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Could I? Or should I?

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.