When I began my motherhood journey I really didn’t know about many of the resources that would be or were available to me. I wish I had taken advantage of prenatal massage, acupuncture, and mostly certainly Doulas. I would have loved the information about a Doula and Prenatal Postpartum Fitness Guru! But what I really wish was made known to me and that was more of a priority was Pelvic Floor Support.
Within your parenthood journey, there will be so many choices for you to make. Many of these choices have to be decided upon with limited support or guidance and really depend on what you want to do. Once we begin to look for resources. however, there are many helping hands that offer advice and this advice can vary drastically from person to person, and the search alone can be overwhelming. I wanted to write this blog because the “looking” part can be hard and it’s always nice to be guided in that too! In my own personal exploration of helping hands as a mother of three, I came across a wonderful person full of knowledge and acceptance. Her name is Stephanie Bouwman and she is a Doula and Prenatal/ Postpartum Fitness Guru in Guelph Ontario. She educates and empowers moms through their pregnancies, births, and postpartum periods.
This is amazing because there really are so many unknowns when it comes to our motherhood journey, especially at the beginning stages, you just have to look.
I decided to put together a little Q and A for you!
Q: How long have I been a Doula in Guelph?
A: I’ve been a Doulafor about three years now. For the past year, I’ve really focussed on combining Doula work with pelvic floor considerations. This means that I teach people how their bodies work, and what to expect during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. I want them to be informed so they can prepare their bodies for what’s to come.
Babies don’t ruin our bodies
Q: What was the driving force behind starting my company?
A: I’ve always been into fitness and nutrition and I’ve always been fascinated with the human body. But it wasn’t until I had my third baby that I really experienced some significant core/pelvic floor things. That’s when I realized that there wasn’t a lot of information out there. I studied so I can help myself and other moms. My fourth pregnancy was a night and day difference and I was blown away. The more moms I talk to, the more I see where we can do better in preparing our bodies for motherhood.
Q: What is core/pelvic floor rehab and why is it important?
A: I like to think of core and pelvic floor rehab as re-learning how our inner system works. Core and pelvic floor rehab should be practical, but it also combines emotional aspects. That looks a little different for everybody, but think about how many different muscles are attached to your core and pelvic floor region. Think how many private functions are related to your public floor. –
Q: Why would someone get a doula?
A: Doula‘s are known for giving emotional/physical support for people who are having babies. This looks a little bit different for everyone, but at the end of the day, A Doula‘s main goal is what the mom wants. Healthcare providers have other tasks such as making sure mom and baby are safe and everything is going OK.
A Doula’s main job is to focus on the mom and to make sure she’s okay and she has what she needs to birth her baby. We also focus on the partner because they are also having their own birth experience. I like to think of Doulas as filling in the gaps between mom and partner, but also between caregiver and mom. This support also starts during pregnancy. I really value the relationships that I build with my clients, and I want them to feel comfortable asking me literally anything, at any time of day or night. I want you to feel as prepared as possible and as comfortable with me as possible heading up to your birth.
Q: How does it work if someone wants me as their doula?
A: I want to make sure that I’m a good fit for them, and they’re a good fit for me. There truly is a Doula for everyone this usually involves a meet and greet either in person or on zoom, I don’t charge for these and I like to tell people that I’m here to listen and answer any questions they might have. When we’ve made a match, I’ll get my clients to sign my contract, and then I am officially their Doula. – Do I work side by side with midwives and OBs? Yes to both! I do both home and hospital births. – what area do you work out of Guelph and surrounding areas – why do I feel pelvic floor rehab is often overlooked? I think there are a number of reasons why it can be overlooked. Sometimes people think what they’re experiencing is normal and so they don’t know to seek help. Other people are embarrassed, other people are overwhelmed by all the different information out there
Q: What is prenatal fitness?
A: Prenatal fitness is all about preparing your body and mind for birth. Goals change when you’re pregnant and we really have to tune into what your body is telling you. This can be very mentally as well as physically challenging for someone as a whole mindset shifts. What is postpartum fitness? Once you are postpartum, your postpartum forever! This might not be an encouraging thought. But it’s good to know that we can train our bodies to function in an optimal way.
I like to start with the foundational things: breathing/Posture/alignment and making sure that the body’s pressure system is good to go. The foundational things play a role in fitness but also in everyday life and our private functions like going to the bathroom and having sex. Once we have the foundational things down pat, I like to work on strength and balance in the body. And it really depends on what you want to do! For instance, some people want to be able to pick up the car seat without throwing up your back. Other people want to learn how to jump or run without leaking.
Q: If there was one thing I’d like new moms to know…
A: Your body is not broken. There are things that you can do to feel like yourself again and there are people that can help
Q: How much physical activity should I do when the week following birth?
A: I think this really depends on the person. Some people have significant injuries to recover from and they might have had a very long birth. Other people might not have had that experience, but maybe their baby is up a lot at night. I think it’s good to have a few guidelines and options going into the postpartum.
These are all suggestions, Always ask your doctor!
– Watch for your bleeding. If it has increased, chances are you’ve done too much
– How tired are you after you do a bit of physical activity? It should fatigue you, not exhaust you, and make you ready for a nap.
– Gentle activation and stretching can actually be very helpful for leaving aches and pains.
– Walking for five minutes a day for the first week can also be a great way to get out of the house and boost your mood.
If you are looking for more Guelph motherhood and family content, then check out the blog links below!