Posts in health
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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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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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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How to Prep Your Pup for Baby's Arrival

As I count down the day's until may baby's arrival, I can't help but wonder what it will be like to have my first born 'real' baby meet my first born 'fur' baby! HaHa I want to make sure the transition is as smooth as possible. Baxter is a 100 pound yellow lab that has been my rock for nearly 11 years. I’ve had BaxMan since he was a few weeks old. He’s lived with me in Ohio, North Carolina, three New York City apartments, San Francisco, & now Sydney, Australia. He is one cool pup.

As I imagine most of you at home would agree, these fur babies truly are part of the family, aren’t they? So what happens when our families expand? How do our animals react to the new pecking order? What can we do to ensure our homes are not only safe environments, but also happy environments, free of unnecessary tensions?

Below you will find a Q and A with Baxter's doctor from Bondi Vet, Dr. Kate Adams. Dr. Adams is one of the brilliant vets who helped save Baxter from the infamous corn cob that nearly took his life a couple months ago. Read the piece I wrote for Fox News here.

I have found Dr. Kate's answers very useful in my quest to make my home both baby and doggy friendly. I hope her answers resonate with you or someone you know!

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9 Months Pregnant, Final Beach Workouts with Speedo Fitness Club

I'm 9 months pregnant and about to pop! But I want to stay motivated until bub arrives. I feel as big as a whale and I've been dealing with a ridiculous amount of swelling in my feet, ankles, and legs, In fact I wrote about my 'cankles' in this piece for Fox News. But I feel so much better when I am active. So as long as I can, I'll be doing modified workouts.

I do plan on slowing down even more once I welcome my little man into this world. Along with the mommy/baby bonding, I also think recovery is so critical for both the mind and body.

In this video, Speedo Fitness Club manager and trainer, Levi Darby leads me through a less intense version of three exercises safe for month nine of pregnancy. Levi says his number one tip is to listen to your body. This is not the time to be increasing fitness levels. He also says to make sure not to let your heart rate or blood pressure get too high. And make sure to stay hydrated. Levi recommends focusing on low impact exercise and movements. Carrying the extra weight of your bub adds pressure to your joints as well as inflammation so avoid any sudden impacts or movements likely to aggravate. Practice positions that help prepare your body for birth. Deep squats are great for encouraging your pelvis to open and for your bubb to move into a great position for birth.

My friends, I truly hope these tips help keep you motivated though your pregnancy the way they have motivated me! As always, remember to always consult with your doctor.

LADIES: Please send this to a friend if you think she would enjoy this content from AnnaKooiman.com. And don't forget to leave me some comment love on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. I LOVE to hear from you!

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DIY Natural Baby Products, A Lovely Afternoon with My Sister-In-Law

Want to save some cash and save your baby from chemicals at the same time? I do! Read on to see what I mean.

I am now in my 39th week of pregnancy and doing last minute odds and ends awaiting my baby boy to tell us he's ready to come into the world. Hopefully my water breaks soon! LOL I am so ready to meet him and see his sweet face! This year for Christmas, my amazing sister-in-law gave me the perfect gift. She organized an afternoon together to spend some quality time while concocting some natural baby products. We had a lovely day putting together all kinds of DIY baby potions. I'm thankful she had the idea of pinching a few pennies all while enabling me to use natural baby products on my sweet boy once he gets here.

Below are recipes my sister-in-law found for homemade diaper cream, nipple butter, baby wash & shampoo.

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Active Truth Maternity Interviewed Me for Their 'How She Does It' Series

Active Truth has become one of my favorite maternity lines to wear at the gym or around Bondi Beach, Australia. It is an activewear company that serves women of every shape and size. Their designs specialize in super small to super big sizes so that no body is left out - and that includes pregnant women like me. I have tried out several lines of maternity activewear and just like some everyday-wear maternity lines, the quality is often sub-par. BUT, that is not the case with Active Truth. It is up there with Lululemon - and that's saying a lot in my book. Anyway, the founder, Nadia Tucker, recently interviewed me about my prenatal fitness routine for their 'How She Does It' series. The Q and A about my prenatal fitness and nutrition routine is below.

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Embracing My Changing Body and Connecting with Baby: Practicing Prenatal Yoga

Pregnancy is amazing. But to be real, it ain't all pretty, is it ladies? Anybody else missing their ankles??? Mine are currently 'cankles' (calf+ankle). More on that in a moment, but first, let's chat about the miracle of life.

9 months to make a baby. 9 months. That's it! It all happens so fast and it is truly amazing what a woman's body can do in such a short time. I think that's one of the biggest takeaways I have from the last 8 months of my pregnancy. Growing my little human has been the coolest thing to experience. It feels particularly real at the moment as he loves to let me know whenever he's awake. This little bub is constantly doing Turbo Kick workouts with some jabs, crosses, hooks, and uppercuts... "OWWWW... that was a rib!" And he also enjoys tap dancing on my bladder... "Bathroom! I need a bathroom!" 

In all seriousness, pregnancy makes me proud to be a woman. Proud of what my body has proven capable of doing, and proud of the even crazier feat (labor and delivery) that will come in just a month. This mindset of mindfulness has been fostered by my practice of prenatal yoga. 

Prenatal yoga has helped me emotionally connect with my baby and also served me well for embracing all the changes happening in my body. Whether a short meditation, a few good stretches, or a full on prenatal yoga group practice, it does a mind and body good. Pregnancy hormones are the real deal. I have found my practice brings me peace.

Now back to my CANKLES!! I went to my OBGYN a few days ago concerned because I am currently holding a lot of fluid in my legs and feet. Jiggle jiggle! By the end of the day I have been feeling like a character from Monsters Inc! The morning I went to the doctor I did the press test right when I woke up. What's the press test? Well, I was pressing my swollen ankles for a few seconds to see what the skin would do. What do ya know, even after having had my feet elevated on a pillow all night, the skin would just dimple, and stay sunken in. Eek! I was worried it could be a sign of preeclampsia, so booked an appointment.

Fortunately my doc says my blood pressure is still looking good and there's nothing to worry about. Unfortunately, it's just one of the joys a large portion of us pregnant women have to deal with during the late stages of the third trimester. The chilly water at Bondi Beach (where I live in Sydney, Australia) has been great for ridding my body of edema, even if it is short lived and the swelling returns. Prenatal yoga is another great tool in the box. I have been doing a trick I learned in one of my classes. I lie on my back with my bum pushed up against a wall and keep my legs perpendicular to the floor. This helps the extra blood flow back where it's supposed to be instead of in my mushy, marshmallowy ankles! 

Prenatal yoga is great for dealing with swelling, aches and pains, positive visualization for labor and delivery, and most importantly - preparing our racing minds for the stresses of parenthood. As for the CANKLES - they are just par for the course!

Below you will find an interview I did with my favorite prenatal yoga instructor, Nadine Richardson. Enjoy!

 

 

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What I Miss Most from the Pregnancy NO NO Food and Drink List

There are sooooooo many NO NO's when it comes to what we can eat and drink during pregnancy. It's obviously worth it... But let's face it... it can be annoying! I am in the home stretch and have definitely had a few hankerings over the last 8 months! What about you? What do/did you miss the most while growing your small human?! Make sure to leave me a comment on social media. I just recently went to my husband's Christmas party... which of course had loads of yummy soft cheeses and cocktails that I couldn't enjoy. A lot of his co-workers were asking what I miss most. I think it's either dirty martinis or ice cold beer... or maybe pinot noir, or maybe sushi... gosh it's hard to pick. 

Above you will find a casual coastal walk chat with Dr. Jill Gamberg (Bondi Doctors), a friend of mine, about what we can and can't eat/drink during pregnancy. Hope it offers some valuable guidance for all my fellow expecting mommies!

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