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Divine Intervention and the Belevation Brief

I don't know about you, but I believe in divine intervention.  It was that kind of moment, when Monique from Fort Bragg, NC wrote to me on our Belevation Facebook page. Several months ago, we decided to add a XL size to our line of Belevation Maternity garments.

We began making Support Bands and PettiPants in the new Plus, pre-pregnancy 16-18 size. Everything was going well, but two problems dragged out the process of adding the new size range. For one thing, my husband/our technical director - is a perfectionist. Months had gone by while he continued to perfect our seamless Belevation Support Brief.  

I began to wonder if we would ever be ready to add our new XL sizing? Finally, after much attention - perfecting the brief, it was time to find a fit model to give them a test run. And then that evening, out of the blue - I received a note from Monique.

"Are you going to add plus sizes ever" she asked? Monique is herself an army veteran, a military wife and the mother of six boys ranging in age from 21 to 1!  Twenty-four weeks pregnant with her seventh, Monique explained "that depending on if something runs large or small", she wears anywhere "from an 18-20 to a 22-24 (or 2x/3x)".

Unsure how our new Belevation XL size would measure-up, we sent a package to Monique, in Fort Bragg. One of the largest and busiest military complexes in the world, Bragg is home to almost 10 percent of the Army's active component forces. We were glad to help Monique and were hopeful that she would like what she received. An email arrived from her in my inbox around noon time the next day. "I received the package and I love them! I will say that its definitely NOT a 16-18. Its more like a 20-26 That is my normal size for most maternity clothes, and I fit in these just fine with room to grow the belly and no pinching etc. These are sooo comfortable! I am really impressed!"

Monique's feedback was an affirmation that our new Belevation XL size will be comfortable for a wide range of larger women.  I guess all that special attention to detail paid off. And our other problem, our X-large labels had gotten lost on their way to us and had to be remade. Well - finally they arrived today! With patience and a bit of divine intervention, all things are possible. Just ask Monique about patience, as she is soon to be the mother of her seventh boy! Please give our new Belevation Plus size a try. We definitely know you'll like it! 

Baby Weight by Micky Marie Morrison

Lately, I've heard from a lot of women who wish that they had known about our Belevation Maternity Support products during their other pregnancies. As a new company, Belevation probably wasn't around when you were carrying your other children. But I understand what you mean, as that's how I feel about Florida Physical Therapist, Micky Marie Morrison's book, Baby Weight. I had done some Yoga in college and loved it, but I didn't stick with it consistently enough to make a difference in my life. Then pregnancy came and hit me like a ton of bricks.

Morning sickness stretched into afternoon sickness, and lasted a full four months. After that finally passed, I somehow viewed myself as kind of fragile. OB-GYN researchers now understand that during most healthy pregnancies it's prenatal inactivity - not exercise, that puts moms-to-be and their babies at risk. 

  Micky Marie Morrison's new book Baby Weight, released in Oct. 2011, offers a comprehensive look at the changes the body goes through during pregnancy. Her unique vantage point as a health professional, prenatal fitness instructor and a mother makes Baby Weight an important new pregnancy resource. Good practice nutritional principles and information on hormonal and body mass changes are highlighted in a manner that raised my scientific IQ on the subjects.

Building upon this technical info, Morrison makes a strong case for the benefits of sensible, prenatal exercise. Minimizing excess weight gain and building stamina for delivery are certainly two compelling reasons to get moving during pregnancy. The second half of the book includes terrific photos of Morrison's Yoga based Core FitMama exercises, with modifications for your skill level and trimester. But then it gets even better.

As an International Childbirth Education Association certified fitness instructor, Morrison mentors moms continuing with the program after delivery - helping themselves regain stamina, lose pregnancy weight and fight off postpartum depression. Skillful guidance is articulated on how moms can also incorporate their babies and toddlers into these sessions. What a wonderful way to bond with your child, while fostering positive attitudes about healthful living right from the beginning.

Somewhere between Weight Watchers and Gymboree - I wish that I had Micky Morrison's excellent book Baby Weight, now available from Amazon and as Belevation's January book give-away!  Like us on Facebook to be entered to win!

Jennifer Wolfe's Prenatal Vinyasa Yoga

When I began researching Prenatal Yoga, it wasn't long before I learned about Jennifer More.  Based out of San Mateo, CA Jennifer is a registered Yoga Alliance Vinyasa and Prenatal Yoga instructor, a certified doula, childbirth educator and a mother.  Her passion for the benefits of prenatal yoga extends beyond the United States.

She has trained yoga instructors in Prenatal Vinyasa Yoga techniques in Peru, China, South America and numerous US locations. Her techniques have given yoga instructors the tools to modify poses as needed to incorporate pregnant women into their existing classes in a safe and effective manner.

She is the creator of several bestselling prenatal yoga DVDS which have received noteworthy mentions in The New York Times, Fit Pregnancy, Pregnancy Magazine and received the "Top Gear of the Year" award in 2007 from ShapeYou.com.

A perfect companion to our Maternity Yoga Pants, Belevation has decided to offer Jennifer More's Prenatal Vinyasa Yoga 2 DVD set on our online store. We love it because it provides the most flexibility for your yoga practice and can work around your busiest schedules and varied energy levels. One lucky Belevation Facebook fan will receive a complimentary copy during our November give-away. But don't wait till then to begin doing Prenatal Yoga. Enjoy!

Cool Sites for Moms

The abundance of choices on the net these days for moms is nothing short of amazing. New to motherhood? Well, isolation is a thing of the past, thanks to the thousands of quality sites that have popped on the mom-web galaxy. Nowadays, all geographic areas have mom sites that highlight that locales upcoming events and resources.

Boston Mamas, founded in 2006 by Christine Koh, (a Beantown Mom with a Ph D in music and brain science),   "is a one-stop resource for families in the Boston area and beyond". On Boston Mamas you can find out what's happening weekly from Arlington to Wellesley, and everywhere in-between. The easy to navigate search engine helps users swap baby gear, find families with similar age kids or adhere to the shop locally movement.

New York has Big City Moms created in 2003 by a pair of truly amazing sisters, Risa Goldberg and Leslie Venokur, as well as a more recent entry The Pregnant New Yorker, founded last year by Janet Markovits, a prenatal massage therapist.

Here in the Carolinas there's Charlotte Parent, a part of the Parenting Publications of America (whose members include more than 100 parenting publications and websites around the US and in Canada). 

Then, there are the huge sites like Cafe Mom which claims to be the # 1 Internet site for moms and is a virtual empire of motherhood.  Users can join online groups on Cafe Mom based on your location, religion, hobbies or hundreds of other criteria that meet ones needs.  

Or start a new group around a particular topic of interest to you with just a few clicks. When discussing Internet sites for moms, how could we ever forget the trio of slick commercial sites The Knot, The Nest and The Bump .  To prepare you for any life cycle moment a twenty-something can think of, these three linked sister sites are a vast retail encyclopedia targeted toward those who are marrying, setting up a home or expecting the stork.

And lastly a new personal favorite of mine, Babble which recently voted for their 2nd annual 50 Top Mom Blogs. Entries are categorized by type : funniest, best design, most useful, best written etc.... Babble is the 2011 version of your mothers Good Housekeeping Magazine, except so much more. It's linkable, clickable and updated continually instead of in monthly installments which were outdated by the time they arrived at moms mail box or the supermarket check-out counter.

The diversity is extraordinary so there's something out there for everyone in this vast world of mom Internet resources. As mesmerizing as it is though, don't forget to get to the park after nap-time to discuss your finds with the real live moms sitting beside you on the bench.


July 21st 2010  -  Guidelines back vaginal births after C-sections by Denise Grady- New York Times The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has issued a new set of medical guidelines meant to make it easier for women to find doctors and hospitals that will allow vaginal birth after Cesarean, or VBAC (pronounced vee-back). In 1985, only 6.6 percent of women with prior Cesareans were giving birth normally, but by 1996 the rate had risen to 28%.  In 1999 though, this trend was dramatically reversed when the Obstetrician's group issued a warning that surgical and anesthesia teams were required to be present in case an emergency C-section was necessary.

Word spread, particularly in smaller hospitals (due to the extra costs involved in having a team of Docs just waiting around) and VBAC'S were again strongly discouraged. In March of this year, the National Institutes of Health gathered a team of experts to examine this issue.  The panel re-affirmed that vaginal birth was safe for many woman with past Cesareans, and they urged the OBGYN'S to reassess their guidelines. The main worry is the risk of uterine rupture during labor, which can severely harm both mother and child, and would require immediate surgery.

Like earlier guidelines, the new theory says that vaginal birth is safe for most women after C-section providing that the cut in their uterus was low and horizontal.  (It should be noted that 60-80% of women that attempt VBAC succeed.) Personally, I'd tell women to do whatever feels right for you. When my own son was 2.5 weeks late, and the OB told me he was over 9 lbs and his head hadn't dropped,  I told them to make me an appointment.  And not to be induced, but for a C-section. Ironically, my young doctor had done his post-doctoral study project on reducing C-sections.  And then he met me.  I smiled through the event, and haven't regretted it since.

The Belevation Blog

The Belevation Blog

Welcome to our Belevation Blog page. For a multi-tasking mom like me (and probably you), taking the time-out to write this Belevation Blog provides a perfect opportunity for reflection. Belevation products were not around during my pregnancy, nor was the Internet for that matter.

Remembering back to my special nine months (more than 20 years ago), I was definitely a seeker of information, as I still am today. So, I will joyfully do the research to make this Belevation Blog a useful parenting resource in this fast past world of products and information. Most special of all, is that my web designer, blog partner, tech source is the very same character who made me so violently ill for those first four months, and then got so comfy he didn't appear to have any plans of coming out at all. So treasure every