Channeling Our Inner Strength from Birth into Parenthood - Chat with She Births and OBGYN

“We need the sisterhood. We need the village.” In this video above I sit down with my OBGYN and Birthing Educator for a birthing team ‘debrief.’ I would love to hear your birth stories and lessons learned. Leave me a comment on social media.

My OBGYN, Dr. Jan Dudley and doula, prenatal yoga instructor, and creator of She Births childbirth education program, Nadine Richardson, have a lot of great insight on how to make the birthing experience a beautiful one. They talk about what we can learn about ourselves from pregnancy and childbirth. And how to channel that same strength and perseverance right into parenthood.

“Learning in pregnancy to drop the judgment of yourself is such a great way to launch into parenthood. Because the last thing we need is to feel isolated. And that’s what judgment does. If we are judging ourselves, we stay at home in our little bubbles, and we go to mother’s groups and we start judging. And that happens a lot. But we don’t need to. We need women that are empowered and happy. And that’s how you’re going to be the best mom.”

I love the quotes above from Nadine Richardson. During pregnancy, I learned so much. I have always been a go, go, go, go, GO kind of person. Pregnancy and motherhood have slowed me down in the best way possible. Motherhood has taught me patience, acceptance, empathy

I can tell you the deep breathing techniques I learned in the She Births education program helped me to have a natural, drug free birth (even with a posterior baby).

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Chaos Minimizing Tips for Moms On-The-Go

T-I-M-E. Time. Nobody has enough of it. Everybody wants more of it! Lack of time makes us feel like life is too chaotic to make time for fitness. Too chaotic to cope. The number one reason mammas tell me they don’t exercise is because they can’t fit it into their busy schedules. The Strong Sexy Mammas website has you covered for the fitness side of things. But I also have a few tips for surviving outings with kids that can help cut chaos and save time.

I am a busy mamma, known for always being ‘on-the-go.’ Upon writing this post, Brooks has just turned one and has already flown from Sydney, Australia to New York City four times in his short little life! People ask how we keep it together and how I stay fit and fresh. I’m the first to tell you I don’t have everything figured out. This mamma thing is hard work! But I can tell you what is working for me. Hope it helps!

Watch the video I shot with baby Brooks and our dog Baxter a few months ago at a local park in Bondi Beach. We go through a few ways I survive being ‘on-the-go.’

Tip #1 Buy a lightweight stroller for travel purposes (Umbrella strollers are awesome. But I think it’s worth investing in a stroller that folds up small enough to go in the overhead compartment on airplanes. This way you don’t have to gate check it and you’re never with out it).

Tip #2 Pack plenty of toys (i have some touch and feel books that are very interactive and seem to kill two birds with one stone).

Tip #3 Use a backpack as a diaper bag (nappy bag as we say in Australia). This allows us to stay hands free rather than having the shoulder bag that inevitably falls off the shoulder and knocks into things! LOL.

Tip #4 Use a blanket that is durable enough to double as a play-mat in a pinch. This saves a lot of precious space.

Tip #5 Stock your closet with long, flowy dresses (This makes me feel ultra feminine and put-together, even though it takes almost zero effort. Pull the dress off the hanger, and you immediately look like you spent more time getting ready than you truly did! Yass!)

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The Secret to Better Sex After Having Babies

The secret to better sex after having a baby. Man, doesn’t everyone want to know? The truth is, the secret in many cases is simple. A stronger pelvic floor can mean stronger orgasms and better sexual satisfaction with our partners. The weight of the fetus during pregnancy and the pushing we go through to get them out, often leads to a weakened pelvic floor. Checking in regularly with our pelvic floor can often help. Check out the pelvic floor section on StrongSexyMammas.com for some exercise ideas and considerations. Better sex often leads to better relationships with our partners. And better relationships with our partners often leads to being better parents to our kids.

Watch my interview with the principal women’s physiotherapist, at Women in Focus Physiotherapy. Elizabeth ‘Lyz’ Evans is not just a women’s health expert, but also a rockstar mum of two. Aren’t they cuties? If you live in Sydney, Australia, I highly recommend paying her a visit!

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Postnatal Fitness No No's! Which Exercises to Stay Away From and Which Ones are OK?

Postnatal Fitness No No's! Which Exercises to Stay Away From and Which Ones are Okay? Abs separation (diastasis recti) and pelvic floor weakness are just a couple of the lasting effects pregnancy leaves behind. Jumping into high impact fitness and certain abs exercises are very bad for postpartum recovery. Anna Kooiman, creator of Strong Sexy Mammas (online workouts for moms), takes you to a women's physiotherapist to see which exercises we should stay away from after having a baby. And which exercises are good! Check out StrongSexyMammas.com to work out with international TV host and fitness instructor, Anna Kooiman.

This may surprise you…. Crunches are a bad idea for some new moms. Same goes for full sit-ups and planks. Don’t sabotage your exercise success.

Watch my interview with the principal women’s physiotherapist, at Women in Focus Physiotherapy. Elizabeth ‘Lyz’ Evans is not just a women’s health expert, but also a rockstar mum of two. Aren’t they cuties? If you live in Sydney, Australia, I highly recommend paying her a visit!

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How to Survive Mealtime with Kids

Dinnertime for moms can be stressful no matter what the age of our kids. Am I right? Making sure our little ones are nourished with healthy, nutrient dense food can be a challenge in our busy lives. Since becoming a mother this year, I have found several ways to survive mealtime. Take a look at this video for a few of my mamma tips.

Tip #1… No Screens! Even at 7.5 months when we recorded this video, Brooks was so drawn to screens. Smart phones, tablets, televisions, Apple watches, etc. It’s still the same today. So we try very hard to limit the time he is exposed. And we have a hard rule, no screens when we are trying to feed him. I have to keep them off so he stays interested.

Tip #2… Eat your greens! Lead by example and your kids will follow. Sneak them in if you have to. With purees, Brooks seems to like apples and pears more than zucchini and broccoli. So when I make them at home I almost always add in a little fruit to give it a naturally sweeter flavor. It works every time! As the kids get older it’s a great idea to sneak vegetables in wherever we can as well. Even if they are asking for pizza, sneak in some veggies as toppings. But hide them under the cheese!

Tip #3… Get the kids involved! When Brooks is older, I plan to take him to the grocery store to pick out all the yummies. I’ll then have him help me cook dinner in the kitchen. I think when kids feel like they are part of the process they are more likely to be proud of what they’ve made, and scarf it right up!

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Baby Carrier Fitness Safety Considerations

When is it safe to start baby carrier exercise? What exercises should you stay away from when getting fit while baby wearing? What ages are appropriate for baby carrier workouts?

Are you curious about safety considerations for involving baby in exercise? Read on to hear from my favorite baby carrier company, LÍLLÉBABY. You will also hear from a doctor.

We all love toting our little ones around town in the baby carriers. It’s great for bonding. Doesn’t it seem like all our bundles of joy want to do is be close? Hear our familiar voice? Smell our familiar smell? Feel our familiar movements? So sweet!

They were growing inside our bodies for 9 months. It’s easy to understand why baby-wearing is so great for both mom and baby. You’ve probably done some light house cleaning with baby in a wrap, sling or carrier… But have you thought about doing light exercise while baby-wearing? While getting back in shape after having Brooks, I have had a lot of success while exercising with him in the baby carrier. We would do a coastal walk around Sydney where we live almost daily. And as I started feeling ready for light weighted activities, I continued using the carrier for exercise. Great combination! I’m excited to share the exercises with you!

I have just launched a new online fitness membership for women called, Strong Sexy Mammas. We were lucky enough to get some international coverage on the number one cable morning show in the world, Fox and Friends. Check it out!! Some of the workouts include babies into the exercises. Others do not. We cover strength, cardio, HIIT, stretching, pelvic floor lifts, etc. My motivating classes are meant to not only help you slim down, but boost your mood. I am merging my online following and local fitness community in Sydney (from the group exercise classes I teach) to help moms get their groove back physically and emotionally after having kids. I teach ‘Mums and Bubs’ classes in Bondi Beach at BUF Girls and Speedo Fitness Club. I see how much fitness empowers my participants during this transitional stage in life. Becoming a mother is amazing, but also challenging and frustrating at times. It can be hard when we look in the mirror after giving birth and not recognizing the body we see. It is an incredible body. We birthed a tiny human for crying out loud! We should honor that body. Give it the time it needs to heal, and then begin an exercise regimen appropriate for our specific needs. I am an AFAA certified fitness instructor (with some additional ACE postnatal education), motivator, and fit girlfriend by your side, not a medical expert.

Under the Strong Sexy Mammas ‘Mamma Wellness Tips’ tab, I am using my journalism background to help you hear from an array of medical experts. I have a lot of interviews with women’s health professionals here that I hope you find helpful. Are you curious about safety considerations for involving baby in exercise? Read on to hear from my favorite baby carrier company, Lille Baby. You will also hear from a doctor.

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Safety Considerations for Involving Baby in Exercise

If you’re looking for safety considerations for involving babies in exercise, read on for my interview with a doctor. I have just launched a new online fitness membership for women called, Strong Sexy Mammas. I have just launched a new online fitness membership for women called, Strong Sexy Mammas. We were lucky enough to get some international coverage on the number one cable morning show in the world, Fox and Friends. Check it out!! Some of the workouts include babies into the exercises. Others do not. We cover strength, cardio, HIIT, stretching, pelvic floor lifts, etc.

I am merging my online following and local fitness community in Sydney (from the group exercise classes I teach) to help moms get their groove back physically and emotionally after having kids. I teach ‘Mums and Bubs’ classes in Bondi Beach at BUF Girls and Speedo Fitness Club. I see how much fitness empowers my participants during this transitional stage in life. Becoming a mother is amazing, but also challenging and frustrating at times. It can be hard when we look in the mirror after giving birth and not recognizing the body we see. It is an incredible body. We birthed a tiny human for crying out loud! We should honor that body. Give it the time it needs to heal, and then begin an exercise regimen appropriate for our specific needs.

I am an AFAA certified fitness instructor (with some extra ACE postnatal education), motivator, and fit girlfriend by your side, not a medical expert. I am using my journalism background to help you hear from an array of medical experts. I have a lot of interviews with women’s health professionals here that I hope you find helpful. Read on to hear from a doctor about considerations for involving babies in exercise!

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Why Crunches are a BAD Idea

This may surprise you…. Crunches are a bad idea for some new moms. Same goes for full sit-ups and planks.

But why you ask? If we want a flat tummy, aren’t these exercises normally winners? Well the majority of new mammas have some degree of abs separation (many don’t even know it). Doing incorrect abs exercises can actually lead to more of a belly rather than less! Don’t sabotage your exercise success.

Watch my interview with the principal women’s physiotherapist, at Women in Focus Physiotherapy. Elizabeth ‘Lyz’ Evans is not just a women’s health expert, but also a rockstar mum. If you live in Sydney, Australia, I highly recommend paying her a visit!

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Is Sleep Training Good for Baby and Mom?

Is sleep training good for baby and mom? It's something I have been struggling with answering and therefor have been having a hard time deciding whether to take the leap and implement a sleep training method. Some say the 'Cry it Out' method is psychologically damaging to infants, while others say the research does not back this claim. Pretty much every mom I speak to says if you can get through about a week of misery, it is the best thing you can do for both baby and mom.

I'll lay out where we are our in our sleep journey and then share a Q and A with the editor of one of the top rated publications on the topic, Babywise. Also, check out my Instagram feed for a fabulous $200 gift basket giveaway from Under the Nile.

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Benefits of Having Pets and Babies in the Same House

Pets and babies. Do they mix? Absolutely! Thank goodness that’s the answer celebrity vet, Dr. Kate Adams gives to that question. Of course I already knew the answer to that question seeing as though Baxter and Brooks are already best mates! Take a look at the fun chat Dr. Kate and I had about all the benefits of having animals in the house. So often you hear about the negatives. Well… we are sharing several positives! So what good things are associated with lifestyles which include pets? Everything from greater socialization skills to better gut health to lower rates of asthmas and respiratory illnesses.

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Nursery Themes that Create Baby Zen

Pulling together your first born's nursery - it's kind of a right of passage as a woman. Do you feel me? I was super duper excited about decorating our nursery from pretty much the pregnancy get go. I had these visions like you see in the movies. You know the type. Where the mom to be is heavily pregnant, painting the walls, while wearing cute overalls or something else cliche, with a big basketball showing through. Well, that didn't happen exactly! In fact at the end of pregnancy my basketball had turned into an overgrown beachball. People would often say things like, "Are you sure there aren't two in there?!" Haha! I had loads of fluid in my legs and feet. The last thing I felt like doing was painting!

But... I did manage to pull together what is very close to my dream nursery! It is so special. I spend a lot of time in there breastfeeding Brooks in the wee hours of the night, so it better be cozy. And if we want a zenned out little bubby, it better have a relaxing vibe. Tick. Tick. Tick! Check out the personalized baby bunting, teepee, play mat, and crib set by Hoot DesignZ. LOVE! We also have a salt lamp and a paradise iDream app going in there 24/7. Sometimes I wish it was my little nook for taking naps!

I went with the classic, baby blue as the main color, complemented by navy and black. Similar to our Central Park wedding, I knew I wanted the nursery to have a travel theme. Travel is near and dear to me because my husband and I dated internationally in some of the world's most amazing cities before he moved to NYC and then we moved to his home country, Australia. I focused on finding accessories that featured planes, trains, globes, maps, etc. I found an amazing company here in Oz that specializes in custom nursery designs. After telling the owner of Hoot DesignZ my ideas, she gave me several different fabric options. They were all great. How to choose!? I decided on the one you see here because I had read the contrast would be good for our little one's vision development.

Below you will find a Q and A with the owner of Hoot DesignZ, Rhonda Daniel about how to pick the perfect nursery theme for you and your baby. If you're looking for info about the French inspired, rocking nursing chair by Life of Style, click here. If you like the crib and change table from the Spindle range at Incy Interiors, click here.

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An Easier Way to Swaddle, What Works with our Baby Escape Artist

An easier way to swaddle. Doesn't that have a nice ring to it!?! This post should hopefully help you find the best way to swaddle your baby. I think I have seriously discovered the secret to swaddling a baby in a way that is easy for parents, won't wake up the baby, won't scare the baby, and won't allow the baby to wiggle out!

When my baby boy, Brooks was born I had stocked up on about a dozen muslin wraps I planned to use for swaddling. While in hospital, my husband and I tried the swaddle method we had learned in our parenting classes. After Brooks wiggle out, we had a midwife show us another method. Well, we quickly realized we had an escape artist on our hands. Brooks would wiggle his way out every time. Because of all the SIDS warnings from our instructor and all the baby literature we had been reading in the months leading up to his birth, we thought we better find another way. As new parents of course we were concerned he could wiggle out, kick up the muslin, and God forbid something horrible happen. It wasn't an unhealthy fear, but something we thought we had better sort out. Along with the safety hazards, I also realized every time I would take Brooks out of the swaddle to change his diaper, I would end up waking him, by having to move him around so much as wrapping him in. Some of these small failures may have been because I was new at swaddling, but I just thought, there has to be an easier way.

I tried another method which involves a velcro swaddle. Although it kept Brooks nice and snug and he was unable to wiggle out, any time I would undo the velcro, he would get quite a fright from the loud noise. 

Finally... a break came that would help all three of us get some extra shut eye! Some Aussie friends of my hubby's gave us what they called a summer, newborn, sleep suit. They swore by it, so we thought we would give it a try. It was dummy proof! We would just put our newborn in the suit, and zip him in! Brooks slept very well in it. His little arms were up by his face rather than in a straight jacket at his sides. He was able to soothe himself by still sucking on his hands, albeit through the light fabric.

The sleepy suit as we now call it is called Swaddle Up by Love to Dream. We loved it instantaneously and haven't looked back since. As the weather turned a little cooler and Brooks grew, we moved up to a size medium and a thicker fabric. He just started rolling a couple weeks ago so we are now using a version that allows the wings to zip off, allowing his arms to move freely. We initially just unzipped one side so he could get used to the new sleepy suit. He now has both arms free and is certainly sleeping like a baby! There is also a twin zip feature that allows caretakers to unzip the sleepy suit from the top to get bubby out, or from the bottom up to change his/her diaper while minimizing disturbances in position. 

I can't recommend these enough! The only downside I can see is the price tag. It will run you about $60 a pop! But I have to say, it has been a lifesaver for me. I can easily see why it won the award of Most Popular Swaddle award last year from the Mother and Baby Awards in Australia.

Below you will find a Q and A about swaddling methods with the founder of Love to Dream, Hana-Lia Krawchuk.

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Modern Moms Dress to Impress with Breastfeeding Friendly Fashion

I love fashion - beautiful dresses in particular. But it can be a massive challenge trying to feel feminine and fabulous when making sure I have easy access to 'the girls' in order to nurse my baby boy. I've made a conscious effort to seek out fashions to make this special time in my life a little easier. Because let's face it. It can be stressful to have a crying hungry baby out in public, trying to feed in peace. I believe wearing stylish nursing clothes will help me stick to my commitment to breastfeed Brooks. It seems every credible health (including WHO) or parenting website I go to recommends babies get human breastmilk for at least the first 6 months of their lives. So let's explore a few ways to stack our wardrobes with flattering clothes and accessories that take the stress out of it.

Although there are certainly days when I don't venture out of my activewear, don't wash my hair, or put on a stitch of makeup - for the most part at least once a day, I like to look halfway put together. It is easy to lose our identity as new moms. Putting all our time, energy, and effort into our bubbies, forgetting about what makes us feel like ourselves - particularly when we don't physically look or feel like our old selves. Nursing fashion has come a longgggg way! Even my friends with kids a few years older say they can't believe how the market and industry has evolved.  Nursing tops and bras have too. Medela offers several styles. At least one has holes complete for helping mamas pump!

Below you will find a Q and A with the founder of an amazing clothing retailer dedicated 100% to helping new moms look and feel great while nursing their babies. Verity owns Breastfeeding Wear Australia and has impeccable taste that won't break the bank! The fashions are all breastfeeding friendly, but not necessarily designed for nursing. You will want to wear these threads even when your infant grows out of the breastfeeding phase!

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Baby Photographer Shares Secrets to Get Great Pictures

Looking at these sweet newborn images three months after Brooks was born, I almost can’t believe how small he was! Don’t get me wrong though. He’s still very much an infant, only recently able to hold his own head up (and it’s still a little bobbly wobbly!).

I’m currently back in the USA right now introducing Brooks to my friends and family. I put together a book filled with these images for his grandparents and great grandmothers. It’s a great way to treasure these moments forever… and a great way for them to easily show him off to their friends and family at church, in the neighborhood, and nursing home! ;-)

I am so happy my husband and I made the decision to take newborn pictures when Brooks was less than a week old. He is so cuddly and squishy! I am simply melting once again over these images!

Below you will find a Q and A with an amazing Aussie photographer, Kath Mclean. She shares why taking pictures early is best, how to get good light, what to do if the baby is crying, and several other secrets to snapping such heartwarming pictures.

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How Pumping Helps Keep the Breastfeeding Commitment

I have been exclusively breastfeeding Brooks for 12 weeks now. Pumping has helped me get some necessary 'me time' that makes me the best mom I can be. I try to pump once a day to make sure there is some milk in the refrigerator for my husband to give Brooks if he gets hungry while I'm out and about for a couple hours. I have heard loads of moms complain about how having a newborn can be isolating. I believe it is very important to have a bit of time each day to myself. Activities that have helped me feeling good? Going for a coastal walk, enjoying lunch with a girlfriend, shopping at the local boutiques, or getting a small pump or swim on at the gym.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusively breastfeeding newborns for at least 6 months, in combination with solid foods until 12 months, and continuing longer if mother and baby desire. The benefits for baby seem to be endless. Which is why I have made the commitment to exclusively breastfeed for at least 6 months. But that's exactly what breastfeeding is... a commitment. I love how it helps me bond with my baby boy, Brooks, but as every new mom will tell you, there are a lot of challenges associated with it. Many women complain about cracked nipples, clogged milk ducts (and even sometimes getting sick with mastitis), overall breast soreness, and the need to never be too far from baby. Some moms have even said they feel chained to their baby by breastfeeding. Pumping can help new moms gain independence while still ensuring their babies reap the rewards of their mother's milk.

I love thinking about breastmilk like a superfood... made by me! It is such a special phenomenon. It makes me feel like super woman! Breastmilk contains antibodies to protect our babies from infection and disease.  It also contains nutrients that help with gut and brain development.  It is easiest and best for babies to digest and absorb.  I am making the commitment because babies who are breastfed are less likely to develop ear infections, respiratory infections, diabetes (type 1), allergies, eczema, asthma, and obesity. 

Below you will find a Q and A I did about pumping basics with one of the leading pump brands, Spectra.

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Baby Milestones: When Will Baby Do What!?!

Brooks has just turned 10 weeks old... or young I should say!  He is very smiley, lifts his head and can turn it from side to side when having tummy time, coos when he is on his own, and seems to almost try to get words out (cute random, sounds really) while making intense eye contact. As a new mom, I can't help but wonder, when he will laugh, roll over, crawl, walk, talk, etc. From my reading I have learned developmental milestones are grouped into the following categories: physical, social, emotional, cognitive, and language. A great app I have been using for the last month or so is called, "The Wonder Weeks."

To learn about baby milestones, I have done a YouTube interview with GP,  Dr. Jill Gamberg from Double Bay Doctors. The video is below. She has also given us a few bullet points for reference.

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Fox and Friends: A Special Baby Announcement

Brooks getting an international welcome via the number one cable morning show in the world, Fox and Friends. A very big thank you to my colleagues at Fox News in New York City for the most lovely way to announce the birth of my first born child, Brooks Kooiman Stuckey. My heart is absolutely exploding!!!

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Belly Binding Post-Baby: Good or Bad Idea?

n the early hours after giving birth to my first born son, Brooks, I chose to use a belly wrap. I have read a lot about them and have friends who swear it has helped them get their 'inside bits back in order!' A woman's uterus needs to shrink back to its usual size and the bands are supposed to help. Critics say it is unnecessary or even a bad idea because the body becomes reliant on the splint rather than the muscles, which can leave the weak. Women have been having babies for the ages with and without wrapping their bellies around the world. But several friends have also told me the wraps have helped their tummies flatten out faster and that it's been good for building better posture. I have been wearing mine quite religiously and have noticed positive results. I can’t say whether this was the reason or wasn’t. My OBGYN and the midwives at the hospital in Sydney recommended I wear my belly wrap while I begin gently easing into my new fitness routine (at the beginning of the journey). So far so good!

I asked Dr. Jill Gamberg, a GP doctor at Double Bay Doctors about belly binding/wrapping/splinting. Here’s what she had to say:

“An abdominal binder is a wide compression belt that encircles your abdomen.  It may be used to speed-up the recovery process after abdominal surgery like caesarean section, bariatric surgery, or cosmetic surgery. It is thought to support your surgical incision, help relieve pain, enable you to move more, and reduce swelling.  It may offer secondary lumbar support.

Women may use an abdominal binder after vaginal childbirth to help shrink the uterus and lose weight. Some women use it if they have a large diastasis recti (abdominal separation) post-partum.  


It is advised to only wear from 2-6 weeks after childbirth.  There’s no scientific evidence that binding your belly gets you back into your pre-pregnancy jeans faster.  However, they may be helpful for some women, and it is definitely worth talking to your doctor or woman’s physiotherapist to see if one may benefit you.”


I have also done a Q and A I've done with the three sisters behind the ever popular brand, Belly Bandit. See what you think and decide for yourself if abdominal splinting/wrapping is for you.

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