I came across a great post on Instagram by a fellow alignment nerd yesterday which I had to share in my client Facebook Group.

The photo showed a pregnant person in poor, lifted chest, “bump out in front of her” posture on the left, and then her again in perfect alignment on the right.

It’s fascinating to see how lifting your chest and standing with your pelvic weight forwards can apply pressure and more load than necessary to your lower back, so do go and check out the link below because sometimes a picture speaks a thousand words, huh? 

Click here to see the image: https://www.instagram.com/p/BkyEmsLHZg1/

Having a chat to a few of my pregnant clients over the past fortnight, it’s apparent that some of you are suffering with pelvic pain, sneeze wee and sciatica.

So, I thought I share my thoughts on what to do when you feel either of these symptoms setting in.

SNEEZE WEE

Although common, it’s not normal to wet yourself when you sneeze.

This essentially means when your bladder has urine in it, your pelvic floor is not strong enough to withstand the downward forces produced by said sneeze.

You may be happy to tolerate it for now, thinking you only have a few months left of your pregnancy, so what’s the point doing much about it now?

Well, it tells me there is a problem, because, well – read paragraph one again, ok?

The “problem” won’t go away by itself and I take a full body approach to pelvic floor rehab if you hadn’t noticed, so doing a tonne of “squeeze and release” exercises to your vag may not make a lick of difference.

See my Your Pelvic Matters or pregnancy Pilates or Beginners Pilates classes for more info, or come and see me for postnatal personal training, where I can put an individualised program of exercises together specifically for you.

PELVIC PAIN

Pelvic Girdle Pain or PGP as it’s sometimes termed can include pain at the front, back or sides of the pelvis.

So, discomfort at the pubic bone, groin area, outer thighs, hip bones and/or lower back/gluteal pain all falls under the umbrella of “PGP”.

If PGP becomes really bad, you may be offered Physio by your local hospital, with the worst case scenario being, they’ll offer you a support belt an crutches if your symptoms get worse, rather than get better.

I’ve worked with a tonne of pregnant women with PGP one-on-one and in a group setting, and I can always find movements for them to do.

Mindset is huge with this one here, so if someone says a support belt is your best option, you’re going to think it is.

It may provide you a teeny bit of relief, but there’s more at stake here, because using a set of crutches and/or wearing a support belt are sort of “plastering” things.

What you need is pelvic stability back in your life, and I can certainly help you attain that.

SCIATICA

I’ve had this and it’s pretty grim.

Although it was well over 10 years ago, I can still remember the torment of that shooting/tingling pain that starts in the butt, runs down the back of the leg, all the way underneath the foot to the big toe.

For me, sitting down aggravated it, so it’s important for you to work out what it is that’s causing more discomfort and do less of that for starters.

I generally advise against stretching out the gluteals if sciatica is present, because it can sometimes make symptoms worse.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I HAVE SNEEZE WEE, PELVIC PAIN AND/OR SCIATICA?

Well, I’m glad you asked!

In a nutshell, you need to:

  • Sit better (if you must sit, or vary the way you sit eg floor sitting)
  • Stand better (I teach you how to do this in every class setting on my timetable, so no excuses)
  • Walk and move more (but you need to learn how to stand better for you to be able to move and walk better, so you can sort of see how these things are indeed connected)
  • Strengthen your glutes (a huge role in relieving pelvic pain, sciatica and sneeze wee is building yourself a strong butt, which incidentally is linked to walking better – you see – I can find a tenuous link to everything!)
  • Release your hamstrings (particularly if sneeze wee is something you suffer with – it tells me your pelvic floor is possibly too tight)
  • Teach your core to switch on reflexively (which means you don’t “draw it in” all the time, or at all – you let it anticipate and adapt to the load you’re asking it to bear), and finally
  • Learn to breathe better (because you can’t get a reflexive core, if you’re not breathing into your ribs, and breathing better can also help pelvic floor/core synergy too)

And, there you have it!

That’s quite an extensive list as you can see, but you’ll know that if you’ve ever asked me a question that goes along the lines of:

“What exercises are good for….?”

I rarely if ever answer it by listing my “go to” exercises.

This is because I look at the body as a whole unit.

And, just sending you away with 4 movements to do, in isolation, isn’t going to relieve your symptoms.

YOU have got to take some responsibility for your pain and actions going forwards too, you see?

If you’re concerned that any symptom you’re suffering with is not going away, it’s probably time to get in touch with me, don’t you think?

I run a host of classes where you can learn about how to stand, sit and move better.

Pregnancy fitness is Mondays at 6pm and pregnancy Pilates is Tuesday at 6:15pm.

Mummies and Buggies indoor postnatal buggy class is Wednesday at 11am.

My pelvic floor exercise class is 7:30pm on Wednesdays (but check the link for info on how to enrol).

Beginners Pilates is Tuesday at 8:30pm in West Bridgford.

And, if you want a fun, fat-burning, full-body workout that offers postnatal options, it’s my Little Black Dress Workout on a Monday at 8:30pm you’ll want to book on.

 

 

When it comes to exercising during pregnancy and after birth, I’m a pretty big advocate for it, as you know.

Exercising during pregnancy provides not just you, but your unborn baby with many benefits.

And, one of the best things you can do as a new mum is workout safely after birth, because it not only makes you feel better about yourself, but it sets a great example for your newborn baby too, doesn’t it?

Today’s article is two-fold, as it’s aimed at:

  1. staying fit during pregnancy and,
  2. losing the baby weight after birth.

I’ve narrowed it down 5 top things you need to be doing to increase your fitness level and burn fat, so here goes:

1. INTERVAL TRAINING
One of the BEST forms of exercise to increase your fitness level and/or melt fat fast, is interval training.

I do interval training in ALL of my prenatal exercise classes, Pilates and Mummies and Buggies classes.

I even run a hot and sweaty, ‘next-step after baby’, higher intensity level class here.

If you’re wanting to NOT have to clutch your chest every time you walk up the stairs because you’re getting out of breathe, maybe a bout of interval training is what your system needs, huh?

Interval training is bursts of higher intensity, followed by lower intensity exercise, training the heart, lungs, arms, legs and core.

Think of it as a full-body workout which is over and done with quickly.

Read More

Had your baby recently?

Unsure what exercise is safe to do for your abdominals post-birth?

Want to do some Pilates to tone up your tummy, safely and effectively?

Here’s a short video listing 3 x Pilates-based exercises every new mum should add to her repertoire.

This will help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, tone up the mummy tummy and help fix any abdominal separation present.

Want an hour of targeted exercise for your postnatal body, where you can bring baby with you?

Join a mum and baby fitness class – Get fit, have fun, make new mummy friends and bring baby with you!

If you don’t do something NOW to get back into shape after birth, it may be even longer before you’re your old self again. 

Even when you’re at your worst, I’m certain with a bit of willpower and a change in mindset, you can find 10 minutes in your day to exercise with these tips.

Want to learn more about postnatal exercise?

Check out my Postnatal Pilates Worksheets, Your Pelvic Matters Exercise Class if your pelvic floor isn’t as strong as it was pre-pregnancy, and/or my indoor buggy workout Mummies and Buggies fitness classes.

 

Are you expecting a baby?

Pregnancy can really play havoc with your back, huh?

If you have a birthing/swiss ball at home collecting dust, and you’d like to perform some simple, safe and effective stretches on it, watch this short video.

If you’re looking for a pregnancy exercise or antenatal Pilates class in Nottingham, and want to meet other mums-to-be, then you’ve come to the right place!

Bump to Babe Fitness and Pregnancy Pilates classes are every busy pregnant woman’s answer to staying fit, active and healthy throughout their pregnancy.

You can come along and exercise at any stage of your pregnancy, right up to full term, and the best bit is – you’ll be giving your unborn baby the BEST start in life.

Abdominal SeparationI once met a client who came to my postnatal Pilates classes who had all 3 of these things:

1) Abdominal separation (3 finger width gap above and below the navel)
2) Pelvic floor weakness (she was wetting herself on impact), and
3) An umbilical hernia (diagnosed by her GP)

I’ve rehabilitated and lessened the symptoms all of these 3 issues in a lot of women (and men) over the past few years.

They’re all linked.

How?

Let me explain a little further:

TOO MUCH PRESSURE

The human body has 3 cavities:

1) thoracic (chest and ribcage area)
2) abdomen
3) pelvic

If you have too much pressure building up in one of those cavities, there are 3 ways of that pressure is going places once it’s reached the pressure cooker stage:

Read More

photo_pregnancy_exercise_2[1]This is the third and final part of a series of 3 articles on how alignment affects you and your baby.

 

If you missed the previous articles, click here to read them:

 

Part 1 – How Alignment Affects Your Ability to Give Birth Naturally

Part 2 – How Alignment Affects YOUR Baby’s Development and Gait Patterns

 

Today, I’m talking about How Alignment Affects Your Baby’s Ability to Move From a Breech to an Engaged Position.

 

It’s an interesting topic and one that’s not covered in much detail at antenatal education classes.

 

If you’re close to term and need to move baby from a breech to engaged position – you’ll want to keep reading….!

Read More

For those of who have done Pilates, or are attending my Pilates classes now, I know how difficult the concept of breathing can be for you, so I thought I’d write a little post for you detailing when to breathe in, and when to breathe out.

In fact: “When should I breathe in and out?” is one of the most frequently asked questions from my Pilates clients, so hopefully, after reading this article, you’ll be a little more clued up on the whole breathing situation.

I mention in class that the breathing in Pilates is certainly connected to core activation, so it’s not something you want to disregard altogether, and some clients who’ve been practising Pilates for years still struggle with the timing.

The main thing to remember is to breathe. Try NOT to hold your breath when performing Pilates. Let your breath guide the movement, regardless of whether it’s in or out.

If you’d really like to fine-tune your breathing technique though, here are my top tips for remembering when to breathe in and out.

Generally speaking, the out breath occurs:

  1. When you feel the muscle working,
  2. When you take your body away from the neutral position, and/or
  3. On the first phase of the movement.

To clarify that further, let’s use a calf raise as an example exercise.  A calf raise is where you’re in standing, and yCalf raiseou lift both heels off the floor.  The breathing pattern would be as follows:

  1. Out breath to work the calf – that’s when the calf muscle activates/works,
  2. Out breath to move away from the neutral/starting position,
  3. Out breath in the first phase of movement – when you lift the heels off the floor.

The in breath occurs:

  1. During the non-work muscle phase,
  2. When you return your body back to neutral, and/or
  3. On the second phase of the movement.

I hope that’s clarified things for you regarding when to breathe in and out in Pilates.

If you want to have a go at practising some of the breathing techniques in the comfort of your own home, click here to download a set of Worksheets to help you.

To quote Joseph Pilates himself:

“In 10 sessions you’ll feel the difference, in 20 sessions you’ll see the difference and in 30 you’ll have a whole new body!”.

Any further questions, do get in touch.

See you in class again soon!

If you’re a desk-bound worker, a new mum or someone who does repetitive movements day in day out, it’s no wonder you get tension in your neck, shoulders and back, is it?

 

All that over-use of the same muscles, lifting, moving, twisting, feeding/caring for your baby if you’re a new mum etc, it’s no wonder your posture gets affected by it.

 

Today, I’m giving you my top 5 tips on things you can do to improve your posture right NOW, and to help you with those niggling aches and pains in your neck, shoulders and back.personaltraining

 

I hope it makes good reading.  The question is: are you ready to make some changes?  Ok.  Let’s do this.

 

 

GET UP AND MOVE

The number one reason clients (that’s EVERYONE, by the way) suffer with back pain is because our current lifestyle requires us to sit down.  A lot.  At work we’re sitting.  At rest we’re sitting.  Our spine isn’t really designed for this positioning. Well, not continuously, anyway.  So, point number one is: if you’ve been seated for more than 30 minutes (regardless of whether you’ve shifted position or not), get up and move.  NOW!

 

STRETCH YOUR CHEST, NECK AND SHOULDERS

Regular stretching of your chest, neck and shoulders, like those I mentioned in a recent article to you, is paramount to: getting blood flow into those aching muscles, relieving tension and easing the symptoms.

 

BE AWARE OF YOUR SHOULDERS

Those of you who attend my Pilates classes will hear me say constantly: “Slide your shoulders back and down”, or “Drop your shoulders away from your ears”, or even “For the love of God, stop wearing your shoulders as earrings!”.  Tee hee.  But, on a serious note, for optimum shoulder placement (and to stop that niggling neck/shoulder ache), sit or stand tall, and slide your shoulders back and down your rib cage behind you.  Feels much better, doesn’t it?  Now, make a concerted effort, throughout the rest of the day to become more aware of your shoulder positioning.

 

STRETCH YOUR BACKSONY DSC

Stretching your back in a safe and effective manner, is a really nice way of releasing tension on those over-used back extensors.  Your lumbar spine only has 5 vertebrae, but, let me tell you, those 5 bones can cause some individuals a lot of discomfort.  Take a look at the picture opposite of a Cat Curl stretch.  It’s much safe to stretch your back in this position than it is by bending backwards in standing or

 

DO PILATES

Doctor’s recommend it, Osteopaths, Chiropractors and Physiotherapists all condone it as a safe and effective form of exercise to combat back pain.  Pilates works your deep abdominal muscles or “core”, which in turn help support your back.  The more your strengthen your “core”, the stronger your back will become from the support of your abdominals at the front.  Check out my YouTube channel for workouts you can do which are suitable for everyone to perform.  Let me know how you get on.

 

And there you have it!  My top 5 tips for improving your posture right NOW!  I bet you feel better already.

With so many of your suffering with back ache and pelvic pain in class at the moment, I thought I’d send you out a quick article regarding what exercise is safe to perform during pregnancy.

If you aren’t sure what Pelvic Girdle Pain is, take a look at my blog ‘What is Pelvic Girdle Pain?‘, so you’re a little more informed about what the condition is, what it affects, and why you feel pain in certain areas.

As many as 20% of women can suffer with pelvic and/or back pain during pregnancy, but I’m here to ease your mind and inform you that exercise, under the right instruction can make your symptoms better.

If you’ve ever been sat down/driving for several hours and then gone to stand up/get out of your car and felt like you were 80 years old, you’ll understand that pain at times, can be debilitating.  Have you noticed though, that when you have more of an active day where you’re moving around more, or when you’ve been along to one of my pregnancy fitness or pregnancy Pilates classes, you find that you:

a) sleep better afterwards, and

b) have less pain as a result?

Well, that’s generally because, when you’re in my class anyway, I choose Pilates-based movements which focus on your pelvic floor and/or core muscles which help stabilise your pelvis and back.

In more cases than not, the stronger your abdominals, the stronger your back.  By doing Pilates-based exercise which focuses on your pelvic floor and transverses abdominus (deep core) muscles, this enables you to manage and in some cases, eradicate any discomfort felt.

If you’re experiencing any pain in the front of your pelvic eg near your pubic bone, or to one side of your lower back, then you may indeed have the early stages of SPD/PGP.

A Specialist will then advise you to work your pelvic floor muscles effectively, get some strength into your core muscles, and give you a series of, guess what – Pilates-based exercises to do at home to keep things in check.

So, all in all, Pilates really is one of the safest and most beneficial forms of exercise for expectant women to be doing at any stage of their pregnancy.  I truly believe that if more mums-to-be did Pregnancy-specific Pilates to keep their pelvic floor/core/pelvic stabilising muscles strong, then fewer women would suffer with back pain.

What are your experiences of Pilates during pregnancy?  Have you found it’s helped you?  I’d love to hear your thoughts, so drop me a line.

My pregnancy fitness or pregnancy Pilates classes use Pilates-based movement which focus on your pelvic floor and/or core muscles to help stablise your pelvis and back.


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