The Mindful Postpartum Handbook; maternal self-care with the Alexander Technique
University of Hull: press release
Becoming a mum (or having another baby) is life-changing and can be physically and psychologically challenging. This self-care handbook is based on research that took place at the University of Hull, UK looking at how women use the Alexander Technique in the postpartum. The rich research findings led to this book and will send women on a practical and safe journey of self-care to benefit themselves, their baby and their family. The mother and her postpartum experience are at the centre of this illustrated spiral-bound handbook. The handbook shows in practical steps how learning Alexander Technique skills can create valuable personal resources to contribute to maternal well-being.
Find out more about the Alexander Technique, here.
Who is the author? Nicola Hanefeld PhD in cooperation with Lesley Glover PhD.
Advisory and associate authors: Prof. Julie Jomeen and Dr. Fran Wadephul.
The book is work in progress and will be self-published.
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Chapter contents ... read here too
- an introduction to the Alexander Technique and a little bit of anatomy
- the working conditions of the postpartum
- 'coming back to yourself' to counteract a sense of stress
- awareness as a skill in mindful motherhood for your well-being
- tiredness and exhaustion; that's how it is sometimes
- tussling with a maternal sense of duty - how do I really feel?
- yes, it's difficult taking time for constructive rest during the day
- holding a baby while feeding without shoulder, neck or back tension
- carrying your baby (in a sling or otherwise) without back pain
- enjoyable and comfortable pram-pushing
- adapting with ease to your new family dynamics (partners, dads)
- your calm relationship with the baby
- keeping up your social contacts
- taking exercise and being kind to yourself
What some study participants said about the online self-care package piloted during the research. The Handbook will be based on these findings.
‘Prior to taking part in the study, I was always doing something I thought I needed to do. It allowed me to slow down and appreciate being in the moment
One woman realised ‘how important it is to really look after myself and do it very consciously’.
The study gave another participant time to ‘reflect on the postpartum experience instead of just rushing around.’
‘… but when you do sort of manage to calm a little bit… you just feel stronger, a little more in control and I found I had more patience.’
‘…there was also like, a little pain over my shoulders and it helped me to remove a little bit of that tension. I was more conscious of the movement of my body…’
Click here for an interview about Study 1 findings. Viewing time of all videos 15 mins.
An interview about Study 2 findings.
Click here for a video on a summary of the research findings.
The Journal 'Midwifery' published "Women's experiences of using the Alexander Technique in the postpartum: ´...in a way, it's just as beneficial as sleep.´ in 2021. Please email me for a pdf of the paper:
Podcast episode (70 mins) with Sarah Mayhan, Poised and Powerful Parenting.
A summary of the thesis' integrated discussion: psychological effects of the AT, a blog post by my colleague Henry Fagg.
All podcasts with my colleague Sarah Mayhan in the US on the Alexander Technique can be found here.
Maternal self-care with the Alexander Technique - video