New Ante & Post Classes Starting 22nd April 2014

Super excited to announce due to popular demand, I will be adding 2 more classes onto my timetable starting from Tuesday 22nd April 2014.

Yoga & Pilates –  this is going to be an open class which will be available to pregnant ladies and non pregnant. Due to the requests of having a early daytime class,  from pregnant and non pregnant ladies, I am combining the class together, which I have done before and worked well. I am confident to have a mixed class and am capable of making tweaks to each individual ladies needs, whether pregnant or not. I can assure you it will be fun and friendly and everyone will benefit from it. Strengthen your pelvic floor and core muscles, release tension and back ache, hip problems and pelvic girdle pain, to list a few.

Mummies and Babies Bootcamp – this is aimed for the more advanced but if anyone struggles to make the Friday session, I am more than capable of making tweaks to suit the individual person. Whether you have a baby or your children is at Nursery/School, you have no excuses you attend the class. If you fancy a “me time” workout and someone else is looking after baby, then you can put your full effort into your workout without any distractions. Strength and tone your whole body using your own body weight or a variety of equipment, dumbbells, resistant bands, sandbags and much more. Let’s transform your body and make you feel sexy.

Look forward to seeing you all next week.

 

Loosening Joints and Ligaments in your Pelvis

Loosening Joints and Ligaments in your Pelvis

The past few weeks this topic has been mentioned in class, so I thought I would explain in more detail.

The pubic bone is actually made up of two separate bones joined together in the middle of the pubic area by a strong ligament. Under the influence of relaxin, a hormone released in increasingly greater amounts throughout pregnancy, this ligament can become so soft and unstable that the two bones may literally separate. It sounds bad, but this phenomenon is actually desirable, because it increases the dimensions of your pelvis and creates more room for your baby to pass through the birth canal during childbirth.

Be warned, however, a number of pesky ailments can also crop up as a result of pelvic shift. In fact, if you’re starting to feel funny little pains on the edges of your pelvis, you’re already experiencing one of the most common side effects: round ligament pain. Ranging anywhere from mildly cramp like to sharp and stabbing, round ligament pain is usually worst when you get out of bed or up from a chair. Rest will generally alleviate the pain and learning the correct way to get up from a sitting or lying down position can help avoid the problem. To stand up from a chair, put your hands on your legs just above your knees, lean forward, and push yourself up slowly with your arms. To lie down, or to stand up after lying down, roll over onto one hip and use your arms to lower or lift your body.

For particularly annoying cases, try the following exercise, which was shown by researchers at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, to be effective in relieving both the intensity and duration of round ligament pain:

Stand barefoot with your feet together, one hand holding the back of a chair or touching a wall for support. Keeping both legs straight, raise your right leg up by lifting your right hip so your right foot is about 2 inches off the floor. Keep your shoulders and the bottom of your right foot parallel to the floor. Hold the right leg in the air for 6 seconds, then lower. Repeat 10 times on the right, then switch to the left. This movement tilts your hip and pelvis about 30 degrees, which releases and relaxes the irritated ligament.

A small number of women have a large degree of pelvic separation, which can cause severe pain in the center of the pubic area, a condition known as pubic symphysis pain. Now this is another topic and will be cover next time.

Hope this has helped you understand a bit more.

Packing your Hospital Bag

Packing your Hospital Bag

This is a question that I get asked quite a lot, so I thought I would do a little article about what you will/may need. The next burning question is when to pack it, some say 2 weeks before but if you like to be organised like me and be prepared, I would do it about 4 weeks before. Even if your having a home birth I would recommend you have one packed to be on the safe side.

On my experiences I would pack extra, just in case you have to stay in. This bit I wasn’t prepared for, I had planned a water birth and it went pear shape and ended up having an emergency c-section, so I was in a sleeveless t shirt and pants and ended up telling them to where I told them to cut off because I had enough and couldn’t lift myself up. They only cut my pants off (lol, their faces were funny at the time). So wear old things during labour….

So let’s get cracking

What to pack For You 

  • Antenatal notes are needed for hospital

  • Money for car parking and vending machines

  • Comfortable and loose clothing during labour, something that doesn’t make you too hot and you can move about in.

  • 2 or 3 comfortable and supportive bras, including nursing bras if you are planning to breastfeed. Remember your breasts will be larger than usual. (That’s if you haven’t already noticed them..)

  • A pack of super absorbent sanitary towels.

  • Wash bag, with flannel, toothbrush, tooth paste, soap etc

  • Towels

  • Magazines, book, Ipad etc something to pass the time away

  • Nursing tops if you are planning on breastfeeding, and breast pads

  • Dressing gown and slippers

  • Pack of big pants (Not only will you feel sexy not… but to hold those super absorbent sanitary towels in. Oh the joys..)

  • A loose, comfortable outfit for going home in after giving birth. Remember you may still have a baby bump.

  • A camera

  • Drinks and snacks to keep you going through your labour

 What to pack For Baby

  • A pack of newborn nappies and wipes. Some say cotton wool..

  • Vests and babygros

  • A hat, scratch mittens and socks

  • A shawl or blanket

It’s a mind field but hope that’s helped you out. The only other thing is let your other half pack it for you and god knows what you will end up with…

If there is any other burning questions you want answering then drop me a line and I will do my best to help you out.

Enjoy and thank you.

Number 1 Exercise That Every Ante & Post Natal Lady Should Do

Number 1 Exercise That Every Ante & Post Natal Lady Should Do

Squats

 Firstly they are really simple and safe to do during and after pregnancy.

Pregnancy – they strengthen the glutes (bum) which weaken during pregnancy, strengthen and tones your thighs, works your pelvic floor on the upward phase from squatting to standing (without you even having to actively switch it on – super) and finally prepare your body if you are wanting an active birth, where you are encouraged to stay active and move around during labour.

Post Natal – your glutes actually lengthen and weaken during pregnancy because your pelvis tips forwards to allow your growing bump to come forward. So focusing on your bottom is definitely priority on your to do list of what muscles you should be working on after birth. And, why wouldn’t you?! Any strengthening exercise performed for these sets of muscles should be done so in a slow, controlled manor, ensuring your technique and pelvic positioning is maintained. So, make sure your pelvic floor or core is switched on, keep the lower back from arching, and perform the exercises slowly and with control, for maximum results.

Starting point:

Stand with feet hip width apart, knees soft, pelvis neutral, shoulders down and back, head in line with spine.

As a precaution, if you are new to squatting stand by a wall or have a chair next to you, in case you feel off balance or wobbly.

Draw baby/belly button towards spine (these are your core muscles working when you do this action) or engage your pelvic floor muscles underneath and hold them in slightly. Slowly bend through your hips and knees and sit back into your heels. Feel your glutes and thighs working as you squat, remember put your bodyweight into the heels of your feet to get the muscles working correctly. On your way back up, lift through your pelvic floor and come back to standing tall. Repeat 2 sets of 15, keeping the focus on your glutes, thighs and pelvic floor too.

Pretty simple really.

Do note if you can’t feel your bum, thighs doing anything and/or you feel pain in your back, hips, knees or feet, then it’s likely your doing something wrong.

If you are struggling, then try the reverse squat. All you need is a sturdy chair. Start seated, bottom towards the edge/front of the chair, feet flat on the floor and knees are hip width apart, sit tall, shoulders down and back, pull your tummy muscles/pelvic floor up and without using your arms, slowly come to a standing position, then slowly lower back down to the chair. Repeat 2 sets of 15.

Cortisol, Stress & Fat Loss For the Post Natal Client

Cortisol, Stress & Fat Loss For the Post Natal Client

A few important factors to consider when seeking fat loss in the Post Natal period.

During Pregnancy and the early Post Natal period, Cortisol is NATURALLY ELEVATED! In the Post Natal period the thought is that the elevated Cortisol and other stress hormones have the effect of keeping the mother alert and aware of any possible dangers to the infant and may have a role in the attachment process.

The physical stress of labour and birthing, alongside the stresses of adjusting to early motherhood and poor sleeping patterns/lack of sleep means that Cortisol levels may remain high well into the Post Natal period making it difficult for mothers to lose weight post birth.

During pregnancy, the hormonal signals have been set to ensure fat is stored in preparation for feeding the baby.

Being an older mother is also a factor in holding fat as sadly, by the mid to late 30’s the body is preparing for menopause. And the ultimate paradox……..as women head towards menopause the body will automatically be reluctant to let go of fat around the middle as this is where Oestrogen is mainly manufactured. This happens because the body knows that Oestrogen will help protect our bones from Osteoporosis so the body tries to hold onto the fat to hold onto the Oestrogen to prevent Osteoporosis which it obviously deems to be a greater threat than having a fat belly!

The ULTIMATE blow comes in the fact that…….abdominal fat cells have four times as many receptors for Cortisol than anywhere else in your body so if you’re continually too stressed, your abdominal fat cells will be calling out for Cortisol and encouraging the body to store fat around the abdominals!

Adrenaline & Cortisol are the two main stress hormones produced by the Adrenal glands. Totally useful when we need to get out of danger, not so great when our modern life and stress levels keep us chronically in a state of over-production.

Both hormones circulating in the system increase appetite and then drive the stressed individual to consume – guess what? More carbohydrate and fat!

Fat is stored around the middle simply because there, it’s closer to the liver where it can be quickly accessed to be converted back into energy if needed.

Natural Cortisol levels that we need to wake us up and go about our business in the daytime can remain elevated by STRESS! They can also be elevated by a house too brightly lit in the evening time, and overstimulation via watching TV and working late.

Excessive production of Cortisol leads to adrenal fatigue which presents itself as chronic fatigue syndrome, infections, musculoskeletal aches and pains and headaches, the list goes on….

Obeying our natural rhythms of sleep and rest – our CIRCADIAN RHYTHM allows the adrenals to rest and Human Growth Hormone to be produced – vital for optimal fat metabolism.

Caffeine, sugar, tobacco and LOW BLOOD SUGAR create EMERGENCY situations within our systems and signal STRESS, they are ALL best avoided!

 

How will I know if I’m in Labour

How will I know if I’m in Labour

Being a first time mummy can be worrying when it comes to labour and birth. It’s the not knowing when do you go into hospital or when is your baby going to arrive that makes it worst and then wondering if it’s Braxton Hicks (These are when your tummy tightens for a few seconds. They can be quite powerful and can easily be mistaken for labour contractions. If your worried phone your midwife or hospital labour ward for advice). Or your labour contractions have started.

So I thought I would do a little article to try and ease your mind. So here we go…

Early contractions may feel a bit like period pains, or you may wonder if they are more like Braxton Hicks contractions. Sometimes you may feel pain in your back and thighs instead of, or as well as pain in the front of your bump.

During a contraction your abdomen will feel hard as the muscles of your womb tense up and work to gradually open up your cervix and push your baby out. As your labour progresses, the contractions will become more intense and, as your muscles relax after each one, the pain will fade.

Typical Signs that your in Labour

  • When your having regular contractions that last more than 30 seconds and begin to feel stronger, labour may have started. Your contractions will become longer, stronger and more frequent.
  • Three contractions every ten minutes over two or three hours.
  • Backache or the aching, heavy feeling that you may of had during your monthly period.
  • The “Show” – the plug of mucus in the cervix, which has helped to seal the uterus during pregnancy, comes away and out of your vagina. This small amount of sticky pink mucus is called the ‘Show’. It usually comes away before or in early labour. There should only be a little blood mixed in with the mucus. If you are losing more blood, it may be a sign that something is wrong, phone your midwife or hospital straight away.
  • Your waters break – The bag of water surrounding your baby may break before labour starts. To prepare for this, you could keep a sanitary towel (not a tampon) handy if you are going out, and put a plastic sheet on your bed. If your water breaks before labour starts, you will notice either a slow trickle from your vagina or a sudden gush of water which you cannot control. Phone your midwife or hospital.
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhoea

What to do when in Labour 

  • Firstly don’t panic
  • Write down how far your contractions are and how long each one lasts
  • Phone your midwife or hospital
  • If your having a home birth, let your midwife know that you think labour has started
  • If you have other children, let your babysitter know
  • Check you have everything you need, hospital and baby bag, car keys to hand, money for car park and vending machine, favourite CD or book
  • Your hospital notes

 

 

 

 

Breastfeeding and Exercise

BREASTFEEDING AND EXERCISE

Today’s newsletter is on breastfeeding and exercise, as I thought it may interest some of you. Even if you’re not breastfeeding and you think this doesn’t apply to you, keep reading, as you may learn a thing or two. Knowledge is powerful, remember.

Here are a couple of points that I think are relevant for postnatal women about breastfeeding and exercise:

Feed before exercise

I’d always suggest that you feed your baby before your exercise. I know this is not always possible, but it’s advisable to do so. If your breasts are full, chances are they will feel uncomfortable, and any amount of activity, regardless of how vigorous it is might stimulate milk flow, so it’s advisable to wear breast pads.

Is a sports bra necessary?

Getting a properly fitted sports bra is essential if you’re embarking on any type of fitness class or activity to reduce the amount of “bounce” and provide adequate shock absorption to the breasts. Although wearing a nursing bra is very convenient for feeding before or after class, I’m here to tell you that a feeding bra doesn’t provide enough support for exercise, ok? Consider wearing two bras, with a nursing bra on first, then a sports bra over the top. I know it sounds like a bit of a nuisance, but this “double-bra” effect will you with the support you need. Tight elasticated sports bra tops aren’t that suitable for a new mum who is breastfeeding either, because they compress the breasts into the chest wall, which may constrict you milk ducts and/or lead to infection eg mastitis.

Body positioning

Lying directly on your front may feel extremely uncomfortable for some of you. For others, this position can be tolerated for a short period of time. When performing any exercise in this position, I suggest placing a rolled up towel above and/or below your breasts to reduce the amount of discomfort/pressure.

Range of movement

Again, for comfort, it’s advisable to keep the range of movement of some arm exercises smaller and controlled. Anything vigorous that involves you reaching your arms over your head repetitively will cause tenderness, so it’s important you keep the range of movement of your arms smaller. You know your body best, at the end of the day, so choose what feels comfortable for you.

Milk production

There is no significant research to suggest that moderate-intensity exercise inhibits milk production. Examples of moderate-intensity exercise include: weight training, low-impact aerobics, walking, swimming. A study by Carey & Quinn (2001) suggested that lactate levels of milk production changed only after a mother performed maximal intensity exercise, and this may affect baby’s acceptance of post-exercise breast milk. But, the authors agreed that it’s highly unlikely that a postnatal women would feel comfortable pushing themselves to this level, so its findings have been discounted. Moderate-intensity exercise however, with good hydration will not affect the quantity or the quality of breast milk.

3 Gentle Exercises During Pregnancy

3 Gentle Exercises During Pregnancy

Doing these in your daily routine, will help strengthen your muscles to help carry that extra weight, make your joints stronger, ease backache, improve circulation and make you feel better. You should be doing your pelvic floor exercises daily. See my previous newsletter about how to do these, if you aren’t doing them already or as a refresher.

Cat Stretch

  1. Start on all fours, wrists, shoulders in alignment and knees, hips in alignment, Fingers facing forward, baby into spine (stomach muscles lifted) nice flat back, (ensure you don’t sag)

  2. Slowly pulled in your stomach muscles and round your back up towards the ceiling, your head looks towards your knees/stomach. Don’t lock out your elbows

  3. Hold for a few seconds then lower to start position

  4. Do not hollow your back, bring it back to a flat back/neutral position

  5. Do 10 times, nice and slowly

 Pelvic Tilts Standing

  1. Stand with your shoulders and back against the wall

  2. Knees soft

  3. Bring your belly button towards your spine (Baby to spine), your back should flatten against the wall

  4. Hold for 5 seconds and release

  5. Do 10 times

Foot Exercises 

These can be done either standing, sitting or lying down. They improve blood circulation, reduce swelling in the ankles and prevent cramp in the calf muscles.

  1. Point and flex your foot vigorously up and down 30 times, then change foot

  2. Rotate your foot round one way and then the other, 10 times each side then swop foot

 

 

 

 

6 Facts about C-Sections

6 Facts about C-Sections

This is something I can relate too. Having had an emergency c-section myself, I know it can be daunting and frightening when recovering, knowing what you can and can’t do straightaway, so you can make a speedy recover. It’s a major operation which you don’t really think about at the time. So I say relax and enjoy your time and don’t rush into anything to soon.

Sometimes, for many reasons, women have to deliver their baby via c-section. Some women elect to have a section, and others go through the stages of labour and then deliver their baby via section. Around 25% of all births in the UK were delivered by section (2008).

What is a c-section?

So, what is a c-section? Well, it’s an incision made horizontally, just above your pubic hair line. Contrary to belief, your abdominal muscles AREN’T actually cut with this incision, it’s the outer coating of the muscle, and the cling film type structure in between the 6-pack muscles that is. The incision is made on the outside of your body horizontally, and then your surgeon gently peels your Linea Alba apart (vertically) to gain access. The Linea Alba runs vertically down your stomach, and separates your six pack muscles in half, above and below your belly button. The outside incision is then sutured back together, but the inside cling film/Linea Alba is not.

Once a c-section always a c-section?

If you have your first baby by c-section, this does not necessarily mean that any future baby will have to be delivered in this way. Vaginal birth after a previous c-section can and does happen. This will depend on your own particular circumstances. Do discuss your hopes and plans for any other deliveries with your doctor or midwife.

I know I’m having a c-section, so I don’t need to do pelvic floor exercises, right?

If you elect to have a section, there’s a misconception that your pelvic floor will be fine. You might think that because your body won’t be going through the stages of labour, your pelvic floor won’t be affected. This is where you’re WRONG! Pregnancy itself puts tremendous pressure on your pelvic floor, as the weight of your developing baby gets bigger and bigger, and therefore weakens these muscles. So, it’s still very important that you strengthen your pelvic floor during and after pregnancy, even if you elected to have a section.

If you’ve gone through the stages of labour, and after several unsuccessful attempts of trying to deliver naturally, you then have a section, think about what muscles have been stressed throughout this ordeal? That’s right – the abdominals and the pelvic floor! You may have been at it for hours, pushing and pushing and putting a immense amount of pressure on these areas. Put simply, it’s your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles which helped you deliver your baby.

When can you return to exercise following a c-section?

You will need to have had your Doctor’s Check up before your return to exercise after a c-section, which, depending on your Doctor’s Practice/Surgery could be 8 to 10 weeks, so give them a call to see what their guidelines are. I believe postnatal women should return to exercise following a c-section, when they feel ready. It’s major surgery after all, and your body will need time to heal.

What is recovery like after a c-section?

After a c-section, your recover time is longer than a natural birth, you may have a loss of sensation, a numbness in your abdominals especially around the scar area, and the scar tissue itself may reduce your ability to do certain movements completely pain-free. Your pelvic floor may take a little while to activate consciously too, but keep sending the signal from your brain to these muscles, and eventually, it will switch back on, I promise.

What exercise is safe after a c-section?

Postnatal-specific Pilates, Yoga or core exercise is probably THE best form of exercise for any new mum to be doing, regardless of the type delivery. Pelvic floor work makes up the main focus of any postnatal recovery program if you’ve had your baby via section. If I personally trained a client who’d had a section for example, I would start by asking them what sensation they have in the abdominals, bearing in mind that they may have next to no sensation, and still feel very sore and numb. Next, I would then ask how different areas of their pelvic floor feel. After this, I would perform a “Rec Check” to see if a separation is still existent in their abdominals, and I’d set basic re-activation and re-education exercises to either the pelvic floor or abdominals to help the muscles return to their original strength and fire properly.

 Unfortunately, there is no quick-fix cure for strengthening the abdominals following a section. It can take months of training, careful instruction and lots of homework. If your abdominals aren’t assessed and addressed early following the correct procedures and using the correct techniques, then they may stay in a weakened state for the rest of your life, which can lead to poor posture, pelvic discomfort and lower back pain. The good news though, with the right assessment, instruction and homework, it is fixable.

3 Top Exercises to Ease Cramp During Pregnancy

3 Top Exercises To Ease Cramp During Pregnancy

Oh no the dreaded Cramp! How I remember this while I was pregnant, especially during the night. That tightness in the lower leg, Ouch. Well here’s my tips

Cramp can be eased with regular exercises to increase circulation. Before bed have your feet lifted and circle your ankles, if you do cramp then point and flex your foot or better still get your husband or partner to move your foot around and massage your calf.

Calf Raises/Pedalling – Improve circulation and strengthen the ankles

Standing tall feet hip width apart, shoulders down and back, bring baby to spine and switch on your pelvic floor. Hands on hips to ensure pelvis stays in alignment throughout the movement. Slowly lift one heel off the floor, ensure hips are level during movement, lower down and change foot. If feeling unbalanced hold onto a chair, worktop or wall. Perform 10-15 on alternate legs.

Calf Stretches – Stretch the calf

Stand tall, shoulders down and back, draw abdominals and pelvic floor in and up, slowly step 1 leg back, keep back leg straight, front leg is bent, knee in line with ankle, hold stretch for 10-15 seconds then change legs. For a deeper stretch or if feeling unbalanced, use a wall or chair for support.

Seated Ankle Rotations – Mobilise the ankle and improves circulation

Sitting tall, shoulders down and back, ensure baby into spine, slowly lift one foot off the floor and rotate around in a circular motion one way then change direction, change legs. Perform 10 circles each way on each leg and repeat twice.

A lady who attended my Ante Natal Yoga/Pilates Classes, suffered a lot with cramp, she did the exercises and also started having Almond milk, it seemed to ease and didn’t keep reoccurring, so why not try Almond milk as well.