to exercise whilst breastfeeding? Is it even comfortable? Can you concentrate on doing the exercise properly?”
But Kieser defended herself against the hate. “A lot of people think it’s gross or strange or that I should be bonding with Magnus, but I feed six times a day, I’m not exercising every time and when I do I’m also watching the kids ride around on their scooters and play outside,” she told the Daily Mail Australia. “It’s not like I’m running or leg-pressing or doing weights, I’m doing squats and lunges as they are the easiest things to do while feeding. Then at night we sit quietly and feed.”
We say that as long as Kieser is keeping her kids safe, she's not doing anything wrong by taking some time to do something that's good for her own health. And beyond that, it's high time women stop judging other women for the personal decisions they make for themselves and their families.
What do you think of this?
Breastfeeding is being advocated all over the world, and moms get a lot of praise when they do it. But this 35-year old "breastercising" mom may have overdone it. Shamy Kieser has been under fire lately after her husband posted a photo of her breastfeeding while doing lunges on Facebook.
The controversial photo of Shamy shows her breastfeeding her two-week old baby boy while doing lunges at the yard. Her husband, Julius Kieser, was very proud of his wife, which was why he posted the photo on Facebook, with the hashtag "#breastercising".
But as soon as the photo was out, a lot of criticisms were hurled at the breastercising mom. According to a report by Yahoo News, the mother of six was not ridiculed for breastfeeding in public, rather, people expressed their resentment towards her failure to give her two-week old baby the proper attention when breastfeeding.
Some of the comments on Facebook were like, "Cut the multitasking crap for 10 [minutes] and enjoy the one on one time with your child." Another commenter simply posted, "I honestly don't understand why it's necessary to exercise whilst breastfeeding?"
According to Daily Mail, not all commenters criticized Shamy. Some were quite supportive of her. Others, actually praised her efforts at trying to stay fit while breastfeeding.
In defense of herself, Shamy said, "A lot of people think it's gross or strange or that I should be bonding with Magnus, but I feed six times a day, I'm not exercising every time and when I do I'm also watching the kids ride around on their scooters and play outside."
She also added that lunges were the easiest things that one can do while nursing. They're not like running, weights or leg pressing.
Shamy was dubbed as the "Fit Mum" and although her photos spark a lot of controversy on social media, she surely has become more popular than before. For Shamy, the earlier that she gets back into doing exercises, the faster she'll be able to bounce back.
A proud husband’s photo of his wife working out has sparked controversy on Facebook because it shows the mother-of-six doing lunges while simultaneously breastfeeding in a maneuver that he hashtagged, #breastercising.
“I caught Sharny multitasking today. In public. #breastercising,” Julius Kieser, an Australian personal trainer, wrote on Facebook in a caption of the image posted Jan. 26, revealing his wife exercising while nursing their 2-week-old son, Magnus. “I don’t get the whole breastfeeding in public problem. It’s not disgusting at all.”
But judging from the comments on the image, Facebook readers didn’t have a problem with Sharny breastfeeding in public. The problem some had is the double duty she was showing off. “Cut the multitasking crap for 10 [minutes] and enjoy the one on one time with your child,” one commenter replied in part. “We are/were all busy mums but I think our children deserve us to be completely in the moment with them.” Another added, “I honestly don’t understand why it’s necessary to exercise whilst breastfeeding? Is it even comfortable? Can you concentrate on doing the exercise properly?” A third simply asked, “Why?”
Sharny breastercising again, alongside a few of her children (Photo: Facebook/Sharny & Julius)
The 35-year-old mother, also a trainer, offered an explanation the following day. “A lot of people think it’s gross or strange or that I should be bonding with Magnus, but I feed six times a day, I’m not exercising every time and when I do I’m also watching the kids ride around on their scooters and play outside,” Sharny told the Daily Mail Australia about the controversial photo. “It’s not like I’m running or leg pressing or doing weights, I’m doing squats and lunges as they are the easiest things to do while feeding,” she added. “Then at night we sit quietly and feed.”
Sharny at 39 weeks pregnant with her sixth child (Photo: Facebook/Sharny & Julius)
Exercising, after all, is nonnegotiable for the self-described “Fit Mum” who runs fitness programs and penned the Healthy Junk cookbook, inspired by her own journey losing the roughly 66 pounds she’d accumulated after her first three children. “I felt like a terrible mother, and that it was just going to be this way forever until something externally changed for me,” Sharny writes on her website. So in the 12 weeks after she welcomed her fourth child, she said she dedicated herself to getting in shape — and lost 52 pounds. “No longer was I afraid of exercise, I learned to LOVE it.”
Sharny before and after her slim down (Photo: SharnyAndJulius.com)
Then after welcoming her fourth child, the fitness guru told Daily Mail Australia in 2015 that she had another “enough is enough” moment,” when she looked at herself in the mirror and “was like, ‘Oh my god, who has eaten Sharny?’ I felt like this fat old woman and that’s how I saw myself … It was all in my head but I just felt miserable.”
So for her fifth and sixth pregnancies, the mother got serious about staying fit while she was expecting, to help shed her baby weight more quickly afterward. “Walking, squatting, and doing things makes me feel better and feel good,” she said, adding, “With Hugo, my fifth child, I waited a few months before exercising again and it was much harder. If I wait less time I bounce back faster.”