Optimal Foetal Positioning

Natural birth is the best possible outcome from a psychophysical (physical and emotional) and social perspective for mother and child. The mission of The Mumma Movement is to prepare mothers for natural birth with the knowledge that her baby is an active participant in labour.

Optimal Foetal Positioning (OFP) describes the best position for a baby to be in before he/she is born; head down with baby’s back between the mother’s left hip and belly button (Left Occiput Position/LOA). There is much that a mother can do to encourage her baby into this position, and training should be modified to consider OFP.

Regular physical activity during pregnancy may have a beneficial effect on multiple aspects of labour and delivery. (Szumilewicz A, Wojtyła A, Zarębska A, Drobnik-Kozakiewicz I, Sawczyn M, Kwitniewska A. Influence of prenatal physical activity on the course of labour and delivery according to the new Polish standard for perinatal care. Ann Agric Environ Med. 2013; 20(2): 380–389.) 

It increases prenatal energy levels, helps to decrease constipation, increases the size of the placenta, prepares the body to adjust to changes during pregnancy, decreases the incidence of gestational diabetes and aids recovery after delivery. Dr James (James F. Clapp, M.D., Catherine Cram, M.S. 2012. Exercising Through Your Pregnancy, Second Edition: Addicus Books) also found that exercise may decrease labour by up to 90minutes, can decrease the stress on the baby during labour, decreases intervention by 30%, decreases caesarean birth by 30%, and reduces the incidence of post natal depression.

The Norwegian (Le Zhou, Chun‐Tang Sun, Lin Lin, Yao Xie, Yan Huang, Qiao Li, Xinghui Liu. Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica. 2018) found that women whom exercised for at least 35 minutes at a moderate to vigorous level in the third trimester had decreased caesarean delivery as compared to women with the lowest physical activity levels. There has been no “safe” upper limit to exercise at this time.

The Australian Guidelines for exercising during pregnancy include 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity each week at no more than 75% of maximal heart rate. Women should aim to maintain their fitness, participating in aerobic and strength conditioning while avoiding contact sport or activities with a high risk of falling. From about four months gestation, lying supine can slow the return of blood to the heart and is not recommended.

To exercise safely and facilitate OFP it is recommended that a mother walks, spending as much time with her knees away from her spine as possible. Whilst sitting, maintain an upright position with the pelvis slightly forward, not crossing your legs or slouching backwards. When watching TV is a great time to turn a chair backwards and lean over it, any leaning is encouraged and cat-cow on all fours is a great activity to encourage a good position for baby. The knees should be lower than the hips when sitting and neutral positioning during pregnancy involves a slight anterior tilt of the pelvis. Sitting cross-legged or in a butterfly shape on the floor can allow the pelvis to open and promote good positioning of baby. If your baby is not LOA towards the final weeks of pregnancy, avoid movements like squatting, which encourage the baby to descend further into the pelvis. If your baby is LOA, then squatting with good form (hip crease below knee crease) is a great idea and can help the mother build strength and stamina for an active labour.

Always aim to sleep on your left side.

Prenatal actions and exercises can have a significant effect on labour outcomes, especially in regard to OFP. From 36 weeks gestation, women should do all they can to encourage the optimal position. If baby achieves this then labour can be a straight forward event that leads to a positive birthing experience for all.

Ariel BlythComment

Take three deep breaths, straighten your spine, lift your chest up and roll those mumma shoulders back.

I want you to IMAGINE waking up in the morning, rolling over to smile and eye gaze with your baby. Imagine then taking a few deep breaths to set an intention for your day, then after a quick stretch feeling ready to commence your days activities.

You feel nourished by the food in your home, usually saited and occasionally hungry. Your emotional state is one of flow and you have energy to chase after your little ones, to thrive each day and to move your body well.

The days in which you choose to train, you listen to your body. You have great posture, glowing skin and you have made your own and your families well being the priority.

You have great, loving sex with your partner and understand your pelvic floor. You feel empowered by growing a baby and by raising your child in a holistic mannor, using exercise to give you even more energy and create a sense of self care.

You feel strong, lean, fit and healthy.

Now, babe, I want you to think about how you currently feel. There's no judgement here, just an honest appraisal. Do you wake with enthusiasm despite breastfeeding several times over night or due you constantly feel lethargic and sluggish? Does your posture reflect how you want to feel? Or do you hunch your shoulders forward? Do you feel exhausted at the thought of playing physically with your children? Do you suffer from abdominal separation? Does your pelvic floor feel weak? Do you feel as though you move with purpose?

Make a list if you wish, of how you want to feel and how you feel right now. Compare. If you need to make some changes then my 8 week online program is for you. Complete three workouts each week from the comfort of your own home then in 8 weeks time repeat this exercise.

I've got you, Mumma xx


Ariel BlythComment
Kodah's Birth - by Natalie

"...even on "the day" I was not going to be sure that what I was feeling was anything significant.

I messaged my beautiful doula, Ariel, who trusted my gut instinct more than I did and drove down to see how the day panned out.

Not much was happening really so she suggested we walk...so we walked, we walked our hilly streets and I knew if these contractions didnt pick up then "today would not be the day." We returned home and I got back on the birthing ball and bounced through each increasing contraction. It was becoming more obvious that today was different. Ariel reminded me that pre labour could take days and there was every chance I was going to be sleeping in my own bed tonight*...so here I was prepared for a long labour. Contractions increasing and I zoned out and let my body do what it was made to do. I made sounds that only a woman in labour can make. Dinner rolled around and I was thinkingto myself how could I get through a night like this...I'd be exhausted! Eventually following a moan of "I don't think I can do this anymore" Ariel said yep it's time to head to the hospital!

The car drive was intense. I could only cope on all fours in the backseat at this point but luckily my screams were all the encouragement Alex needed to get to the hospital in record time. They rolled out a wheelchair which I reluctantly sat in...I'd rather have walked through the pain than sit on a chair with all that pressure, but I listened to the doctor and sat my arse down as she got me up to the delivery suite. "Would you like to try the gas sweetheart?" kindly asked a midwife. "No thank you" I responded when I was really thinking what do you think gas is going to do at this point!

They did my vitals and internal checks. They were shocked to find I was fully dilated and ready to push! "You have done so well!" everyone encouraged as I shouted " I cant do this anymore!" "But you're already doing it!" they replied...hmmm they were right I was doing it...drug free...my body knew what it was doing. I pushed through a few contractions on my knees until my waters broke with the biggest gush I have ever heard! And with that his little head descended and it was go time!

Unfortunately my boy had done a poo inside me and wasnt enjoying the final part of his descent. His heart rate dropped and my OBGYN  who had just made it from a birth at Frankston with 10minutes to spare told me I needed to flip onto my back because we needed to get this baby out. Being on my back was hell but my baby was in distress and I trusted my obgyn with all I had. There was no playing around. I pushed through each contraction and made progress with every one. Finally my obgyn said this was my last chance to get him out myself or she would do an episiotomy. Hell no was I getting cut. I put all I had left into pushing and with my final 3 pushes my baby boy was in my arms.

He cried and his big blue eyes were wide as we both met for the first time. He looked just like his daddy and I instantly was head over heels in love. One week ago I didn't know how much love I could truly have for my son. One week ago I didn't know that his cry would make me weak, his eyes would touch my soul, his touch would warm my entire self. 

One week ago I didnt know the strength I would have to bring my baby into this world. One week ago I didnt know how much my life was about to be forever changed and my heart was to be filled with a love that only a mother could understand.

...All in all I had only 5 hours of active labour and pushing. At 8.21pm last week, 8pounds of pure perfection was placed skin to skin on my chest and my world felt complete. It was intense, raw and wild and every bit worth it." 

*It was becoming more apparent to me that Natalie's labour was progressing perfectly, it seemed to be textbook, but she was worried about not being able to cope with pain. As she was breathing so beautifully through each contraction I trusted that the best place to be was at home until her contractions were under 5min apart and lasting 60-90seconds.

Ariel BlythComment
Limiting Waste



Something really important to me is reducing a negative impact on the earth. I try my best to treat Mumma nature as if she were the most magical home….because she is.

Some ways that I try to look after the earth include;

  • picking up rubbish when I see it
  • not allowing my children to have plastic toys
  • not buying plastic
  • eating a vegan diet that consists of local, sustainable and seasonal produce
  • not supporting brands that are considered “Giants” and unethical (Nestle and MacDonalds etc)
  • buying plants, linen and biodegradable things
  • turning off taps, electricity switches and lights
  • using carry bags, my own cups and bamboo straws
  • fixing my things rather than replacing them
  • when babies were little we used cloth nappies 
  • donate things to the salvos or re gift things we don't use or need
  • use biodegradable bin liners
  • invest in a good drink bottle and coffee keep cup 

However, it isn't always easy to be environmentally conscious and I find that we do produce quite a lot of waste. 

It’s hard to be organised enough to shop at the bulk food stores, though I know once we move I can get into a better routine. 

And my hope is to visit farmers markets more regularly, planning our meals once we have shopped so that we can eat a little more seasonally.

It is important to me to live a life that is cruelty free, and a positive if any impact on the environment. Being prepared and in a routine will be key for me this year, so that I can produce minimal waste and feel good about my purchasing power.

“Every dollar you spend is a vote for the type of world you want to live in.”

Ariel BlythComment
Lifestyle Planning

This is mostly about cleaning, guy's I have OCD and clean obsessively which everyone tells me is  a ridiculous expectation with three children but hey?!

Each day at home I sweep, make the beds, walk Marli, clean the kitchen (washing dishes is my fave!) and clean the toilet thanks to my 6 year old with terrible aim. I keep the bedrooms clean and clear to promote good sleep.

This was all before the five of us moved into one bedroom at Eric's dad's home...so now my space is a little more cluttered, and my timetable a little less structured. Currently, in fact we are house sitting in Olinda/Kallista, then I'm in Byron for a week then June is Bali month! Eric is going away for Regionals to Sydney in there too.

I’ve broken my week down, monthly tasks and then a yearly roster.

Monday - Grocery Shop

Tuesday - sweep/vac/mop, load of washing, bake/cook a big meal like vegan ravioli

Wednesday - minimal housework, wash everyones hair

Thursday - garden (clean dog poo), clean all rooms, load of washing

Friday - small groceries shop, washing and general tidy

Saturday - relax

Sunday - bins out, bake/cook, plan clothes for the week

Monthly - waxing/beauty appointments, birthday shopping, events organisation/babysitting, washing bed sheets, shaving E’s head (which now I dont do, as he's cut it all off :()

January - garage sale, go through cupboards

February - clean the skirting boards

March - clean the windows

April - clean out closets for updating winter and bigger clothes

May - rearrange and deep clean the lounge (couch covers dry cleaned)

June - toy rotation

July - dry clean bed covers and flip mattresses, move rooms around

August - clean out closets for spring

September - toy rotation

October - clean the walls

November - clean out closets for updating summer and bigger clothes

December - prepare for Christmas i.e making gifts

At the start of the year it’s important to note important dates, events, birthdays and planned holidays down. Now I am also in the habit of marking school dates down too.

It's almost birthday season for us, and we have lots of travel coming up. I also have to factor in my birth clients and business expenses (like the dreaded BAS & insurance).

Things must be organised for me to fit in time for myself, so that I can show up for my family and clients as the best version of me. This year has been a little more bumpy than mornal, but I feel on the verge of a breakthrough ...after several breakdowns!

Ariel BlythComment
Meal Planning

This amazing Mama has helped me so much along vegan meal planning for myself and the kids, her instagram is an endless source of inspiration and pure love:


So, most of you know that Eric usually cooks in our house and I usually bake. Often my baking ends up on the floor or as a total disaster…I am a fabulous combination of a perfectionist and a rebel who doesn't like to follow instructions!

But my daily meals usually follow this structure:

  • 4.45am lemon water
  • 5am coffee + medicinal mushrooms
  • 8.15am tofu scramble with spinach, tomato, mushrooms on one slice of avo toast
  • 8.30-9.30am another coffee
  • 12pm lunch is usually a salad wrap with sauerkraut and roast pumpkin on the side, for additional protein we add lentils
  • 3pm kombucha
  • 6pm dinner (sometimes at 4.30pm, sometimes as late as 8pm) usually rice and stir fry or curry

Each day I drink between two and three litres of water and sometimes I will snack on fruit or have a smoothie bowl instead of a lunch or dinner meal.

I’ve been baking something for River to take to school, and will be preparing some fritters and additional savoury snacks for energy at school. All of the kids eat like this:

  • First Breakfast is oats with chia seeds, frozen berries, cinnamon, coconut milk and peanut butter
  • Second Breakfast is usually a slice of avocado toast
  • Fruit and chopped vegetables make up snacks
  • Lunch and dinner is the same as us with some popcorn, nuts and dried fruit for an afternoon snack

When we are organised, our weekly shop has minimal waste, costs less than $300 and is all organic and seasonal.

For gut health we eat fermented foods like saurkraut and kim chi, drink kombucha and use pre and probiotic supplements. None of my children have ever had antibiotics. For anti-inflammatory benefits we add cinnamon and turmeric to our food, as well as chia seeds. For aditional calcium we add sesame seeds and we snack on different nuts daily. We take B12 supplements daily and I take iron with my moon cycle, I also take Biocueticals Ultra Muscle Ease daily to help with training and sleep.

I was reading through last years food journal, I don't keep one often but it is so great to see how far I have come. Last year, Eric and I were eating chips EVERY.single.day. I was also eating a twilight (vegan mars bar) almost every day and having between 3-4 large lattes. I don't eat chips or chocolate anymore, opting for some popcorn instead, and limit myself to two coffees.

The biggest challenge as a CrossFit coach, athlete and mumma is to maintain energy levels and nutritional requirements while balancing my attitudes towards food and body image. Eric wants me to gain a few kilos of muscle mass to help my strength, while I refuse to put on weight! A little bout of exhaustion//burn out saw me lose 6kg in two weeks and this had a major effect on my performance in the CrossFit Open...not that I'm looking to compete...I've still done so much better than in previous years and had a LOT of FUN competing within our box community.

I have been the nutritionist that teaches people HOW to eat, and I am looking into creating some more structured nutritional guidance for our athletes, especially those that are REALLY looking to compete in CrossFit and those athletes that are looking to lose a few kilos to help with their performance, as well as breastfeeding mummas and you know...everyone else ;)




Ariel BlythComment

Why CrossFit, mumma?

Members of great community-style gyms have a healthy support system. In the CrossFit world, it’s not just a place to work out…it’s a community, a support system, and an accountability mechanism.

When you constantly move in any given way, you train your brain, nervous system and musculature to be in a certain position. Therefore practice makes permanent not perfect, and this is why we prioritise movement quality and function over quantity. I certainly don’t think we are the only CrossFit box to prioritise quality over intensity, though we have a very educated and informed coaching team, who’s message stays consistent and clear.

We need to create an environment that allows us to easily prioritise wellness. It should be easy for us to train, whether at home or at the gym. That is why I created CrossFit Mummas, to allow the mummas in my community access to a family friendly gym, an opportunity for training WITH children, for them to take breastfeeding breaks, where nappy changing and toilet training is normal and given attention to, where I can model peaceful parenting and a vegan lifestyle. Not necessarily to teach other mum’s how to parent, but to allow for a new normal.

It should be easy and sustainable to eat well. We have so much access too whole foods, there is so much information about how to cook food, bake and meal prepare in advance that we literally do not need fast food. I assure you it’s far cheaper to buy and create your own organic meals than to buy “fast food” and that there are wonderful places to actually dine on the days where you want to eat out.

For a healthier future generation, broad social change must start in our youth. It is on us, as parents to lead societal changes toward healthier habits. To lead by example and incorporate health, wellness and fitness into our lives each day in front of our children. To counter current poor habits like technology addiction, inactivity, and inadequate nutrition.

The most efficient and effective way to achieving a better body composition and physique is proper nutrition and higher effort strength training. Unfortunately you cannot CrossFit your way out of a poor or inadequate diet and achieve performance or a physique that reflects your hard work, the cool thing about CrossFit, though, is that it doesn't matter if you do not have an “ideal” body composition…you can still be strong as fcuk or a body weight ninja! As my practice is all about health, my focus is on what I can do and the self acceptance that comes with feeling a certain way, able to achieve my movement goals and yeah sure looking fit helps me feel good!


“I lift because I am and because it’s part of a mission to change the world’s understanding of it’s potential.”

Ariel BlythComment


                                                                      31st December 2018
Dear Ariel,

Congratulations babe, you certainly shone this year! Things that you achieved:

  • Interviews in both Mama Disrupt and The Collective Hub
  • 10k Instagram followers and 3k FB followers with 1k email subscribers
  • Attended four beautiful births
  • Finished your book which is being published as we speak
  • You bought your first home last week
  • CrossFit Croydon boasts 200 athletes, 30 of which are highly competitive
  • Yogility has 50 committed yogis each week
  • You have loved and healed and found solid ground
  • You visited Bali & Byron 
  • You sent Eric to watch The CrossFit Games for his 30th - best wifey ever
  • You stayed tanned all year, and had no bouts of depression!
  • Your fitnessing paid off, with smashing all of your strength and gymnastics goals, feeling great in your own skin and helping share that message with other athletes and mummas
  • You trusted the timing of your life and don't feel trapped or lonely. 
  • You healed yourself, and in doing so helped to heal all the women of the earth, including Mumma Earth herself.
  • Your friendships are solid, helpful, mutual, inspiring and truly fill your cup.
Tim McDonaldComment

As part of CrossFit and as a business owner, I’ve learnt to constantly redefine what you think is possible.

At the beginning of 2017, the year that I turned thirty, I had big plans. I chose a word to define my year, and was careful that it wasn’t “growth” because how could I possibly go through more turbulence? I felt as though I’d grown enough thank you very much.

I’m as yet, unsure whether the years events have helped make me a better person, but they have definitely made me more myself.

To recap, we entered into our fourth year at CrossFit Croydon, driving 45mins each way to work most days (at one stage I was so befuddled I thought there was 8 days in each week…it just doesn't stop!) because I desperately needed to live by the ocean. I didn't count on feeling so lonely and I was incredibly anxious…all.the.time. I was living in fear of my annual winter depression and so I missed out on what could have been an amazing summer.

My moon cycle returned and on our anniversary, I literally thought I would bleed to death. I was struggling with meeting the days challenges, parenting and looking after myself. I felt hurt by my friend’s apparent rejection (story of my life…I’ll get into that in a moment) and things were unstable between Eric and myself.

Winter was another shit storm. We lost 45 athletes, lost friends, I lost myself too…we had no money and our bills had nearly tripled. Despite this, we managed to attend Splendour In the Grass and I stayed on in Byron to reconnect to myself. I had no one to talk to. My dad went and married his partner without inviting me. Eric and I kept fighting. I stopped breastfeeding Reef after 6 years of continual breastfeeding, tandem feeding and donating my breast milk. There’s a story for another blog.

The last few months we have recovered somewhat…our community is thriving and sees value in what we do, Eric created a comp squad which has seen us winning local comps, and I’m so excited to watch everyone perform in the 2018 CrossFit Open. The weather has been good so I’ve felt emotionally more stable. We met Dave Castro and many of the CrossFit HQ team before watching the Aussies cream the Invitationals in Melbourne. There’s been many highlights too.

I have put so much energy into meeting deadlines this year; filming my online program, writing a book, finishing my doula studies and growing our CrossFit community. 

So, I have achieved lots and overcome more than I thought possible. My mental health issues still play up, sometimes making me a shitty mother, wife and friend. It’s not an excuse and it’s something I work on everyday. I’m incredibly grateful to everyone who stayed beside me through another tumultuous year, to the friends that have become more like family, and my beautiful children who show me what unconditional love is, and the value of being in the moment.

Here’s to more presence, love and sunshine.


Tim McDonaldComment

There are times as a woman that I feel completely trapped. I have no where to go, no one to call. I'm too much for everyone and not enough of anything good.
I have to smile for the children, have to be interested and excited to run a business, have to keep going no matter how much I just wish I was not here.
Words cut like knives but the feelings are the worst. No one will ever come, no one will save you, no one will ever love you.
How do you re write these thought patterns? How do you change who you are? How do I leave?
I feel as though I make some small progress only to come undone with an insensitive word and then a ramble about how I'm never happy, never positive, too sensitive, too stressed, too much...always.
What do I want? To be who I am. To achieve, to succeed, to thrive, to be loved, to be celebrated, to lift others every single day, to be a great mother, to be desired by my lover, to have rock solid friendships, to spread love in every moment, to change the world, to heal our environment, to make other people's lives better, to be happy, to be enough of the right things and not too much of the other things.

Tim McDonaldComment