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At Mama on the Move you will never read anything about how doing our programmes will make you “bounce back” to your pre baby body, how following our programmes will get you “beach body ready” or any of that rubbish. Because, quite honestly that is NOT what we are about. Yes, you will lose weight following our postnatal programmes and nutrition guidelines BUT you will also feel stronger, healthier and fitter during your pregnancy and in the postnatal period and THAT is more important than focusing on the weight loss. In our opinion. So if a “body shred” (what does that even mean!?) or a “bikini body programme” (we fully support the – have a body, wear a bikini approach) is your thing, then you won’t find it here….. Mainly because most of those types of training are NOT suitable for someone who has just had a baby and can do more harm than good..

However before you dismiss us, I’d like to talk you through our postnatal programme and what it IS about:

  • Holistic, SAFE Postnatal Pilates AND Fitness programmes that will help you recover from the birth of your baby and start to strengthen your core and pelvic floor, work on your alignment and posture and are also diastasis recti (tummy separation safe)
  • Don’t be fooled into thinking the above programmes will be easy because they are postnatally safe and low impact….. they will absolutely challenge you whatever your fitness level and you can make them harder or easier by changing the repetitions and sets… they are also all suitable to be done in the comfort of your own home or garden as they don’t require equipment.
  • Healthy snacks and recipes and meal planners suitable for breastfeeding mothers

I’m aware that as co-founder of Mama on the Move my review of the programmes is slightly biased(!) however, I just wanted to share with you my personal postnatal fitness and weight loss journey after having my 3rd child in late September last year.

I started the Strength and Fitness programmes around 6 weeks postnatally, prior to that I had been walking a lot (my daughters are at school so school runs were compulsory!) and following the Pilates programme such as activating my TVA and pelvic floor – pelvic tilts, leg slides, and focusing on my breathing – which I found really helpful in re-connecting with my core.

As a personal trainer and fitness professional, I don’t mind telling you I felt incredibly weak when I first started the strength programmes and although they looked “easy” on paper, they really challenged me and I felt the effects the next few days! But in a good way! Like I had woken up my muscles! I found the programmes great to fit around when my baby was sleeping as they are pretty short – 20-30 minutes maximum. I would often do the school run in the morning and then come back and do a workout so it was done for the day before the endless feeding and changing would take-over!

I didn’t really feel my strength returning until around 3 months postnatally, by 4 months I was feeling much more like my old self. The photo is taken at 4 ½ months postnatally and whilst I never weigh myself, I am back into my pre pregnancy clothes comfortably although not as toned as I was… but that’s ok! It’s still early days! I did NOT follow any restrictive silly diet, I did eat healthily and followed the nutritional guidelines on the programme.

I’m now back doing more high intensity training as I am feeling strong, I have good core and pelvic floor function and I know how to exercise safely. I still do the Mama on the Move programmes, they are still challenging – I just increase the reps!

Clients often ask how long it takes to get back to their pre pregnancy weight and fitness and the answer is it’s just so different for everyone. It really depends on how active you were in pregnancy, how much weight you put on, what you pregnancy and birth were like and how well you have recovered from it. For some, they may lose weight and be fit and active again relatively quickly, for others it may take much longer. It’s important not to put any pressure on yourself, to focus on healing from the birth, address any issues such as disastais recti and pelvic floor problems by seeing a women’s health physio and just enjoy your gorgeous new bundle. When the time is ready and you want to start to safely working on restoring you core and building up your fitness again then check out Mama on the Move’s online postnatal programme (they are low impact and DR and pelvic floor safe!)

Laura x

So, in writing this blog the first thing I should probably confess is that my exercise during pregnancy was pretty much non-existent. There were a number of reasons for this. Firstly when I was about seven weeks pregnant I was admitted to hospital with stomach cramps. In spite of the fact that my hcg levels (a pregnancy hormone) were extremely high doctors couldn’t find any evidence of my pregnancy on a scan so I was diagnosed with a ‘pregnancy of unknown location’, probably either an ectopic or molar pregnancy. It was two scans and ten anxious days later that our son was finally ‘found’. Although I was overjoyed the experience definitely left me very aware of how precious yet vulnerable my baby was. I had heard that there may be links between exercising in pregnancy and miscarriage and didn’t want to do anything that might harm the baby.

Around the sixteen-week mark I already had a large bump and by the twenty-week mark I had already put on the recommended 2 stone that you are supposed to gain by the end of your pregnancy! Therefore I decided that maybe some gentle exercise might help, which lead me to my next obstacle - boredom. The only forms of exercise that seemed to be recommended for pregnancy were either swimming or yoga. Unfortunately I have never enjoyed swimming and after three sessions I just could not bring myself to continue with it. And even with the extra relaxin in my system I was still far too inflexible for yoga so that only lasted for two sessions.

I then gave little more thought to exercise until the 39th week of pregnancy when I was told that the baby had not engaged. At this point a quick Google alerted me to the benefits of walking and squatting to help stimulate labour. As the days ticked on and I went further and further overdue I stepped up the regime in desperation but sadly to little effect and I ended up being induced when I was 2 weeks overdue.

At this stage you may be forgiven for wondering how I became a part of Mama on the Move! However, if I had one regret about my pregnancy it was failing to exercise, for a number of reasons.

  • After being induced I had a very long labour that ended in an emergency c-section. I now know how important the core muscles such as the transverse abdominis, pelvic floor and diaphragm are during labour and delivery.
  • My son was also huge, weighing in at 9 pounds 11 ounces, when I am only 5”3. Again, during my training I discovered that there is a link between macrosomia (large babies) and a lack of physical activity in pregnancy.
  • Post delivery I struggled to regain my pre-pregnancy figure, and when I resumed exercising I discovered I had a diastasis recti as well as pelvic floor problems – both of which I could have avoided or at least reduced if I’d exercised during pregnancy.

After training as a Pilates instructor and specialising in pregnancy and postnatal exercise I was surprised by the amount of mis-information and confusion there is about exercising in pregnancy, with many women keen to keep exercising but worried about the risks of miscarriage or harming the baby. With this in mind I created an infographic to highlight some of the benefits of continuing to exercise during pregnancy. Whilst exercising is no guarantee of a quick and easy labour there are so many advantages to both you and your baby including:

  • Reducing backaches, constipation, bloating and swelling
  • Boosting your mood and energy levels
  • Helping you sleep better
  • Preventing excess weight gain
  • Promoting muscle tone, strength and endurance

My experiences inspired me to help other expectant mothers to start or continue to exercise in pregnancy. I teamed up with Laura to create the Mama on the Move pregnancy programme, which includes Pilates and strength workouts that are safe and effective for your particular stage of pregnancy. You will also receive our pregnancy exercise guide with information and tips such as how to adapt your existing gym or class workouts for each trimester of pregnancy. We’ve also created a nutrition guide and included lots of delicious recipes and advice on eating well in pregnancy. Click on the link to sign up to our pregnancy programmes today.

If you would like more information about exercising safely in pregnancy then why not download our free Exercise in Pregnancy ebook? Or get in touch with us by email or on our Facebook page.

Tamsin x

Exercise in Pregnancy Infographic

Benefits of Exercise in Pregnancy Infographic