Hi I’m Nicky from Little Ones. And today I’m going to be
talking to Sissy Taufika. She’s a registered
physiotherapist, nutritionist and life coach who works holistically with families and children. Her company is called
Absolute Potential Health and Performance and it’s a one of a kind wellness studio in the Sunshine Coast. Sissy is mother to a two
year old little girl. Today we’re going to be
talking about how important your health and movement
is right from preconception through pregnancy through
the postnatal period. We will talk about some things you can do to ensure you are getting
enough exercise in during your pregnancy and how to make sure it’s the right kind of exercise
for the stage you’re at. We’ll talk a bit about self care and how mothers and fathers can take care of each other and themselves
in the postnatal period. We will be talking about
exercise and why it is important to not only yourself but
also to your growing baby to get the right amount of exercise in during your pregnancy. Nicky: To start with can
you tell me about your own journey into motherhood which
was a couple years ago now. What did you find easy? What did you find challenging? Sissy: So I actually found
the transition into being a stay at home full time
mom in the early months relatively easy so I was quite lucky. My little girl took to
breastfeeding quite well. I was mentally ready to
take a break from work and physically I recovered
really well from the birth which I’m so grateful for. Probably the most
challenging has been recently so the last six months
or so trying to juggle motherhood, being a partner and starting up a new clinic. So we moved from Brisbane
to the Sunshine Coast at the start of the year
which meant setting up a brand new clinic, marketing, website, starting in the garage with
a one and a half year old who didn’t want to be apart from me. I know, it’s full on isn’t it? And I think the thing that
made it a little bit tricky for our situation is my
partner who’s in a wheelchair. He actually started
having some health issues around the same time. So it was really quite a difficult time because I felt so torn
between wanting to look after my family and wanting to get started with this business that
I’m so passionate about. So it really really highlighted to me that whole mom guilt
phenomemon which we all have experienced because I felt guilty for wanting to spend time on my business. I felt like that was taking time away from taking care of my family and my little girl and my partner. And it was a really tough time that conflict between the two. Which I’m sure a lot of moms
would go through as well. Especially moms that return to work and have their own business
and things like that as well. So yeah that was definitely
the most challenging for me. Nicky: Yeah the mom
guilt is very very real. Sissy: Yeah yeah. Nicky: I mean I almost, sorry go on. Sissy: Oh I was just gonna
say there was a study that I was looking into. A researcher up here in
Queensland that did her PhD on it. And she was talking about how for moms going to work is still
considered a choice. Whereas for men it’s not a choice. You just assume they go back to work. So that’s why for us,
when we have to choose between work and family,
we feel like we’re taking away from our family and yeah it’s crazy that we all feel that way. Nicky: It’s one of those
you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t. You know I know a lot of mothers who have to go back to work for instance because they financially need to. And they feel guilty they
have to go back to work. And then I also know mothers
who choose to stay at home and forfeit an income
and their family sort of struggles financially as a result. And they feel guilty about that. It’s like you can’t win, yeah whatever your decision is. How did you get through that? How did you find the balance? Sissy: It was tricky, it
was a really stressful time. I actually, I think communication with your partner is really important. So I had to almost take
a bit of a step back from the work and that
was a decision I made because I knew that this
period where he might need a little bit more help was something that I needed to focus on right now. And that the business was
sort of still be there. Which that wasn’t easy,
that was really tricky because I had to wait for
the last year to get back and waiting for the move to get started. So emotionally it was quite
frustrating for me as well. But I had to really just
like I said take that time. And I know we’re gonna talk about it later in terms of mindfulness
and the meditation. But those kind of strategies
helped me through as well to realize that it doesn’t
all have to be done now. And my partner was super
supportive as well. He understood and he was
like don’t feel guilty. It’s your career you know, it’s what you’ve been waiting to do. I wanna support you as much as possible. So I think definitely
talking to your partner and having them on the same
page makes a big difference to that kind of situation too. Nicky: I think so. So what is it that you do? And I know you’re working
in maternal health as well. Why are you so passionate about that area? Sissy: Yes so my qualifications,
I’m a registered physio, an integrated movement specialist. But I’m also a nutritionist
and a life coach. So sometimes I say I’m an
integrative health practitioner because that’s really what I do. So I take all my skills and
knowledge in all those areas and combine them to work with the families and children in a holistic
manner if that makes sense. So I whether that be sort
of from preconception or prenatal and postnatal health working with parents to help
them regain their health. I also work specifically
with babies and children so in the early
intervention pediatric area. But look at the physical as well as I said the diet and nutrition as well. And in regards to why
I become so passionate about maternal health,
definitely becoming a mom. You know I think it’s
so cliche everyone says your life changes and it totally does. And for me, although I’ve
always worked holistically, that target group of
wanting to work with moms, parents and helping them to support, them to achieve their
best health so they can be the best parents they can be. That became so important for me because I really realized
that when we’re not feeling our best, it’s so hard to give 100% and be that parent that you want to be. And that has a big carryon
effect to the health of our children. And really that’s what I want to do. I want to help change the trajectory of our children’s
current health situation. You know it’s so scary to think about. There’s 10 years old with type 2 diabetes. Obesity is a problem in
six or seven year olds. We have so much influence
over that as parents. So yes if we can feel good,
if we can feel our best then we can be the best
example for our kids. Nicky: That’s exactly
right, we’re modeling. We’re modeling what they should be doing and thinking and how they
should be like reacting and responding to food and to exercise.
Sissy: Exactly. Nicky: And to mental health. Sissy: It’s funny like you
hear so many parents are like telling their kids that
they’ve got to eat healthy. But then if you’re eating
not so great stuff, that’s the stuff they pick up on. And that’s where it’s so
important to take care of yourself first and then you can be that parent that you wanna be. And you can grow happy and healthy kids. Nicky: So do you do one on one training? Do you do clinics, classes? How exactly does that operate? Sissy: So I do a bit of both. So I work one on one, like I said I work with couples on the preconception stage. Falling pregnant naturally
so that’s with mom and dad because both are super important in that stage of life. I do one on one sort
of pre and postnatally so moms that are experiencing
post pregnancy issues. Dads as well that are wanting
to get back into shape because it’s so hard with
you know having kids. That’s where I really
specialize is customizing fitness to fit into busy family life. And the other thing I do too
is I run a prenatal workshop. So it’s an eight week workshop. Small groups so eight moms or so. And basically I go over
not only the physical side of things, the nutrition side of things but also the mindfulness side of things, the importance of sleep so
it’s a really holistic workshop in a group situation. Which then becomes almost
like your Little Moms group, because they sort of start
while they’re pregnant and then they carry on that relationship. Because community is so important, that network is massive. Nicky: So if we’re talking
about ways that mothers and fathers I suppose can
look after their health in that preconception
and pregnancy period, what are some key things that you would be recommending they do? Sissy: Obviously there’s a lot of things. I think from like a nutrition
and mindfulness point of view, a lot of people know about that. But I definitely think
movement is a huge role in maternal and paternal health not a lot of people think about. You know starting from preconception, it’s a really important time
that’s really undervalued. It sets up a foundation
for a healthy child. You know we know things like obesity and being underweight
have a negative effect on becoming pregnant. So utilizing exercise and
movement to help you reach a more healthy weight for
yourself is really important. On the flip side, if
you’re exercising a lot. So you know doing a lot
of high impact exercises, training every single day, that can have a negative impact on you getting pregnant. So for that type of person,
they might actually be looking at reducing the amount of exercise they’re doing in that
preconception period. Because it effects your
hormones, exercising that much. Particularly if you’ve also got symptoms like amenorrhea where
you’ve lost your period. So depending on what sort of
target population you’re in, it’s just about modifying
your exercise in that time to help support you. And what I do with a lot of my moms during that preconception time
is get them to start doing their pelvic floor exercises
and the abdominal exercises. It’s so much harder to do these things after everything’s stretched
out for lack of a better word. Nicky: Very descriptive explanation. Sissy: I think it’s great
that they have physios. I don’t know if they
do that in New Zealand but in Australia, they
do have a physio come in and see you the day
after you’ve given birth to go over pelvic exercises.
Nicky: No. Sissy: So it’s great that they do it. Nicky: Yeah. Sissy: Great that they do it. But when you think about it, the day after you’ve had a baby, there’s no way you’re going to take in any of that information. And you do have to seek external health. And there’s a lot of women as you all know that experience diastasis recti, the separation of abdominal muscles. And I think starting a
lot of these exercises before you even get
pregnant just helps you to lay down, again that
really strong foundation. So you’re stronger through pregnancy and recover a lot better afterwards. And I guess that then leads into that prenatal pregnancy period. Exercise is super important. Like I’m a huge fan of doing exercise but I think it’s really important no to overdo it when you’re pregnant. We’re not talking about
people that have always lifted weights, have always run a lot. You know those people
generally can keep exercising up until a certain point
in their pregnancy. But for those people as well, it’s important that they
listen to their bodies because physically there’s so many changes that go on in the body
when you’re pregnant. You know from hormones are different, muscular skeletal changes. You’ve got physiological changes and your bodies just not the
same when you’re pregnant, no matter what anybody says. And I think the other really
important thing to remember too is you’re responsible for a human. You know, you can’t exercise crazily or start a new exercise. Like it’s not the time to
start like a crazy 12 week let’s get in shape kind of program. You want to leave that to
the side when you’re pregnant and not start anything new. So I guess just some
specific points for moms during pregnancy in regards
to movement and exercise is just some kind of daily exercise. Even if it’s just a walk
is really important. It actually helps to stimulate your babies own movement
development down the track. And helps to develop like a nervous system cardiovascular health. It even helps to reduce their
risk of diabetes and obesity down the track as well,
just from the mom exercising while she’s pregnant. Continuing the pelvic
floor and core exercises as I already mentioned. That’s huge to definitely keep doing that while you’re pregnant. The biggest thing I think to be careful on is overstretching and sort
of end of range movements. So a lot of mothers hear
about the hormone relaxin that helps to loosen
everything up for birth. It makes you feel like
you’ve got a bit more flexibility and mobility. But it also means you’re
at higher risk of injury. It is why so many women experience SIJ or sacroiliac pain during pregnancy. And that’s due to those
ligaments starting to relax a bit more and then us
having issues with walking and rolling around and
things like that too. I really like natural movements too. I think just normal things
like swimming or gardening or even just squatting are
really really important. Particularly in the third trimester. Squatting really helps to
open up the pelvic outlet to help move your babies head into that downward position for birth. So it’s actually a really
nice natural movement that can actually help a
natural delivery as well. And probably the last point I’d say too is just get outside to move. So that links in really well
with going for that daily walk. Vitamin D production from the
sunlight is super important for fetal bone growth. Even things like miscarriage and brain development down the track. So getting that safe
sunlight while you’re moving during pregnancy is super important for your babies later health as well. Nicky: That’s awesome advice. And what about in that postnatal period? Are we talking baby pops out, jump back on the treadmill straight away? Like you know should we be focused on setting our pre baby bodies back? What are your thoughts on that? Sissy: No, and I think
that’s another thing that kind of relates to that
mom guilt a little bit too. There’s so much pressure on
moms to look a certain way like within two weeks. Especially when you see
celebrities posting stuff up on Instagram how they’ve just lost all their baby weight in
you know a week or two. I think it’s not realistic to think about because they will usually
have a huge support network of people that can one,
look after their baby. They’ve probably got a PT that can spend two hours with them everyday. And I think it’s not necessary. You definitely need to be
listening to your body again. I think starting with
something very simple. So even just that walk,
you can start doing that a couple days after you’ve given birth. And that will just help
you to recover as well. But if you don’t even
feel like doing that, it’s not something that you need to push yourself to doing anyway. I definitely wouldn’t be
doing anything too heavy or too intensive. Levels of relaxin, they still hang around for a couple weeks after
you’ve given birth as well so there is still risk of inuring yourself after you’ve given birth. So you wanna ease back
into things as well. And I can’t encourage
moms enough to really just listen to their bodies and try to put away that guilt of having to get back into shape
and exercise straight away because it’s not time to
be worrying about that. You’ve got a more important role during those first few months.