Networking, pelvic floor exercises and chocolate
I'm guessing most of you hate at least two of these three things?
As usual for our monthly newsletters we have some great new partner discounts to tell you about, as well some interesting guest posts: one you definitely want to read (chocolate is good for you!) and one you probably won't want to read but definitely should... it's about pelvic floor exercises. I know, the boring bit at the end of your pregnancy yoga class, right? But Livia is a real expert and trust me, she knows her stuff. And it is very short (sorry Livia!).
Though networking is often filed under 'ugh', in the last nine months of running Match Up Mums I've met some wonderful entrepreneurs like Livia, through social media, events and introductions. Among them it has been a great privilege to meet a network of local women who all have businesses supporting women through pregnancy, birth and parenting. The group is run by Tina of Neighbourhood Midwives and Julie of Baby Intuition and they recently asked me, along with Kate of Hello Mums, to help them put on a bit of a local event for parents-to-be in the Clapham area.
The organisers of the Clapham Pregnancy & Baby Show
Three months later, the event was a sell-out (phew!) and we had a sponsor, a hall full of 32 local businesses, 250 expectant and new parents, a supermodel and a TV crew (yes really!) and 'a bit of' a great day out for all concerned that also raised hundreds of pounds for Ickle Pickles charity. And throughout, we made a terrific team and had a ball doing it. It goes to show you can always meet new friends, and often in the places you'd least expect.
More matches & more benefits
It wasn't all about Clapham though - last month we introduced groups in Marylebone, Fulham, Battersea, Wimbledon and Alexandra Park, to name a few. We also ran a books giveaway via our social media accounts (so if you got a parcel of books they were from us, apologies the publisher forgot to put the letters in the parcels!) and we set up more new partnerships to go with all the discounts already available to our lovely members, so that you can all benefit from your membership of Match Up Mums even before you get matched or well after you have started meeting up with your Match Up Mums friends.
As always, the details are in the members’ area – along with discounts on maternity wear, night nannies, weaning sessions, gyms and personal training, nursery design, babysitting – and more! The discounts available add up to over £2,000 which we think is a rather nice perk.
As of this month your membership now includes a discount at TheBeezKneez - a sort of online personal trainer with short, safe workouts that you can do anytime and anywhere, so you can fit in workouts at home into your baby's nap schedule. Genius idea and our members get 20% off!
And the Essential Bag Company puts together lovely hospital bags or changing bags (and more) that are pre-packed with goodies, treats and useful things from premium, trusted companies - they make a brilliant new baby gift so you could hint to your colleagues before you go or you may just want to treat yourself, especially with 10% off all products! See our members' area for the discount codes you need for these and many other mum and baby-friendly brands.
As usual we end our newsletter with guest posts from two of our partners so I'll leave you to read those but please do drop me a line if you have any questions, comments or ideas. Please keep recommending us to any mums-to-be or new mums that you know, and keep the feedback coming. Until next month, have a good one...
A mini-Easter-guide to eating chocolate… without piling on the pounds
by Vicky Warr, founder and specialist pregnancy & post-natal trainer and expert for Mothercare, Gurgle Magazine and BBC Radio as well as BeezKneezHive
Most of us have a sweet tooth at some point, particularly in pregnancy or when feeding a new baby all hours, and chocolate seems to get a lot of attention.
But eating the wrong kind of chocolate will sabotage getting into shape whilst eating the right kind of chocolate can boost your health! The type you need to go for is Dark Chocolate of at least 70% cocoa solids. And the key is: It’s a little luxury. Quality over quantity.
Five reasons why you shouldn’t feel guilty about eating chocolate:
- Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, chemical compounds that help protect against harmful “free radicals” often found in body tissues. These free radicals have been linked to the development of heart disease and some cancers. Studies of subjects who increased their daily intake of flavonoids from chocolate found that their LDL-cholesterol levels dropped, their blood vessels relaxed, and blood-clotting tendencies were diminished.
- Anti-oxidants found in dark chocolate have also been shown to lower LDL cholesterol, the so-called “bad” cholesterol.
- Essential amino acids in dark chocolate help increase the production of serotonin to help with post natal baby blue, feelings of anxiety and depression.
- Chocolate contains the chemical phenylethylamine which occurs naturally in our bodies and gives us the same boost we feel when when we fall in love!
- In moderation, 2 squares 3 times a week may boost mood!
Eating the other kind of chocolate – milk, milk varieties or chocolate bars with other added stuff or dark chocolate that is just 40% cocoa solids is not such a good idea if you’d like to flatten your mummy tummy post baby. The fat and sugar content from eating the poorer quality milk chocolate and all the versions of it around and too much of it mean piling on extra weight (especially around the tummy). As it contains sugar, too much may put you are risk of developing diabetes. There are healthier ways to get your chocolate fix too - why not try chocolate-covered fruit or chocolate Brazils, or even whole cacao nibs, which you can crush and add to yoghurt for a delicious snack.
For The ‘Eat and Look the Beez Kneez’ post-baby food plan, healthy recipes and food tips plus postnatal fitness videos, take a look at BeezNeezHive.com - Match Up Mums members get a tasty 20% off, too!
The Top Myths about Pelvic Floor Exercises and Why it Matters to Dispel Them
By Livia Nemeth of PelFix Technique, the revolutionary Pelvic Floor Education Programme
There’s a common view that if you quickly clench your muscles whilst standing at the bus stop, sitting in the car, or waiting for the kettle to boil, that’s all you have to do. Although my technique for exercising the pelvic floor is fairly easy, it isn’t that easy! There’s more to it than a quick clench. Leaving aside the question of whether or not you are clenching the right muscles, and how often these exercises should be repeated, a key problem with the ‘quick clench’ approach is the idea that it can be done in a vertical position: either standing or sitting.
Vertical positions are NOT recommended when doing pelvic floor exercises. Standing or sitting impedes the flow of blood in the lower abdominal area. If blood pools up in the pelvic veins this can lead to haemorrhoids and/ or varicose veins: in the vagina or vulva in women, the penis or testicles in men. Also, when you are in a vertical pose the weight of your abdominal organs puts pressure on the pelvic floor muscles. This means you can’t contract your muscles as much as you could in a horizontal pose; plus muscle relaxation will not be as effective.
You can learn more about the myths around pelvic floor exercises here. If you wish to attend a course, please contact Livia Nemeth at firstname.lastname@example.org - all Match Up Mums members will get 10% discount of the PelFix Complete courses.