There are so many amazing experts that can support mothers today but oftentimes moms just don't know about them. Most women are aware of some of the more typical experts like sleep consultants, therapists, lactation consultants, etc. but there are so many more experts that can help women throughout their motherhood journey.
Here are some of the experts many moms may not think about right away who can support them with their physical, emotional, mental, and lifestyle needs when becoming a mom.
Pelvic Floor Therapist
First, what is the pelvic floor? The pelvic floor is a group of muscles and ligaments that support the bladder, uterus, and bowel. Unfortunately, pelvic floor issues can arise after childbirth, in fact, by one estimate, 35% of new mothers experience urinary incontinence following childbirth, and 20% of first-time moms experience severe pelvic floor muscle injury after a normal pregnancy and delivery. The main causes of pelvic floor issues are due to the fact that supportive pelvic muscles and tissues can weaken during pregnancy and are understandably strained during childbirth. In addition, varying levels of perineal injury, such as tears or an episiotomy can be contributing factors, as well as nerve damage that impacts pelvic organ support (1). Pelvic floor care can prevent various issues a mother may experience after birth (vaginal or c-section) including incontinence, painful sex, pelvic organ prolapse (when unsupported organs slip down from their normal position oftentimes feeling like heaviness around your lower tummy, and genitals or a dragging discomfort inside your vagina), and more. In France, any woman who has delivered a baby gets a prescription for 10 free physical therapy sessions to “re-educate” her pelvic floor. Sounds amazing right? Here’s the good news, pelvic floor health is finally getting some attention and moms are realizing they don't have to go the rest of their lives crossing their legs when they sneeze hoping they won’t pee their pants. Always consult your medical provider but taking initiative to see a pelvic floor therapist is a good preventative action to take, especially if you experience any kind of discomfort no matter how small. We talk passionately about this with Dr. Pinky Patel here.
Reflexology is the massage of the foot (it can also be the hands or the face) where you stimulate nerve endings that correspond to certain parts of the body, helping to clear neural pathways and creating blood flow. Using reflexology for fertility, pregnancy, and postpartum is said to have many benefits. Some include reduced depression and anxiety, lower cortisol levels, shortened labor, lactation (including cesarean deliveries (2)), increased postpartum comfort, and more. It is important to make sure your reflexologist is specialized in pregnancy or postpartum and always consult your medical provider. We talk more about this here.
Pregnancy and Postpartum Fitness Expert
It is very common for us to go in for our 6-8 week postpartum check-up and get cleared for exercise. The problem is that most likely we are not given any kind of direction or guidance on how to do this. This is oftentimes something that we expect our OBGYNs to provide us and that is not a fair expectation, we really should be consulting a specialist who is an expert in this area to understand what exercises we should do and what ones we should avoid after baby, which you can read more about here. On top of this, many of us don’t seek expert advice when pregnant. An expert can help us understand how to properly adjust our current exercise routine to better support our pregnant bodies and most importantly how to prevent injury. In addition, an expert can show us how to prepare our bodies for the demands of pregnancy and birth, which you can read more here. When looking for support always look for an expert who specializes in pregnancy and postpartum. We spoke with a certified personal trainer with specialties in pre and postnatal fitness here, and she reviewed how to modify common exercises like weight training, yoga, and more when pregnant.
Having a child changes a few things including how you think about the future. Unfortunately, finance and money are important topics that are often overlooked when talking about our overall health as moms. Common topics to start thinking about that a financial planner can assist with include discussing your family goals, if you should start a 529 plan for your child, how much should you save, how to navigate a change of income after deciding to stay home or cut work hours, and more. You can learn more here where we talk to a financial expert who specializes in comprehensive financial planning. Another expert to consider is an estate planner to help prepare your finances and assets in the event something happens to you so your child is protected and looked after.
When you become pregnant and after having a baby your skin changes. Not all pregnant women walk around with a beautiful glow, instead, sometimes women may have other symptoms like Melasma (aka pregnancy mask where you get dark splotchy spots on your face as a result of increased pigmentation caused by your body producing more hormones), increased acne, dry or itchy skin, and more. Finding a licensed esthetician is a great way to not only get expert-led advice on how to handle these changes but also to understand what skin care ingredients are safe and what ones are not when you are pregnant or breastfeeding, which you can read here or listen to here. As always you should make sure the esthetician specializes in pre and postnatal care.
You don't have to be a high executive to benefit from this. When you become a mom your world turns upside down. Your priorities shift, your demands increase, and you start to prioritize yourself less and less. You may encounter new challenges in the workplace you never had to navigate before like how to ask for maternity leave, how to handle a conversation with your boss or your team about needing breaks to pump, or how to make the transition back to work after maternity leave as smooth as possible. In addition to this, common struggles like how to handle the stress at home and balance that with your career can be overwhelming. In fact, 40% of women are leaving the workforce within a year of giving birth to their first child (3), and 50% of "breadwinning" moms also still manage the majority of the household workload (4). It's no wonder moms are burnt out and 92% of moms today feel society doesn't do a good job of supporting motherhood (5). All really tough and stressful situations that many new moms usually have to figure out without professional guidance. Finding an expert who can help you in these categories whether their title is a career coach, advisor, mentor, etc., can be extremely helpful. We spoke with Sasha McDowell who focuses on helping parents and women succeed at work and at home, read more here, Dr. Ali Hill who has a consultancy for women entrepreneurs and founders, listen to here, and a productivity specialist who has a background in mental health and corporate training and works with overwhelmed and overcommitted women, read more here.
Finding the right support is overwhelming, difficult and sometimes feels impossible. Unfortunately, it is not easy to know what expert can help, or how to even find one that specializes in pre and postnatal support. At Kula is our mission to change this. We are bringing a network of motherhood experts to moms in a simple and accessible way so moms can get the support they need when they need it most.
Sign up for our waitlist to be one of the first members to get exclusive access to our Kula experts who specialize in all things motherhood.