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From Passion to Practice: Empowering Journey in Pelvic Floor Health with Physiotherapist Hayley

Big fan of pelvic floor health! Tell me how you ended up in this field.

Hayley: I took an interest in Pelvic Health during my Masters program in Physical Therapy at UofT. I had the pleasure of volunteering with the Women’s Health Division, meeting experts in the field, and learning a great deal. I decided to do specialized internships in this area and ended up really loving working with these populations and conditions. I feel like this path found me along the way.

What’s one thing people don’t know about you.

My husband is from Newfoundland and we’re currently building a house there – eventually we plan on settling down there when it’s ready. I love the Fall and Winter just as much as the Spring and Summer, and the East Coast is so beautiful.

Tell us about your family. How was your postpartum journey?

We had our first baby in January of this year and she has been the greatest blessing of our lives. I know you always hear that from parents, but the love, joy, and happiness of it all really is indescribable. Our dog, Waffle, is only starting to acknowledge her existence now (goldendoodles can be dramatic). We’re expecting our second girl in March 2024 and we can’t wait for her arrival. My postpartum journey has been great – I know my background in Perinatal Pelvic Health and Physiotherapy helped with my preparation and recovery, so I’m very grateful for that. I struggled most with the change in hormones and resulting symptoms like postpartum hair loss, energy changes, and struggle to gain muscle the same way with exercise. It took a whole new approach to balance my hormones and feel good again, along with time (getting more sleep and getting better at being a mom!).

What are your top recovery tips for postpartum?

  1. Fuel your body with balanced, quality nutrition
  2. Exercise and move your body daily (a mix of walking, yoga, and HIIT is key)
  3. Don’t forget about your pelvic floor health – dysfunction can happen during pregnancy and childbirth, but even in the absence of symptoms issues can often arise later during perimenopause. It’s a good idea to get ahead of these problems and see a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist for an assessment.

What are your favourite snacks for postpartum?

I am addicted to Hu chocolate covered almonds – believe it or not, this is actually a great snack for balancing your hormones postpartum. It addresses sugar cravings, gives you a dose of protein, and helps prevent blood sugar dips and energy crashes during the day (especially if you are breastfeeding). Research is in favour of dark chocolate during the postpartum period.

Other favourite snacks of mine include protein shakes, berries, juice (I love Rococoa and Ginger Aid from Greenhouse Juice), chia pudding with greek yogurt + almond butter + blueberries, hummus and veggies, Blackbird bakery loaf with avo, and homemade chocolate chip banana bread. Anything with a good balance of protein, carbs, and fat to keep my blood sugar stable and my body feeling energized.

What’s one ingredient you put in everything?

I put nut milk in most things – banana bread, oatmeal, chia pudding, shakes, soups, coffee, everything!

What are three things you can’t live without (the postpartum version)?

  1. Yoga has been a weekly practice for me postpartum, helping to ground my emotions, keep my body moving, better manage the stress that accompanies motherhood, and prevent injuries.
  2. A good evening skincare routine gives me that little dose of “me time” and helps me unwind from the day.
  3. Water. This is something you can’t live without at baseline, but it becomes so much more important in the postpartum period to optimize your recovery, promote excellent gut health (and pelvic health), produce breast milk, prevent injury, and balance your hormones along with your energy levels.

What are you most excited about in your life right now?

Spending time with my sweet 9-month old daughter and preparing for our second baby girl to arrive in March.

Your affirmation for today?

Self-care is not selfish, it is self-preservation.

October 20, 2023
3 min read
Hayley O’Hara
Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist & Yoga instructor
Hayley is a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist and Yoga instructor who believes strongly in taking a holistic approach to healthcare with her clients. Her private sessions and online classes blend Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy, yoga, and wellness for a full mind-body approach to rehabilitation. Hayley obtained her Honours Bachelor of Science in Human Biology and Physiology as well as her Master of Science in Physical Therapy from the University of Toronto. Hayley has extensive experience working with women from conception to birth to help them prepare for labour and delivery as well as restore function in their core and pelvic floor muscles after birth. Hayley is passionate about equipping her clients with the knowledge and tools they need to make the best decisions for their health so they can feel their best throughout all stages of motherhood, including perimenopause and beyond.