I recently decided that after 2 years since giving birth, I should actually get my body checked to see how it had recovered. This led me to book an appointment with Marie Behenna aka ‘The Fitmama’. I wrote about some of my experience of this in my blog Getting my body back to it’s best. I have definitely noticed improvements already in my body and am looking forward to her six-week course coming up this May.
Through chatting, Marie told me she had also written a book for Mum’s to be and new Mums. I was intrigued by this as I was pretty useless during my pregnancy, I didn’t enjoy most of it, I was uncomfortable and achy and I didn’t even attend an antenatal class! So I bought a copy from Amazon and I was so impressed with the content that I just felt I should share it so future Mum’s can have an opportunity to have a much more positive pregnancy, labour and recovery.
The book opens with a testimony from an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist who had first-hand experience of using the Fitmama™ Method six weeks after giving birth. This is somebody who knows from her own work what effect pregnancy and birth can have on your body, yet she still needed to seek further help and advice from Marie.
‘Not only did Marie’s postnatal pelvic floor repair class encourage me to get back safely into pre-pregnancy shape, it also provided me with social interaction with women in similar circumstances’.
Marie explains so heartwarmingly why she is so passionate about her work and pregnant women. I got the real sense of her being somebody you could trust and that her book was going to be full of genuine, backed up advice and not just a new ‘fad’.
‘I witness the miracle of developing life on a daily basis. My life with these women was not an accident! It was born of a desire to give women what I wanted during my pregnancies: knowledge, choice, confidence and fitness for childbirth’.
She is an advocate for exercising during pregnancy; it is now known that it is beneficial to both Mum and baby. It strengthens the body during a strenuous time and can aid in a better labour and birth. However, she also believes in listening to your body’s needs so if it is telling you to rest, you must do just that. It isn’t about being an athlete, but about remaining fit and healthy.
The book includes great colour photo’s throughout which demonstrate how to correctly carry out exercises, moves, stretches and to get your body positions right. All exercises have been used by Marie for over 10 years and are all suitable to carried out during the whole of the pregnancy. She focuses on keeping the pelvic floor strong, allowing better breathing for Mum’s when the baby becomes larger and also provides techniques for during labour.
Good nutrition is vital during and after pregnancy. Did you know that your diet can have a lot to do with the development of stretch marks?! Marie has included an eating plan for during pregnancy and then there are healthy recipes at the back of the book which have been provided by Barbara Bradbury, a naturopathic nutritional therapist.
The book also includes quotes from women who have used the Fitmama™ Method and who have attended classes by Marie. They offer first-hand advice and tips which give the book a more personal feel.
Not only does Marie provide advice for the Mum’s to be but she also offers it up for the birthing partners and emphasises how important it is to be there for the woman during her labour; plus to say the right things!! I love that tips include packing snacks for the partner as they are so often overlooked during the hospital stay, it just goes to show how she really does think of everybody.
The relaxation techniques were so in depth and soothing that I even felt myself drifting off as I was reading them! I could have most definitely done with these during my labour, my stress and worry was a little too high – maybe with techniques such as these, I may have had a smoother delivery?
As the book comes to an end I absolutely love the fact that she stands by the opinion that baby comes first and that they need you so much more than your skinny jeans do! So many women think they need to bounce straight back into shape after having a baby and they need to somehow ‘impress’ others. It is important to remain fit and healthy but after having a baby your body needs to heal, rest and recover. Her whole outlook is about doing what is best throughout pregnancy and post-partum, it is not about looking your best.
I am most definitely going to re-read this book during my next pregnancy and use all her tips and advice to try and have a more comfortable pregnancy and, fingers crossed, a natural birth.
I will leave you with Marie’s final word:
‘My final message to you before you deliver your precious child, no matter what mixed emotions you may be feeling, can only be this:
Go with the flow
Don’t rule anything out
Give yourself permission to change your mind
Be yourself, don’t be afraid to make a noise
If you need help, take it, don’t be a martyr!
And most of all, accept the many moment’s labour presents you with: this is progress to the greatest achievement of your life.
Go on girl, you can do this! And we are all behind you!’
You can find out much more about Marie’s methods on her website.