As many women know but rarely discuss, there is a huge shift in our bodies after carrying a child for nine months and going through labor. One common occurrence is urinary and fecal incontinence toward the end of pregnancy and into postpartum. This is caused by the weakening of our pelvic floor due to a variety of factors, such as the pressure of the baby pushing down on your pelvic floor, the strain of childbirth, and tears or an episiotomy during the process of pushing.
Though this may sound discouraging, there is hope, and it comes via more than just kegels. Establishing a consistent yoga practice postpartum is a great way to reengage your pelvic floor strength and reconnect with your body. In addition to the five poses below that will help you focus on regaining your pelvic floor strength, yoga can also increase calmness, decrease anxiety and depression, reduce irritability, increase energy, lower blood pressure, and reduce muscle tension for new mothers.
We all know getting back into a routine after childbirth is difficult, but always remember that in order for you to care for your child, you must first care for yourself.
Grab a yoga mat, blanket, or towel to dive into the following postures. Aim to hold or flow through each for 30-60 seconds.
Postpartum Yoga Poses: Chair Pose
Begin in a standing forward fold with your feet together. Reach your fingertips to the outside of your feet, bend your knees, and extend your hands over your head. Lift your chest up, bring your triceps by your ears, and place more weight into your heels.
Postpartum Yoga Poses: Upward Facing Dog
Start in a high plank position, and untuck your toes so the tops of your feet are pressing into the mat. Press your hips down towards the mat, press your chest forward, and roll your shoulders back and down. Ensure that your thighs, knees, and shins are lifted off of the floor.
Postpartum Yoga Poses: Bridge Pose
Begin lying on your back, place your feet on your mat, and walk your heels into your butt. Bring your hands by your hips, and press into your heels and shoulders to lift your hips up to the ceiling. Attempt to extend your fingers closer to your heels as you reach your hips higher.
Postpartum Yoga Poses: Bird/Dog Flow
Begin in an all-fours position with your hands stacked over your wrists and elbows and your knees directly under your hips. Extend your right leg forward and your left leg back. Ensure that your wrist and shoulder are in one line as well as your ankle and hip. Once you find balance, pull your elbow and knee into the midline of your body. Then return your limbs to their extended position. Repeat this movement for 60 seconds on each side of the body.
Postpartum Yoga Poses: Warrior 2
Begin with your feet hips width apart, and pivot your right foot towards the front of your mat. Ensure that your right heel and left arch are in a straight line. Bend your right knee to a 90-degree angle, and reach your arms out to a T. Press into both pinky toes and squeeze your inner thighs into the mid-line of your body.
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Featured image by Christa Janine/xoNecole
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Russell and Nina Westbrook are one of those low-key, unproblematic couples we don’t talk about enough. They met in college and got married in 2015. They also have a beautiful family with three kids. While Russell is an NBA star, Nina is a licensed family and marriage therapist and a mental health advocate.
She recently launched the podcast The Relationship Chronicles with Nina Westbrook, and in the latest episode, she had none other than her husband on as a guest. The college sweethearts dived into important topics from marriage to children and how they navigate it all.
One of the topics they touched on was dealing with resentment in your relationship. The former MVP highlighted the sacrifices his wife has had to make in order for him to pursue a career in the NBA, and that’s why it’s also important for him to support his wife whenever he can.
“For me is respecting and understanding what your partner do and the time it takes,” Russell said. “Not kind of downplaying what they do, understanding the time and energy and effort they're doing to make sure whether it’s their job or making sure home is taken care of, and understanding that, I think that is the challenge of not being resentful.”
Nina agreed and also shared her thoughts on resentment. According to her, one of the best things couples should do is have their own identity and passions outside of the relationship in an effort to be fulfilled.
“I also think that when you’re in a relationship, that’s why it’s so important that each individual kinda pursue their own passions and follow their own dreams as I feel like it only becomes or leads to resentment when one person is not feeling fulfilled in what they're doing in their lives,” she explained.
“And so, they will start to look at the other partner who’s happy or excelling or promoting or moving along in their journey, then they’re left feeling stuck like they sacrificed themselves, their happiness, their career, their future and have not pursued it in the name of the relationship or their partner. So, it’s so much easier to avoid those feelings of resentment when you’re each equally pursuing your passions.”
The couple has many passions that they work on together and separately. Outside of basketball and his family, Russell has become known for his eclectic style and started the fashion brand Honor The Gift. Nina has her podcast, and she also started the mental health website Bene. Together, they run the Why Not? Foundation, which works with kids in underserved communities.
“I’m a firm believer that one person can’t be everything to you, so you have to sort of seek out those different friendships or groups or hobbies or activities that help to fulfill you,” Nina concluded.
Feature image by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images for Religion of Sports