Helene Byrne is an internationally recognized prenatal and postpartum health and fitness expert with over 25 years of experience, creator of the award-winning DVD “Bounce Back Fast! Postnatal Core Conditioning”  and author of the acclaimed book “Exercise After Pregnancy: How to Look and Feel Your Best,” and founder of BeFit-Mom at www.befitmom.com. she holds a BFA from the Boston Conservatory and is an ACE (American Council on Exercise) certified Personal Trainer.

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Her mission is to educate, support, and motivate women to have the healthiest pregnancy and baby, and to inspire women to lead their entire families to better health and wellness. 

Guys, pay attention! Sooner or later you are going to either have a baby, a family member with a baby, grand baby’s… this is excellent information for both women and men who support women in pregnancy.

Helene has developed an exercise system which combines the best of classic fitness, yoga, pilates and more, specifically tailored to women who are either currently pregnant, or recently gave birth. 

During Pregnancy


When women are pregnant the biggest transformation is when women who are sedentary switch and meet the minimum requirements: 20 minutes of cardio every day, or 30 minutes most days of the week. All you have to do is raise your heart rate a little bit, it doesn’t have to be past the point of being able to hold conversation. Even just 20 minutes of walking does wonders. Doing this improves the mother’s immune system, which improves the baby’s immunity. Regular cardio boosts the baby’s cardiovascular and respiratory system as well.

Avoiding diastasis recti is very important during pregnancy – this is done by strengthening the transverse abdominus. Helene has videos you can watch to learn these exercises. This helps prevent back pain, pelvic instability, and other serious issues. During pregnancy it’s important to do exercises that strengthen the abdominal wall.  It is also important to avoid most traditional core exercises such as crunches, sit-ups, etc. Yoga style belly breathing is a no-no! In addition, hot yoga should be avoided, as well as exercises done on all fours such as cat-cow, plank, hunting dog, really any exercise in which your abdominal wall is fighting against gravity.


Don’ts: things that are not pasteurized, raw fish, high fatty fishes (especially albacore). No rice, and rice products from China.  A lot of rice comes from the United States, but a good rule of thumb is to avoid white rice, especially at restaurants.  Avoid undercooked meets, soft cheeses, and always wash fruits and vegetables. Alcohol and marijuana are off the menu, no ifs, ands or buts about it!

Dos: High quality diet that is in balance with your specific metabolism.  This is the goldilocks principle- not too little, not too much. Figuring out how much to eat, and what can be considered a healthy amount of weight gain is easy to do with Helene’s app Perfect Pregnancy and Postpartum App.  It tells you how many calories, and which foods you should eat to ensure ideal baby health. Being healthy really means cooking at home, planning your meals, and having healthy food in your house.

Post Birth

Nutrition for the Baby

Breast feeding is best, but there are a lot of reasons that make breast feeding difficult or impossible for some women. If formula is what works best for your health, lifestyle, and physiology it is fine, and there is no reason you should feel ashamed about it.

Nutrition for breast-feeding mothers

It is important to realize that mothers need at least 300 more calories per day while initially breast feeding, and at least 500 more if still breast feeding at six months. For the first six weeks after pregnancy the focus should be on adjusting to the new baby psychologically, eating very nutritious and enough food, and getting plenty of sleep.  Then after the first six weeks it is safe to slightly reduce your calorie intake so that you are slightly below your metabolic balance point (this helps to start using the stored fat gained during pregnancy). You never want to lose more than 1 pound per week postpartum.

Postpartum Ab Rehab

The first step is building strength back into the diastasis recti. Next is working on functional stability exercises. Many try to jump right back into crunches, bicycles or planks, but this is incorrect as the muscles, ligaments, and joints are elongated, loose, and weakened.  After doing functional stability exercises, then traditional ab exercises can be added back into the routine. Ligament laxity (elongation and weakening) can last for up to six months after pregnancy, so running and other ballistic exercises should be added gradually and correctly back into the regiment. 

Helene offers several programs and systems to help mothers and their babies stay healthy before, during, and after pregnancy. These include tests to determine which program is right for each individual. Find Helene, her books, apps and more at:

website: https://befitmom.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BeFitMom/


Intro: 00:00:02 Welcome to the Dirobi health show.

Dave Sherwin: 00:00:04 Covering the world of fitness nutrition and supplementation with world class guests the latest clinical research and plenty of tips you can use right away to boost your health and wellness. Here’s your host Dave Sherwin.

Dave Sherwin: 00:00:20 Hello everybody welcome to episode 77 of the Dirobi health show with Helene Byrne today and the episode titled How to have a healthier stronger smarter baby is one I’ve been excited about as I have children and now I’m having grandchildren come into my family and so this is a very meaningful and exciting topic. And guys hang in there because you’ve got women in your lives that need you to understand them and what they’re going through. And so this episode I think is very meaningful for everybody whether you’re preparing to have children or you have children are in and if you have children one day you’re going to have grandchildren it goes on and on. And so this episode really applies. Helen Byrne Helene sorry Helene Byrne is an internationally recognized prenatal and postpartum health and fitness expert with over 25 years of experience. She’s a creator of the award winning DVD bounceback back fast postnatal CORE CONDITIONING and author of the acclaimed book Exercise After Pregnancy: How to look and feel your best. And she’s a founder of Be Fit Mom W WW dot Be Fit Mom dot com. She holds a BFA from the Boston Conservatory and is a CEO or American Council on Exercise certified personal trainer. Her mission is to educate support and motivate women to have the healthiest pregnancy and baby and to inspire women to lead their entire families to better health and wellness. Helene thank you so much for taking the time to be on the show.

Helen Byrne: 00:01:47 Oh thanks for having me.

Dave Sherwin: 00:01:49 Yeah I’m so glad you accept our invitation and come on as like I said this topic is so meaningful it’s so important. We talk about health and nutrition exercise supplementation on my show but never in the past if we talked about those items for the tiniest most fragile beings on the planet our little babies and fetuses that are coming along and of course you’re an expert in this field. Not just for babies but for moms and 25 years experience. I’d like to hear your story. How did this all begin.

Helen Byrne: 00:02:22 Well you know like a lot of moms I went through pregnancy and postpartum and realized wow the fitness industry really doesn’t do this topic very well especially when I was postpartum but when I was pregnant too and so what I did is after the birth of my child you know I got really intensely interested in this topic and I put together a rehab system because there wasn’t one when I went to say OK how should I rehab my body.

Helen Byrne: 00:03:00 There really wasn’t anything appropriate out there so I took my knowledge of parties and yoga and dance as well as classic fitness training techniques. And I kind of chose the best of all of those world. And that’s how I developed my system of exercise and that that was my starting point. And you know I didn’t have some great plan of staying there my whole career but this field is so rewarding that it really made me think yeah this is my place I’ve found my niche and this is where I want to be.

Dave Sherwin: 00:03:41 It sounds to me like you’re kind of ahead of your time. I mean you know 25 years ago at least from my experience.

Dave Sherwin: 00:03:49 Yoga was something that was kind of available and people did it but it certainly wasn’t kind of hot like it is now. I mean at my local right center there’s three or four yoga classes a day. And right. They’re all full. Tell me about that.

Dave Sherwin: 00:04:04 You seem to be head of your time. What was it like 25 years ago when you’re doing yoga and some of these techniques. You’re talking about.

Helen Byrne: 00:04:12 Well you know it was a small world back then especially the plotters world you know the pole ladies Pilate’s and yoga have kind of morphed together and grown together. But it was almost like a secret that only dancers did. But it really it really changes how your body functions and just like other areas of our lives in fitness and health our bodies form follows function. So you want to look better. You have to function better in your body.

Helen Byrne: 00:04:51 And it is the thing about politeness in yoga is it connects that mind body connection. The fact that we even have to talk about a mind body connection is a little bit like “Well huh?” because in most places of the world you know doesn’t have that separation the mind and the body are all are one already but here in our western culture that has been slow to adapt and slow to come on.

Helen Byrne: 00:05:22 So when people get into a Palates or yoga class it gives them so much more than simply the physical benefits it gives a lot of psychological benefits too. And that’s why it’s such a growing field.

Dave Sherwin: 00:05:39 Yeah and again there’s a gap in genders here.

Dave Sherwin: 00:05:42 I go to a yoga I try to go twice a week sometimes I go three times a week. And for me it’s just great. It’s great recovery from the heavier exercise I’m doing it’s just it’s a nice experience you feel refreshed like you say. Not just physically but mentally spiritually. The last yoga class I went to was on Saturday it was at 10 o’clock in the morning and there was about 30 women and me.

Dave Sherwin: 00:06:07 And that’s pretty common.

Dave Sherwin: 00:06:08 There’s often one or two other guys in the class but I think it’s maybe one of women’s best kept secrets at the moment and if more guys I don’t know maybe there’s a stigma about it. They don’t think it’s cool. I don’t know what it is. All I know is I love it but I don’t get there.

Helen Byrne: 00:06:26 I think guys kind of fear that they’re not going to do well that they’re not that you have to be flexible to do it which is a misconception or that every class is about trying to wedge yourself in some weird pretzel shape.

Helen Byrne: 00:06:44 And it really isn’t. So I think that men have a lot of misconceptions and I want to confirm that yoga or pole ladies. Either one is the ideal cross training for men who are working out in the weight room all the time or Marrar going out there you know and maybe training for an ironman or some other kind of race. It it’s the ideal balance to put into your fitness routine.

Dave Sherwin: 00:07:19 Well it absolutely is. I know that I mean I’ve done Iron Man I’ve done sport and I’ve done all kinds of races and events just kind of my world. I love it. And I got to tell you that when I mix yoga into that mix I’m more flexible. I recover better. Everything about that world is better so. Amen to what you said it’s absolutely true.

Dave Sherwin: 00:07:39 But let me segue back to our talking points and let’s start at the beginning and I know you deal with the with mothers and mothers recovery. But let’s start at the beginning with the baby. Healthier stronger smarter baby. It’s kind of your mantra from what I can gather at least the beginning points like you say you do go into postpartum and what not. But talk to us about that. How do mothers have a healthier stronger and even smarter baby.

Helen Byrne: 00:08:11 Well you know the first thing that we have to recognize is that maternal health and fetal health are one in the same. There is no difference. So the healthier mom is going into pregnancy and the healthier she eats and stays active the healthy for her baby. So that’s the really the key to having a healthier smarter baby overall is to start with a healthier mom. So let’s take that first thing. Just general health by far and away the best thing that you can do for your body as well as your developing baby is cardiovascular exercise aerobic exercise and you don’t have to be one of those people that’s burning it up in spin class or do in high intensity interval training or any of that kind of high end stuff. The most benefits that occur are actually when previously said Ontari or low activity women transition and meet the minimum requirements.

Helen Byrne: 00:09:33 And so right now what we’re asking women to meet is either 20 minutes a day of moderate level cardio or 30 minutes a day and most days of the week. And when we talk about cardio all you have to do is raise your heart rate a little bit. You want to feel like you’re working but you’re not working hard. You’re not working too hard. You can always have a conversation. So if you’re like most women that are less fit than walking is the ideal exercise when you do regular cardiovascular exercise some really great things happen.

Helen Byrne: 00:10:23 And what happens is when you. Your body gets stronger and you become more efficient in your body and that increases the strength of your immune system. So that’s super great. And then of course Mom when Mom has a stronger immune system then she gets to pass that along to her baby. And when you do cardio guess who does cardio to your baby and your baby’s heart rate actually goes up a little bit. You know Savely is not an unsafe thing and that means your baby’s heart and lungs an entire cardiovascular system.

Helen Byrne: 00:11:15 Is stronger and healthier right away right from birth. So Fit Moms give birth to babies who are literally more fit. And we’ve seen that those children are much more likely to then go on and continue to be active into their lives. So if you want to start with anything start with cardio strength training basic strength training is safe during pregnancy as well as most stretching there’s a few bit of caveats with strength training if you are a very athletic woman. You’re one of those cross fit women.

Helen Byrne: 00:12:07 You might want to hold off cross fit in the week or so when you’re trying to conceive and then as you get bigger you really want to lower the weights and lower the resistance and switch from a high intensity low rep workout to a high rep lower intensity workout because that’s how you’ll say stay safe because pregnancy relaxes our connective tissues and our ligaments ligaments are designed to hold or joints in proper position and when they’re looser if you’re doing her hard hardcore strength training or if you’re a runner you need to ease back a little bit as your ligaments get more lax. So that’s how to be healthier and stronger. For a baby. And guess what. We now see in animal models that moms who meet these minimum threshold of cardio or more maybe they’re doing 45 minutes of cardio five days a week or whatever. Those babies in animal models have more development in their cerebral cortex in the thinking parts of their brains. So now we haven’t thought of that. That’s not something that we can’t you know test on. You know obviously human babies we can see it in animals but we now think that this comes through with our babies as well. So we can now say that regular cardiovascular exercise actually makes your baby smarter.

Helen Byrne: 00:13:57 Right from the beginning that’s profound.

Dave Sherwin: 00:14:02 Yeah it certainly meets the common sense standard right. I mean it just certainly sounds right. Right. Excellent. How about nutrition top nutrition tips?

Helen Byrne: 00:14:14 Well nutrition has a lot of do’s and don’ts. That is certainly true that the don’ts of what not to eat are pretty well-known.

Helen Byrne: 00:14:32 I’ll go over them pretty quickly.

Helen Byrne: 00:14:35 You don’t want to eat a anything that is not pasteurized. You don’t want to eat raw fish that you don’t want to eat.

Helen Byrne: 00:14:49 Some high fatty fishes like tuna and well some tunas are OK.

Helen Byrne: 00:15:00 What I should really say are they’re really fatty fish like swordfish mackerel and the tuna you want to avoid is Albacore tuna the more expensive kind. Now other foods that are kind of new on the list we have a new list of what not to eat. And it starts with rice and rice products from China. And the reason for that is China is now a really polluted place and that means that that pollution is getting down into their food system. And Rice you know being grown in the water just sucks up those heavy metals and we don’t want to eat any of those products. Rice and rice products from China.

Helen Byrne: 00:16:00 Now for most of us we go to the grocery store in the United States and our rice is from California or someplace like that. But you why want to depending on your culture depending on where you live. You might want to avoid white rice in a Chinese restaurant. So that is something to really kind of be.

Helen Byrne: 00:16:28 Be aware about. And then of course you need to make sure that you avoid where the dangerous bacteria like salmonella listeria and E. coli I work.

Helen Byrne: 00:16:42 You know you do not ever want to eat an undercooked hamburger. You want to make sure again unwind the soft cheeses you want to always wash your few fruits and vegetables as well as grains so that you know that you’re doing everything you can to avoid those kinds of dangerous bacteria that can come into food. Now is it fair to encounter e.coli listeria or salmonella. Yeah it is. But because the negative effects on your developing baby can be catastrophic you know that’s why it’s just off the menu.

Helen Byrne: 00:17:34 The other thing that is off the menu during pregnancy is alcohol without a doubt.

Helen Byrne: 00:17:43 Alcohol is a neurotoxic and we don’t want to come in contact with it. Now there’s some debate about that.

Helen Byrne: 00:17:57 But think about this when you have one glass of wine and you start to feel the effects of that one glass of wine that means you’re full adult sized liver cannot process the alcohol now. Think of your baby. You know at 20 weeks I mean her liver might be the size of a lima bean. You know you don’t want to challenge that. Fetal liver with alcohol. So it’s a no. And the other thing that’s a no for taking in is marijuana. Studies show that moms who use marijuana during pregnancy tend to give birth to lower birth weight babies and we don’t want that. We want to do everything we can to improve the health of baby. So that’s what these prescriptions are about what not to eat are like. Now what should we eat during pregnancy.

Helen Byrne: 00:19:06 Well we should eat a high quality diet that is in balance with your specific metabolism and if you do that then you will gain the ideal amount of weight for baby.

Helen Byrne: 00:19:22 This is the Goldilocks not too much not too little just right for your body.

Helen Byrne: 00:19:30 And that how much is too right. It really depends on where you start pregnancy if you start underweight. You need to gain more than average if you start in a I’d in an ideal weight then yeah you’re going to gain you’re the normal. What we asked women again is really about somewhere between you know 25 and 35 pounds is normal. But if you’re overweight you want to gain less than that. So how do you do that. It’s not easy to do. And so I’ve got the answer. I’ve done the math and I’ve put it in an app called the perfect pregnancy and postpartum pounds. And you put in your stats your age your height your weight your week of gestation what you started the way you started pregnancy and the week of gestation you are what you weigh now and the app will tell you your ideal Goldilocks target of how many calories you should eat for that part of your pregnancy.

Helen Byrne: 00:20:45 And by doing that you ensure that your baby gets the best start because bowled over gaining and under gaining have real negative consequences for a baby. So we want to stay right in that sweet spot and I tell you it’s difficult. We’re surrounded by low quality food that is cheap and what we want to do in pregnancy is eat high quality and the amount that matches your specific netball needs. And if you do that that goes a long way to preventing a lot of negative outcomes both for moms body and to maximize your baby’s health and development. So where are those healthy foods.

Helen Byrne: 00:21:36 Fountain they’re found on the outside aisles of the grocery store. So when you go shopping you want to fill your cart mostly with foods from the outside aisles where are healthy food not found they’re not found in fast food restaurants and chain restaurants. It’s really hard to eat healthy if that is your habit. So that means healthy means cooking at home planning your meals buying healthy food so you haven’t made your house so that you can eat them and prepare them.

Dave Sherwin: 00:22:20 Yeah. Excellent advice.

Dave Sherwin: 00:22:22 And and because this is a health show we do so much on nutrition. I don’t want to spend much more of your time on that because there’s so much very specific stuff I would love to have you cover in a limited amount of time. And so first of all let me jump back to something you said you’ve created an app that’s wonderful for those listening especially if you’re driving right now and you’re like oh I can’t remember that. What was that app. If you go to dirobi.com. This is episode 77 of the Dirobi health show. Everything that Helene mentions today we will put in a link and help you find anything so any other resources any other ideas tips apps anything that comes out linked to her Web site. All this stuff will be on the blog so you don’t have to stop and take notes or anything like that. We’re going to gather it all for you even a transcript of the whole episode so that’s Dirobi.com click on the blog find episode 77 for all these resources so. So understanding the big no-nos and some of those are quite interesting by the way I had never heard of for example the rice from China that to rights to me.

Dave Sherwin: 00:23:34 So you’ve given us some big no no some big to do’s and now and again most women listening have care. They have a doctor they have maybe a midwife there getting some kind of help. Usually doing you know prenatal classes et cetera. So let’s just assume your mom has now made it. She’s she’s taking your advice on cardiovascular health and eating a good healthy diet et cetera. Now she’s had the baby. And one of the problems that you talk about quite a bit and it’s kind of near and dear to your heart and I did not even pronounce it right.

Dave Sherwin: 00:24:13 But as Stass diaster ACIS wreck type please pronounce for me and explain what that is.

Helen Byrne: 00:24:18 Yeah. Diathesis recti, right. What happens during pregnancy because of hormones that we mentioned that softened connective tissue when ligaments.

Helen Byrne: 00:24:32 We need that because when we give birth that helps make the birth canal the pelvic outlet wider and more flexible it aids in birth. But it also means that our midline tissue which is called the linea alba and straight down the center of the body on our bellies if not actually muscle right there it’s connective tissue and because of just the force of the uterus pressing on the belly as well as well as other things some times that tissue actually can over widen and get too thin. And it makes the Rectus dominance. What we know is that six pack and the rest of the muscles under there not align properly and we want to avoid that as much as possible because abdominal separation reduces the functional integrity of the abdominal wall. And we need that to support the pelvis and torso during pregnancy so we can support the weight of that evergrowing uterus. So you want to make sure that you avoid movements that cause diasysis and over a splitting of the abdominal wall as well as do exercises to help prevent it.

Helen Byrne: 00:26:00 What we don’t want to do during pregnancy is we don’t want to allow the pelvis to take too much as the uterus grows. There’s a natural tendency to tip the pelvis back in response into over arching her back. That posture actually increases strain on the midline so we don’t want to do that. We don’t want to do most traditional abdominal exercises like crunches like bicycles because of those exercises when you flex the upper body actually push the uterus down and outward away from the spine. That physical action increases stress on the midline. And here’s one that we don’t know too much about that. I’m really always talking about it is that during pregnancy yoga style belly breathing is out. And when I talk about belly breathing I’m defining it as the intentional overinflation of the belly during inhalation.

Helen Byrne: 00:27:20 Now I love yoga. I’ve been doing it for years. Absolutely. It’s a great system of exercise but that one thing is actually dangerous to do during yoga.

Helen Byrne: 00:27:36 We’re talking about yoga and dangers no hot yoga during pregnancy especially in the first trimester and then the other thing that we want to watch out for is any exercise that we do in the quadrupeds position on all fours could be a simple like a cat cow a plank the hunting dog type exercises when your abdominal wall is in opposition to the force of gravity. It takes all a lot more strain to support your belly. So when you’re ever in a position on all fours you never want to just let the weight of your belly go and relax so an even less simple cat can exercise when you’re in the cow phase. You never want to just let it all hang out because that stresses the midline too. So those are some of the big what not to do in terms of exercises so that you don’t get a diasters. Now what you can do. I’ve got a couple of great exercises that you can watch videos on my Web site of a couple of safe abdominal exercises that you can do that Bill straight in your transverse abdominals.

Helen Byrne: 00:29:08 We sometimes call that the TBA in fitness.

Helen Byrne: 00:29:11 Now your TBA is your deepest most interior abdominal muscle. And when we contract that muscle the abdominal wall compresses and gets smaller. If you can get that muscle really strong before pregnancy or just keep it strong during pregnancy that goes a really long way to preventing dialysis as well as back pain as well as pelvic instability as well as more serious common complications like Lillico hernia. So go to my website and learn those exercises. If you’re a mom that had dialysis is wrecked in a previous pregnancy yeah your abdominal wall will probably open again. So really important for you then to do the two exercises on my site that use the hands to actually split the midline closed as you work these two exercises. And if you do that you can go a long way to preventing dialysis.

Dave Sherwin: 00:30:24 Wow great tips there. Again some of which I wouldn’t have guessed I certainly didn’t know them. Imagine mothers you know who are paying a whole lot more attention to this than I am may have known some of these things but I’ve got to guess there’s a lot of women who don’t notice these things you’re sharing. Do you find a lot of women as you present these things are surprised at some of these do’s and don’ts that you tell them?

Helen Byrne: 00:30:47 Very much so. Very surprised at the yoga belly breathing because it’s like my prenatal yoga teacher tells me to do that when I just have to say sorry. Why don’t you go have her read that section of my website where I explain the physiology of why it’s dangerous and maybe she’ll change her mind but if not you know you have to protect. You have to protect your body. And you have to be smart. Some very athletic women just hate the idea of slowing down. You know and but you know what do you mean I can’t do crunches. I love crunches or something like that. Right.

Helen Byrne: 00:31:32 But you know there are there are exercises that you have to modify as particularly involving the abdominal wall or something that really constrain ligaments and that’s why you say stay safe. The last thing anybody wants if you’re a fit mom if they get an injury during pregnancy because then you’re going to be out for weeks.

Dave Sherwin: 00:31:58 Right. Right. OK.

Dave Sherwin: 00:32:00 Let’s move on to we’ve had the had the baby now mom has had the baby. And let’s talk about nutrition for the baby now society has kind of changed obviously for forever. It was breast feeding for the baby and then in the 50s and 60s it became very uncool to breast feed. There’s all types of snazzy powders and drinks and various things could be fed to the baby and then society swung back and said oh wait a minute maybe that’s not such a good idea. Now I realize this is kind of a hot button topic because it is. I know that there are women that really want to breast feed their baby and it’s a real challenge for them. And then I’ve heard that you know if you can breast feed that it’s better for the immune system and the baby will have less problems later and go at least I’ve heard a couple different things some say at least six months of breast feeding and then introduce other things. Some say different time periods. So nutrition for the baby after birth. Talk to us about that.

Helen Byrne: 00:33:06 Right. What I want to say mostly about breastfeeding is is breast best. The answer is yes but it’s not that simple. There are a lot of reasons why breastfeeding is difficult or impossible for some women.

Helen Byrne: 00:33:26 And if a woman needs to do formula feeding whether it’s because she doesn’t produce enough milk or you know what the actual biggest barrier to breastfeeding is actually going back to work. There are a lot of moms who are like well I have to go back to work at six weeks. And the idea of pumping pumping pumping pumping all through work you might not have a job where that’s possible.

Helen Byrne: 00:34:01 It might be pumping is difficult for some women. Some women are great pumpers. I was a terrible pumper. I tried to pump. I could not get any bloke out. Right. So you need to do what’s best for your baby and what’s best for your family and your lifestyle. And if that means if you’re lucky enough to be able to do just breastfeeding for those first six months and you’re able to continue it for a full year or more. Two thumbs up. But you know what if that doesn’t work for you and you figure out wow you know formula is what really works for me then. Two thumbs up to that too.

Helen Byrne: 00:34:47 We have to stop this war between you know breast feeding and formula shaming. It just doesn’t work. Both are good formula feeding is good enough. Do you get the same benefits. No you don’t get the same but it’s still fine.

Dave Sherwin: 00:35:08 So what it sounds like you’re saying is is in a perfect world if you can breastfeed that’s wonderful. But in the real world it may not be possible and so. So yeah it all makes sense to me. It sounds like it would make sense to most people listening I assume right. This whole formula shaming I’ve never really witnessed that but I’m just I’m sure it’s a real thing. I don’t know it would.

Helen Byrne: 00:35:34 Yeah well it’s all over the web. It really is just really for whatever reason. What people say and how they say it in an electronic world is really different than how they would communicate face to face. And you know what guys. Come on let’s face it if you would say that to you know your best friend when she’s sitting cross-legged on the couch with you then don’t say it to a stranger. Let’s just get civil here. Right. We don’t have to go to war. We don’t have to be nasty. And no one knows what unique situations a certain person might be dealing with. And you know for moms who don’t make enough milk that can be a real tragedy you know or some babies have what’s called looked high and breastfeeding can be really difficult.

Helen Byrne: 00:36:32 You know it’s so we have to get to a healthier place overall so we can talk about it and without shaming.

Dave Sherwin: 00:36:43 Wonderful. Excellent stuff. So you talked about baby nutrition.

Dave Sherwin: 00:36:48 The school mom. The moms had her baby she’s one of these issues of breast feeding formula what she’s going to do and she’s getting back on track Nutrition Tips for a mom with a new baby.

Helen Byrne: 00:36:59 Yeah. Well the first thing that you want to know is that when you’re breastfeeding a newborn that raises mom’s metabolism by about 300 calories a day.

Helen Byrne: 00:37:13 And then by the time babies 6 months old if you’re still exclusively breastfeeding that raises mom’s metabolism by 500 calories a day that’s a lot of calories. It’s actually more than your third trimester.

Helen Byrne: 00:37:30 So you want to again eat towards metabolic balance. And my app will give you that exact number because I know a lot of women they want to lose the weight right away right. Well in the first six weeks after baby you want to eat a high quality diet to hunger so that you really can get your milk supply really entrenched that you get whatever how much sleep you can and that you adjust psychologically to this new person coming into your family and your system. Right. And so you need also time to just physically recover. You know pregnancy is you know a slow marathon. You know as they say then after that six week point then it’s safe to slightly reduce your calorie intake so that you are slightly below your metabolic balance point and that will start you using some of that extra stored fat that you put on because that’s what we do during pregnancy.

Helen Byrne: 00:38:42 Everybody stores a little bit of extra fat no matter what.

Helen Byrne: 00:38:45 And then you can use that stored energy to help make milk.

Helen Byrne: 00:38:52 And that’s how you can have a robust milk supply and lose weight in a healthy slow way.

Helen Byrne: 00:39:00 If your postpartum you never want to lose more than one pound a week one pound a week is the fastest healthy rate. And you know when your postpartum.

Helen Byrne: 00:39:15 Some women tend to drop the weight easily. Others not at all. And when you think about it it makes such biological sense. We have women a pantry on our bodies. We store a lot of calories as fat to what in order to support a healthy pregnancy. And in order to have enough energy so matter what happens fire flood famine whatever that our bodies can continue to nurture and feed our infants. That’s what it’s for. So give yourself plenty of time. To not not just lose weight but you know rebuild your abdominal wall that needs to happen too. And don’t believe stuff that you see on the Internet. You know you see these Instagram things of people oh you know I lost 35 pounds in four weeks. No it’s a lie that’s just not true. There’s no such thing as quick fit or as you know.

Helen Byrne: 00:40:28 What’s that program called. Where were you supposed to be able to lose ten pounds in two weeks. No that it’s really all hype it’s really all not true. So give yourself time to evolve because the pregnant the postpartum body is a transitional body and you evolve from pregnant to postpartum and then slowly evolve back to your pre pregnancy body. Some people do it faster than others. It it doesn’t really matter what the speed is you know as long as you’re headed in a healthy direction you’re eating right you’re getting activity then you’re on the right track for your body. And just follow your own body’s wisdom about that.

Dave Sherwin: 00:41:23 OK.

Dave Sherwin: 00:41:24 And a lot of women are going to love this next topic I’m sure. Good to be excited to hear your advice on postpartum cab rehab. Yeah. You have expertise on this and a lot of them in their ears perked up to like hey I mean how do I do that.

Helen Byrne: 00:41:41 I mean you’re right. And here’s the good news for all you ladies out there that had your last child for five years ago and you still don’t like the look of your abs. Guess what. It’s never too late to rebuild your abdominal wall correctly. And how it’s done is we want to start back with that transverse abdominals to just that muscle that we spoke about and how to prevent diocesan Rector. Well that’s where you want to start your ab rehab by building back strain into that muscle. Now the next thing is really subtle and that is dynamic stability because think about this you’ve had a baby your abdominal wall is weak and it’s lax It’s actually longer and then your ligaments are longer. So you are the most dynamically unstable at any time in your life good postpartum body is completely unique. It is like no other body where you have both a weak and ngal looseness in the joints and those two together create inherent instability.

Helen Byrne: 00:42:59 So the next part of AB rehab are working on functional stability exercises and this is where most people just say OK I’m just going to jump into crunches or jump into bicycles or even even planks. No work on functional stability. That’s what my programs do. And then once you go ah now I get it. You know every time I lift my leg up wow my pelvis really tilts over to one side you know or every time I do a movement with my arms go my back arches. Right. So you want to get that functional stability and build it up slowly but surely then after you do that basic rehab then it’s safe to start adding in other types of more traditional ab exercises if you do a crunch when your postpartum and you have a weak transverse have dominance and you’re loose to your ligaments and you do a crunch. What’s going to happen is your belly is going to bulge outward you can look down and you go Oh look there’s my six month belly poppin out every time I do a crunch and what happens with a movement like that is one your midline is never going to close.

Helen Byrne: 00:44:29 You know if you have a dialysis it’s never going to close and you can actually cause your midline to open more if you start trying to punch out crunches or other movements that cause the abdominal wall to bulge outward during exertion. So that’s a real key. What you know you don’t want to do. And most traditional abdominal exercises will cause that problem. But if you work in my system and rebuild the abdominal wall from the inside out you will flatten your abdominal wall you’ll closure midline and then when you’re ready to do more traditional ab exercises you’ll be able to do a crunch or a bicycle or a lot of Pilate’s moves too by the way. Pull out these core Nat or even on the reformer so that you can prevent your abdominal wall from bolting during exertion.

Helen Byrne: 00:45:27 And this is why a lot of moms they’re left with an overly round expanded deli and that’s true whether they have a dialysis or not is because they haven’t rebuilt the function of their abdominal wall. So that’s really the key to postpartum reconditioning.

Helen Byrne: 00:45:48 And then of course when you’re got your core strength and your stability then it’s really safe to diverse and go anywhere you can go to crossfit. You can go to jogging. You can go to you know back to any of your favorite exercises and know that you’re working safely in your body

Dave Sherwin: 00:46:13 So understand you’ve developed programs for moms. How many programs do you have? What are they about? Give us an overview of the programs you offer.

Helen Byrne: 00:46:18 Well unlike postpartum programs it’s kind of a two track thing. You want to test your midline to see whether you have a dialysis and there is instructions on how to test correctly.

Helen Byrne: 00:46:34 And then you want to choose your workout package whether depending on what your midline is if you don’t have a dialysis you can do the standard workouts if you do have a day abscesses you want to go into the dialysis rehab program both start with a very similar place in what we talked about rebuilding the transverse abdominals rebuilding functional stability. And then from there they diverged. Because it’s a little bit different. Moms without dialysis can do some other things months with dialysis have to kind of do a little more slower more intense rehab weight for their midline to really close up and where they have the ability the functioning to keep the abdominal wall closed and flat during exertion. Well I want to talk about one other thing. Postpartum exercise because this comes up a lot.

Helen Byrne: 00:47:41 I want to speak to you runners out there you know runners like to run runners have to run. Runners are like oh yeah just the best thing in my life. But if you run too soon after having baby it’s a very high risk for injury.

Helen Byrne: 00:48:03 As we said ligaments hold her joints. Improper position. And when you engage in activity that is high impact high volume high intensity which is what jogging and running is that you are really straining your ligaments. Now what happens during that is your muscles who they aren’t designed to stabilize your lift your joints. They have to take over the work so it’s very common to get muscle strain and muscle injury. If you run too soon and then the bigger thing that you can get is something called bladder or uterine prolapse. So we don’t think about this very much but the uterus and the bladder they’re held in the proper positioning in your body through ligaments and so those ligaments are long and weak and lacks. So if you’re jogging and every time your foot falls you go boink boink belt belt bounce bounce right. Well your uterine and bladder ligaments are going bounce bounce bounce bounce bounce.

Helen Byrne: 00:49:21 And if that is too much on your body you can develop a prolapse where the organ actually drops out of proper positioning and falls into the vaginal area or your pelvic floor area. So. All my runners out there running is great but not when you’re directly post-partum. You know fitness walking is fine you can still get a lot of fitness fitness walking. And that’s true even if you ran all the way up to pregnancy because postpartum it’s just a different beast altogether in your body in terms of ligament laxity ligament laxity can last up to six months postpartum.

Dave Sherwin: 00:50:15 So that’s the danger zone that six month period of time is when women start to be more patient. You know you’ve mentioned a couple times about the difference between Eastern thinking and Western thinking. And you know that really resonates with me I know for myself over the years I’ve mostly been an impatient person. Everything I do I want results fast. I’m just like everybody else. And yet when I’m when I’m patient and when I’m not putting myself on the clock so to speak and calendar and I’m just doing my workouts mindfully and enjoying them. And I’m you know more of a goalless situation. I do better and I’m sure that that’s something you’re seeing in your practice. I’m sure it’s something that’s just human nature. You must deal with this. I can I can sense it coming through the women that just want to get back to where they were fast. Right. And so speak to that for a minute. And what do you what do you counsel those of us that are read personalities we want again we want to get after we want to get back where we were when we want to be better than we were we want to be faster than we were. How do you calm us down and help us to take our time and let our body heal and do have this patience that you’re talking about.

Helen Byrne: 00:51:31 Well you know I like to think fitness and health is kind of being like building you know an old fashioned brick building every brick gets put in one at a time.

Helen Byrne: 00:51:49 You can’t if you’re a bricklayer. You just can’t you know oh look I’m going to build an entire building in an entire day.

Helen Byrne: 00:51:55 No it gets fitness and health. It’s one day at a time. You put one brick at a time and the next day you engage in another healthy activity and you put another brick in a time and another and another. And when you take that slower mindful journey you will have success.

Helen Byrne: 00:52:17 And also the great thing about working slower is that truly is what in grains a healthy habit. You know a lot of people take weight loss. Oh god I’m going to do this program and it says I’m going to lose 20 pounds in three weeks and I’m going to do it and yada yada yada. And there are really enthusiastic and they go all in and then it doesn’t work and then they think I’m a failure. Right. It didn’t work fast enough. It didn’t work for me. I can’t lose weight it just doesn’t work for me whatever it is right. Well if you take the time to work slowly and one day at a time that gives you physically and psychologically time to adapt because health habits it takes at least six weeks or eight weeks. To really truly develop a new health habit.

Helen Byrne: 00:53:15 And when you give yourself that time then it’s like becomes part of your normal every day life. And when you’re engaged in healthy eating and healthy activities and you’re at a good metabolic balance point the whole concept of going on a diet is obsolete. It doesn’t make sense. And of course everything I’ve just said is completely contrary to every advertisement you’ve ever seen. So you know what it comes down to it it sounds too good to be true. Like there’s one out there now called I think it’s mommy magic tea that helps you lose weight or something right now. I’m sorry what that will do is it will leave your wallet a little bit but it’s not going to. Right. It’s not going to work. So be sensible be slow. And you know this slow mindfulness it’s really a way of demonstrating self respect and self efficacy in your body and in the long run that really pays off benefits. Yeah well it certainly is for me right now.

Helen Byrne: 00:54:33 Something I’ve only discovered you know late in my life I’ve had Noah Rashetta who has the second most popular Buddhist podcast on iTunes. Secular Buddhism he’s been on the show we recently had Thomas McConkie who’s excellent his show on an effortless mindfulness was wonderful. I’ve been attending a songa with my boys on Sundays and being more mindful and doing meditation. I to tell you it’s been a huge impact in my life. And in every way my exercise in my work everything it’s not just a cool kind of a fad.

Dave Sherwin: 00:55:13 It’s something that has not been a fad in other cultures for houses of yours. Right. And we’re we’re just kind of catching on aren’t we.

Helen Byrne: 00:55:21 We’re finally catching up and we haven’t talked about meditation during and post pregnancy. But you know it really is a great technique.

Helen Byrne: 00:55:32 Meditation it calms you down it reduces stress and anxiety and you know no matter how joyous your pregnancy pregnancy always comes with anxiety you’re always where you’re always thinking always worry what what’s a safe for baby is that snake or baby what’s going to happen. What kind of Mahlum they’re going to be all those kind of things crop up.

Helen Byrne: 00:55:55 And that’s where meditation it actually changes your brain chemistry and it calms you down and it mentally centers you know core strength and core conditioning can physically center you. But meditation can mentally center you. And very valuable in all phases of life.

Dave Sherwin: 00:56:20 Yeah absolutely. Well this has been a really interesting episode you’ve surprised me with several things I’m sure many other people feel the same way. You’ve given excellent information. You do have more available at your Web site of course we can only do so much in an hour or so. Those listening Be Fit Mom dot com and Helene again thank you so much this has been a wonderful meaningful episode. I’m sure there’ll be listeners that just love it. But before we sign off is there anything else you’d like to share with us. We haven’t covered or just final thoughts you’d like to leave with my audience.

Helen Byrne: 00:56:55 Yeah you know we’ve talked about how maternal health and fetal health are one and the same. But let’s talk about how to be a great role model mom. We all want the best for our kids. We want them to be healthy we want them to be strong we want them to be emotionally centered and resilient and all that great stuff.

Helen Byrne: 00:57:18 But how do you raise that child. Well you raise that child by demonstrating those values day in and day out in your life.

Helen Byrne: 00:57:30 Children learn what they live. So if you want your child to develop healthy eating habits then Mom guess what. It’s up to you to serve your kids healthy meals and to get healthy limits about you know how much junk food or candy your fun food you know is really appropriate in the diet. How much screen time is allowed. You know how much activity you get your child to do. If you never exercise and your children don’t see you ever engaging in any of your own physical wellness activities then why should they. They’re not gonna. So if you want to be your kids to be fit mom guess what you have to be fit. Does doesn’t mean you have to be super mom it doesn’t mean you have to be perfect but you just have to be the leader. And where do you lead from is the front of the line not the back to the line. So I want moms to get out there and really think about OK.

Helen Byrne: 00:58:39 Yeah right. I am. My family’s health leader. What does that look like. What does that mean. What can I do in my life to demonstrate goals values and if you do that then your children will adopt those health habits simply as their norm. That’s their regular that’s their standard way of behaving. And I have to say I came to this relatively late.

Helen Byrne: 00:59:08 I grew up in a family that did not demonstrate any health values. Pretty much at all whether eating and drinking. And I came to this late.

Helen Byrne: 00:59:19 So even if you had a mom that didn’t demonstrate that you it doesn’t mean that you’re helpless. You can learn. You can go Oh yeah right. I can do things differently in my family. I can be I can raise my children. In a healthier physically mentally psychological way than the family I grew up in. And if you do that one thing if you raise your children in a healthier family than what you were raised in your life will be a success and your children’s lives will be a success.

Helen Byrne: 01:00:01 Wow. Well excellent closing thoughts and Helene Byrne of the FitMom.com. Thank you so much for being on the show.

Helen Byrne: 01:00:09 Always a pleasure. Thanks for having me.

Dave Sherwin: 01:00:10 It has been great. And for anyone listening. Thank you so much for joining us this is Dave Sherwin on the Dirobi health show wishing you health and success.

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Note that this information is presented as educational in nature and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure or prevent any disease.