Childbirth

Does Your Vagina Need Physical Therapy?

If you thought physical therapy was just for your bad back or that pinch in your neck, think again…

It Felt Like Something Was Falling Out Of My Vagina. It Kind Of Was.

I was irritated at the lack of knowledge, and angry, because this shouldn’t have happened to me.

How I Learned Birth Plans Were A Waste Of Time

There’s no such thing as a birth plan that goes according to plan.

5 Fast Facts About Your Lady Parts

Women’s bodies are both amazing and amazingly complex. I sometimes pity men for their less interesting and capable bodies: aren’t they jealous they can’t give birth like us? Don’t answer that: there’s a good reason, I think, women are hard-wired for birth (whether you want kids or not) – we’re an advanced species, clearly.

But while you may well love your important and delicate lady parts (as you should) and have a healthy appreciation for your body and what it can do, here are a few fun, fast facts about your vagina which you may not know about.

RELATED: 7 Ways Orgasms Are Making The World A Better Place

1. Magic button: The clitoris is your power centre, with more nerve endings than anywhere else on your body. It’s your control centre to Planet Orgasm, baby! When stimulated with skill, these nerves activate the pleasure centre of the brain, the same part that fires up when we eat something delicious, like say Nutella. Mmm Nutella. Leading Australian sexologist Dr Nikki Goldstein is also quick to remind SHESAID readers that a woman’s clitoris is in the vulva region not the vagina, which is located in the vaginal canal. In addition, she has this other fun, fascinating fact on the wonderful, magical clitoris: “The clitoris is also the one part of your sexual anatomy that never ages, so it’s good to be a women for even more reasons.” Amen.

2. Baby-making time: Trying to conceive? One of the best bits of advice I ever received, which I’m convinced helped me get up the duff in my mid-to-late 30s four times (two of which sadly ended in miscarriage) is the old “egg-white rule”. If your cervical mucus (and it’s vital that you get to know it) is clear, runny and super-stretchy like an egg white, your vagina is telling you this is the optimal time to get pregnant. This is because your cervical mucus, in this state, can best protect and nourish the sperm as it makes its long journey to meet your egg. Google “cervical mucus” and get busy, eager mums-to-be! And Dr Nikki’s advice? “There is also theory that contractions from an orgasm can help the sperm move up unto the uterus so make sure you take the time to enjoy the baby-making process and do everything to enhance pleasure,” she says. 

3. Four times the fun: Still not convinced your body is far superior to that of a man’s? Check this out, lady: YOU, yes you, can actually have four different types of orgasms. Yep – it’s true. Count them: clitoral, vaginal, blended and multiple. Thank you, God! Now, how many types of orgasms can a man have? Just one? Poor babies. No wonder some idiot men hate women. Dr Nikki’s fun fact: “It’s also useful to keep in mind that 80 per cent of women achieve orgasms through clitoral stimulation alone.” 

4. Hard-wired for birth: Think you and your vagina can’t birth a ten-pound (4.5kg) baby? Yep, you can: your vagina can expand that much, just as it expands to a lesser degree during sex. What’s more, you will recover well from childbirth, down the track, to be able to enjoy sex again. Trust me on this, as inconceivable as concept as it is if you’re yet to have a baby. We women are hard-wired for birth – aren’t our bodies, especially our vaginas, amazing? Dr Nikki’s top advice for a quicker and better postnatal road to recovery: do those pesky PC exercises. “It’s vital you strengthen the pelvic floor muscles by doing PC exercises, post-birth,” she says. “The added bonus to this is a stronger pelvic floor muscles can also instead the intensity  of your orgasms.” 

5. Your cho-cha self-cleans: Don’t believe the hype or those dodgy advertising slogans – you do not need vaginal douches or vaginal washes. These products were purely created by an evil ad man (or lady) to make money out of poor, anxiety-laden ladies. Your vagina cleans itself! Plus, many of these heinous products actually increase your risk of bacterial and yeast infections. One lovely gyno once said: “Leave your vagina well alone – there are probably more bacteria in your mouth than in your vagina.” So, don’t ever tolerate anyone who tells you your vagina is “dirty” or “unclean”, girlfriend. Dr Nikki concurs, adding: “If you are ever paranoid about potential odours, try taking a shower with your partner and incorporating it into foreplay. It might help put your mind at ease. If you do smell anything you think is not right, it could be due to poor diet or an infection.”

 

vagina, health, women's bodies

Main image via betterafter50.com and secondary image via pixabay.com

7 Tips To Make You Feel Amazing During Pregnancy

For the most part, expectant mums absolutely love being pregnant. Health becomes a habit, senses are heightened and you gain that healthy glow about you as your skin and hair become stronger. That’s not to say  you have your down moments where you feel unsure and worried about your appearance. Whilst pregnancy can be a unique confidence booster with body image improving, the changes your body experiences can be so rapid it can be easy for women to slip into an unconfident state.

It’s not unusual to need a little extra help in feeling beautiful as you start to feel these changes. Whether you need some pick-me-ups throughout your pregnancy or some help getting through the last few weeks, we check out some hot tips to get you loving your pregnant body.

1. Be daring with your wardrobe

Have a little fun with your new body and dare to be adventurous. Buy something fun and sparkly that may not be the most practical, but makes you feel a million bucks anyway. The great thing about having a pregnant bump is that you can get away with a lot so throw caution to the wind when it comes to picking new items for your wardrobe. Remember, your new body is firm not flabby so experiment with body-clingy tops, new styles and colours you’d normally avoid. You deserve the right to look great so look for clothes that flatter the sexy new figure and ooze confidence.

2. Indulge in a massage

Massage is the perfect way for mums-to-be to ease discomfort associated with the changes in your body during pregnancy and recoup. The most common types of massage for expectant mums include relaxation massage, eastern and western massage (this explains the difference between eastern and western massage well), tension relief massage, couples massage or customised pregnancy massage. Providing it is after the first trimester of pregnancy (after 3 months), massage provides physical and emotional benefits for pregnant women safely. It helps to increase your “feel good” hormones, improve sleep, aches and pains and lowers stress and anxiety that can be common for pregnant women.

3. Have a date night

Enjoying some one-on-one time with your partner is the perfect way to feel beautiful throughout your pregnancy. It also gives you some much needed space to appreciate the alone time with each other before the baby comes along! For many women, pregnant or not, nothing makes you feel more special and beautiful than having your partner’s undivided attention and escaping the day-to-day duties for a few hours. If you really need some pampering, use date night as the perfect excuse to get your hair done before or a manicure to make you feel extra special.

4. Eat and sleep well

A healthy diet and adequate time to rest is essential for the wellbeing of both you and your baby. Taking time out for yourself is important, so don’t feel guilty about it. If you’re feeling exhausted cut down on chores and ask for help – your body is working overtime to nourish your growing baby so you need all the rest you can get. Eating food rich with omega-3 fatty acids, minerals and vitamins will help to lift your mood and provide you and your baby with the essentials. If you’re craving snacks, stick to nuts and seeds which are filled with tryptophan – this raises the levels of melatonin and serotonin in your brain to boost your well-being and get you sleeping well.

5. Get a short workout in

Exercise is a great mood booster and is quite safe to do during pregnancy – as long as the activities aren’t too vigorous. If you’re feeling up to it a short, light workout at the gym can those endorphins kicking in leaving you to feel motivated and healthy. Ideally, swimming and yoga are the best forms of exercise whilst you’re pregnant as they help keep you toned without being too hard on your joints. The breathing and relaxation techniques through yoga are perfect for helping control anxiety and stress too. Finding time to exercise can be the perfect excuse to have some time out, or join up with your partner for motivation and stay fit and healthy together.

6. Talk about it

We all need a little reassurance at times and being pregnant through the whirlwind of emotions can definitely leave you feeling unattractive and deflated. No doubt you will have a list of worries of what to expect during the different stages of your pregnancy, and even more with parenting if it’s your first time. Discussing your concerns and having good support around you can be a real mood-booster so take advantage of this. Whether it is your partner, a group of friends or family, communicating your feelings can put things back into perspective for you. Joining a mums-to-be group can also be a great way to mix with people that are bound to have the same feelings as you whilst getting out and being social.

7. Wear your bump with pride

Especially when your bump first starts appearing, it can be difficult to embrace the changes your body is making. Some women are left feeling a little scared, self-conscious or unsure about their new appearance. Pregnancy though is a beautiful thing and being proud of your bump is fun, exciting and goes hand-in-hand with feeling amazing! Resist the urge to disguise it by draping clothes over it. You’re only going to pregnant for nine months so make the most of the moment.

Jemma Stergiou is Owner and Director of Keturah Day Spa Group, a leading provider of spray tan, massage, facials and spa treatments in Perth, WA. Connect with Jemma on Google+

Yoga Can Reduce Your Fear Of Childbirth

It has been confirmed –  taking up yoga during pregnancy can ease stress and reduce a woman’s fear of childbirth. So all those celebrity mums (like Gwyneth Paltrow and Sienna Miller) were right to continue their dogward dogs while carrying a bun in the oven. The research has showed that yoga can be attributed to cutting anxiety levels of mums-to-be by one third.

Yoga has been gaining popularity with pregnant women over several years and has been recommended by doctors and midwives, but now there is real evidence to back up the theory.

Manchester University researchers looked at two groups of women who were 22 weeks pregnant. Half of them did a weekly yoga class for two months and the other half attended antenatal classes. The yoga sessions were adapted for pregnancy. The group attending the yoga class felt the amount of anxiety was decreased by a third. And stress levels after the session were even lower than when relaxing at home, according to the study.

Professor John Aplin, who specialises in reproductive biomedicine, even suggested yoga could help women cope with the pain of childbirth and reduce the number of emergency C-sections.

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