These are questions I ask myself every day.

As many of you know, one of the reasons I teach postnatal fitness with such passion is because of the silly mistakes I made along the way. I still find it really hard to respect my body’s needs as I come from a ‘no pain no gain’ background and thoroughly enjoy a hardcore workout. However, I now ask myself if it is worth the fallout – quite literally as unsuitable exercise can, and has, caused a prolapse that sent me running off to see Jenna at The Powder Rooms Physio for some urgent advice…

I am constantly asked about exercise during pregnancy and after giving birth – “Could I plank, run, play sports, lift heavy weights just after having a baby?” The answer for most is yes. But more importantly, should you? What benefit does overloading your already pressurised and weakened body have on your short and long term health? Does this exercise have any functional benefit for you? And is it going to help and support your body right now?

Yes, you must stay active if you want to enjoy a long, healthy and happy life, but please ask yourself (truthfully!) if what you are doing right now is what your body and pelvic floor muscles really need.

Remember that we are all different. Yes, so-and-so from the gym might be doing more than you, but they are doing it with their body and not yours. Some of the problems I currently face are the result of competing with other people. Instead of listening to my body, I just pushed myself even harder, ignoring signals like not being able to breathe properly. Oh, I proved that I could still do it, but I will regret my stupidity for a long time to come.

You can do it differently. Love your body for what it is RIGHT NOW. It may be a little different but it is even more amazing than it was before. Be kind, respect yourself and choose a workout that does not push your organs out through your pelvic floor. Just a suggestion…

We all tend to think that pelvic floor dysfunction is something that happens to other people. But one in three mums will experience this at some point in their life. And let me tell you this – once you start peeing your pants or feel like a golf ball is permanently wedged between your legs, you will wish you had paid better attention to your body.

Watch out for more exercise and pelvic floor hints, tips, tools and techniques from the Pregnancy & Parenthood team in 2018. Together we can create positive change.

I have heard this many times before an interview, presentation or event. Personally I think the word fail is very negative. I mean, does failing make you a failure? I really hope not because I fail regularly as a parent and look at it as a learning curve on my journey as a mum.

However, there is no denying that preparation can help and make things easier. This Sunday hundreds of runners will complete the London Marathon. Weeks and months of training, following exercise and eating plans all to enhance their performance and lessen the risk of injury.

So why is it many pregnant mums do not feel the same about preparing for birth? Lately I have spoken to lots of mums-to-be who are fearful about birth, mainly because the stories you hear are the negative ones and what’s shown on TV is drama.

Birth is amazing. Women carrying and growing new life is incredible. We need to celebrate pregnancy and birth and not be frightened of failing in some way. Knowing the sensations and intensity of birth is you and your body delivering your baby.

I didn’t think I needed to prepare for my first pregnancy. During those nine months I believed that because I was strong and had dealt with everything life threw at me with determination and strength, birth was going to be a breeze. I was adamant that my body would bounce back into my jeans within a few days and my baby would be the one who slept beautifully (yep, I actually thought that!). I went into that birth thinking “How hard can this really be?”. What I did not know was that I would experience feelings and sensations that I had never felt before. I was alive, but I didn’t know how to breathe and I certainly didn’t know how to let go and flow with what was happening.

Baby number two was different.
I was fortunate to be educating as well as attending pregnancy yoga. I prepared myself as best I could and boy did it pay off. Birth preparation comes in many forms: yoga, pilates, antenatal classes, hynobirthing etc.

Looking after your body and baby is important but birth prep is more than that. Attending classes brings you into contact with other mums, building a network that will help you before and after birth (whether you’re a first-timer or mum of five). Learning about what to expect mentally and physically lets you know that not fitting into your old jeans after a few days or having a baby who doesn’t sleep doesn’t make you a failure. It makes you normal!

BabyFit will be with the Pregnancy & Parenthood team at the Bump & Beyond and Toddler Fair on 30 April 2017 at the Norfolk Showground, where I will be talking about birth preparation and breath.
Debbie x

In her latest annual report, the Chief Medical Officer makes recommendations on a wide range of women’s health issues, most notably obesity. Professor Dame Sally Davies highlights obesity as one of the biggest risks to women’s health, affecting all aspects of life from birth, family planning and pregnancy to menopause and later life.

In England, 56% of women aged 35 to 44 and 62% of women aged 45 to 54 were classified as overweight or obese in 2013. Dame Sally says that the growing obesity problem is so serious that the government needs to make tackling obesity in the whole population a national priority.

She has asked all women to work with healthcare professionals to make positive changes when planning to get pregnant and to stay healthy throughout their pregnancy.

She said: “In women, obesity can affect the outcomes of any pregnancies they have and the health of any future children they may have. This is a difficult message to convey, as it risks burdening women with guilt and responsibility, but I believe that it can also empower women to take positive steps like eating more healthily and taking more exercise. It is never too late to take action for a healthier lifestyle – for you and your family.”

BabyFit offers several courses specially designed to help women get or stay fit and healthy during pregnancy, birth and beyond. Classes are suitable for everyone, even those new to exercise. Contact us with any questions at all.

1. No time for a regular exercise class? Get on the yoga mat, you’ll be surprised at how hard you work

2. Learn how to safely throw your children Active Baby Yogaaround. Develop your confidence as you learn the safe way to play actively

3. Baby getting too heavy to carry? Develop your strength and agility in line with your baby’s development

4. Restock your song library – learn loads of new fun songs and action rhymes to delight your baby and make you smile

5. Learn together how to chill out – yoga will teach you both how to relax yourselves, helping digestive and sleep problems

From around seven months (sitting sturdily if not yet active) up to around 18 months. We use fun props like scarves, balls big and small and musical instrument to keep everyone entertained.

The next course of BabyFit Active Baby Yoga starts at the Willow Centre, Cringleford
10-11am Tues 24 Feb to 31 March
A six-week course costs just £50 including handouts of all new songs

To book, email info@babyfit.me.uk

Amy says: I love Bootcamp because of the variety, not just within each session but also across the course. I like being pushed hard because although it is really (really!) tough at the time, there is a much bigger sense of achievement afterwards. You strike a perfect balance with giving us enough info on what we’re targeting and what we need to be doing without overloading… I have done classes when they go into so much detail that I end up not having a clue what they are going on about! I think one of the best things is you! When you say, no judgement, I know you mean it! You push us but in a very positive way and it is a very enjoyable class… tricep presses aside… so thank you!

Netmums Award

Huge congratulations to BabyFit Bootcamp instructor, Debbie Bagley. Debbie’s hard work to keep the Bootcamp fresh while making sure it is safe for the new mums joining has earned BabyFit a Netmums award. Netmums South Norfolk asked mums to name their favourite class and Bootcamp came out on top. No wonder some of Debbie’s Bootcampers are on their sixth round!

Yoga classMore and more people are asking if we can suggest a yoga class in Norwich so here is a list of the teachers we know and love. Class days and times change all the time so I am just posting websites here.

Don’t be afraid to try several different teachers during your search as we all have our own styles (the photo shows me taking part in an Anusara class in London). There are lots of newly-trained yoga teachers now appearing in Norfolk, thanks to the lovely Joss Guin and Michelle Busuttil, so keep an eye out for what’s happening in your area. Most importantly, enjoy the journey. Like buying a house or finding a childminder – you will know when it is right.

Joss Guin
www.theyogatree.co.uk

Mary-Ann McLaughlin
www.phoenixrising.me.uk

Carol Ottley
www.getbendy.co.uk

Kerry Radley
www.norwichyoga.co.uk

Louise Kitchener
www.yogahappy.co.uk/classes-workshops-events.php

Bliss Yoga Norwich
www.blissyoganorwich.co.uk

Hester Clack
www.hesteryoga.co.uk

Barbara Ives
www.yoganorfolk.com

Clare Badham
www.yogabreeze.co.uk

Michelle Busuttil
yogawithmichelle.co.uk

Yoga in the PyrénéesIndulge yourself the weekend before Mother’s Day with some grown-up yoga.

BabyFit founder, Kate Coulson, is visiting from her home in France, bringing her unique blend of happiness and yoga.

Join her on Sunday 23 March at the gorgeous Happy Ohm yoga studio on Heigham Street in Norwich.

Step into Spring – Be the Best You Can.
Intermediate – 6-7.30pm
All levels – 7.45-9.15pm

How much? £10 per session, £15 for both
Where? Happy Ohm, Studio 1, Capitol House, 4-6 Heigham Street, Norwich NR2 4TE

Any questions or to book, please email Kate at info@babyfit.me.uk

Join the BabyFit Bootcamp challenge AND raise money for a fantastic cause. For the second year, a team of BabyFit Babes will be running the Race for Life on Sunday 18 May. Join the next BabyFit Bootcamp starting 23 February and you will have 10 whole weeks to prepare. Can you think of a better way to celebrate your progress?

Sign up for the BabyFit Bootcamp here
And sign up for Race For Life here!

BabyFit is spreading its wings to southwest Norwich. Currently uniquely based at the Oasis in Thorpe St Andrew east of Norwich, we are starting courses in March at the Willow Centre in Cringleford. With easy access from the A11 and A47 south of Norwich, the newly-opened centre is having an open day on Saturday 8 February. The first BabyFit courses to be held in Cringleford will be baby yoga and active baby yoga.
See here for course dates
See here for a map

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