Maternity Activewear Kit
Work Out. Stretch Out. Chill Out. See how our mamma’s wear this fantastic top!
Love Your Postnatal Pelvic Floor
“How, when and what for exactly” does returning to exercise look like for most women after having a baby? The lovely Clare Maddalena from Lushtums shares her views and advice for postnatal exercise and caring for your pelvic floor
The usual recommendation for postnatal exercise is to wait for 6 weeks post birth if you had a vaginal birth and a whopping 8 weeks if you had a caesarian, but what if you reach these milestones and you’re still not ready?
Let’s face it. There’s a LOT of social pressure out there to be an idealistic super mum. How we look, our attributes, personality, career, how we birth our babies, feed them and then how quickly we get back in shape. It’s LOT to get right – and for most of us simply impossible.
Ok, stop!! Let’s go back to our original question around post birth exercise …that is “how, when and what for exactly” Let’s start with the easiest bit to answer.
Whilst the standard recommendation to safely return to postnatal exercise is around 6 to 8 weeks, the true answer is if you don’t feel ready, give yourself a break! Managing your baby, lifting, stretching …all use up energy and burns up your calories. For many new mums, what’s needed is REST. Pop in moments each day to recharge. Make it part of your routine. Feeding for example should be a chance to sit quietly. Breathe deeply. Ground into wherever you are sitting in the moment (literally become aware of your feet on the ground and your back resting again the chair) and enjoy a very yogic practice of becoming present, becoming mindful. Just BE there. No phones, no distraction. Feeding your baby is the perfect time to develop an inner mindfulness practice, reducing stress and anxiety and helping towards your overall sense of well-being. Slow down and enjoy these moments.
Some of us however will want to return to exercise soon after we’ve had our babies. If you enjoy it, do it! Exercise releases endorphins and that lovely after-glow high, so if this contributes to your overall mental and emotional health (as well as of course physical fitness), go for it! Just be mindful of what we mention next…
So the early days of having a baby is a massive adjustment. But when you are ready, start your postnatal exercise routine by building your foundations first – especially those muscles that have taken most of the load of pregnancy. Yes! We’re talking pelvic floor muscles!
These are part of a group of muscles that provide our deepest core support. And when these are engaged and functioning we feel supported inside and out, helping us physically and contributing to a greater sense of general grounding and wellbeing.
Even just a week after giving birth, you should start finding these muscles again with some super gentle pelvic floor exercises.
Give this a go in a seated position (perhaps while feeding) or when you are resting. Start by exhaling (imagine you are blowing out a candle) and, after a couple of seconds, gently lift your pelvic floor in and up. It feels as if you are trying not to wee or break wind, and ideally you can also feel the walls of the vagina drawing together. Once you get to the end of the exhalation, and you’ve drawn these muscles in and up gently (only using about 3 out of 10 strength wise), then release, relax completely and inhale into a nice soft belly. Repeat. Be cautious, don’t rush to 10 out 10 strength wise, as you’ll actually by-pass the all important pelvic floor and go straight to your 6 pack. In the early stages, until you get this right, less is actually more.
Include several rounds of repetitions into your day. Working well? Now practice doing this breath and holding your pelvic floor to gently brace your core BEFORE you lift anything – whether it’s your baby or a bag of shopping. Remember this helpful mantra, “Lift on the inside first, then lift on the outside”. You can even start to maintain your ‘exhale – and squeeze’ while pushing the buggy out on a walk. Just build it into your normal day and rhythm.
Regular practice before lifting anything or when out walking, will help restore your pelvic floor and your inner core (transverse abs too, so you may feel your tummy gently drawing in) and help prevent much more serious issues such as incontinence and even prolapse.
You should be 100% sure you have regained connection, control and then automatic function of your deep core (including your pelvic floor and transverse abs) and probably worked a bit on your glutes too), before returning to your regular pre-birth activities.
Some of us will get there sooner than others and if you did lots of activity before, your recovery is likely to be quicker. But I truly believe you need to spend the time doing this inner practice to lay the correct foundations.
Well simply put, I have worked with so many women who launched back into their old fitness routine and, while they are fit and strong on the ‘outside’ of their bodies, have totally missed the ‘inner’ work.
I often see fit, active women who, instead of building the foundations first, have gone straight for the walls and the roof: with no supportive foundations to take their load and hold their bodies up, they struggle with incontinence or still have separated tummy muscles long after they’ve given birth.
Running, jumping, sit ups, crunches, planks or squats – all create extra load and extra pressure downward. Only once your deep inner muscles are working appropriately to take that weight and support is it advisable to start a stronger form of exercise.
So the mantra is return to exercise as soon as you feel you comfortably can – the earlier you do, the better it is but get this ground work in first. Then progress with caution, back to a more regular exercise routine.
And lastly, we answer the WHAT FOR EXACTLY part of the question. You are doing this for YOU! No one else. Not for the comparison with celebrities, or even your former pre-baby self. But for YOU. The bit of you that knows deep down she needs to honour herself and her body.
Eat well, MOVE WELL and remember to REST well. It all goes into the mix of helping us feel more whole and complete.
And one final note:
If you’re struggling with prolapse or incontinence, persisting beyond working on your core with these exercises or from attending specialist classes such as postnatal yoga, exercise or Pilates then consult your local Women’s Health experts/physiotherapists/osteopaths. It’s not taboo – loads of women suffer with this – so speak out and go get help!
Pregnancy Exercise Tips From An Olympian
Amy Williams won Britain’s first solo Winter Olympics gold medal for 30 years with victory in the women’s skeleton. Her performance in the Vancouver Olympics projected her into the public view overnight: she was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Honours list and became the first ever female Freeman of the City of Bath.
Since retiring as an athlete she has appeared on many TV shows, including BBC Sport, Ski Sunday and The Gadget Shows.
Already a mum to Oscar (nearly two) Amy is expecting her second baby in June. Her career left her with many injuries, including damaged discs in her lower back and issues with her knees. A real inspirational FittaMamma, she shares her pregnancy exercise ups and downs.
This is your second pregnancy – did you exercise first time round?
‘I exercised throughout my whole first pregnancy. I suffered from pregnancy nausea in the first three months but it wasn’t too bad, and I continued to run several times a week. Around twenty-four weeks pregnant I slowed this down to regular walking as I was really feeling the pressure on my bladder!
My yoga studio is about 2.5 miles from my home but I walked to a yoga class every day – and back! My choice was to carry on with a normal yoga class, adapting a few moves for the baby bump, rather than choosing a specific prenatal yoga class. I also maintained regular sessions on a watt bike, and my own circuit and HITT style sessions at home.
Yoga was a massive help mentally to prepare for birth, I had read up a lot on hypnobirthing and so the breathing and visualisation really helped me remain calm and positive about the birth. In reality I had to be induced and the birth was complicated but I felt physically and mentally prepared for labour’.
How did your injuries impact on your pregnancy and your current pregnancy exercise routine?
‘I’ve become very good at reading my body – I know how it feels, what I need to do to keep my body ticking over and how best to manage my old injuries. Looking after a very energetic toddler keeps me on my toes daily and can be exercise in itself!
However, I do try and do about 3 HIIT sessions a week, bringing Oscar with me, but I’m only managing yoga 1-2 times a month. This pregnancy has been very different as I’ve spent the first 5 months suffering from dizziness, nausea and illness so my pregnancy exercise routine has been greatly reduced compared to the first time around.
I’ve also put a lot of energy into studying as a Personal Trainer and am delighted to have achieved my PT Qualifications! I’m looking forward to setting up my own home gym and taking on clients.’
What does your pregnancy exercise routine look like? Is it an ‘Olympic’ routine or one any Mamma-to-be could emulate?
‘Exercise is really important to me but my routine could easily be followed by other Mammas-to-be! I walk as much as possible each day and try to fit in regular HIIT or body circuit sessions, aiming for at least three times a week. These last between 15 -45 minutes – if you don’t have time for a longer session it’s better to try and fit in a few 15 minute workouts. Stretching is really important too, and I like to include yoga when I have childcare available but attending a regular class has been much more difficult now I have Oscar to look after.
Do you have any advice on maintaining your pregnancy exercise routine whilst managing a toddler?
‘It’s definitely much more difficult, you have to set realistic targets and goals! In Bath there aren’t any gyms with childcare which makes it a lot harder to keep fit with a toddler, so I tend to work out more at home. My recommendation is to lay out a mat and have it ready so you can do whatever you can manage when you have the opportunity, either with a baby next to you, a toddler crawling over you or try and include them in your workout.
I find trying to do a small 10-20min pregnancy workout sessions several times a day is better than aiming for an hour of uninterrupted exercise, which is hard to achieve with a toddler!
I’ve also tried to include an occasional buggy run which is another great way of staying fit with a toddler. I do have to say though, that’s been much harder with this pregnancy as I’ve struggled more with illness. And it’s pretty tough pushing a 15kg toddler up and around the hills of Bath!
My recommendation for pregnancy exercise second time around is aim for little and often!’
And your postnatal workouts after your first baby?
After Oscar was born I really didn’t push my body back into shape for at least 3-4 months. I had a lot of recovery and healing to do and I wanted my body to be strong to look after him. I only felt “myself” again at about 11-12 months post birth. My advice is ‘don’t rush things’.
Are there days when you simply don’t feel like heading to the gym? Could you share your tips for staying motivated to exercise during pregnancy?
Yes! For sure, like everyone exercise is sometimes at the bottom of the list of the things to do that day or week. I’m self-employed as well as being a full time mummy to Oscar – I’ve also been studying for the last 6 months doing my Personal Trainer qualifications, so along with being pregnant there’s a lot to fit in!
It’s hard to not feel guilty, upset or be hard on yourself and your body if you don’t feel like exercising, but sometimes we have to let things go and not be quite in the best shape we want to be. There are always highs and lows of motivation, and fitness levels, especially when you’re pregnant!
Any tips re eating? Have you suffered from morning sickness?
Yes! I’ve suffered from all day sickness on and off for 5 months. This pregnancy I’ve just wanted plain carbs, toast, pasta, potatoes, all the things I wouldn’t normally eat! Sadly my favourite fruits, veg and salads just haven’t been on my menu!!
My recommendation is to eat little and often and always carry water and a snack in your bag.
Thanks Amy ….and you look awesome in your FittaMamma Ultimate gymwear!
10 Superfoods For Pregnancy
You’re eating for two …which doesn’t mean eating twice as much, it means choosing a well-balanced, healthy and nutritious pregnancy diet that will benefit you and your baby. Eating well during pregnancy doesn’t mean you need to seek out unusual ingredients to boost your baby’s brainpower ….there are plenty of easily obtained, inexpensive ‘superfoods for pregnancy’ that you’re probably eating already!
Check out our top ten, readily available superfoods!
Warming and satisfying, oats are like a hug for your pregnant tummy! They are one of the best grains to keep your heart and arteries healthy, helping to maintain circulation and reduce blood pressure during pregnancy. With a low GI they are also a good source of vitamins and minerals including B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, calcium and iron.
Don’t overlook the humble egg in your quest for pregnancy superfoods! Ideally packaged to support new life they contain a raft of essential pregnancy nutrients including iron, zinc, B vitamins, vitamins A and D as well as omega-3 fats. Eggs are also a source of vitamins K and D which work together to create strong, healthy bones. They are quick and easy to prepare in a wide variety of dishes, perfect when you need an instant meal.
Remember that rainbow of colours for your superfood pregnancy diet? Peppers are especially rich in Vitamin C with a single serving providing more than your recommended daily intake – choose red and orange peppers for extra Vitamin B6 and essential carotenes. The carotenes in peppers are easier to absorb if the peppers are cooked and eaten with a little olive oil.
Here’s another readily available superfood for pregnancy that you might disregard, especially when there are so many milk alternatives. Unless you have an intolerance to dairy products, remember that a simple glass of milk is packed with valuable nutrients for pregnant mums and is one of the best sources of calcium. Calcium is essential during pregnancy to help your baby build healthy bones and teeth and to ensure your own supplies of calcium aren’t depleted – it’s also vital for muscle, heart and nerve function.
Choose organic milk for an increased level of essential omega-3 fats and to avoid the intake of hormones and antibiotics frequently added to the feed on non-organic farms.
A major source of essential fish oils, the omega-3 in salmon will boost your baby’s brain development – it will also help protect against high blood pressure, depression and is good for your skin. We can’t promise that it will prevent pregnancy stretch marks but it’s likely to help! Salmon is also an excellent source of selenium, protein, niacin, Vitamin B12, magnesium and Vitamin B6.
Farmed salmon is more fatty than wild but more importantly it’s better to go for light poaching or grilling when you cook it – overcooking can oxidise the essential fats.
Packed with essential pregnancy nutrients, the humble cabbage is often spurned in favour of other more insta-friendly veg. Don’t over-cook it, go for stir-fry, steamed or shredded into salad but don’t overlook it either! Cabbage is rich in Vitamin C and calcium, folate, fibre and minerals – it’s also a useful source of Vitamin K, B vitamins and iron.
Chilled cabbage leaves will help sooth engorged breasts when you’re breast feeding.
Readily available on the supermarket shelves, mangoes contain more antioxidant beta-carotene than other fruits (the orange flesh is a giveaway!) and are exceptionally high in essential Vitamin C. They are also rich in potassium which is necessary for regulating your pregnancy blood pressure.
An enzyme found in mangoes can be a soothing digestive aid, which makes them ideal the ideal superfood choice if you are suffering from pregnancy heartburn.
Lentils are one of the few pulses that don’t need soaking before you cook them and can be added to soups and stews for added iron and fibre – they combine both soluble and insoluble fibre for a double whammy of digestive goodness. Iron-rich, lentils are also high in zinc, useful in pregnancy to boost your immune system and build up your baby’s immune system too!
Coconut water is the clear liquid that you find in a young coconut – not to be confused with coconut milk. Drink it chilled on its own or add it to a smoothie – it is the ideal superfood drink to rehydrate after your pregnancy workout or exercise as it is a natural isotonic drink, readily absorbed by your body. Unlike many manufactured sports drinks, it is low in calories and contains a raft of essential minerals including calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium.
Historically ginger has long had a reputation as a healthy food: aside from its anti-cancer properties, it is a powerful anti-inflammatory and may also ease migraines. As a pregnancy superfood it is a fantastic remedy for nausea and morning sickness.
Buy fresh ginger root and use it flavour stir fry vegetables, chicken and fish dishes or to make crispy ginger biscuits to nibble. Make a soothing and delicious ginger drink by combining freshly grated ginger with lemon juice, honey and hot water.
Postnatal Exercises to Tone Your Bottom Muscles
Pre and postnatal fitness expert Vicky Warr shares more exercises to help back ache and get a perter bottom after you’ve had your baby.
Vicky says, ‘While strengthening the muscles of your core is important, you also need to strengthen the powerhouse muscles that surround your pelvis. The glutes (bottom muscles) are the ‘forgotten core’. They hold our pelvis level and steady, extend the hip to move us forwards and keep our pelvis, legs and torso aligned. When your joints are more susceptible after birth due to the pregnancy hormones, strengthening these muscles with isolation exercises along with your core will help reduce the risk of injury or pain when you walk or go back to running.’
Practice these postnatal exercises regularly: combine them with Vicky’s recommended exercises for after your baby is born (you’ll find them in last month’s Active for Two).
Exercise 1: The Bridge
This exercise strengthens the deep muscles of the bottom which are also part of your core as a strong bottom helps with back ache and give you better posture.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and hip width apart, your feet flat on the floor and your arms flat on the floor by your sides. As in the pelvic tilt exercise you should have a very small gap between the floor and your lower back.
- Breathe out and squeeze your bottom muscles together then lift your hips up pushing into the heels of your feet and the backs of your upper arms (triceps).
- Hold this position for 2 seconds then lower your hips to the floor, stopping when you are half way down to the floor, then lift your hips back up again.
Repeat 10-12 times
- On the last repetition, keep your hips high and pulse up and down by just 2cms for 12 pulses.
Then repeat the single raises in steps 1-2 for another set of 10-12.
Exercise 2: The Clam
Helps to reduce aches and pains by strengthening your core and lower back muscles. It also helps improve balance in the leg and hip muscles and pelvis to reduce the risk of falls.
Lie right down on your right side, with your legs straight and your right arm straight out on the floor. Place your right hand just behind the back of your head so just your upper arm is on the floor. Bend your knees bringing them in front of your hips with your feet behind and top of each other. Your hips and knees should be stacked on top of each other. Place your left hand on your left hip.
- Breathe out and lift the top, left, knee up, toward the ceiling, keeping the heels and toes of your feet together and the hips still and facing forwards, with your top hip directly on top of the hip closer to the floor.
- Breathe in and lower the left knee back to meet the right knee.
Repeat 10-12 times.
Then switch sides to lie on your left side and repeat the same action lifting your right knee.
Repeat 10-12 times.
Then switch to your right side, repeating the exercise again for another set of 10-12 on your right side before switching to the left.
To Tighten and Tone Your Tummy
Abdominal separation or Diastasis Recti can occur in about 60% of pregnancies. It is where the connective tissue gets stretched and thins as the mothers’ belly grows during pregnancy. Often it heals after birth and in the first few weeks but with some women it remains for a year after birth. It’s often described as a ‘kangeroo pouch’ or ‘pooched tummy’.
The Exercise: Head Lift
Strengthens your core, helps heal abdominal separation (diastasis recti) and bring your tummy muscles back together.
Lie on your back with your legs straight out in a v-shape, placing your hands by your either sides of your ears.
- Breathe in, then breathe out deeply and draw your belly button inwards towards your spine and lift your head and shoulders gently, with your chin towards your chest.
- Hold for 2 seconds, breathing in and out, then lower your head and shoulders back to the floor.
Repeat 10-12 times.
The Exercise: The March
Strengthens and tones the core muscles, the lower tummy and pelvic floor muscles.
Start resting on your knees and hands with your shoulders over your wrists and hands flat on the floor and your knees about hip width apart on the floor, directly under your knees. Look down to the floor at the space in between your hands.
- Breathe out and draw your belly button inwards and upwards towards your spine and lift your right hand and your left knee up about 2 cms off the floor. It is a very small move.
- Lower both your right hand and left knee back to the floor as you breathe in.
Repeat this 15 times, then switch to doing the same action lifting your left hand and right knee, 15 times too.
Bonus 10 Minute Video!
Watch this short video to help you tone your bottom after having a baby.
Check out the postnatal exercise tips from Vicky Warr that featured in last month’s Active For Two.
About the Author
Vicky Warr has over 18 year’s experience in the fitness industry, a pregnancy and postnatal fitness specialist and health coach and founder of Bump and Beyond by Vicky Warr.
Check out her Online Health and Fitness Studio and get started with LIVE postnatal video classes at home, 30 Day Challenges with Videos and healthy, quick recipes the whole family will love at: www.bumpandbeyond.club
These tips and exercises are suitable for you whether you had a c-section or more straight forward birth. Just be sure to have had your postnatal medical check before doing these exercises.
Pregnant At Work? Top Tips For Working Mammas
Many women continue to work for as long as possible when they are pregnant, saving the maximum maternity leave to enjoy after their baby is born. Studies have shown that there are no negative effects from working up until 36 weeks into your pregnancy, especially if you are happy in your work.
But if you’re on your feet all day working when pregnant can be tiring, exacerbating many common discomforts such as pregnancy varicose veins, pelvic girdle pain, pregnancy backache, or swollen feet and ankles. A recent study from the Netherlands has shown that women who stand for long periods during pregnancy experienced a slightly slower fetal growth rate – although the study did not make it clear whether this has any long term effects on the health and size of the baby.
Sitting down all day can be just as uncomfortable, especially as your bump gets bigger and it becomes harder to reach over it to get to your desk. Sitting for prolonged periods can compromise blood flood and has been linked to an increased risk of unhealthy weight gain and gestational diabetes.
The answer is to keep moving!
Whilst you might not always feel like it, regular exercise during pregnancy will improve your strength and circulation. Try and include at least 30 minutes exercise into your daily routine on at least five days a week, it’s good for you and good for baby too! You should aim for a minimum 150 minutes of daily exercise during pregnancy.
If your job involves standing for most of the day, make sure you move around as often as you can and try and including a combination of standing, sitting and walking. Don’t just slump into a chair, stretching out first will make you feel less tired and achy.
Regular yoga stretches will improve your circulation as well as your flexibility and can be modified to do at your desk. Ease your tense shoulders with the shoulder release pose, or eagle pose and just spend a few minutes with a ‘Breathe & Stretch’ routine.
Be conscious of the need to move regularly. Use your lunch break to take a brisk walk whenever possible, you’ll feel much better!
If you’re spending a lot of time at your desk, considering swopping your usual chair for a fitness ball. Make sure it’s the correct height but you may find it a lot more comfortable and less static than an office chair – or use a balance ball chair, which is combines a wheelie chair base with a swiss ball.
More FittaMamma tips for pregnant women at work!
- Keep a water bottle handy so you stay hydrated and avoid too many coffees or fizzy drinks.
- Regular healthy snacks (such as nuts, raw veggies or crackers) can help avoid pregnancy nausea – and will help stop you snacking on biscuits or cakes too.
- Try and avoid going home and immediately embarking on household chores – scale back, shop online and accept help.
- Make sure you get your eight house sleep every night – resting on your left side will maximise blood flow to your baby.
- Make sure your pregnancy diet includes plenty of foods rich in iron and protein to help combat fatigue. Include meat and fish, leafy green vegetables, whole grain cereals and beans.
- Invest in clothes to support your baby bump. The FittaMamma range will help ease the weight of your growing baby and can alleviate many pregnancy discomforts such as tired legs, backache and pelvic girdle pain. Team FittaMamma leggings with a jumper or wear them under a dress for maximum everyday comfort and support.
SUPPORT YOUR SPORT- 48% less bounce for your bump
Support your sport – 48% less bounce for your bump
Innovative FittaMamma maternity fitnesswear has supported countless baby bumps, lifting and holding, easing pregnancy backache and alleviating pelvic girdle pain for thousands of Mammas-to-be around the world.
We wanted to gauge EXACTLY how FittaMamma maternity sportswear makes a difference to women exercising during pregnancy. We commissioned an independent, scientific evaluation of our fitnesswear with the renowned Research Group in Breast Health at Department of Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Portsmouth, UK.
The research team is routinely asked by lingerie manufacturers, the military and the health sector to advise on bra design to reduce breast bounce – and related breast pain. This is the first time the team has been asked to test clothing’s ability to reduce the bounce and movement of a pregnancy bump during exercise.
And the results?
Detailed scientific analysis under full test conditions showed a massive 48% reduction in bump bounce in all directions when wearing the FittaMamma fitnesswear compared to ordinary maternity vests and leggings. Even relatively gentle exercise generated bump movements of up to 6.2cms when wearing standard clothes, but this was reduced to only 3.8cms in the technically designed and supportive FittaMamma maternity wear.
The participants rated the level of support for the back provided by the FittaMamma fitnesswear at 8.25 out of 10, compared to 3.5 out of 10 for high street maternity wear, rating support for the hips and pelvis at 8.75 out of 10 compared to 3.25 in the comparison vest and leggings.
The research also revealed that the women felt more confident exercising in FittaMamma maternity fitnesswear, with 75% of participants stating that they would be more likely to undertake more exercise when wearing FittaMamma clothing.
What does this mean for you?
FittaMamma maternity sportswear supports your bump just like your sports bra supports your boobs. In the same way you look after your boobs when you exercise….looking after your baby bump by wearing our supportive maternity fitnesswear reduces the movement, lifting and holding securely.
That’s your precious baby bump held securely and safely whilst you exercise. You can stay fit for you and your baby, fully reassured that your bump is held with minimal movement and maximum comfort.
Pregnancy can cause lower back ache and pelvic girdle pain, potentially putting some women off exercising. Supporting the bump and reducing the amount of bounce, even during walking is likely to alleviate this. Holding your bump, back, boobs, hips and pelvis securely will enable you to stay active for longer and more regularly throughout your nine months journey enjoying the health benefits of an active pregnancy for both you and your baby.
So how does it work?
The supportive mesh back panel of our Ultimate maternity sportswear tops isn’t just a style feature – it includes the unique cross back technology to ease the weight of your bump on to your back and shoulders where you’re naturally stronger. It works perfectly with the super stretchy front panel that hugs and holds where you need it and a soft inner bra which gives just the right level of additional boost to supplement your favourite sports bra (your boobs will never say ‘no’ to extra support during pregnancy). The wide waistband is designed to sit under your bump, encircling your hips and pelvis, holding them firmly when your joints start to loosen.
And FittaMamma maternity leggings? Naturally they look great with our tops…..but they work when you workout too. The deep waist panel is cut high to support your bump without neglecting the support your need for your lower back. It’s designed to be worn rolled up or rolled under depending on your activity or your trimester.
Whilst the most important aspect of our maternity sportswear is the support and fit, we’ve achieved this without sacrificing style….the range looks awesome! What’s not to love about luxe performance fabrics, breathable mesh panels and enough stretch and support to see you through your whole pregnancy.
Best of all, FittaMamma is the ONLY maternity sportswear that has been scientifically tested and PROVEN to support your baby bump!
Reduce bump movement for comfort and security during your active pregnancy
Shop the only Maternity Activewear scientifically tested for support
New Year, New Baby on the Way…
Have you made your New Year’s resolutions?
Here’s a thought for you! Research has shown that you’re 42% more likely to stick to your goals if you write them down.
Rather than a vague New Year resolution such as ‘of course I want to exercise during my pregnancy’, or ‘yes, I AM going to be a fabulous fit pregnant Mamma’, we suggest you download the FittaMamma Fit Pregnancy Pledge, write down your goals and stick them somewhere prominent.
And whilst you’re downloading it and printing it out, we’ll share our Top Ten New Year Pregnancy Fitness tips to kick-start your motivation!
1) First and foremost, never forget that you’re making healthy lifestyle choices for both of you! Now you’re pregnant you’re keeping fit for your baby too.
2) It’s easy to pile on unwanted pounds during pregnancy – but not so easy to shift them afterwards. Eating for two doesn’t mean eating twice as much! Whilst we don’t recommend a weight loss diet for pregnant women, eating sensibly and exercising regularly will help you maintain a healthy weight gain.
3) Giving birth is probably the most physically demanding event your body is likely to experience. Staying strong and fit will help you to prepare for labour – let’s face it, you wouldn’t enter a marathon without boosting your fitness levels!
4) Exercise helps to keep your body toned as your bump gets bigger. Looking good will help you feel positive and proud of your body as it changes.
5) Feeling the post-Christmas slump? Lots of people (pregnant or otherwise) feel down in the dumps in January. Exercise will release feel-good endorphins and help to boost your mood.
6) Too many late nights over Christmas can disrupt your sleep patterns. Staying active helps to work off excess energy and encourage your body to feel more relaxed, making for a more restful sleep at night.
7) If you’re considering joining a gym, choose one that offers pregnancy exercise sessions, pregnancy Pilates or prenatal yoga. Regular workouts with other Mammas-to-be will keep you inspired.
8) Treat yourself to stylish maternity fitnesswear – looking good when you work out is a great confidence boost. FittaMamma maternity fitnesswear lifts, holds and supports to make your pregnancy workouts secure and comfortable.
9) Whatever your usual pregnancy fitness regime, it’s worth including regular pregnancy yoga sessions – yoga is great for stretching and toning your body whilst the breathing and relaxation techniques are a real bonus when you give birth.
10) And some fit pregnancy stats to keep you inspired! Women who are physically active throughout pregnancy are around a third less likely to develop pre-eclampsia and up to 31% less likely to give birth to large babies, reducing the risk of needing a C-Section.
Whether it’s your first time or if you already have children, pregnancy is an ideal time to make positive lifestyle choices for you and your family – print off your pledge and make your New Year Fit Pregnancy Resolutions now!!!
How to Reset Your Body after Pregnancy
Vicky Warr shares some postnatal exercises and techniques to help you recover, build strength, tone your body, improve your energy levels and boost your body confidence after having a baby.
During pregnancy, birth and beyond you and your body are undergoing some significant fundamental changes; physical, hormonal and lifestyle. Growing a baby for nine months is no mean feat for your body, not to mention the change in lifestyle when you become a mother.
If a new mum isn’t allowed to fully recover from the demanding requirements of pregnancy and birth, the effects can last for years afterwards. Finding the strength to deal with your needs as well as the needs of your baby can be a real struggle.
Vicky’s postnatal exercises will help you bring your tummy muscles back together, tone up your body and bring you vitality after pregnancy.
For more energy, to help you feel calmer and help with ‘baby brain.’
This is a ‘must do’ exercise after pregnancy that you can do at any time of the day!
This form of deep, relaxed breathing restores your natural energy, promotes feelings of calm, clears mental fog, (aka the mummy brain) strengthens your core and pelvic floor as well as improving your digestive system.
Sit tall cross legged or with your legs in front of you. Make sure you’re positioned firmly on your sitting bones. Place each of your hands on either side of your upper ribs, just below your bra strap.
- Take a deep breath in through your nose expanding your lungs and rib cage sideways. As you do this imagine you are putting an umbrella up and it is opening out.
- Then open your mouth and through pursed lips release a full, calm breath out. Imagine you are steaming up a window. Feel your rib cage and deep inner most abdominal muscles relax and sink.
Repeat for 10 full breaths in and out.
When you breath you want to use your breathing muscle, the diaphragm, to bring air deep into the body; expanding the tummy, ribs and lower back. This will help strengthen your core and pelvic floor. Your shoulders should remain relaxed and down and your chest only moves slightly and should be the last part of you to move. To become aware of these natural breathing patterns watch your baby or child breath and observe the way their belly rises and falls.
To fully relax and have Vicky’s expert instruction, follow her umbrella breathing video here (it’s just 8 minutes long)
To Improve Postnatal Back Ache
To improve lower back ache, you need to improve the stability of your pelvis and strengthen your core muscles so they can support your back.
The Exercise: The Pelvic Tilt
Lie on your back with your feet shoulder width apart, your knees bent with each arm straight and flat on the floor by each side of your body. You should have a very small gap between the floor and your lower back; imagine sliding a letter between your lower back and the floor as that is the width of the gap to aim for.
Place the fingers of your right hand on to the top of your right hip bone and tuck your thumb around the side of your hip. Do the same with the left fingers and thumb.
- Breathe out, draw your belly button inwards towards your spine and roll your tailbone (base of the spine) away and slightly up, keeping your bottom and hips flat on the floor. Your lower back softly flattens into the floor.
- Then breathe in and roll your pelvis upwards, so there is a small gap between the lower back and the floor.
Repeat 8 to 10 times.
To Ease Tight Hips and Stretch Your Waist
After carrying the extra weight of your growing baby around in front of you for nine months, your hips can become tight leading to back ache. The sides of your waist may feel tight too and there is a risk of hurting your back as you turn to lift or carry your baby. This postnatal exercise helps improves your hip flexibility after pregnancy to reduce back ache and tone your waist.
The Dynamic Stretch: Hip Flexor and Waist Stretch
Kneel on the floor and step forward about 2 feet with your right foot so that your right knee is at a right angle and your right foot is flat on the floor. You’ll be resting on your left knee and then tuck the toes of your left under. Bring your upper body upright with your chest facing forwards and your shoulders in line with your hips. Place your hands on your hips.
- Taking your hands off your hips, raise both your arms slowly upwards in the air over your head and as you do this push your right knee forward, keeping your right foot flat until you feel a moderate stretch in the hip flexor area (front side of leg at the hip level).
- Squeeze your bottom cheeks and keep your pelvis facing forwards.
- Then lower your right arm and keeping your left arm up, reaching the fingertips towards the ceiling and bend over to the right, avoid leaning forwards or back, keeping your body upright. You’ll feel a stretch down the left side of your body. Hold this stretch for 5 seconds.
Repeat 5 times.
- Then change to kneel on your right knee with your left foot forwards. Do the same move reaching your right arm up and over and bend over to the left, feeling the stretch down the right side of your body. Hold the stretch for 5 seconds and repeat this 5 times.
Bonus 10 Minute Video!
Follow this short video to help you tone and tighten your tummy muscles, strengthen your core and sculpt your bottom after having a baby.
Look forward to more postnatal exercise tips from Vicky Warr next month!
FittaMamma Tip for New Mums
Finding time to get to a class or the gym can be a struggle. Postnatal workouts at home are the answer! Pop your baby next to you on a playmat or sit them in a bouncy chair to watch you. Babies can be entertained watching you exercise …. and you’ll be a great role model.
About the Author
Vicky Warr has over 18 year’s experience in the fitness industry, a pregnancy and postnatal fitness specialist and health coach and founder of Bump and Beyond.
Check out her Online Health and Fitness Studio and get started with LIVE postnatal video classes at home, 30 Day Challenges with Videos and healthy, quick recipes the whole family will love at: www.bumpandbeyond.club
These tips and exercises are suitable after a c-section or more straight forward birth. Just be sure to have had your postnatal medical check before doing these exercises.
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