Swimming to Help With Hip Pain in Pregnancy

The weightlessness of being in the water is bliss in itself, but what it enables me to do is move. I can keep my mobility up without wearing myself out and causing further pain. I missed a swim due to illness and by the next day I was unable to walk more than a few feet – I fully believe I would be on crutches by now if I wasn’t still swimming regularly.

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When I found out I was pregnant at 5 weeks I was halfway through a course of hydrotherapy to help with my Fibromyalgia but when I told the physiotherapy team about my pregnancy they decided that the hydrotherapy pool at the hospital was too warm for it to be safe for me to use and I wouldn’t be able to complete my course. I was absolutely gutted, the pain relief afforded to me by being in that pool was incredible. When they turned me away I almost cried.

Even before I found out I was pregnant the pain in my hips was the focus of my physiotherapy which I attribute to my son getting stuck during labour and requiring a forceps delivery. Naturally, I was apprehensive about hip pain being a problem this time and, unsurprisingly, I was right to be concerned.

As my normal fibromyalgia flares turned into sharper twinges I realised I needed to get back into the water and I knew I wouldn’t be able to maintain any level of fitness on land. Having spent several years saying I should join a gym whilst also avoiding actually signing up, I finally took the plunge. I packed my swimming gear and hit the local gym after dropping my son at nursery one morning and signed up for a swim only membership there and then and it has saved me from a whole world of pain since.

I have been swimming three days a week after the nursery run for four months now, at one point I got up to 40 lengths of the pool and I was feeling really fit, since the baby decided to move into my lung space I can only manage 20 but it’s not the lengths that are important, it’s about being in the swimming pool to take the pressure off of my hips, well, all of my joints really. The weightlessness of being in the water is bliss in itself, but what it enables me to do is move. I can keep my mobility up without wearing myself out and causing further pain. I missed a swim due to illness and by the next day I was unable to walk more than a few feet – I fully believe I would be on crutches by now if I wasn’t still swimming regularly.

This ability to move about was missing in my first pregnancy, so my health suffered. I gained a lot of weight last time which I think I have been able to avoid this time… I suppose we will find out how effective it has been in a couple of months!

As my pregnancy progresses I am slowing down somewhat but there is an amazing level of support from the other “slow lane” users at the pool. When I started this I was not expecting to make friends but I have. The support from these strangers means I know I will be able to continue to use the pool until the end of pregnancy… even if I can only wander about in the shallow end in a few weeks.

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Underwater Swimming – Yay or Nay?

You may have seen my post a little while back about getting your children into clubs and hobbies as early as possible… Well, following on from that, the latest club we have joined is Tadpole Tots Swimming Lessons.

I know, I know, Olivia is only 2. She can’t really be taught to swim, right?

WRONG.

Today we had our first lesson and it was amazing. Her confidence in the water at first wasn’t great, and she gripped onto me like there was no tomorrow, but by the end of the half an hour session, she was diving off the side of the pool into me, rolling off of a big float into the water, and more happily went underwater with me.

I won’t lie, going underwater with her terrified me… A LOT. I’m pretty sure she inhaled/drank a fair amount of pool water…

I’m not a confident swimmer – I’ll be the first to hold my hands up to that! Jamie on the other hand is a pretty good swimmer and goes quite often. Kiera, my stepdaughter, had swimming lessons when she was about 6 or 7, and we saw a big difference in her ability over a few lessons (but she is now doing them regularly at school). This is why it made sense to me to get Olivia into these lessons.

We debated it a little, Jamie and I, as the lessons were obviously pricier than dancing or even Olivia’s French classes that she is now doing every Saturday. However, Jamie rightly pointed out that Olivia will be far better off by getting used to the water now, while she is still little and doesn’t have the time or experience to become scared of the water! I can safely say that after one lesson, she is so much more confident. She still isn’t a fan of going on her tummy and would much prefer me to sit her on my side, bobbing around in the pool, but I was amazed at how willingly she kicked her feet to swim on her back (with a float of course), and at how willing she was to glide through the water to the teacher and back to me again… Actually, coming back to me took a little bit of coaxing!

I am so pleased that I did take the plunge and book these for her, as she will benefit immensely in the future and will hopefully be a far better swimmer than I am! In fact, she probably already is!

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The Trampolining Trend and Why it’s Actually Amazing!

If there’s one thing little 2 year old Olivia loves, it’s trampolines.

Actually, in all fairness, it’s not just her! Kiera loves it too and she’s about to turn 9. Heck, even I love it and I’m 23!

But there are soooooo many benefits. You might think that trampoline parks are like soft play hell x1000, but they’re actually pretty cool and if you haven’t tried taking the kids out to one, you most definitely should!

We, as a family, are a bit of an expert at trampoline parks. We seem to have tested out quite a few! There’s Airhop in Guildford, Gravity Force in Camberley, and Flip Out in Ashford (they also have locations in Southampton, Basingstoke, Portsmouth, Chatham, Nottingham and more, but Ashford is the only one we’ve sampled!) and I have actually recently bought an annual membership at Gravity Force for me and Olivia! £8 per month for unlimited jumping, excluding their Gravity Fit sessions, but that’s a bargain for me considering how often I take Olivia. It’s easy to make it a weekly thing every weekend and it never loses its charm!

So, why do we love them so much?

First of all, they are nothing like soft play. There are screaming kids, yes, but the kids tend to be slightly older and better behaved, even in the tots sessions! They have far more space to run around in and loads more variety in what they can do. While Olivia loves a soft play, she would always choose to go trampolining over that any day, and so would I!

Although there’s always a risk that someone will end up with bumps or bruises, there are designated ‘court monitors’ dotted about to minimise the risk of any children getting hurt. Unlike at a soft play, you haven’t got to crawl on your hands and knees through a tunnel that’s really only big enough for a 6 year old to track down your crying tot after someone else’s kid has pushed them over!

It’s not just the thrill for the kids that makes them so worthwhile though, there’s actually a huge health benefit to trampolining – it’s an hour of exercise that your children otherwise wouldn’t be getting. And let me tell you, 20 minutes of jumping around or running around after your kids would get you breathing heavy, too! Also, for the kids, it’s 100% fitness disguised as fun, so if you have children who hate anything sporty, I guarantee they would probably not apply that same disgust to trampolining!

I’m not sure about the other parks, but Gravity Force near us also do tailored Gravity Fit sessions which I am yet to try! There are loads of different kinds of fitness sessions, some of which are even suitable for older kids to join in.

I know, you’re thinking ‘why can’t I just get my own trampoline and let the kids run wild?’

You can, but we have our own trampoline in the garden and Olivia still would prefer to go to the trampoline park. They often have foam pits, dodgeball, basketball, and tons of other activities. Plus, outdoor trampolines don’t get used very often in the winter. The trampoline parks we go to are indoors, nice and warm, and again, have so much more space for the kids to run around in!

Not only that, but it’s an hour’s session to get you out of your god forsaken house. I get sick of being stuck indoors and when you have something like this close by, it’s a great idea to get everyone out of the house, away from electronics and loving life.

For us, we really see the benefit because of the age differences between our two girls. Kiera is 8 going on 9 and Olivia is almost 2 and a half, but yet this is somewhere we can take them both and they both love it so much. Yes, there are loads of places we could take both kids, but actually we end up having to split up into two families – me and Olivia, Jamie and Kiera – so that the kids can do things for their age groups.

Husband back home means Daddy Day Care is in session!

Trampolining really is great fun for both of them and Jamie and I can tag team so one of us can sit and have a break, or we can both get involved and have a huge dodgeball fight with both of the kids (mostly aiming at each other).

Do you take your children trampolining? We’d love to hear your experiences!

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5 reasons why we should all be walking with our kids!




https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsOne of my favourite things about my day, every day, is my morning walk with my daughter to drop her off with the childminder. She’s not even 2 yet, and this morning walk is already a part of our everyday routine… Why? Well, for starters, I can’t drive, and secondly, even if I could, it brings me so much joy walking with her. Of course, there are the odd stressful moments of characteristic toddler defiance, but more often than not we are both enjoying ourselves!

So here is a little list of reasons why, in my opinion, we should all be walking with our kids as much as possible – whether that’s walking them to school or to the local park, and no matter how old they are, the benefits are just incredible!

1. Children adore the world around them

Olivia is full of awe at everything – she’s at that age where she is curious about everything that she sees, and where she is beginning to ask me questions such as “What’s that?”

Walking outdoors with her gives her so much more exposure to things that she is naturally curious about! The last two days when we’ve walked through town it’s been a constant interrogation of her asking me what things are, but she’s learning, and she’s having fun doing it!

2. Children have sooooo much energy!


Seriously, Olivia runs faster than me. But again, the whole idea of her being outside makes her WANT to burn off that excitement and energy. What better way to start her childhood than doing exercise and enjoying it? God knows that probably won’t last if you stop encouraging your kids to go outside!

3. Dirt isn’t dirty


Bit contradictory this one, but being outside in the mud on a rainy day is ridiculously good for our kids. It builds their immune systems up immensely, allowing their bodies to fight off bad bacteria on its own. And you know what? WHO CARES if they get dirty? What are baths for? 

Olivia always comes back from her childminder caked in something, and it’s a sign that she’s had fun! You can always find her in the garden playing, and as much as I will be regretting putting her in a white cardigan/top while she’s rolling around in the grass, that’s more fool me, and to her, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, so why tell her that she shouldn’t be “getting dirty”?

4. You’ll benefit too

Walking is a form of exercise, and particularly if you go on a nice, ample nature walk with the kids, you’re going to burn a lot of calories! But even putting the physical benefits aside, you’re going to benefit mentally. Getting fresh air and exercise releases endorphins, and, of course, you will love the bonding experience of walking with your children, creating memories with them that will last forever.

5. You just might get a bit more of a childhood out of your little one


Too often now parents are quick to stick the kids in front of the TV for 5 minutes of peace… Trust me, if mine would sit still long enough I’d do it too! Screen time is normal for kids now, but to me it feels like it’s one thing that stops them from being children. Playing outdoors is such a normal part of childhood, and I would hate for that to end too soon for Olivia. Making a nice walk (or run, in her case as she runs everywhere!) part of a daily routine will hopefully give children that extra push to love being outdoors in spite of the attraction of the xbox or PS4. Then, in years to come, your kids will be instilling the same childhood loves in their kids, and so on! 


Times and technology may have changed, but the way we help our children to enjoy their incredibly short childhoods doesn’t have to!

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Mental Health Monday: 8 ways to stay motivated!

Evening all!

I realise I’ve been slacking on the #MentalHealthMonday posts recently, but my own mental health has had to be prioritised, as has taking some time out to focus on spending time with my dear husband before he goes to Afghanistan.

One thing I’ve recognised in myself over the last couple of weeks, if not months, is that whenever your mental health takes a turn for the worse, it becomes so incredibly difficult to stay motivated. The smallest things like doing a grocery shop, writing a blogpost or doing exercise can be that much harder to do when you’re completely lacking motivation.

Here are my 8 top tips to stay motivated in spite of your mental health!

1. Plan your time

This one helps me the most, and you’ll find it particularly helpful if, like me, you’ve got a busy schedule and every minute of the day needs to be used wisely! When I was revising for my exams at school and sixth form I would use online tools to create revision timetables, and now I follow the same format by dedicating a certain amount of hours to something each week. That tends to be revision based still but I also have to balance work in the mix!

2. Use a tracker

If you haven’t seen my post about my bullet journal, check it out! I use my BuJo for everything, and I love using trackers. It’s a lovely pictorial way of logging what you actually do with your time, so that, on those days where you think “what have I even done today”, you can look back and feel less bad about yourself. You would be surprised how many habits we have that we just do without even thinking about them, good or bad! A tracker can be a great way to iron out those annoying habits you have too! Personally, I use mine to track my medication, spending and blogging usually, but the range of possibilities is endless.

3. Take regular breaks

If it’s a day where you have a lot of big tasks to get through,  and you’re finding it hard to motivate yourself to do even one of those, then taking regular breaks can really help. Know your limits and if you’re tired, take a rest! We’re only human so we need to stop trying to be superhuman all the time!

4. Have a day off

If you’re having long-term motivation issues, just take the day off. Your body and mind clearly need it, so have a you day, do whatever you want to, get some well-deserved rest and come back to it tomorrow. As long as you know it’s something you can come back to, you’ll feel better for rejuvenating and allowing your mind to repair itself so that when you do come back to whatever task you’re doing, you can feel fresh and ready to go!

5. Set a daily goal

Each day, set one goal for something that you want to achieve that day, and achieve it! It can’t be something so incredibly mundane that you feel no accomplishment when you do achieve it though, so pick something a little outside of your usual routine and just make sure that you set aside enough time in the day to get it done. Once you’ve completed it, you’ll feel your motivation to do other things coming back to you too!

6. Put your phone away

How many of us actually take time off from our phones? I’m writing this blogpost right now on my phone. It’s a terrible thing! It’s an addiction and we need to have time to be in the moment away from any distractions. When you go to bed, plug your phone in on the other side of the room, and when you wake up you’ll HAVE to get out of bed to turn your phone alarm off or just to check your messages. Try limiting your time on social media so that instead of seeing tons of people being “fake happy”, you can spend time getting your real happy back. This is also a bad habit you could track!

7. Do one thing every day that’s just for you

I think our Mummykind mums have harped on about this a lot, but self care is soooooo important! Set time aside in the day to do one thing just for you. A home aerobics or yoga dvd, a glass of wine and a good tv show, or even a peaceful half an hour to do some crafting or colouring or logging in your new BuJo! Whatever it is, make sure it’s something completely for you to give you the self care you need to stay motivated day in, day out. Drink that bloody cup of tea while it’s still hot!!!

8. Have a ‘buddy’

Always wanted to go to the gym but too anxious or nervous to go alone? Get a gym buddy! Join a class or go for a run with your fitness buddy and it will 100% motivate you to keep going. You’ll have a sense of obligation so that you don’t let your buddy down, and at the same time you’ll be fulfilling your goals too. I’m not sure how versatile this is for other tasks you may need motivating to do… for example a laundry buddy may not work unless you skype while you do it, and then I think it loses all appeal really!!!

Do you have any other tips to motivate yourself when you’re finding it hard to feel motivated? Please let us know in the comments, and get involved with #MentalHealthMonday chats on Twitter!

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Feel the burn, mummy

So, new mums, experienced mums, first timers and those who are so used to it…What are the best ways to regain your pre-pregnancy fitness?The answer: NOBODY KNOWS!

So, new mums, experienced mums, first timers and those who are so used to it…
What are the best ways to regain your pre-pregnancy fitness?
The answer: NOBODY KNOWS! But there are some targeted mum and baby sessions which I found particularly helpful. At only a couple of months post-partum, myself and the other mums from our NCT group signed up to a lovely lady’s Zen Fitness (Yoga) class local to us in Hythe, Kent.
As someone who has always loved yoga, this was amazing for me, and when I turned up I did not expect it to be quite so hard! I definitely felt the burn…
Using the baby’s weight as your weight, the class gets tougher as the weeks go by, and especially if you’ve missed a week, the next one is so much harder! I remember thinking that “oh, she’s only put on a couple of pounds since last time, it won’t make that much difference”… Well, yes. Yes it did.
The best part about Suzanna’s group was that she was so understanding about needing to take a break to feed baby, or even to stop baby rolling onto other babies… I felt really welcome at her groups, and she was fantastic at making sure everyone could handle the workouts if you were a beginner or had been a regular!
So, that’s one way of really feeling that exercise, releasing endorphins and starting to recover the wellbeing of your body and mind.
Another way is with buggyfit (or similar) groups, using pushchairs to do more cardio exercises, usually outdoors.
These groups are also fabulous. Unfortunately I was only able to try this once, as I had an incredibly busy schedule in the year after my daughter was born, but it was brilliant. With these, you’re not using baby as a weight, but more as a balance when squatting or a resistance when running.

One exercise that I found to be particularly cheeky was the reps of calf dips. With the beautiful beach backdrop, we stood on tiptoes at the edge of the pavement onto the stones and gently dipped up and down. It didn’t feel much then, but the next morning my calves were on fire!
One added bonus is that you can set these groups up yourself for free if you have a bunch of mummies wanting to go with you, or they may already be set up local to you, so check on Facebook if you’re interested!
Finally – and this one is not limited to mums/dads/parents/guardians – I just have to say how FANTASTIC the park run is! Seriously, go online (but open up a new tab and keep this one up and keep reading!) and Google where your nearest park run is <– or just use that cheeky little hyperlink I’ve stuck in there.My other half, being in the army, has been doing running for years and he is a seasoned pro, so although he leaves me far behind when I’m running with the pushchair, it’s a great, fun activity to do with the whole family. We even took my stepdaughter a couple of weeks ago and she loved it! You can race each other to make it fun, or take it at a leisurely pace, which I’ll be honest is what I have to do as it is a 5k course!

So mummies, those are my experiences of post birth fitness groups, and I hope to be sharing more in the coming weeks!
If there’s anything you want to try but want a review of first, contact us and I will be more than happy to see if I can trial one in my area!

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