Trading Corsets For Core Function, A not-so-Bridgerton Story

Netflix’s Bridgerton

Dearest Gentle Reader,

Happy Bridgerton Premiere Week!

As the social season of the ton unfolds, with its glittering balls and sumptuous soirées, the fair ladies of society once again find themselves ensnared in the tantalizing embrace of fashion’s most exquisite, yet perilous, accoutrements.

Chief among these are the tight corsets that cinch the waist into an enviable silhouette and the vertiginous heels that elevate a lady’s stature to commanding heights. While these pieces may render a lady the cynosure of all eyes, they come at a price that extends far beyond mere discomfort.

Netflix Bridgerton Scene: Mother and maid tying corset on adult daughter.
Netflix’s Bridgerton: Season 1, Episode 1

In the pursuit of maintaining an impeccable posture and a figure that rivals the Grecian goddesses, these tight corsets impose a constriction upon the body that is both unforgiving and relentless. This forced rigidity not only hampers one’s ability to draw a full breath but also exerts undue pressure upon one’s parts below.

Netflix Bridgerton Scene, Season 1: Prudence Featherington fainting from tight corset while greeting Queen Charlotte.
Netflix’s Bridgerton: Season 1, Episode 1

Ah, the pelvic floor—a realm seldom spoken of in polite society, yet it is the very foundation of a lady’s bodily function and grace. Keeping it locked up tight is but a recipe for disaster.

Thus, while the ephemeral glories of fashion and the pursuit of beauty may beckon, it is paramount that one remains aware of the body’s needs. Loosening your corset strings is not merely a matter of comfort, but of health and well-being.

A balance must be struck—between the pursuit of elegance and the preservation of one’s physical health. Let not the enchantment of the ton render you a captive to fashion’s whims, but rather, a sovereign of your own self-care.

So, as you adorn yourself in the finery of the season, let wisdom guide your choices, before you find yourself tumbling to the ground due to lack of air.

Yours sincerely,

A Discerning Observer of the Ton

Free The Belly And The Deep Core

Ok, in all seriousness, fashion is and can be fun! But these tight articles of clothing come with a price. If you find yourself donning tight bodices and corsets, limit the time you wear them and be sure to give the belly and ribs some time to breathe and expand soon after.

The allure of tight clothing, designed to accentuate curves, compresses the torso and the ribs. The compression of the rib cage and the immovable grip around the abdomen create an environment where the natural mechanics of breathing are compromised.

A lack of range in the diaphragm – and faulty breathing mechanics – results in a shallow, chest-dominant pattern that hinders the balance between the diaphragm and the deep core (this includes the pelvic floor) – which can compromise our posture, stability, and core function,

A weakened diaphragm further inhibits the body from performing necessary bodily functions that help balance anxiety, immune function, hormone regulation, and so on.

Let the Pelvic Floor Be Free

The sustained compression from a tight corset increases intra-abdominal pressure, forcing it downward upon the pelvic floor. This constant pressure can weaken the pelvic floor muscles, leading to a host of pelvic floor dysfunction that include, but are not limited to, incontinence, prolapse, pelvic floor pain, low-back pain, and a bulging belly. The unrelenting force on these muscles disrupts their natural function, creating a vulnerability that can have lasting repercussions.

Woman wearing a pink corset-style dress.

To keep it simple, a tight belly, whether due to tight clothing or from chronically holding in your tummy all day, will eventually put pressure on the pelvic floor and deep core. This tightness and tension will create a high-pressure environment for dysfunction.

Imagine the discomfort Kim Kardashian was experiencing , seen here at the latest Met Gala.

Kim Kardashian at the Met Gala 2024 in a tight corset-style dress.

Though your muscles may be working hard to maintain and control this pressure, the pelvic floor muscles and the Linea Alba (the connective tissue along the midline of the belly) eventually get tired (weak) and have to give.

Let the belly move. Let it breathe. Let it expand. Learn how to breathe optimally with Corrective Breathwork.

A pelvic floor assessment can help you understand if you have an overactive an underactive core/pelvic floor.

Do you find that you experience any of the above symptoms? Reach out for a ‘free virtual pelvic floor assessment ‘ and other resources to help you navigate your next steps. Available through the end of May.

Empower Your Postpartum Journey with Movement, Community, and Rebalance

Having a baby can be one of the most exciting and transformative experiences of a woman’s life. Nevertheless, the postpartum period can be a challenging time for women, both physically and emotionally. Hormonal changes, weight gain, and the physical demands of caring for a new baby can take a toll on the body. However, corrective exercise and group support can be a powerful tool for new mothers in their postpartum recovery as well as women well into their motherhood journey. In this post, we will explore the benefits of corrective exercise and strength in community during the postpartum period and beyond.

Physical Benefits of Corrective Exercise During Postpartum Recovery

Women in fitness class

While exercise itself has numerous benefits in the Postpartum period, corrective exercise is especially important after having a baby. Corrective exercise can help women restore strength, improve posture, and reduce pain and discomfort.

During pregnancy, the abdominal and pelvic muscles stretch and weaken, which can cause pain, discomfort, dysfunction, and even injury. Corrective exercise can help reconnect and rebuild these muscles, reducing the risk of injury and promoting overall physical health.

Elevate Your Emotional Well-Being Through Movement

In addition to its physical benefits, corrective exercise can also have a positive impact on a new mother’s emotional well-being and mental health. Exercise releases endorphins, which are natural mood boosters, and can help reduce stress, improve mood, and increase energy levels.

Corrective exercise can also help boost confidence and body image, which can be especially important during a time when a woman’s body is undergoing significant changes.

When to Get Started and How to Build a Routine

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that women wait until they have had their postpartum checkup, usually around six weeks after giving birth, before starting an exercise program. However, it’s extremely important to listen to your body and only start exercise when you feel ready. It’s also essential to consult with your doctor before starting any new exercise program, especially if you had a complicated birth or have any medical conditions.

While the above is true before you plan exercise postpartum, it is also just as important to revive the mind-body connection soon after giving birth to maintain the neurological link with muscles that may have been affected by pregnancy and delivery. Waking up the connection to your core and pelvic floor muscles is vital as you gear up to start moving independently post-delivery or C-section.

It is valuable to develop a mind-body connection before and during pregnancy to prepare for an optimal Postpartum recovery and prevent potential dysfunction down the line. However, if you’re just discovering corrective exercise after you’ve already birthed your children, it is best to begin making this mind-body connection as soon as possible This can be accomplished with the help of a skilled prenatal and postpartum corrective exercise professional. Reach out to certified trainer, Melissa Ellis, to find out more about this vital practice.

The Value in Finding Your Mom Group

Four sisters nursing their babies. Three are sitting next to each other while one looks towards the other three, smiling.
Me and my three sisters experiencing the joy of nursing together!

Social support and mom groups can be extremely beneficial for both new moms during postpartum recovery and seasoned mothers who are well into motherhood.

New mothers can benefit from the support, encouragement, and camaraderie of other mothers who are also navigating their postpartum journey. Seasoned mothers, on the other hand, can share their experiences and offer advice and support to new mothers.

Through regular interactions and group activities – like group fitness and wellness, mothers can build relationships, share their experiences, and receive encouragement and support as they navigate their postpartum journey. Mom groups provide a platform for sharing information and tips related to postpartum recovery, parenting, and overall well-being. Joining a mom group can help mothers of all experience levels feel less isolated, more confident, and better equipped to handle the challenges of postpartum recovery and the journey throughout motherhood.

POSTPARTUM+ REBALANCE, Your Path to Total Wellness and an Empowered Motherhood

Becoming a new mom – and caring for growing children – is a time of intense physical and emotional changes. Your body transforms, hormones fluctuate, and the demands of caring for a tiny human can take a toll. However, with the right support, new mothers, seasoned moms, and grandmothers alike can regain their strength, flexibility, and emotional balance. That’s why I’m proud to introduce the POSTPARTUM+ REBALANCE program. This comprehensive 6-week program is designed to support women in regaining strength, flexibility, and emotional balance. Experience a journey of physical and emotional transformation and emerge stronger, more confident, and ready to tackle the challenges of motherhood.

The POSTPARTUM+ REBALANCE program includes 12 one-on-one sessions, 6 weekly wellness sessions, 6 live group workouts, wellness guides, movement journals, and guided grocery and shopping lists, as well as group support and check-ins. This program has been carefully designed to provide postpartum women with the support, knowledge, and tools they need to improve their overall well-being.

Social, Emotional, and Physical Support All In One

The POSTPARTUM+ REBALANCE program focuses on rehabilitation and strengthening the core and pelvic floor, building functional strength, and improving flexibility. With this program, you can reduce stress, eliminate or reduce postpartum-related aches and pains, and feel more confident in your body.

In addition to the physical benefits, the POSTPARTUM+ REBALANCE program also addresses emotional well-being. The weekly wellness sessions and group support will help you explore various aspects of wellness along with practical tips and habits to enhance your overall well-being. Each session will leave you feeling supported and motivated.

The next POSTPARTUM+ REBALANCE program starts on 2/26/23 and runs through 4/7/23. To celebrate the launch of this program, Mom Belly Fitness is offering spots at a super low price! Take advantage of the special launch offer and secure your spot today with limited-time pricing. Hurry, as spots expected to fill up fast. Apply now!

Melissa and her son on the beach at 1 year Postpartum

Prenatal Exercise: Debunking Misconceptions and 5 Safe, Beneficial Exercises

Prenatal fitness is an important aspect of a healthy pregnancy, but there are many misconceptions and myths surrounding it.

One of the most common misconceptions is that pregnant women should avoid exercising altogether. However, studies show that regular exercise during pregnancy can have many benefits for both the mother and the baby.

This includes things like a more positive labor and delivery experience – such as an easier delivery and a decreased need for interventions – and a more optimal postpartum recovery.

Beyond regular exercise, corrective exercise can be beneficial for both moms and pregnant women in several ways. It can help to alleviate aches, pains, and discomforts during pregnancy, improve posture and alignment, and prevent or rehabilitate common pregnancy-related conditions such as diastasis recti (separation of the abdominal muscles) and pelvic floor dysfunction.

Benefits For Baby

The benefits for the baby are just as impressive! Research shows that babies born to mom’s who exercised during pregnancy have higher Apgar scores compared to babies born to mother’s who didn’t exercise during pregnancy.

Studies have found that regular exercise during pregnancy is associated with improved fetal oxygenation, which can promote better fetal growth and development. Additionally, regular exercise during pregnancy has been associated with improved maternal cardiovascular fitness, which can help to support the baby’s cardiovascular system and promote better fetal oxygenation. These mechanisms may contribute to increased newborn alertness immediately after birth.

However, it is important to note that the correlation between increased newborn alertness immediately after birth and mothers who exercised during pregnancy is not conclusive, as many other factors such as genetics, prenatal care, and overall health of the mother can also play a role in newborn alertness.

Similarly, newborns who were exposed to exercise while in the womb have also been shown to have an easier time latching after birth, perhaps due to increased alertness.

Picture showing group of pregnant women during fitness class

Other Misconceptions When Exercising During Pregnancy

In the past, pregnant women were often told to only do low-impact exercises. While it’s important to listen to your body and not push yourself too hard, many women can continue with their normal exercise routine during pregnancy, as long as they are cleared by their doctor. Let’s be clear, pregnancy is not the best time to go learn something exceptionally challenging that could pose harm to mom and baby. However, if you enjoy a particular strenuous activity that you were comfortable doing before pregnancy, chances are you can continue the same challenging activity during pregnancy, or at least a variation of it. Seek help from an expert who specializes in prenatal fitness if you are unsure if you should continue with your regular training routine.

Another misconception is that pregnant women should avoid certain types of exercises, such as weightlifting or high-intensity interval training (HIIT). These types of exercises can be safe and beneficial for pregnant women as long as they are done in moderation and with proper form and muscle balance. Women who train with Mom Belly Fitness during their pregnancy often comment that “Labor HIIT Training” exercises were a great tool that helped to prepare them for the physical challenge of labor and delivery.

Lastly, it is not always necessary for pregnant women to avoid lying on their back during exercise, as long as the woman is comfortable. Understanding proper diaphragmatic breathing techniques can assist with a more optimal posture to help disperse pressure on the spine. 

5 Beneficial Exercises For Pregnant Women

It is always important to understand your specific muscle imbalances and to focus your training to correct these imbalances before progressing your routines. However, if you’re just getting started, here are some key exercises to support your fitness routine during your pregnancy.

1. Pelvic Tilts

This exercise helps to strengthen the abdominal muscles and improve posture, which can alleviate lower back pain during pregnancy.

More importantly, by understanding the position of your pelvis, you can focus the work during your pelvic tilts to work achieve a more neutral position which can provide you with better access to your core and pelvic floor muscles. A comprehensive physical assessment can help you understand if you have a more anteriorly dominant or posteriorly dominant tilt in your pelvis. It is common for pregnant women to have a more anteriorly dominant pelvic tilt which can lead to pregnancy-related low back pain and mis-managed pressure on the pelvic floor.

Pelvic tilts can be performed while standing, back-lying, side-lying, or while on all fours (such as in “Cat-Cow”).

2. Pelvic Floor Exercises (Like Kegals)

These exercises help to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which can prevent or treat incontinence and other pelvic floor dysfunctions that may occur during pregnancy.

Note: It is strongly recommended that you complete a pelvic floor assessment either before, during, or after your pregnancy (it is even better to do so at each stage, since these muscles can change throughout your pregnancy and after delivery) to understand if your pelvic floor muscles are over-active or under-active. By understanding the way in which your pelvic floor muscles are firing, you’ll be more equipped to perform Kegals in a way that is best going to support your hips, pelvis, core, and low back as your uterus grows as well as during the postpartum period. For example, it may not be wise to perform Kegals consisistently throughout the day if you are presenting with over-active pelvic floor muscles.

Weak pelvic floor muscles can present in women who are both under-active or over-active in the muscles supporting their pelvis.

3. Cat-Cow Stretch

This exercise is a gentle way to stretch and strengthen the back, which can help to alleviate pain and improve posture.

This is also a great position to perform pelvic tilts and to practice diaphragmatic breath techniques.

Depending on the tilt of your pelvis, you may want to focus your range to be more dominant posterior or anterior to help rebalance the muscles that support the pelvis. For example, a pelvis that presents more anteriorly dominant can cause low-back pain and a weak pelvic floor over time. It is a good idea to have a prenatal fitness specialist assess the tilt of your pelvis, so you can work to correct it throughout your pregnancy. It is common for pregnant women to have an anteriorly tilted pelvic tilt as baby grows and the pelvis dumps forward.

4. Squats

Photo Credit: Laura Weigel Photography

Squats can help to strengthen the legs and prepare the body for labor and delivery. It’s important to use proper form and to be mindful of your range of motion. It is often recommended that pregnant women avoid going too deep to avoid putting pressure on the pelvic floor. However, with the proper use of your core, pelvic floor, and postural muscles, you may be able to safely increase your range of motion.

Squats are also very beneficial to practice throughout your pregnancy and ahead of birth. Squatting during childbirth is believed to open up the pelvis and potentially make more room for the baby to pass through the birth canal. Some studies have found that squatting may slightly increase the diameter of the pelvic outlet, while others have found no significant difference. A squat position also allows for gravity to assist with delivery.

Start with bodyweight squats to get a feel for what muscles are taking over during a squat movement. Aim to recruit the glute and core muscles during a squat and allow your quads to assist you during this movement. To keep pressure out of your knees during a squat, be sure to focus on sitting the hips back and down to keep the knees from going forward of the toes. If your quads feel dominant during your squat, try tucking your tailbone slightly and driving through your heels to rise from a squat.

5. Hip-Bridges

Photo Credit: Laura Weigel Photography

This exercise helps to strengthen the glutes and core, which can alleviate lower back pain and improve posture. If you have trouble loading your glutes or if you are noticing you have low-back pain during a bend or deadlift movement, hip-bridges are a good way to train your bend pattern without putting unnecessary strain on your low back. Once you feel you have proper glute load in a hip bridge, try transitioning to an upright bend position and aim to keep work in the glutes and out of the low-back.

Find What’s Best For You During Your Pregnancy

Whether you are just starting to exercise during your pregnancy or you are researching the best prenatal exercises to incorporate into your regular exercise routine, it is important to feel safe, comfortable, and pain-free. Look for exercises you enjoy and for movement patterns that will support your growing uterus and assist you with your labor, delivery, and recovery.

It is important to remember that weight gain is a natural and necessary part of pregnancy, and pregnant women should not be overly concerned about gaining too much weight.

Lastly, be sure to avoid holding your breath while exercising or performing physical activities (unless you are swimming under water without oxygen support!). If you find you are breath-holding during any of the above movements, you are potentially putting unnecessary pressure on your pelvic floor muscles, which can lead to leakage, pain, and other dysfunctions down the line.

It is always recommended to seek out guidance from a certified prenatal fitness expert or your medical provider during your pregnancy journey and Postpartum recovery.

Click Here to schedule a free clarity call or a mini-movement-assessment.

Functional Movement: Mama-Get-Ups

“Mama-Get Ups” aka, “Surrenders” are an exercise I teach to both prenatal and postpartum clients so they can get up from the floor safely and avoid injury as their belly grows during pregnancy or when holding a young baby or child, postpartum.

Getting up off the floor is a challenge in-itself. Getting up off the floor when you have a growing belly or you are picking up a young baby or toddler is an extra challenge – especially if they’re asleep and you don’t want to wake up!

Mama-Get-Ups are also a way to keep your core, low back, and pelvis in a safe position as you move into an upright position when your center of gravity is shifted. 

With this movement, you will train hip & pelvic mobility and stability, glute strength, core strength… and, if you’re holding a child (or a weight), upper body conditioning! 

This movement is fully-functional and is a nice compliment to prenatal and postpartum exercises.


  1. Start by kneeling and sitting back on your heels.
  2. Next engage your glutes and focus on core-canister breathing as you drive your hips forward so that you are in an upright position. 
  3. Kick one leg through so your ankle is in line with your knee – at about a 90-degree angle.
  4. Step through the whole foot, especially your heel to engage your glute as you come to standing.
  5. As you step through, move slowly and focus on breathing with your core-canister to maintain proper intra-abdominal pressure, which in-turn will help to keep your ribs, hips and pelvis evenly stacked as you move.
  6. Move slowly back down into a kneeling position and repeat.
  7. Try this while leading with the same leg for one set and then swap legs on the next set or alternate legs for each rep.

If you find this movement difficult, here are some movements to practice first, which will help you progress to the full movement. 

Kneeling Hip-Thrusts:

If your knees don’t feel great on the floor, practice this with a rolled up yoga mat or carpet for support under your knees.

  1. Start with your hips back resting on your heels.
  2. Find your core canister breath.
  3. As you exhale, engage your core canister and your glute muscles to drive your hips forward into a more neutral, upright position.
  4. Repeat this 8-12 times for 3 sets. 

Once you have mastered this movement, proceed to the next movement pattern.

Kneeling Kick-Throughs:

  1. While kneeling in an upright position, bring one knee forward so you are in a kneeling lunge position.
  2. Once again, focus on core canister breathing to keep your ribcage stacked over your hips and pelvis.
  3. When your foot lands, aim for a 90-degree bend in your knees and hips, so that your knee is stacked over your ankle. That last note is important because this will set up you for safe knee-tracking once you are reading to progress to the full movement.
  4. Repeat this 8-12 times for 3 sets alternating legs.

Note: If your knee doesn’t feel good on the floor, try practicing this on one side at a time with a pad under the knee that isn’t moving forward. If using this option, try 2 sets on each side. 

Kneeling Lunge Pelvic-Tilt

Next, practice hip mobility via pelvic tilting in this position.

  1. Start by place one leg forward in a kneeling lunge (you can pad the knee that isn’t moving if needed).
  2. Tilt (rock) the pelvis forward and back 8-12 times for 2-3 sets on each side.
  3. Practice core canister breathing as you perform this motion, keeping in mind to stack the ribs over the hips as you move your pelvis. 

Once you have mastered the above movements, it’s time to perform the full movement – Mama-Get-Up! 

Adding Weight

The next progression is to add weight or leverage from your arms. 

When you are ready to add weight or leverage , restart the progressions by adding weight or leverage in the lower options first. 

  1. Try the hip thrusts by first extending your arms forward and squeezing your palms together for chest and shoulder engagement. 
  2. If this feels good, try holding a dumbbell close to your chest. Be sure to engage your shoulder blades when adding weight to help stabilize your upper body. 
  3. Take care not to forget about all the above checkpoints when adding on: Core Canister Breathing, glute engagement, stacked ribs, etc…
  4. Proceed with the arms extended and/or dumbbell in the kick-through progression before adding leverage or weight to the full movement. 

Practice the Mama-Get-Up movement for 3-4 sets with 8-12 reps in each set. 

Add this to your weekly rotation of movement to improve confidence, strength, and stability as you move safely throughout your pregnancy and postpartum journey. 

How Prenatal Corrective Exercise And Hypnobirthing Helped Me Labor Naturally

*DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor or medical professional. Always consult your care provider with any health-related, pregnancy-related, birth-related, or postpartum-related questions and before performing any physical activities.

*Note: This is a BIRTH STORY and it includes some verb-age and graphic detail that might make some readers uncomfortable!

On January 11, 2019… I had an OB appointment at 38 weeks, 5 days gestation. Little did I know, it would be approximately 48 hours before heading to the hospital to deliver my beautiful baby boy. I can confidently say, how I underestimated just how important the exercises I practiced leading up to this point prepared me for the delivery I had dreamed of.

Before my OB checked me, she measured my belly and checked baby’s heart rate. She brought up talk of induction and that I had the option to schedule it. I told her I didn’t have any interest in induction – unless it was absolutely necessary. Given my history of low amniotic fluid with my daughter, I knew I had to keep an open mind.

My plan was to labor naturally – or as naturally as possible.  She said we could sweep the membranes to move things along. I declined but told her I’d consider it at the next appointment (on my due date). 

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32 weeks, baby number 2

Ready Or Not?

As she checked my cervix – which was 3 cm and 90% effaced – she again was trying to encourage induction should I make it to 40 weeks without progression. Again, I declined and told her I wanted to go naturally. After more chatter… and some miscommunication, she did end up sweeping my membranes…That wasn’t what I wanted at the time. However, I wasn’t too upset – I was eager for my little man to be born. After a little bit of discomfort, she told me it was done… Adding that labor could potentially start within 48 hours. 

As I left the office… I had butterflies in my stomach. I knew there was now a chance that I could be holding my little boy in just a few days.

Let’s back up…

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32 weeks, baby number 2

My first birth story (Abbreviated)

With my first child, I exercised throughout and had a healthy pregnancy. Once I hit 40 weeks, 5 days gestation, I was not progressing at all and my amniotic fluid had gotten “too low”, according to my OB’s standards. She said we had to induce and get the baby out. I had it in my head that I wanted to go naturally for the sake of the baby’s health and ability to thrive. I felt so defeated once induction was scheduled.

I was induced on a Monday evening around 5 p.m. and my daughter was born around 6 a.m. Tuesday – September 29, 2015. 

Labor, as it is, is no walk in the park… And when you’re medically induced, things intensify much more rapidly. So, I opted to have NOS on standby, just in case. I held strong to my plan to stay away from getting an epidural, but the NOS was nice to have nearby for when things got really intense. It wasn’t exactly the natural labor that I wanted… but I had safe delivery and a healthy baby. I was grateful she was able to be born vaginally, so she could benefit from the good bacteria in the birth canal. 

First-Timer’ Challenges

As goes the story for many first-time moms, you don’t know what to expect and you tend to think you don’t have a choice in the matter of how you want to birth or what interventions you can elect to have or deny altogether. I kept an open mind as best as I could for a natural hospital labor, but didn’t realize there were certain procedures or exams I could have denied. Looking back, I would have requested more of an explanation and reasoning for the procedures that were administered.

That being said, I was just excited to meet my baby. I didn’t care too much about how to get the baby to come out!

Side note:

I am absolutely not judging ANYONE who elects to have an epidural or drugs during labor and delivery. And sometimes – they are absolutely necessary! Simply put, if I could avoid using those interventions, I was going to. They’re just not for me.

I see it as this: One intervention can lead to other interventions and more drugs… and I just wanted to avoid it altogether. Also, I have a sensitivity to being poked in the back and fear I wouldn’t be able to stay still when someone is touching my back and placing a giant needle in my spinal column!

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Our daughter, Alex, helping us announce that we were having a baby boy!

My Second Birth Story

With my second, membranes were swept midday on Friday, January 11, 2019. I went home and tried to treat the rest of the day as I normally would. We sent my daughter to my in-laws house that night so that hubby and I could have some alone time before the arrival of the new baby… and also to help me remain in a relaxed state so that I didn’t have to stress about taking care of our daughter. 

When we woke up Saturday morning, I felt some mild contractions but they didn’t have any rhythm and weren’t too strong. We decided to try and help move things along ourselves and were intimate that morning. About an hour afterward, I definitely noticed things starting to pick up. 

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Labor begins…

Remember To Relax!

I did my best to relax and carry on with our Saturday… I ate a light breakfast, sat on my birth ball and watched some Conan and FRIENDS. Although things were picking up a bit, it still wasn’t too intense, so my husband picked up our daughter so she could spend some more time with us before baby’s arrival. As soon as he got home with her, my contractions intensified and got really close together. She was home for only about an hour before we decided to send her back to his parent’s house. 

The contractions were so close together now… They were consistent for more than an hour, so I told my husband maybe we should go to the hospital. 

To The Hospital!

As we drove, I noticed my labor was regressing. Though my contractions were strong, consistent, and very close, I should have picked up on the fact that they weren’t unbearably strong – something I clearly forgot about from my last labor!

When we got to the hospital, I told my husband that maybe we should turn back and that I don’t think it’s actually time. However, he suggested, ‘hey, we’re here, let’s just get checked out.’ Long story short, I was still only at 3cm, but now about 95% effaced. We headed back home. 

Back At Home…

I took a warm shower to help me relax, ate some light dinner, and we watched a movie. 

When I went to bed that evening, I could feel things slowing down again, which was disappointing. So, I put on my headphones, listened to my Hypnobirthing meditations, and just breathed.

 I remember getting up around 2 or 3 a.m. feeling like labor had just stopped. I was bummed. At this point, I was so anxious for this baby’s arrival! But I reminded myself to stay relaxed and let my body do it’s thing. As I sat in bed wide-awake, I decided to start Googling: What to do if labor feels like it stops… I found a lot of useful things I think helped a lot. One YouTube video suggested sumo squat holds – so that baby would put pressure on the cervix. I did a couple of sumo squat holds for 5 minute each and then did some side-lying positions in bed and relaxed some more. Shortly after, I noticed things starting to slowly pick back up. 

The Next Morning

That morning, I lost more of my mucus plus and felt more mild contractions. 

Since we didn’t have much food in the house, my husband suggested we go grocery shopping to take our mind off of things. As we walked around Trader Joe’s, I concentrated on my breathing. We moved slowly through the store… and every now and then, I had to stop and rest. 

When we got back in the car, I knew labor had kicked back up into gear. It seemed the more I took my mind off of labor, the more labor progressed.

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When we got home, I sipped on some chicken broth and nibbled on some crackers. I put FRIENDS on the TV, sat on my birth ball and just told myself to let go, stop thinking about labor, and laugh. This was at around 1 p.m. As I watched I could feel things leveling up. I decided to get down on the floor and to lean forward on my birth ball while sucking on a lollipop. The contractions were now getting to the point where I had a more difficult time talking through them. I also started noticing the contractions were in my low back – something I did NOT have with my first baby. 

Back Labor

I had always heard “back labor” was horrible. Everyone who has said that is absolutely right! I started becoming really uncomfortable. I asked Tim to bring me the heating blanket to help ease the back labor. For about an hour, Tim rubbed my back during each contraction to help take some of the pressure off. This helped a lot! Around 3:30 p.m., I told Tim I think it’s time to go. Contractions were less than 3 minutes apart, about a minute long each, for well over an hour. I had a hard time talking through them and I felt ready. 

This time, when we went to the hospital, I did not feel myself regressing. 

Back At The Hospital

I saw one of the same nurses I saw the day before. I told her: This time, I was ready and not going home! She checked me… I was barely at 4 cm! I couldn’t believe it. At this point, I was frustrated but still confident. The nurses monitored me for an hour, just as they did the day before. They said I was then 100% effaced, but hadn’t dilated anymore. Also, that the contractions were definitely strong and consistent. So they recommended I walk the halls of the hospital and they’d check me again in about 45 minutes. 

We took a couple of laps, I ate a popsicle (thanks awesome nurses who offered!) and then headed back to the room about 15 minutes before they wanted to check me again. I decided to do some more of the sumo squats I had done the night before. I sat in them for just a few minutes at a time so that I didn’t wear myself out too fast. This definitely helped. But the next time she checked me, there was still no change. Ugh. Again, I felt defeated. But I knew I felt different and that my body was doing its thing. 


They told me I had the option of going home or being admitted. Knowing how my labor went with my daughter (slow at first and then zero to 60 once in active labor), I thought I should probably stay. I didn’t feel like going back and forth, even though I would have been more comfortable in my living room… My husband asked if I was eligible for the labor tub, since he knew I wanted to use it. They said I was… So we asked to look at the room with the tub and then we’d decide if we wanted to be admitted. Once I saw the big tub, I decided we should stay so that I could get comfortable and zoned in. This was around 6:30 p.m.

I was so glad I was eligible for the tub. Once we got in the room, I met my nurse and told her we wanted to get in the tub right away. 

Best Labor Nurse Ever!

Our labor and delivery nurse, Shane, was the best nurse ever! She took into account my labor plan fully and just let me do my thing. She got me set up in the tub, made sure I was comfortable, and told us she was going to give us some time. 

Labor Tub

As soon as I got in the tub, I turned on my meditation music, took out my essential oils, and felt my body zone in. I breathed through each contraction with purpose, told my body to let go, and visualized my uterus doing its job to open the cervix. Guided meditations came to mind, which I had learned in my Hypnobirthing book. I used these along with my own personal affirmations. I had my tools and they were working! Within about 45 minutes in the tub, something happened. Not to be to graphic (but hey, this is a labor story, after all!), a big clot of blood and mucus came out. Seeing this energized me. It reassured me I was doing the right thing to keep things progressing smoothly and comfortably. 

I felt empowered now! Shane came in, removed the mess in the tub, and left me to continue doing my thing. At this point, she hadn’t checked me, but I’m going to assume I had dilated a bit more. 

Out of the tub

After about what I’m guessing was an hour and a half or so in the tub, the back labor really started to get uncomfortable and I felt like I needed to move around or get into a new position. Shane came in, helped me out of the tub and she checked me again. I was between 5 and 6 cm at this point – not exactly where I wanted to be, but at least I was making progress! 

Shane hooked me up to the monitor so they could keep an eye on me and the baby for a little while. I sat on the ball and put my music back on. I had Tim plug in my heating blanket and wrapped it around my lower back. 


The back labor at this point was kicking my ass, so I had Tim massage my low back with each contraction just as he did at home. He stood with me for about an hour doing this. At this point I was so distracted by the back labor (It had me swearing and saying “I just want this baby out” and “I can’t wait until this is over!!) that I totally had forgotten to concentrate on my breathing and was letting the pain in my back get to me. 

Time To Zone In

I reminded myself to zone in on the breathing techniques and affirmations I learned in Hypnobirthing. Tim noticed I became a bit more relaxed again and decided to take a break. 

I clearly had zoned in because he went and laid down on the couch for a few minutes. I could see he was getting tired (Ha, if only men knew what being tired during labor was!)… I’m not sure what time it was at this moment, but let’s just say it was likely around midnight now. Tim was passed out and I was in my own world breathing through contractions. The affirmations going on in my mind got me through each one. 

Breath And Affirmations

As I started to feel a contraction coming on, I began telling myself to ‘open and release’ and that ‘I can do anything for one minute’. I breathed, I circled my hips, and I meditated. Between each contraction I would put my head down on the bed and rest. It was like I was doing an interval workout! I’d get the work done, rest, and repeat. Breathe, “I can do this”, and relax. 

Getting Tired

After about an hour of this, Shane came in to check on me. She asked how I was feeling and if I needed anything. I told her I was starting to get tired, so she suggested dropping the end of the bed so that I could lean forward and rest on the bed between contractions. I attempted doing that for about 10 minutes or so, but it wasn’t comfortable, so I got back on my ball and continued as I had before. After about 30 more minutes or so, I felt like I needed a new position to rest and to relieve some of the back labor.

Shane came in and helped me get into a side-lying position and put a peanut ball between my legs. I did 15 minutes on one side before I needed to move to the other side. As it was so uncomfortable, it made it hard to rest between contractions. 

Side-Lying For The Win

Shane came back and helped me turn over to my other side with the peanut ball. After about another 15 minutes, I needed to get back up. As she got me out, she wanted to check me again but I told her I first really needed to go pee. So she helped me to the bathroom. As soon as I sat down, shaking, I peed and then immediately, it felt like I had to go poop – I knew the baby was down now. 

I told her how I felt and she got me into the bed so she could check me. She smiled as she told me I was just about at 10 cm! Shane said she could feel the baby’s head and that he was really low. She said my water was still intact, but that if we broke it, she guessed he wouldn’t take too long to come out. She left to contact my OB and get things moving along.

Momma Zoned-In, Daddy Zoned-Out!

Remember how I said my husband laid down to rest? Well, that was around midnight… It was now almost 3 a.m. He slept for nearly 3 hours while I labored! I was clearly in my own world because I didn’t even really notice him in the room!

My OB arrived shortly after 3 a.m. She checked me and explained the procedure to break the water. I laid back and she ruptured it at 3:15 a.m. 

Time To Push!

My OB then left the room to prep for delivery. She was only out of the room for about two minutes when I felt ready to push. As I like to call it, my body went into its “demonic, out-of-body state” and I couldn’t help but push. Shane paged the OB and told her I was ready.

My nurse laughed as the OB asked, “well did you check her?” Shane replied, “Well, she’s pushing so I think she’s ready!”

He Wants Out!

During all of this, the delivery team was assembling things to prepare for delivery. As soon as my body went into “let’s push” mode, you could see the nurses scrambling to finish getting everything ready!

My OB came in and they helped me get into the squat position (though, I was pretty much already there!) and as I requested in my birth plan, they let me push on my own while “breathing the baby down”. I tried my best to just let my body do its thing. 

I wanted the baby to crown for a little bit of time to help stretch things out down there… But it took only 3 contractions before he shot out. I couldn’t hold him in any longer! 

He’s Here!

At 3:25 a.m. baby Boy Ellis was born. Just 10 minutes after she broke my water!

I’ll never forget seeing him come out and gently fall into the bed. It was surreal watching this. The image will always be ingrained in my mind. (Unfortunately, with my daughter, the OB had me deliver on my back and I didn’t get to see her come out.)

They immediately scooped him up and put him on my chest. I was instantly in love. After about 30 seconds, they had Tim cut the cord. I was so involved with staring at the new baby in my arms, I wasn’t really paying attention at this point, but I was hoping for a longer delay before they cut the cord. At any rate, nothing else mattered now. My baby boy was here!


In my birth plan, I requested that the baby immediately be put on my chest after delivery and to stay there for at least an hour. They asked if they could proceed to check him while he was skin-to-skin with me. I allowed it, and they did their thing while I just stared at him. After about 15 minutes or so when the nurses were out of the way, I offered him the breast, which he immediately took. He ate for about 10 minutes on each side.

I Was In Heaven

After about an hour, my nurse took him to be weighed, measured, and swaddled. She handed him back and Tim gathered our things so we could head to the recovery room.

Shane was chit-chatting with us as we were heading to recovery and she said to me, “I’m not gonna lie, natural births scare me a little! They’re so unpredictable! But you did amazing, you were so laid back and chilled out!” I laughed and told her she was the most amazing labor and delivery nurse. I thanked her for being so laid back about everything and for keeping things calm and peaceful in the room for the entire process. It may not seem like a big deal, but having a nurse that goes with the flow and let’s you do your thing and isn’t pushy makes a world of a difference in labor. Tim, of course, chimed in and told her he did all the hard work! 

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Best Delivery Nurse Ever!

Thanks for everything, Shane!

Bliss And Recovery

As we were heading up to recovery, I thought in my mind, THIS, this was the labor and delivery I was hoping for and I was beyond words. Happy and in love with my little baby boy… whom we would not come up with a name for, for almost 48 hours! Needless to say, Maxwell Jacob Ellis instantly stole my heart from the moment I saw him land on the delivery bed. And with my husband by my side during it all (kinda!!), I fell even more in love with him. Our little family had grown to a family of 4… and now we were complete. 

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My Reason For Hypnobirthing 

Something both Hypnobirthing and Prenatal Corrective Exercise taught me is the power of a positive mind.

“The power of the mind: the body is merely a hunk of meat – does absolutely nothing without the mind telling it.” – Katherine Graves, KGH Hyponbirthing                       

I was adamant about remaining in as relaxed a state as possible and filling my head with positivity both during pregnancy and in labor. Around 32 weeks gestation, I started listening to an audiobook about Hypnobirthing. I came across this one by Katherine Graves. I stumbled upon it while watching a YouTube video when I was doing some research on Hypnobirthing. The reason I chose that book is simply because the YouTuber who used it had great success with it. Also, I liked that it included guided audio meditations and visualizations.          

The more I listened the more I knew it was for me! The author really drives home the importance of positivity and calmness when birthing to help keep our bodies in a relaxed state and mind. To put it simply, when relaxed, our bodies “let go” and make it easier on the baby coming out.

Guided Meditations

The guided meditations teach women how to stay positive through any discomfort and pain and how to use mind and breath to help open the cervix and push baby down. There are two breathing techniques the author refers to: the “upstage” of breathing and the “downstage” of breathing.

The “upstage” of breathing, for use during contractions (long slow breaths, in through the nose and out through the mouth), is supposed to help you visualize the upper half of your uterus drawing up while the lower half of the uterus releases (and in turn, opens the cervix). The “Downstage” of breathing (Quick inhale through the nose and slowly out the nose), during baby’s transition, is supposed to help you push baby down and out. 

Once I started listening to the KGH book on audible, I used the guided meditations every single night before bed to help me practice being in a meditative and relaxed state for labor. The author emphasized how much easier it is to labor when stress is completely out of the way. Some women supposedly report feeling no pain at all during labor when using this method – Clearly, they were able to get in a much deeper meditative state than I could!

The author also points out the importance of calmness and positivity for the health of your unborn baby as they develop in the womb.

How Prenatal Corrective Exercise Ties In

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I became certified in Pre & Post Natal Corrective Exercise sometime in the midst of my second trimester of my second pregnancy. The course was so fascinating to me; I couldn’t wait to share it with everyone I knew and to start helping other pre and postnatal women!

With my second pregnancy came a whole new set of aches, pains, and discomforts. Throughout my first pregnancy, I don’t really remember feeling limited in my exercises. I was pretty much able to carry on with everything I did before. With this pregnancy, I quickly began noticing I had to restrict some of my activities. Running was no longer an option. Every single time I tried, I would get a feeling that my hips were going to separate and I would cramp up almost instantly.

I had to stop teaching my kickboxing class early in my second trimester, because it was just too uncomfortable (and honestly, not safe to continue due to the hormone Relaxin loosening all of the joints!). Teaching my cycle class was manageable, but super uncomfortable so I wasn’t teaching to the best of my ability. The only exercise I was able to continue teaching was mixed strength training up until I was about 33 weeks. And the only reason I didn’t teach beyond that was because my doctor had concerns about my placenta, so I decided to back off early and to focus on myself, rather than teaching.

Once I stopped teaching, I honed in on my prenatal corrective exercises (PCEs). I was already doing my PCEs every day… but now, I was focusing all of my energy towards them. I was paying closer attention to how they made me feel and analyzed what worked and what didn’t… And, I imagined how I would use them in labor. 

What I did:

  • Diaphragmatic breathing exercises
  • Pelvic floor Exercises
  • Hip alignment exercises 
  • CHEK 6 primal movement patterns

The exercise categories listed above are all designed to balance an “out-of-balance” body. A pregnant body tends put strain on all sorts of joints and muscles, for obvious reasons. It’s important throughout pregnancy to maintain a neutral balance throughout the body – which is exactly what Prenatal Corrective Exercise is designed to do. 

How Does This Help During Labor?  

Here are just a few benefits…

  • Helps get the baby into the best position for a smooth delivery
  • Aids in transition and pushing
  • Helps lessen the need for cesarean or other labor interventions (forceps, induction, etc…) 
  • Provides potential for more strength and endurance during labor and delivery
  • Assists in an easier recovery
  • And so much more…!
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Final Thoughts…

I can’t stress enough that EVERY PREGNANCY, EVERY DELIVERY, and EVERY BABY is different. Each woman’s capabilities are different… each experience will be different. With that said, we can all arm ourselves with knowledge and pregnancy-related exercises and practices (both mentally and physically) as we head into our pregnancies and labors.

For inquiries on how you can gain these toolsets to help you on your pre-conception, prenatal, and/or postnatal journey, book a Free Consultation here!

Together, we’ll form the corrective exercise plan that best suits you and helps you reach your long-term fitness goals. Join me in becoming the Supermom we’re all meant to be!

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