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University of Hull PhD Researcher to Publish Self-Care Handbook for Mums

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Helping mums is a top priority for Nicola Hanefeld, an expert in the Alexander Technique, who is hoping to publish a book to help women in the early months when they are caring for their babies.

The Alexander Technique teaches the skills to help people move well and think freely to improve their posture and movement. According to research this can reduce stress and tension which can be crucial for well-being for a mum during the postpartum. The postpartum is the period of change after giving birth where the mother is recovering and healing, adjusting to not being pregnant and adapting to her new role as a mother.

After completing her PhD at the University of Hull about this period of change and the Alexander Technique, Nicola wants to create a book based on her findings that can help contribute to maternal well-being.

To accomplish this, Nicola is looking to crowdfund the project via Kickstarter. The self-care handbook will explore the use of the Alexander Technique in the postpartum and how this can help mums prioritise and realise the importance of their self-care.

Nicola said: “One thing we identified when looking at our results is that it seems difficult for mothers to prioritise their needs. Baby comes first, then other kids, household, partners, being online, TV. Mums sometimes sense themselves at the ‘bottom of the pile’.

“There is research that suggests that tiredness is, with back pain, the most unresolved issue in the postpartum. When mums are tired, well-being is impacted. Regularly using the Alexander Technique during the day seemed to help women feel how tired they really were, then look after themselves better.

“The Alexander Technique altered their self-awareness; they sensed their needs better and that improved their well-being. Women reported feeling less tired after doing it.”

The researcher felt that becoming a mum, or having another baby, can be physically and psychologically challenging as well as life-changing. This is especially the case during the pandemic.

Nicola said: “The postpartum seems a rather neglected life phase in research, especially the physical side although it has so many potential challenges. A lot of research has focused on postnatal depression; our research looked at the mothers’ whole life situation, not just one aspect of the postpartum.”

The crowdfunding project launched on the 15th of January and will run for 35 days. To get involved visit the Kickstarter page to see how you can help contribute.

To learn more about the use of the Alexander Technique visit Nicola’s website.

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