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physical support

Review of Bellefit Postpartum Girdle

 

I was gifted with a Bellefit postpartum girdle and invited to write a review. You know, I can only keep it real. SO...here is my opinion with some basic information to help you decide whether this is right for you. Overall I was impressed, but I do want add some important points and caveats. Happily, I was able to partner with Bellefit so that you do get a discount of $20 Off with code: ANNE20 at checkout - if you purchase here.   

Healthy women’s bodies recover intuitively and naturally on their own time after childbirth, without needing a support garment. Although a mama's body really never does look the same as it did before she was pregnant, even when she eventually loses her pregnancy weight (she looks better!), I encourage you to love and embrace your beautiful postpartum body and the normal postpartum changes that you feel both physically and emotionally. I invite you to bask in the gratitude of your experience, as there are countless women who would do just about anything to have such a gift that you are blessed with. Know that you are not alone, and like billions of women before you and along with you, you will continue to recover each day and eventually return your non-pregnant state, but now as a mom. Welcome to the tribe of motherhood! I have been there with you - four times.

I have a holistic approach to life, including healing after pregnancy and birthing. Nothing replaces abdominal toning and exercise for restoring muscle strength and tone - which I encourage for all mamas as soon as they feel up to it postpartum. Nothing replaces touch, slow deep abdominal breathing, and a 'love your postpartum body' perspective that I promote.  But I have found many mamas simply feel comforted by this support garment, especially early postpartum and temporarily as needed....to be used without forfeiting abdominal toning and strengthening exercise, breathing well and touch. I have found Bellefit supportive garments to help like they use belly binding around the world such as in Indonesia. They do aid in early postpartum healing and provide support many mamas feel comforted by. I deal with human beings and the reality is many postpartum mom's struggle with body image, feel frustrated that getting back to themselves takes longer than expected. Being into holistic health and healing includes being sensitive to real human struggles - the mind, body, heart and soul of each person and their unique situation. Having helped countless women with these issues after having a baby as a midwife, I have found many still love that binding and feel better with this support, and ability to fit into their pre-pregnancy clothes comfortably and sooner than they would if they went through a C-section or natural childbirth recovery without it - especially when they have to dress up and fit into a certain favorite outfit for a special occasion or wedding not long after having a baby. The Bellefit girdle is really a wonderful adjunct to your postpartum tool kit.

Bellefit was founded in 2008 by a mom looking to help women have a positive recovery after childbirth. Bellefit is a mom owned brand, and was born out of a need to help women who need extra support after giving birth. The founder designed them to assist mothers like herself recover faster, help reduce pain and increase comfort.  Although many women are able to recover with ease, in addition to common discomforts and issues with changes in body image, there are many cases when a compression garment such as Bellefit helps a lot - like when women are faced with conditions such as Diastasis Recti, back pain or experience childbirth via C-Section, which is major abdominal surgery. It is the founder's hope to help provide this support to women who have experienced these challenging recovery journeys. 

The Bellefit girdles are recommended by many doctors and midwives, and have become so popular, even among celebrities - not that celebrity use matters to me.  The girdles are garments with Medical-grade compression and support that help in a variety of ways. They provide support for both your pendulous abdomen and back after pregnancy (especially helpful  after several babies), assist in releasing the increased fluids accumulated during pregnancy which reduces swelling, help relieve postpartum cramping, and enable you to move about, care for your baby and breastfeed more easily and comfortably. They also help to reduce incision pain after cesarean birth, and bring Diastasis Recti, the separation of abdominal muscles in pregnancy, back together. These benefits can result in feeling better emotionally, an important effect which is not to be taken lightly. When you are recovering well, you feel more at ease, more comfortable and have greater peace of mind, and can better enjoy this precious time of your life and bonding with your new baby.

You need to wear the girdle tightly around your torso, to maximize its benefits, following the birth of your baby.  The girdle should fit quite snugly around the midsection, which applies postpartum abdominal compression. It is this tightness and steady pressure around a your abdomen and lumbar region that helps aid in recovery and support after baby is born. It is this tightness and pressure that is even alleged to help straighten your spine and improve posture; but I have found osteopathic or chiropractic adjustment, and ongoing alignment based, strengthening yoga practice would be more effective modalities for this. The girdle is said to help your organs displaced in pregnancy go back to where they were a bit faster, but this will happen normally on its own with a dose of patience. The Bellefit girdle supposedly helps with lymphatic drainage and removal of toxins but I have not found evidence for this; and it allegedly compresses and decreases enlargement of fat cells, but really, the most effective way to lose excess weight and get back into shape is healthy eating and regular exercise. 

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Many women report liking its corset style, feeling that it is more comfortable than imagined. It has convenient flap with hooks in your groin area, and it so well made that it does not roll down your back or roll up your buttocks. This fabric itself feels nice and soft on your skin and the clips hold together very well. It can look and feel quite sexy by itself. and it can be worn under clothing without being visible. It does seem to run small so make sure you get the size that is best for you. It's tight fit may take some getting used to, but overall mamas come to really like it.

Have a Great Postpartum Recovery (with a little help from    Bellefit   )! I am thrilled to announce that you get a $20 Off with code: ANNE20 at checkout - if you purchase    here   .

Have a Great Postpartum Recovery (with a little help from Bellefit)! I am thrilled to announce that you get a $20 Off with code: ANNE20 at checkout - if you purchase here.

It is available in a variety of styles - duel closure, corset, girdle zipper, pull up - ranging in price from $72.50 to $145, and Bellefit sells other garments for support during pregnancy. I do like the garment for support and alleviating back and low pelvic discomfort during pregnancy as well - I have also found it effective to keep breech babies turned vertex, stay vertex, and help like a Rebozzo in long non progressing labors, assist baby's head to be better applied to the cervix for uterine contractions to more effectively result in dilatation and descent - especially mamas with lax abdominal tone and pendulous abdomens, after several pregnancies without toning in between. Bellefit has great customer service. They will help you with sizing and answer your questions promptly, which is why it is ideal to order directly from them rather than Amazon for example.

For additional information, watch testimonials on Bellefit's YouTube channel and remember, if you decide to purchase, you get a $20 Off with code: ANNE20 at checkout by clicking here. Have a Great Postpartum Recovery (with a little help from Bellefit)!

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What's a Doula and Why I Recommend One

Art by Amanda Greavette

Art by Amanda Greavette

Happy WorldDoulaWeek! This is a week initiated by a doula in Israel to empower and support doulas around the world to improve the emotional and social health of birthing and postpartum women and their families; this is so needed in modern times, with the breakdown of community and resulting lack of sisterhood mothering, along with the prevalent fear and lack of exposure to birth, and the medicalization of childbirth. Says Dr. John H. Kennel MD, "If a #doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it."  When I think of the many #doulas I have been blessed to work with, I am reminded of strong, beautiful, kind, passionate, dedicated, fun-loving women who have found their calling supporting other women - these women rise by lifting others. Hug your doula this week; and if you don't have one, find one to hug, and research the many proven benefits of having a doula, especially if you are giving birth for the first time. 

I do love my vintage office bumper sticker.

I do love my vintage office bumper sticker.

What is a doula is and why do I recommend one when you don't have that kind of support around you?

A doula or a labor support person like a doula is must - someone calm and nurturing to mother you, who knows how to help mamas in labor, birth and postpartum and trusts the process. Women were surrounded by homebirth and supported other women in labor through history and around many parts of the world still today. In the US and many parts of the modern world today, many mamas don't have this, and it negatively impacts their birth and postpartum. My transfer rate is ~ 7% and it's mostly first time moms with prolonged labors, exhaustion and with a common theme - they did not set themselves up with doula or doula like labor support, despite what I said, now documented by solid research. I want mamas to optimize their chances of having an empowered, deeply positive and healthy birth experience. See if your midwife knows great doulas with a sliding scale. An awesome one is worth every penny.

I could talk for hours about this, but here are the main reasons I believe pregnant moms, especially first timers, those planning to VBAC, and those who have an obstetrician as their provider, should hire a doula. Doulas and midwives compliment one another even in out of hospital birth settings, and preserve rather than interfere with partner & family support & privacy.  Often dads are grateful they do not have to learn to be a labor coach.

In many cultures today, and throughout history, until relatively recently, when birth was moved into the hospitals in the 1920s to 1940s, and people dispersed away from their villages, women supported women through childbirth and postpartum. Doulas fill this void, and are trained to provide emotional support, comfort measures, reassurance, encouragement, empowerment, advocacy, and basically mother the laboring and postpartum mother. Most doulas go through a short training and certification process, although many take continuing education and serve childbearing families in other ways such as facilitating pregnancy and postpartum support circles, doing birth photography, creating mother blessing ceremonies, encapsulating placentas, and becoming childbirth educators to teach childbirth classes. Doulas are not medical providers like midwives and obstetricians, responsible for the actual maternity and newborn care - although midwives are more likely to provide doula like care which is integral to authentic midwifery, that is not their main role.

There is an impressive body of research on the many benefits without risks, of the continuous support of an experienced doula during labor, such as improved coping, self confidence, esteem and empowerment, enhanced satisfaction and positive feelings about their childbirth, shorter and easier labors, an easier time adapting to motherhood with enhanced skills, longer breastfeeding, more positive feelings towards their baby and even improved relationship with their partner! Scientific evidence from gold standard medical studies also reveals less pain and fear, less childbirth interventions including cesarean, vacuum and forceps deliveries, less episiotomies, medication for pain and stimulating labor, less babies in poor condition needing intensive care and longer hospital stays, and all the associated risks to of above interventions, and less postpartum depression. This is HUGE! It's having a personal coach so that you have the most healthiest, wonderful experience possible. All successful professional athletes, performers and most leading businesses and entrepreneurs have a coach of some sort.

Photo by Julia Sywers.

Photo by Julia Sywers.

This is doula love, given by my amazing birth assistant, doula and childbirth educator, to a superhero mama having her second homebirth. "The wisdom and compassion a woman intuitively experiences in childbirth can make her a source of healing and understanding for other women." - said the beloved Steve Gaskin. I want to honor all doulas this happy world doula week, and all superhero mamas who have given birth anyhow, anywhere.  Photo by Julia Sywers.

For personal questions and need for individual guidance you can schedule an online consultation with me- this is one of passions and areas of expertise. Many mamas ask to consult with me about their personal fears and concerns and what to do about them. I love helping mamas in person, and now with this global IG community, via Skype or phone conversation. You can also take my unique online ROCK and LOVE YOUR BIRTH course, which basically guides you through your pregnancy to birth and postpartum journey, as I guide the families in my midwifery practice - without the hands on care, to prepare and plan for an experience of their dreams.

Do you need supplements for preconception and pregnancy? Here are some of my favorite I recommend to mamas in my practice, along with my favorite herbal tea recipe for your journey. 

Flora

Make your Red Raspberry Leaf and Nettle herbal infusion.....rich in needed nutrients and specifically nourishing for pregnancy, birth and postpartum. Place 1 oz of dried red raspberry leaf, 1 oz of dried nettle leaf in a quart-sized glass canning jar with strainer, fill it with boiling water, cover and steep for at least 2 -4 hours at room temperature. Strain and place in a covered pitcher. You can make it in larger quantities and store in the fridge. For taste, dilute with water or steep for less time (but no less than half an hour), add lemon or lime juice, mint leaves or a teaspoon of honey. Drink 1-4 cups daily hot or cold.

I am passionate about changing lives. This 44-day course is changing lives. Vital Mind Reset is a program that will hold your hand and help you heal your life without a prescription. It will also introduce you to a community of people just like you – all working to transform their lives and revive their power and joy. Be a part of this community. Be a part of something greater and get yourself back! This course is a must, by renowned holistic psychiatrist Dr. Kelly Brogan, author of NY Times best seller 'A Mind Of Your Own', a dear friend and trusted colleague I can vouch for personally and support whole heartedly.  

Get a 10% discount on your Sleepod purchases at askrembla.com -use the code SWEETHOME to get your discount. 

Get a 10% discount on your Sleepod purchases ataskrembla.com-use the code SWEETHOME to get your discount. 

Below are some supplies to help you Rock your birthing experience! For more details check a recent  blog I specifically devoted to my recommended top 10 must haves for your birth - to make it easier and so much more wonderful.

Childbirth Class FAQ

Childbirth Class FAQ

Why should I pay for this course instead of just doing the free one my hospital offers, or a typical childbirth education series? 

This is a common question when it comes to paying for childbirth education that falls outside of your free hospital classes. So what makes this course so much different? It has been designed by a holistic midwife, doula, childbirth educator, and yoga teacher with over 21 years of midwifery experience; someone who has never had a single transfer from home to hospital due to a woman being unable to handle the sensations of normal labor in any of the births she has attended.

Do I Really Need to Do(ula) This?

Do I Really Need to Do(ula) This?

Let’s have a little doula chat, shall we? You’re pregnant, and as a result, you’ve acquired a whole new vocabulary: baby-wearing, layette, milk-duct, meconium, hybrid-diapers, effacement, linea alba – the list goes on.  One word that will become ever-present on your prenatal planet will be this one: “doula”. You’ll hear it from friends, on social media, in your childbirth class, maybe even from your local grocery store check-out staffer. So, because you have an inquiring mind of the prenatal kind (where you HAVE to know everything, but then forget it five minutes later), you are going to investigate the heck out of this doula thing. And we applaud you for that. If you want a solid intro as to why you should hire a labor support doula, please watch Anne’s video.