- Frequently Asked Questions
- What is a Diastasis Recti?
- When can I start exercising after childbirth?
- Why exercise in pregnancy?
- When should I stop exercising?
- Is it safe to exercise whilst pregnant?
- SPD, will pilates help?
- Weak Pelvic Floor
- Class prices?
- What happens if I can't make it to class?
- How do I get there?
- What do I need to bring to class?
- Reflexology Classes
- Could you tell me a little more about the Swim and Gym programme please.
- All Pages
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Diastsis Recti?
Diastasis recti is the separation of the rectus abdominis muscles down the middle of your stomach. This is common in pregnant women and can occur above, below or at the level of the belly button. Any separation larger than 2cm is considered significant and corrective exercises should be performed to reduce the separation before any other abdominal exercises can be started, and no abdominal crunches just yet! A qualified physiotherapist will be able to test for, and provide exercise advice for a diastasis recti.
Generally, you can start gentle exercise such as walking, and pelvic floor exercises as soon as you feel able to, although it is recommended that you wait for a couple of days before starting pelvic floor exercises, and do not do too much strenuous exercise before your postnatal health check. Some exercises can be started immediately, such as:
- Deep breathing exercises - good for circulation and relaxation
- Leg, foot and ankle exercises - good for circulation but no straight leg raises!
- pelvic floor exercises - good for pain relief and wound healing as well as strengthening
You should strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and your deep abdominal muscle (transversus abdominis) before starting classic sit ups. This is to avoid straining your back as a result of working too hard when your muscles are still weak.
Exercise such as running and aerobics can put a strain on your pelvic floor muscles, so make sure that these muscles have fully recovered and strengthened before starting these high impact exercises.
If you have had a cesarean section you should be able to perform pelvic floor exercises and take some gentle walks, but you should refrain from strenuous exercise and lifting until you have recovered from your surgery. This is usually around the 6 week mark but can differ for individuals. You will then need to take things slowly and progress gradually.
For many pregnant women, exercise is the last thing on their minds! But once the sickness has eased and the tiredness has lifted, it is a good idea to reassess your exercise plan. There are many benefits of maintaining your fitness levels during pregnancy and the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends it. Here are some reasons for exercising in pregnancy:
- Reduces the risk of developing Gestational Diabetes
- Reduces insomnia and anxiety due to the natural 'feel good' hormones that are released when we exercise
- Improves body awarenes, balance, co-ordination and posture
- Improves self esteem, confidence and sence of well-being
- Maintains fitness and stability
- Maintains muscle strength to the bladder and bowels
- Prevents or reduces Back Pain and Pelvic Pain
- Prepares you for labour
- Eases your postnatal recovery
- Can help to control your bladder and bowels before and after labour
When should I stop exercising whilst I am pregnant?
This is a bit of a tricky one to answer and it depends upon your pre-pregnancy fitness levels. If you are used to impact exercise then you should start to slow things down during your 2nd trimester to allow for your growing baby and the softening of your ligaments (due to relaxin hormone). You can however, continue with low impact and gentle aerobic exercise as you feel able.
You must always stop exercising and seek advice from your midwife or doctor if you have:
- Chest pain
- Contractions or signs of early labour
- Not felt the baby moving as much
- Waters break
- Calf pain (could be a sign of Deep Vein Thrombosis)
- Persistent bleeding in the 2nd or 3rd trimester
- Low lying placenta (Placenta Previa) after 26 weeks of pregnancy
Remember: If in doubt, get checked out!
Is it safe to exercise whilst pregnant?
Exercise is safe for most pregnant women, although there are a few conditions where women are advised not to exercise these are:
- Heart Disease
- Restrictive lung disease
- An incompetent cervix
- High risk pregnancy, such as multiple gestation or risk of premature labour
Fortunately, not all women fall into these categories, so why do many pregnant women choose not to exercise? Well, apart from time and tiredness, most women are unsure which exercises to do when they are pregnant, so here are a few tips.
- Transverse Abdominis and Pelvic Floor Muscle exercises are considered most important through pregnancy
- Unless you are used to high impact exercise, keep to low impact forms of exercise whilst you are pregnant and avoid any contact sports
- Stop doing traditional sit-ups at 12-14 weeks
- Be careful with all abdominal exercises if you feel that you might be developing a Diastasis Recti
Try not to exercise whilst lying on your back from 4 months pregnancy. If you feel unwell doing exercises whilst lying on your back, stop and try to adopt a different position instead. This can be due to your growing baby sitting on your arteries in your lower back and reducing the flow of blood around your body. This usually occurs in the 3rd trimester but it can occur anytime from 4 months onwards.
Remember: Do not start a new impact sport in pregnancy!
I have SPD, will Pilates help?
Ideally you should be assessed to determine which exercises will be most beneficial for you at this stage, but as our Pregnancy Pilates classes are Physiotherapy led, we can adapt the exercises for all levels of ability. Your first Pregnancy Pilates class is free, so come along and try it out.
Weak Pelvic Floor
I have been struggling with controlling my urine when I cough, sneeze and jump since having my baby. I avoid running and jumping (but can't avoid sneezing) because of this. Will I be ok in the classes?
The Mum and baby pilates classes are quite low impact and will focus and work on your pelvic floor muscles and lower abdominals, so these classes would be ideal for you. Take a look at our exercise pages and start with pelvic floor exercises shortly after your baby arrives when your bleeding has settled down a bit.
How much do the classes cost?
Could you tell me how much the exercise classes cost please? Do you have to pay per term like most other mum and baby activities?
You don't have to pay for a full term, we give you these payment options:
Single classes or Taster classes payments are £6 per class. Then you have the option to pay for 4 classes at £22 which works out to just £5.50 per class. Classes run for 1 hour and need to be pre-booked.
These classes can be taken over a '6 class period' so if you can't make it, let us know and you an roll it on to the next week.
Please visit our prices page for more information.
What happens if I can't make it to class?
If you can't make it to class, please let us know as soon as possible and re-book your slot. If you have paid for 4 classes at £22, then as long as you are within the '6 class week timescale' you can then just simply roll it over to the next week.
How do I get there?
For the Bumps Pilates class you need to make your way to the old City School which is now called the The Priory City of Lincoln Academy on Skellingthorpe Road, Lincoln, LN6 0EP. We hold the classes in the Dance Studio which is found opposite the Swimming pool at the back of the school. If you follow the main walkway at the side of the car park, under 4 archways, you will find us there.
We hold the North Hykeham BabyBugs class at Studio8 which is part of the Lincoln Physiotherapy and Wellbeing Clinic, 8 Mill Lane, North Hykeham, Lincoln, LN6 9PD. There is parking at the front and the rear of the building which is directly opposite the All Saints Church. There is a cafe and Tea rooms across the road if you fancy a drink and a chat after class.
Yarborough Leisure Centre holds BabyBugs classes and has parking on site. The dance studio is situated upstairs and there is a lift for you to use, so if you wanted to use your pushchair to get over to the Leisure Centre then you can do. There is a cafe area in the Centre that you can use too.
What do I need to bring to class and what should I wear?
For the North Hykeham classes, you just need to bring yourselves and anything you might need for your baby such as a favourite toy or comforter, nappies and milk.
For the Washingborough and Yarborough classes you might also wish to bring a little cushion or blanket to rest your baby on. We do provide a large floor mat for your baby to rest on, but if you wanted to lay them up a little or position them on their front, then a cushion or blanket works well.
Please remember to wear something comfortable with some trainer type footwear as we do not want you to slip over! Also, don't forget your drink.
Parent and Baby Reflexology Classes
Can you tell me a little more about the reflexology classes please.
These bespoke classes run by our specialist maternal reflexologist Kathryn, are held at Studio8 in North Hykeham, where our BabyBugs classes are held. They are run as a 3 session course for just £30 and with that you will receive information and instructions to take home with you so that you can continue with these newly learnt skills at home. Issues such as sleep, digestion and general well being are covered and are an excellent skill for you to learn to help and bond with your baby. Reflexology is much easier to perform than baby massage and can be done anywhere at anytime, with your baby fully clothed. If you would like further information, please contact Kathryn here
Could you tell me a little more about the swim and gym programme please.
The Swim and Gym Programme is a programme run by the Lincoln Council Activ8 team and are based at Birchwood and Yarborough Leisure Centres. The programme runs for 12 weeks and are priced at £15. For this, you can use the swimming pool and the gym after you have had an initial assessment by the Activ8 team to discuss your exercise needs and to develop your programme. For more information on the antenatal packages, please look here. You will need to be referred by our Physiotherapist to take advantage of this offer, so please contact us to express your interest.