How to relieve Sciatica in pregnancy

Sciatica is painful but can be prevented through hamstring stretches and doing pelvic
tilts.  If however the hamstring stretch causes further pain, stop immediately.
A physiotherapist, experienced with pregnant clients will help you release any other
tight muscles that may be causing imbalances leading to the Sciatica.

Hamstring Stretch

  • Sit on a block, towel or exercise mat and stretch one leg out in front of
    you with your knee straight and bend the other leg slightly to the side
    ensuring you feel comfortable.
  • Place your hands behind your bottom to help shift your weight onto your seated bones and lift and lengthen your spine.
  • You should feel a stretch down the back of the leg which is stretched out from the bottom to the back of the knee.
  • Hold for 8-10 seconds continuing to breath.
  • Then point the toe and release and circle the ankle one direction 3-5 times then in the other direction 3-5 times.
  • Repeat this whole stretch and ankle rotation on the other leg.

Pelvic tilts

  • Do these on all fours starting hands under shoulders and knees under hips.
  • Keep your lower back flat and shoulders away from ears.
  • Breathe in and as you breathe out, tilt your hips and pelvis as if rounding off
    your lower back and drawing your pubic bone up towards your navel.
    Relax breath in and return to neutral.
  • Repeat 5-8 times.

Ten Minute Core Restore and Flat Abs Programme

Before beginning this ten minute flat abs programme be sure to warm up with some dynamic stretches beforehand for 5 minutes. 



Straight Arm Pushup Hold

  • Start the movement in a pushup position.
  • Extend your arms into a pushup.
  • Hold that position for 10 secs and rest for 3 secs and repeat 6 times.
  • Alternative: Rest on forearms and elbows with elbows under shoulders




Alternative option below: 









Left and Right Side Pillar Hold

  • Lay on the ground on one side. Raise your body using one
    forearm and support it in this raise for 10 secs, rest for 3 secs and repeat six times.
  • Lower your body and repeat on the other side.
  • Remember to keep your head, neck and body in a straight line.






Hip Extension on back (with or without band – arms by side if you not using a band)

  • Lie on the floor and place the resistance band across your waist (if using) and pin it to the floor with your hands.
  • Squeeze and clench your bottom (NOT your back). Keep you back flat (tilt hips)
  • Extend your hips up towards the ceiling keeping your feet on the ground.  Hold position for 10 secs then rest for 3 secs. Repeat 6 times. 
  • More challenging option: Lift one foot off the ground and bend the same knee pushing the foot in the air towards the ceiling as you hold your tight glutes (bottom). 






Bird dog (opposite arm and leg raise on all fours!)

  • Start by placing yourself on your hands and knees.  Draw in your navel slightly so you feel your abs tighten. Keep shoulders down and away from ears.
  • Slowly raise your opposite arm and opposite leg and extend them out away from the body. Hold for 10 secs and rest for 3 secs. Repeat 6 times.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat with the other side.
  • Always keep this movement slow and controlled. Never flex your lower back. 






Standing Hip Extensions

Start by placing your hands on the back of your hips.
Slowly shift your hips forward using your muscles and your hands.
Only push until a comfortable stretch or range of motion is achieved. Hold for 5 secs and repeat 5-6 times

Psoas Hold (knee raise) (picture not shown)

Stand tall. Lift one knee up so that your knee is higher than your hip. Aim to hold with good balance for 10 secs, rest for 3 secs and repeat 6 times. Then replicate move on other leg. Be sure not to flex your spine. 

Overcoming a Nagging Pain in the Arch.. Plantar Fasciitis

I had this once when I started to increase my running. It can be really sore and a right pain (pardon the pun!).

Plantar Fasciitis is an inflammation of the strong fibrous bands that run along the bottom of your foot. It helps maintain the arch and holds the foot rigid as you walk.

Along with the muscles and bones this connective tissue, the plantar fascia, forms the arch of the foot. You will usually feel plantar fasciitis pain in your arch and heel as shown in the diagram to the right. When first arising standing you may experience heel pain which is the fibre stretching at the plantar fascial enthesis when the foot is bearing the body’s weight. After walking around the pain can ease. When applying thumb pressure the pain is worse at the heel bone.

Sometimes known as Heel Spur Syndrome, plantar fasciitis is one of the injuries most commonly experienced by young runners, post partum women, golfers, athletes and also those who stand for long periods of time on hard surfaces with poorly fitting or supportive footwear or pumps. There is also high incidences in people that are overweight in their 40s-60s and in 20% of cases, pain can occur for over a year if it is untreated..

The vast majority of people with this pain may

also have feet that over-pronate.

If you have flat feet or high arches, take extra care as you are more at risk. Tight archilles tendons put more risk on the fascia, so make sure you stretch both of them and your calves.


Try one or more of the following methods to help improve the condition:

  • An ice massage the area for 10-15 minutes. Fill a paper cup with water and freeze it. Peel off the paper, place the ice under the foot and roll your foot over it, from the heel to the ball and back.
  • Taping your foot before jogging or running can help relieve the discomfort. Follow this by stretching the calf muscle, to within limits of pain, which is very effective.
  • One stretching method is to use your toes to pull a towel, piece of paper, or marble off the floor.
  • Place a golf ball under the base of your big toe and roll the foot forwards over the ball to the base of your second toe, and repeat. Do the same motion starting from each toe, exerting enough pressure to experience a little tenderness.
  • Sit on the floor with one knee bent and the same ankle flexed towards you. Pull the toes towards the ankles. Hold for a count of 10, and repeat nine more times.
  • Wear proper supportive shoes. Running or athletic trainers with excellent support, no or minimal heel, and well-cushioned soles. You can also include padded or gel inserts
  • Use felt, gel, viscoelastic, or synthetic heel pads that spread and are shock absorbing as the heel lands on the ground. This eases pressure on the ligament structure of the plantar fascia that supports the longitudinal arch of the foot.
  • Aim to lose weight – bone, joint, muscle or nerve pain tends to worsen with more weight the body has to bear.

Read More…

Banana pancakes for the family

pancakes7Pancake Day – I love it!  Feeling the need for a healthier version to adding chocolate and sugar, I sought Stephanie Ridley’s advice on how to make my pancakes healthier!

Nutritional  Therapist Stephanie says “These are great because the banana adds a sweetness which means you can get away without adding extra sugar on top – and you get the added nutrition from the banana (vitamin B6 for energy, vitamin C for healthy skin and combating stress and manganese for healthy bones) that you don’t get from sugar. Instead, serve with a dollop of plain, probiotic yoghurt on top (to up the protein content) and a handful of fresh blueberries or blackberries, if you want.  You could also add a teaspoon of cinnamon to the mixture. Cinnamon has been shown to improve blood sugar control, so it may be particularly beneficial if you have a family history of type 2 diabetes or you suffered with gestational diabetes yourself”

Here is the recipe from Food Republic:


For Meal Plans for Post Baby and top ten tasty snacks, check out our facebook page


Post Natal Exercise: Get a Beach Bottom

This exercise tones both the outside and main part of your bottom as well as you inner thighs. It is great for reducing fat from the stubborn bottom area.


Place your hands placed behind your head and stand with feet close
together at a stance with one foot centred in a small towel (use on a wooden floor).




Look straight ahead, keep your head up, tuck your bottom under and keep your spine long and body in centre of balance. Pull and ‘lift’ your belly button up to keep your abs. tight.
Slide your foot with the towel directly out to the side at a 45 degree angle, hinging and going back at your hips. Avoid any rotation of the hips.
Your upper thigh should be parallel to the ground.
Stop when the towel sliding leg is fully extended.

Repeat for 10-12 on the same leg then switch legs. Perform 2 sets on each leg.

Pregnancy version: hold on to the back of a chair so the chair is at your side, with the leg that will slide being furthest away from the chair. Instead of using the towel, simply step back into the position.

Juices for Better Abs: Day One, Apple, Celery and Lime Juice

This is the first day of my Juices for Restoring, Strengthening and Flattening your Abs!
Due to all the vitamins and nutrients in Juice’s from the fruit and vegetables you throw in you can really cleanse, de-tox and help re-store and flatten your abs post baby.

I was always aware of the benefits of Juices but really came to incorporate them into my own diet and encourage our clients to make and drink them by Mairi Taylor, my inspirational Juice buddy at FAB fitness.

Juices are also excellent for your children and gives them loads of vitamins and nutrients they need to their growing bodies!

1. You can get your daily five in one quick scoop! Many struggle to incorporate 5 portions of vegetables (or even less!) into their daily food or meals. Juicing your veggies means you can do this. Plus you can ‘pop in’ celery, broccoli and beetroot and other ‘green’ foods that your children may turn their little noses up at and in the juice format, they will not turn a hair! Crafty!

2. A nourish, a cleanse. Due to all the luscious vitamins and nutrients they contain, they can be almost more of a meal or snack. Keeping sugar cravings at bay and nourishing your pregnant or post baby body.

3. So easy to prepare and make. A great ‘Dash out of the Door’ drink (or rather food – see point above).

4. You can be creative. What I love is that you can throw it all in and experiment a little to see what tastes good.

To save you the time in experimenting, I have conjured up, tweaked some existing recipes from the Juice Master, Jason Vale and will be sharing these with you over the next 7 days.

To save time you can do a large batch of juice and freeze them. Then you just pull out and defrost for your snack time or breakfast.

The Right Juicer!
This is key – you want one that is easy to wash, ideally the parts easily detach and fit in the dishwasher.
You also want one that will juice enough for more than 2 people, especially if you are making them for the whole family.
My favourite is the Philips HR1861 Whole Fruit Juicer, Aluminium.

Here’s the first Juice recipe, curtesy of Marie Paiser, one of our clients currently on our Post Baby Belly Blitz Programme. Marie has a 12 week old baby and is breastfeeding so she is finding Juicing perfect for her nutrient needs and also the nutrient needs of her growing baby.

Apple, Celery and Lime Juice

Apple, celery and lime juice

Serves 2
4 Apples – Golden Delicious or Royal Gala (go organic if you can), halve and remove core. No need to peel.
2 small sticks of celery.
1/2 lime – no need to peel.

Pop apples in first, then celery and lime. Then Juice.

Add a few sprigs of mint (chopped) if you have them.

Getting Started: Recording your progress and measurements

Getting Started: Recording your progress and measurements

Before starting TheBeezKneez Fitness programme, whether it’s a group
fitness course or personal training here’s some vital steps to take to track your results and keep you very motivated!  

Take three full length photos of yourself: one of your front profile,
one of your side profile and a third of your back profile.  You need to
be able to see your body shape, so wear fitness shorts and bra,
otherwise you won’t be able to see your posture or true shape. 

Measure yourself and record on the table below. I always recommend to
clients to measure every two weeks, its really motivating as you start
to see results. You don’t need to measure more frequently than that, try
on some new dresses and jeans and check out how they fit you. Also
focus on doing your exercises in small manageable chunks!

body measurements table





Busy Mum Recipe: Chicken One-Pot.

Easy to prepare and throw in the oven!

Heat the oven to 160°C.

Mix 1dsp each of ground cumin, ground coriander sweet paprika together – then add enough olive oil to make a paste and rub over 1 chicken breast per person.

Heat a large oven-proof dish and add the chicken to it, cooking for 5 mins on all sides. Place the chicken on a plate.

Add a little coconut butter to the pan (if needed) to lightly fry 2 handfuls of finely chopped onion, garlic, celery and carrot, until softened.

Add 1 tin of tomatoes, 2 tbsp split red lentils, ½ tin drained chickpeas, 800ml of chicken stock, 1 cinnamon stick and 1dsp fruit chutney. Cook through to a simmer, then add the chicken back in, cover and pop in the oven for 1-1.5 hrs, stirring as you go (you may need to a little more stock if it gets very thick).

Serve with 2 handfuls of cooked veg (the rest of the family can have it with wild rice too) and some finely chopped mint on top.

This recipe is an extract from the Post Baby Belly Blitz Diet by   Stephanie Ridley, nutritional therapist in Muswell Hill.

New Mums get Fit and Fabulous in 2013 and the baby comes too.

A must-have for new mums who want to regain their pre-baby shape

North London mums and mums-to-be who want to exercise safely, bond with their baby and meet other mums after baby is born, now have a new year fitness choice with local classes in Muswell Hill offered by TheBeezKneez.

TheBeezKneez Fit and Fabulous 2013 classes provide Mums a complete workout over six weeks from warm-up to core conditioning, toning, cardio intervals, stretching and relaxing whilst having fun, meeting other mums and gaining body confidence.

With two types of classes  ‘New  Mamas’ and ‘Mamas’ (with toddlers, teens or twenty somethings) the classes will guide mums from the first few years with their new baby and way beyond childbirth.  The exercises, specific for Mums help shift the baby weight, focus on flattening abdominals and ensure fitness to be a mum.

TheBeezKneez provides a very positive environment to exercise in with a whole variety of safe exercises led by certified pre and postnatal instructors to provide that ‘extra’ conditioning effect you cannot achieve by Yoga or Pilates alone.  With great music, using versatile equipment in circuit style formats all mums are in the same boat.  Babies are welcome to the daytime classes and classes run in Muswell Hill.

Vicky Warr, owner and founder of TheBeezKneez and new mum herself says “In our classes, we help women get strong, gain confidence about becoming a mum and make new friends — all at the same time! I’m thrilled to reach out to Mums with TheBeezKneez Fitness experience, whether you are new to exercise or a regular exerciser we cater for all levels and we empathise completely with the changes that occur to the body during pregnancy, after the baby is born and way beyond.”

Muswell Hill mum, Fiona Wallis, who had her first child a year ago, says “Now I have moved back to Australia, I crave to find an equivalent challenging and enjoyable class. TheBeezKneez classes helped me to combine both fitness and my baby in a great setting. I found it really helped me to build core strength and aerobic fitness, which allows me to handle the day to day of a new baby. Vicky Warr and her team made sure everyone at the class was catered for regardless of the fitness level and I enjoyed the classes so much I continued them well into a year post natal.”

For more information and to book online go to or call 020 8 354 1583. All classes are lead by a certified postnatal instructor and run for six weeks at a time. Monthly passes also available. 

For taster sessions, from £5 call 020 8 354 1583 to book. 

Class Times for Muswell Hill: 

Mamas: Tuesdays: 10.00am
New Mamas: Tuesdays: 11.00am (babies welcome)
NPLAC, 76 St James Lane, N10 3RD

About TheBeezKneez

TheBeezKneez is one of the only prenatal and postnatal experiences in the country. Exercise classes provide new and expectant mums a place to find support, make friends, and get fit and bond with their babies. Classes are designed to take mums from pregnancy through birth – and then into the toddler years with their child. There are three kinds – Bumps, New Mamas and Mamas all Indoors. The classes offered are Core Conditioning and Metabolic Cardio, post baby fat loss and prenatal core and whole body conditioning. TheBeezKneez Fitness programmes started in West London in 2007 by creating a growing local community of more than 10,000 mums-to-be, mums and babies.

Media Contact:
Vicky Warr
TheBeezKneez PR
020 8354 1583






Safe Pregnancy Fitness

Being pregnant doesn’t mean you have to stop enjoying regular exercise. In fact, pregnancy exercise has now become far more popular and it has plenty of benefits. By staying fit during your pregnancy you help improve your energy levels and mood, prevent backache, improve your core and lumbo-pelvic strength, help prepare you for labour and make it easier to get back into shape once the baby is born.

BUT there are some things you must be careful of as your body goes through such big changes. Here are some top tips:

1. Get the green light from your doctor
Make sure you check with your doctor before exercising during pregnancy. If you are experiencing any complications you may need to avoid exercise so if in doubt, ask the doc.

2. Warm-up.
This is essential before any exercise as it prepares your muscles to prevent injury and decreases post workout aches and pains.

3. Be consistent.
Shorter, more regular workouts are better than longer sessions that are less frequent.

4. Keep an eye on your body temperature.
In the first trimester especially, it’s very important not to over-heat. So make sure you drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise, and avoid over-exerting yourself. Most of our clubs have air conditioning so make the most of it and position yourself in a nice cool spot. Wear loose fitting clothing that doesn’t soak up sweat, and wear layers that you can remove easily as you get warmer.

5. Stay hydrated.
Drink water before, during and after exercise. Sipping slowly but regularly will help to avoid heartburn.

6. Make sure you’ve eaten enough.
Avoid low blood sugar and fainting by making sure you’ve eaten enough before you begin. Carry a snack in your gym bag in just in case – this needs to have some protein – cashew or brazil nuts with a banana or apple is always a good option.

7. Get support.
Wear trainers that give you good support and cushioning and be sure to wear a sports bra. Sweaty Betty have some good bras and a range of supports.

8. Find a specific Antenatal Exercise Class with antenatal qualified instructors
Tell your class instructor about your pregnancy before you start and they will be able to offer you advice or lower impact options.

9. What to do if you have gestational diabetes.
If you have gestational diabetes you need to take particular precautions with exercise: monitor blood glucose levels, regulate meal times, incorporate rest periods and monitor baby movements and uterine contractions.

10. Tune into your body.
If you start to feel unusual – headaches, dizziness, shortness of breath – stop the exercise. And if you can’t hold a conversation while you’re exercising, you’re working too hard.

11. It’s all about maintaining rather than improving fitness.
Your goal should be trying to keep fit and healthy while pregnant. One good way to monitor your intensity is to score it from 1-10 – one being lying on the sofa, 10 being maximum exertion – and then make sure you stay between 6-7.

12. Be aware of the warning signs.
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynacologist (RCOG) (Link to: advises you to stop exercising and seek medical advice if you experience any of the following:

• Excessive shortness of breath
• Chest pain or palpitations
• Dizziness
• Painful uterine contractions or preterm labour
• Leakage of amniotic fluid
• Vaginal Bleeding
• Excessive Fatigue
• Abdominal pain, particularly in back of pubic area.
• Pelvic girdle pain
• Reduced foetal movement
• Dyspnoea before exertion
• Headaches
• Mucle Weakness
• Calf pain or swelling

And, of course, make sure it’s fun. If it’s not fun, you won’t stay motivated to be consistent.

Useful link:
Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynacologists guidelines on exercise during pregnancy (LINK TO:
This content aims to give general fitness advice and tips to expectant mothers experiencing a normal pregnancy. This should not be treated as a substitute for or supersede any medical advice you have been given.