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I Can’t Hold in My Pee...

And other expert answers to your pressing pelvic floor questions.

I Can’t Hold in My Pee...

You’ve got a lot on your mind during pregnancy. Your pelvic floor is usually not one of those things. But listen, it’s working hard! That little trampoline-like muscle that stretches from your pubic bone to the base of your spine has a heavy load to carry (oh hey, growing baby). It’s no wonder that during pregnancy and postpartum, you’ll notice some changes in “that” area, from incontinence to bowel dysfunction to pelvic pain and more.

Still, there’s this weird shame associated with talking about your issues down there, even though more than half of pregnant gals have some incontinence during their 9 month journey, and one third of us experience poor bladder control postpartum. We asked our friend Lindsey Vestal, owner of the “mommy” occupational therapy practice The Functional Pelvis, to answer some of our most embrassing pelvic floor questions. Don’t worry, nobody’s looking.

After having my baby, I often can't hold my pee and a little drips out. Is there anything I can do right away to prevent this from happening again?

Absolutely! Thanks for asking this sometimes embarrassing question. It’s a lot more common than you think; up to 70% of women leak urine either while pregnant or after they have their baby. It’s important to get reconnected to your core and pelvic floor. Kegels (or tightening the pelvic floor) are a place to start but there are other important things to do as well. The lower abs (the part you may squeeze in when fitting into a tight pair of jeans) share the same connective tissue with the pelvic floor. If you aren’t sure if you are correctly identifying your pelvic floor, focus on your lower abs. Engage them before you laugh, cough, or sneeze. Squeeze them as you lift up your baby. Not only will you be reconnecting to this important part of your body, but you will be protecting your low back as well.

I’m pregnant and everyone keeps telling me to do my Kegels. How often should I do them?

Kegels are very important in helping maintain the strength of the pelvic floor…but, believe it or not, for pregnant women we should talk about reverse Kegels! It is the ability to relax your muscles that will help during delivery. And don’t we all want help during delivery?! A reverse Kegel (called “down training”) trains your muscles to relax and your pelvic floor to open. I work with my pregnancy clients to achieve an optimal reverse Kegel by using Biofeedback so they get the instant visual recognition of what it feels like for their muscles to relax. It is truly incredible how much practicing revere Kegels will help during labor and delivery. And no worries, reverse Kegeling will not cause accidents.

Will my vagina return to normal size after I have my baby?

The vagina is an amazing muscle! That’s right, it’s a muscle. This means that it can be reconditioned after you give birth. Just like when you work out any other muscle in your body, the vagina can be toned and tightened… let’s call it the vagina bootcamp! Kegels are one part of this… but focusing on your postural muscles such as the middle and low back, the inner and out thighs and the lower abs (the ones responsible for true core stability) will help as well. These muscles share a connection with your vaginal muscles and will help you tone from the outside in!

My girlfriend said she saw a Pelvic Floor Therapist during her pregnancy. What do they do?

A pelvic floor therapist is an Occupational or Physical Therapist that has received specialized training to work on the lower core muscles that go from the front, back, and sides of your pelvis and all the way to your tailbone. Similar to rehabilitation for an injured shoulder, structured therapy exists for your pelvic floor muscles. This muscle group is easily weakened for a variety of reasons. This therapy is commonly available in other countries where the stress on a woman’s body during delivery is recognized. In fact, in France, postpartum women receive an automatic referral to a pelvic floor therapist! The Functional Pelvis, a pelvic floor dedicated practice, provides in-home, concierge therapy for pre- and post natal women. We manage all the muscular changes the pelvic floor goes through when pregnant, commonly rehabbing hip/low back pain, identifying proper mechanics to deal with pubic synthesis dysfunction, C-Section recovery, bowel and bladder health and more.

Sex has gotten painful since having a baby. Could that be something related to my pelvic floor?

For women who tore their pelvic floor when they gave birth, the area that most likely tore is the spot where the muscles and nerves connect. As the area heals, scar tissue forms as a way for the area to be reinforced again. Scar tissue is often tight and would benefit from gentle massage to reintroduce pliability again. Some of the nerves in this same area may have also been damaged. Massage and reconnecting with how the muscles move (they move both upward (think Kegels) and downward (reverse Kegel) will help tremendously with getting normal, pleasurable sensation back.

For those women who didn’t tear and are still experiencing painful intercourse, the same area in the vagina was stretched considerably during the 9 months of pregnancy and could also benefit from similar techniques to get the muscles and nerves healthy again.

Do you have a question about your pelvic floor that you would like Lindsey to answer? Send them to lindseyvestal@functionalpelvis.com. They will remain anonymous so feel free to ask your most taboo question!

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We're so glad to live in a time when modern baby gear exists. Sure, no one is going to argue that having a baby is easy—but it can be easier with support from some gadgets designed to help your baby and put your mind at ease.

As you build your baby registry, look for products that go the extra mile to make your life a whole lot easier. For example, what's better than a bassinet? A bassinet that can rock by itself. And what's better than a traditional baby monitor? One that allows you to actually take a peek at your baby. Believe us when we say these upgrades can make all the difference.

Here are 10 baby gadgets that will make your life so much easier… relatively speaking, of course!


A bassinet to promote safe + sound sleep

HALO Innovations Bassinest Swivel Sleeper Essenta Series Nautical Net

The safest place for your newborn to sleep is in your room, but not in your bed. Thanks to the swivel function of the Halo Bassinest, you can easily tend to your baby during the night—which means more sleep for you, too. Trust us when we say that is the best gift you can give a new parent.

$239.99

A smart swing for your baby

4moms mamaRoo 4 Bluetooth Enabled High-Tech Baby Swing - Classic

Believe it or not, many babies are born with strong opinions about how they want to be rocked, swung or shushed to calm down. With the mamaRoo's various motions and reclining positions, you'll be able to find a setting your baby loves when you need to free up your hands for a bit.

$219.99

A complete travel system for car + sidewalk

Chicco Bravo Travel System - Indigo

No matter where the day takes you—or what mode of transportation you need to get there—getting a complete travel system for your baby will equip you for anything.

$379.99

A swaddle you don’t have to wrestle

Love To Dream Swaddle UP Original

What do babies and Harry Houdini have in common? A knack for breaking out of tight constraints—which can be a headache when swaddling is the best way to help promote good sleep. Thanks to a breakout-proof swaddle that allows your baby to sleep with their hands up, you don't have to work up a sweat just to get your baby comfortably swaddled.

$29.99

A nursery wherever you need it

Baby Trend Lil Snooze Deluxe II Nursery Center

During the early days of parenting (when you are feeding and changing your baby around the clock), having convenient access to everything you need with a go-anywhere nursery station can save you serious time and energy.

$99.99

A little help for stuffy noses

Fridababy NoseFrida Nasal Aspirator

Up until the point years down the road when your child is able to blow their own nose, the sniffles can be a real struggle—but not with a nasal aspirator that makes it easy for you to get that snot out of their nose.

$15.99

A way to keep an eye on your baby

VTech 5" Digital Video Baby Monitor - VM5251

Trust us when we say you'll sleep better when you know your baby is also sleeping soundly. That's why we're so thankful for modern-day video monitors, which allow you to check in on your sleeping baby without running the risk of waking them up when you sneak in for a peek.

$79.99

A bassinet for hands-free rocking

Simmons Kids Silent Auto Gliding Elite Bassinet - Odyssey

Babies are soothed by rocking motions. But what does that mean for you if you can't rock them throughout the night? With an auto-gliding bassinet, they can comfortably drift off to sleep... and continue snoozing.

$99.99

An easy way to contain diaper smells

Diaper Genie Expressions Pail

Sometimes it's the little conveniences that make a big difference in the quality of your day-to-day life. That's why a great diaper pail should not be undervalued: By containing the smell, you will save yourself dozens upon dozens of trips to the garbage can.

$24.99

A white noise machine that pulls double duty

Hatch Rest Sound Machine, Night Light & Time-to-Rise

A phone-controlled sound machine may be something you never considered until now, but it will be a major lifesaver for years to come, especially as it can also function as a time-to-rise clock that promotes good sleep habits for your child.

$59.99

And as for securing all these awesome products? Well, a Target baby registry is the way to do it. By creating your baby registry with Target, you will also enjoy their Year of Benefits registry program, which includes perks like a welcome kit with more than $100 in savings and samples, two 15% off coupons to complete your registry, and a full year of returns. The benefits are better than ever right now: Target just launched the Year of Exclusive Deals perk as one of its registry benefits, and this includes a year's worth of discounts on baby essentials (think diapers and formula) and comes complementary when you sign up for Target Circle.

Because while parenting may not be "easy," deciding to register with Target definitely is an easy decision. Start your Target baby registry now and enjoy shopping with a Year of Benefits featuring a Year of Exclusive Deals available via Target Circle, two 15% off coupons, a year of hassle-free returns, a free welcome kit and more!

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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Talking to kids can come so easily. They have thoughts about everything and stories for miles. They see the world in a completely different light, and could ask enough questions to fill an afternoon.

But sometimes finding the right words for talking to kids can be really, really challenging. When choosing how to respond to the marker on the wall, or the seemingly unending why-can't-I battle, or in simply keeping healthy communication open with kids who don't want to talk, the words don't seem to come so easily.

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