What’s In My Hospital Bag

Disclosure: This is an unsolicited and unpaid review. I received the Bamboo Belly Bandit in exchange for highlighting this business. All opinions are my own.

Well the time is near! Only a few more weeks until this baby is ready to arrive, I can’t wait! I am very excited to share what is in my hospital bag that is all packed and ready to go whenever my body starts going into labor. Since this is my second baby I feel so much more prepared for what I actually need for my hospital stay. Enjoy my list and let me know if you would add anything.


Hospital Bag Must Haves (Labor & Delivery)

  • Barefoot Dreams Bamboo Chic Drape Front Cardigan (aka The Blardigan): Thanks to Pinterest Told Me To I have this in wrap in both midnight and midnight ombre. I am bringing the midnight one to the hospital with me. I love these wraps because they can be dressed up or down and are very cozy and comfortable. I know this will be perfect for snuggling down in my hospital bed after I delivery the baby.
  • Belly Bandit Women’s Bamboo Post-Pregnancy Wrap: I love this product and it is the #1 item I recommend for moms post delivery. After I delivered Caden I wore the Original Belly Bandit and it was worth every penny. The Belly Bandit offers support for your low back, reduces swelling, and boosts a new moms confidence in her post baby body. I wore it all the time except for showering until I was 4 weeks postpartum and for the next 2 weeks only wore it at night. I only recommend wearing this for the first 6-8 weeks after delivery because you don’t want your abdominal muscles to become dependent on the additional support. The wonderful folks at Belly Bandit sent me the bamboo wrap for this pregnancy and I can’t wait to put it on after I deliver. It is super soft! If you decide you are going to purchase a band for after your own pregnancy make sure to get two sizes. I used a small and extra small band after having Caden.
  • Toiletries: Hairbrush, toothbrush and toothpaste, flossers, hair ties, deodorant, mascara, lip balm, etc.
  • Nursing Tank
  • Sweatpants
  • Socks
  • Nukkles, The Original Palmassager, and Tennis Balls: Back labor sucks. Josh and my Mom were so sore after pressing on my back for so long during labor with Caden to relieve the pain I was feeling. We researched several different tools that they can use so their hands and arms don’t fatigue as quickly and that will hopefully give me some relief.
  • Nuroo Nursing Scarf: This scarf reminds me so much of my lululemon athletica infinity scarf but for half the price and the fabric is much more lighter and breathable, making it perfect for nursing!
  • Nuroo Swaddler: Lightweight and breathable, great for the hot Arizona summer that will soon be here. I remember with Caden what a difficult time Josh and I had trying to keep him wrapped up in the swaddle blankets at the hospital so this time I am coming prepared. The Nuroo Swaddler is also a one size fits all so it can grow with your baby!
  • CradleCuties Cap (not pictured): Because every little girl deserves a cute cap!
  • Outfit for Baby
  • Camera
  • Phone & Charger
  • Snacks: Love these Mamma Chia Squeeze Vitality Snack, Blackberry Bliss squeeze pouches for myself and a variety of  KIND Bars for Josh to enjoy while he is coaching me during labor.

I also have Caden’s overnight bag packed and ready for him to stay at Grandpa and Grandma’s whenever this little one decides to make her entrance. I am so excited for this little girl to arrive and also anxiously anticipating labor.

Is there anything you can think of that I have forgotten to pack? 


Prenatal Fitness, Diastasis Recti, & Body After Baby

Can I be honest for a moment? This post is for all you ladies who are thinking about becoming pregnant, are currently pregnant, just had a baby last week, have given birth to a child at any point in your life, or for personal trainers who work with any of the afore mentioned demographics.  I think one of the questions we, as women, all ask ourselves at some point is what is having a baby going to do to my body. This might sound very vain and superficial to some but I think it is an important topic to discuss.

I have seen so many women who have had babies, are working out, eating correctly, and to no fault of their own just can not seem to get rid of their baby belly. So what seems to be the problem? The problem is not from lack of motivation or willpower but from the anatomy of the body after baby.

Let me explain…


During pregnancy the body releases the hormone relaxin. This hormone peaks at 14 weeks during pregancy and at the time of labor. It allows the stretching of the muscles and ligaments to accommodate the growing baby and prepare the mama’s body for labor and delivery.

Ladies, lets just take a moment of silence and be thankful for how awesome our body’s have been made in order to accomplish such a feat.

(Crickets chirping)

Now that that is over…

Here are several things you may notice thanks to this hormone coursing throughout your body during pregnancy.

  • Increased range of motion. This can be a blessing or an annoyance.
  • Lack of stability and balance in pelvis. Your hips feel off or your back is tighter on one side due to shifting.
  • Ribs may easily shift out of place. The ribs are a joint. With the increased range of motion the joints are more susceptible to misalignments. This is quite painful and can cause a pinched feeling in your back or chest and can also hinder your ability to take deep breaths.

If you are an avid gym-goer or enjoy high and frequent levels of physical activity you may also notice that your tummy does not look quite right and appears to be bulging in plank or pushup position.

I want to focus on the bulging tummy. Or the cone shaped tummy. If you have seen this on yourself or a client you know exactly what I am talking about.

This would be the perfect time to talk anatomy. So let’s discuss.


If you have had a baby you might be one of the many women who have no idea that their abdominal muscles have separated and are still separated. Did you know that this could even happen? I had no idea until after I gave birth to Caden. As a personal trainer this was nothing I even learned about in my course work (I will discuss why this is important later).

Take a look at the Rectus Abdominis both before and during pregnancy…


The Linea Alba, the connective tissue between the right and left half of the Rectus Abdominis, stretches to accommodate the growing baby. For some women the gap closes naturally on its own. For others the connective tissue has become overly stretched and aggravated that it does not heal properly which leaves the new mama with an unwanted belly bulge months and even years after her bundle of joy has arrived. And for a mama who has multiple pregnancies the gap can become noticeably wider each time.

This gap is known as Diastasis Recti. But before I talk about after the baby let me briefly discuss prenatal exercise and things to keep in mind once you become pregnant.


I am a huge proponent of exercising during pregnancy. If you have been cleared by your doctor to exercise and exercised prior to pregnancy this will be a very beneficial section for you to read. If you want more information on the types of physical activity that are beneficial during pregnancy you can read my post Pregnancy & Exercise.

Certain exercises can aggravate and cause the gap between your Rectus Abdominis to become more severe during pregnancy. I tend to shy away from tons of crunches and situps because they can put more strain on the abdominal wall. I recommend planks or some type of plank variation for all my clients when it comes to programming their workouts.

Planks and Pushups are super beneficial exercises to do, but need to be done mindfully. You can place your hands on a bench, table, stairs, or even against the wall to modify this exercise. When you look at your midsection while you are doing this you should see more of a gradually rounding. If you see a bulge in the middle elevate your hands further from the floor. There is no shame elevating your plank. Protect yourself.


Congratulations! You have had your baby. Here is a simple way to tell if your muscles are still separated (give yourself a few months to heal before you do this test) and movements to avoid if you find you have abdominal separation.

Diastasis Recti/Abdominal Separation Test
  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent, and the soles of your feet on the floor.
  2. Place one hand behind your head, and the other hand on your abdomen, with your fingertips across your midline-parallel with your waistline- at the level of your belly button.
  3. With your abdominal wall relaxed, gently press your fingertips into your abdomen.
  4. Roll your upper body off the floor into a “crunch,” making sure that your ribcage moves closer to your pelvis.
  5. Move your fingertips back and forth across your midline, feeling for the right and left sides of your rectus abdominis muscle. Test for separation at, above, and below your belly button.
Signs of Diastasis Recti/Abdominal Separation
  • A gap of more than 2 1/2 finger-widths when the rectus abdominis is fully contracted.
  • The gap does not shrink as you contract your abdominal wall.
  • You can see a small mound protruding along the length of you midline.
Some Types of Movement to Avoid
  • Movements where the upper body twists and the arm on that side extends away from the body, such as “triangle pose.”
  • Exercises that require lying backward over a large exercise ball.
  • Yoga postures that stretch the abs, such as “cow pose,” “up-dog,” all backbends, and “belly breathing.”
  • Abdominal exercises that flex the upper spine off the floor or against the force of gravity such as: as crunches, oblique curls, “bicycles,” roll ups/roll downs, etc.
  • Pilates mat and reformer exercises that utilize the “head float” position, upper body flexion, or double leg extension.
  • Any exercise that causes your abdominal wall to bulge out upon exertion.
  • Lifting and carrying very heavy objects.
  • Quadruped exercises without adequate abdominal support.
  • Intense coughing without abdominal support.

This is just a brief explanation on abdominal separation and I would be happy to go into more detail if you have further questions.


I am here to show you that you can totally reclaim your body after baby. In fact you can be stronger! Here are a few pictures of me postpartum. I promise I will post pictures after this baby girl is born too.

Belly Before & After Delivery

2-8 Months Postpartum

If anything I hope this post has encouraged you and shed light on what is really going on with your body after being pregnant. It is not that you are not doing enough, it could be that you just didn’t know what was really happening with your body.

For this reason alone if you are working with a personal trainer please make sure they are educated on how a woman’s body works before, during, and after pregnancy. Their lack of education might be hindering your physical transformation. On this same note I want to caution you about Pinterest/YouTube/Facebook/Instagram workouts. While I am all for inspiring others to live healthier lives it is important to point out that those workouts might not be best for someone who has just had a baby or who has abdominal separation. This is why it is so important to have someone who can coach you on your goals who understands and has training in anatomy/physiology and how it relates to human movement. 

For those who have just had or are about to have a baby I highly recommend a Belly Bandit! These are amazing and will help close the abdominal gap after giving birth, allow you to wear your pre-preganacy clothes sooner, and offer you low back support. Seriously go buy one for after the baby is born! You won’t regret it. Just for reference I used a small the first week after I had Caden and sized down to the extra small until I was 6 weeks postpartum.

I also highly recommend the MuTu System for those wanting to heal their core and pelvic floor after giving birth.

You might also be interested in my Losing The Baby Weight Series! Topics include: Pregnancy & ExerciseWhat to Expect After DeliveryThe First Six WeeksNutrition, and Exercise.

Additional Reading: 


Post Pregnancy Must Haves For Moms

For any of you mama’s getting ready to have a baby soon here is my list for post pregnancy must haves! These are all products/items I used to aid in my recovery.

post pregnacy must haves for moms

I wore a Belly Bandit and it 100% made a difference in how I looked in my clothes after Caden was born. I felt really supported and wore it all the time except for showering until I was 4 weeks postpartum and for the next 2 weeks only wore it at night. I purchased the small and extra small sized bands. For the first week I wore the small the sized band and the remaining weeks wore the extra small.

This won’t be the case for all new moms but I had the worst, and I mean worst, body odor ever after delivery. It lasted for weeks. Make sure you pack deodorant with you to bring to the hospital. I like the Tom’s brand because they contain no harsh chemicals and it smells fresh.

I used several witch hazel pads topped with medicated foam and ointment to soothe my stitched skin and hemorrhoids. All of this and more will be provided to you by the hospital. Resist the urge to look down there. It is not pretty. I was beyond traumatized after I did and feared I would remain in the gauze panties the hospital had put me in for the remainder of my life. The witch hazel pads were cooling and soothing to my irritated skin.

A sitz bath may be created simply by filling a bathtub with some water and sitting in it for a few minutes. There are also special devices that fit into toilet bowls. It is used to relieve discomfort and pain in the lower part of the body. These are awesome to do! I also used a small amount of epsom salt when I did mine.

The hospital will send you home with a decent supply of pads but make sure you have some at home as well. I felt like the bleeding was never going to stop. Of course it did but the amount of blood that was being released from my body at first was quite impressive. Each day the amount of bleeding decreased. At 4 weeks postpartum I was only slightly spotting.

Prunes! Natures laxatives! Trying to poop and pee after delivery is a nightmare. Seriously, a nightmare. I can not even begin to explain the anxiety I had when trying to have a bowel movement. I felt like any kind of pushing directed in that region of my body would split my stitches open. Peeing was no walk in the park either. My skin was already irritated and raw leaving me wincing each time I needed to go to the bathroom. Take prunes with each meal and drink plenty of water to dilute your urine to make sitting on the toilet less painful.

Speaking of going to the bathroom, do not wipe yourself with toilet paper. There will be a perineal wash bottle in the hospital bathroom that you can fill with warm water to rinse yourself. The wash bottle is amazing! Take it home with you, it will be your bff for the next serval weeks.

Did I leave anything out? What were some of your must haves for after delivery?

Be sure to check out my Losing The Baby Weight Series for more tips post baby:

Have a great weekend!