Archive for the ‘Ante Natal’ Category

We don’t have to join a gym to exercise – there is enough space outside and inside our homes to workout.  But if you are expecting then you should consider carefully the following top 5 tips to make each session enjoyable, safe and effective!

1.  Get Support – #1

As well as friends and family who are supporting your mental and emotion needs, your physical needs supported as well – we are taking bosoms!  Any type of fitness/activity you undertake requires that you have a good fitting and supportive bra.  You may have noticed that your breasts have increased (and you feel they will never stop!), and need more than the bra’s you were wearing previous to pregnancy. Sports bra that fasten at the back with over-the-shoulder/cross-over the back straps are best.  Just make sure the bra you choose has enough support!

2.  Keep Drinking

Your body needs to be kept cool – see here for more information

You might not feel thirsty but you should keep sipping at least 1/2 litre for each hour you exercise.  Yes, that might make you go to the loo more, but you already do that!

3.  More support – your feet – #2

You might have noticed your feet and ankles swell (especially in hot weather or if you have been on your feet a long time).  This can be troublesome, but it is only temporary and should go after baby is born.  They can swell so much you can’t get your normal shoes on!  This can last till after the birth of baby, so consider buying a pair of trainers that fit you now, when you are pregnant?

There are many styles of trainers, but make sure that the one you get suits your activity.  Go for function rather than appearance -your feet and legs will thank you afterwards!  Arch support and ankle support should be on the top of your list, not just the colour!

You may also find yourself walking differently – with your knees turned out (a bit like a duck waddling [sorry!]), and your previous trainer would have worn in different places.

4.  Wiggle and  reduce back pain!

If you haven’t got one already, consider buying one!  It can help reduce  back pain and can also help during labour.  Just be being sat on the ball can will challenge your core muscles.  Try and sit on it for about 1– 2o mins per day.

See here to make sure you get the right size of ball for you.  pre natal advice stabilty ball

5.  Support #3 – your bump! 

I know you will be doing your Prenatal Pilates to help strengthen your bump, but an abdominal support can also help.  We are referring to the ‘belly bands’ that can be bought over the internet and in shops, not the ones prescribed by your midwife/physio to help with pelvic girdle pain.

It is also a very practical addition to your wardrobe – especially if you might bend down at work and don’t want to show your back or bump.  They do give some support to the pelvis and abdominals, but don’t rely on it totally for your abdominal support – use your tummy muscles!  They are also very useful to keep your wardrobe functional for that little bit longer – keep your buttons open and where the band over the top!

Top 5 must haves for working out when your are pregnant!


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We regularly hold small group Pilates for all mums-to-be, but what happens in our private Pilates sessions, held in our home studio?

Hannah is 27 weeks pregnant, so nearly at the end of her second trimester.  She is demonstrating various pre natal Pilates moves using various equipment we have in the studio.


The Bosu is a very versatile piece of equipment.  It can be used for support whilst you lie semi-seated and also to prop yourself up when performing side lying movements.


Using the Springboard and an inclinded back support we can perform many exercises in semi-sitting that are not possible whilst lying on the floor.  After about 16 weeks it is inadvisable to lie flat whilst exercising.  However, using the Springboard and back support we can deliver a safe and effective workout.

The Springboard is also wonderful when used in standing and sitting and there are a wide variety of exercises that can be performed…

Pilates Power Gym

The Pilates Power Gym is a small and compact piece of Pilates equipment that is perfect for all mum-to-be’s!  Its gliding board can be elevated so you are lifted and supported throughout every trimester of your pregnancy.  There are no worries about being led flat on your back – it can be adjusted to suit you perfectly.  For your workout comfort there are a wide variety of positions you can use the Pilates Power Gym – seated, standing, on all 4’s and side, lying… There’s a position for everyone!

Pilates Chair

Often called the ‘Wunda Chair’ , it is a  box (or frame depending on model) with a padded seat, a foot pedal, and has 2 to 4 springs attached for a variety of resistance. Pilates developed over 50 exercises for his Chair. You can sit, stand, kneel, or lie on this multipurpose apparatus, developing upper body strength, stabilizing the torso and performing a number of lower body and feet exercises.  We can use all positions (except the lying position!) to exercise your whole body!

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A most welcome addition to your routine during pregnancy is massage! 

We all know how touch can make us (and baby) feel – how many times a day do you stroke or touch your tummy?  Massage and gentle touch can be used to help support your body during its pregnancy changes and birth, and is a most welcome adjunct to help with baby bonding.

Massage supports your body as it goes through the physiological changes that happen to your body, especially in trimesters 2 and 3. It is especially useful if you have swollen ankles during your pregnancy.

Ankle swelling can be indicative of a more serious condition called pre-eclampsia but a certain amount is normal during your pregnancy as you body naturally retains more water and your circulatory system  is under increased pressure.

Lymphatic drainage is a specific form of massage that includes very gentle, light touch massage that improves the efficiency of the lymphatic system – the body’s waste disposal system.

Read here for more information about the lymphatic system.

One of the main differences between a mum-to-be massage and a regular massage is position.  After the week 16 it is suggested that lying flat on your back should be avoided, so positioning for your comfort is paramount.  There are many options to choose from: inclined therapy couch, side lying, floor, chair and also the stability ball.   Your back and abdominal muscles need special care so we make sure that you are adequately supported throughout.

The massage need not end with the session – we can show you and your partner to continue to massage at home – so you can always feel relaxed and pampered!  Simple techniques are shown to both mum and her partner to encourage bonding with baby.

Mums-to-be massage  Contact  Cath@experiencewellness.co.uk to book your relaxing session!

We also offer post natal massage – and baby massage.

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Here is your workout for the third trimester…

T3 workout


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Protected: Trimester 2 home workout

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Muscles, bones and joints

Joint stability and therefore muscle action are altered during pregnancy.  Relaxin softens the ligaments and cartilage which means joints are less stable and more prone to injury.  These changes and weight gain can and weight change.

Anatomic and physiological changes during pregnancy have the potential to affect your muscles and bones both at rest and during exercise.

One of the most obvious is weight gain.   Aerobic exercise can however keep this weight gain under a certain amount of control providing excess calories are not consumed!  Babies born to exercising mothers often have a slightly lower body fat percentage – almost as if the baby is undergoing an aerobic training effect!

The increased weight pregnancy may significantly increase the forces across joints for example the hips and knees by as much as 100% during weight-bearing activities like running.  These large forces may cause discomfort to normal joint and increase damage to arthritic or previously unstable joints.  In Pilates however we do not use any impact moves, so the likelihood of those forces being exerted is minimal.

Because of anatomical and therefore postural changes to your centre of gravity you might develop pain and discomfort around your joints – back, hips and pelvis.

  • Lordosis – an exaggerated curve in your lower back, which can contribute to the high prevalence (50%) of lower back pain in pregnant women.  Back pain can be categorised in three ways:
    1. Lumbar pain stemming from multiple sites including the facet joints
    2. The paraspinal muscles
    3. The supporting ligaments

Your upper back muscles may become weak and which leads to a round-shouldered appearance.  You will notice this if you chin pokes forward and you feel tension around your upper back and around the neck.  The size of the breasts can also have an effect on this type of posture.

Sacroiliac pain from widening of the pubis symphysis from its normal 0.5mm to approximately 1.2mm and unstable sacroiliac joints.

Joints can become unstable due to the release of hormones, and along with the changes in your centre of gravity and weight distribution can contribute to incorrect posture.  You may notice that your balance is less stable and you may need support during some of the exercises you do.

Ligaments and tendons are also affected with the release of various hormones – as discussed above.

Another common postural change is when the pelvis is pushed forwards, working the ligaments instead of the muscles to maintain an upright position – often called a ‘swayback’ position.  With the body in this position it increases its chances of headaches, muscle spasm and back/headaches.
As the body alters so does the centre of gravity and weight distribution.  In pregnancy the joints need special care, avoid:
  • exercises that go beyond the normal range of movement
  • stretches that increase flexibility
  • exercising in unstable (off-balance) positions
  • over use of one side of the body
  • standing for long periods of time.

Round and broad ligaments 

These ligaments support the weight of the uterus.  The round ligaments are situated on either side of the uterus and attach to the front of the pelvis and the broad ligaments attach to the lumbar spine and the uterus sac.

As baby grows this place the ligaments under greater stress and there may be some discomfort or pain when performing any activity.  Pain maybe felt around the groin area and on either side or in the lower abdomen.  The incrased weight in the uterus can pull on the broad ligaments and cause pain  in te the lumbar spien and sacral iliac ara.

Regular core stability – like Pilates! can help prevent the pelvis moving too far out of positions an over stretching of the broad ligaments.  The wrong type of exercise can exacerbate any problems.

Balance and centre of gravity

You bump is growing and getting bigger, your joints are looser and your balance (centre of gravity) has changed.  All this means your body will not be as stable as is was pre-pregnancy.  Any movements you do will need to take into consideration your new balance problems.

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