Pelvic Pain in Pregnancy

pregnantball

You may experience occasional aches in your pelvic region during pregnancy and this is common due to the hormonal changes taking place and the secretion of relaxin, whose job is to soften and widen the joints preparing your body to deliver the baby.

However, with some women pelvic pain can sometimes mean symphysis publis dysfunction (SPD) or Diastasis Symphysis Pubis in it’s more severe form, which is a pelvic joint pain. So it’s essential to monitor the pain and symptoms, which I’ll tell you about further on.

The pelvis is four separate bones joined at the front by the Symphysis pubis. There’s a normal gap of 4-5mm between the two pubic points. During pregnancy, the gap widens by another 2-3mm, as the hormone, relaxin is secreted to allow the pelvis in preparation to aid the baby to pass down the birth canal.

With some women excessive amounts of the hormone or where the pelvis is out of alignment can cause the gap to stretch too far, resulting in pain and discomfort. When this happens there may be pain or swelling over the joint. This can happen at any stage of pregnancy or after the birth – most commonly it is during the second trimester. In severe cases, some women can be incapacitated by the pain and need crutches during later stages of pregnancy.

Symptoms for SPD include:

  • Pain in your pubic area and groin.
  • Pain in the inside and down the thighs.
  • Lower back and hip pain (as the whole pelvis is under strain).
  • Pain when you walk, step, go up and down stairs or get out of bed.
  • A clicking sound that you can hear.
  • A feeling that your bones are grinding together.
  • Difficulty and pain when you try and open your legs.

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s vital to get this checked with your doctor or midwife. If SPD is confirmed you’ll be referred to an obstetric physiotherapist, who can prescribe exercises for you.
Prior to the birth ensure you tell your midwife so they can help find a position that is comfortable to you.

Exercise considerations:

  • Avoid activities which take the legs apart and also bring them together as these can cause pain. Squatting, Lunging, stepping, walking, yoga, breast stroke can produce pain.
  • Avoid activities on one leg.

The good news is there are exercises you can do to remain strong and fit. I have trained pregnant clients with SPD and by working closely with the client and their physiotherapist the condition has not got worse.

Exercises you can do:

  • Squat with feet and legs together – like a ski squat would avoid the legs being apart.
  • Core exercises (avoid lying on your back after the thirteen to fourteen weeks), side planks and knee planks
  • Pelvic tilts – addressing posture
  • Standing wall press-ups (legs together)
  • Lateral Raises and upright rows with resistance bands – sat on a chair or fitness ball with the feet together (second trimester)
  • Pelvic Floor exercises

!Stop any of these exercises immediately if they do cause you pain and get your condition and pain checked out again!

Three Minute Healthy Breakfast Smoothies

Here are my two top favourites. Ready in just three minutes and all you need is the fruit and your blender.

A perfect quick breakfast choice.

Peach and Almond Smoothie
1 x heaped dsp of Ground Almonds
Half banana
Half teacup of Natural Yogurt
Three quarters cup frozen peaches
Some Water – 3 tbsps

Combine all ingredients together in a blender and process for 1 minute or until smooth and creamy. Drink immediately.

Berry Smoothie

1 tbsp of natural yogurt with half banana and
one choice of berries (can be frozen)
one apple
some water – 3 tsbps

Combine all ingredients together in a blender and process for 1 minute or until smooth and creamy. Drink immediately.

Get fit with five fun outdoors exercises

Outdoors exercise means a bout of Vitamin D, a release of endorphins and a great way to get fit ready for your holidays.  Here are five ways to improve your post natal fitness.

1. Fartlek

This is Swedish for ‘Speed Play’ and is a form of interval training. It is unstructured so great for everyone and if you are just getting back into jogging or running after a baby as you can vary your speeds and distances.

Here are some examples:

Watson Fartlek
Suitable for 10k, 5k, 3k and cross country.

  • 10 minutes warm up
  • Run hard for 4 minutes with 1 minute jog recovery – repeat 6-8 times
  • 10 minute cool down

Gerschler Fartlek
Combine this with steady running sessions to improve fitness quickly.

  • 10 minutes warm up
  • Repeat 3 times – run hard for 30 seconds, jog 90 seconds. Repeat with 15 second decreases in recovery jog e.g. 30-90, 30-75, 30-60, 30-45, 30-30, 30-15 and 30-15-30
  • 10 minute cool down

2.   Jogging

A popular activity and the one most people associate with exercise. It is a good and easy way to get into shape. To be safe, there are some recommendations for running after you have had a baby (no matter when you had your baby). You must get pair of running shoes (ditch the ones that have been in the loft that you had for 3 years) and sports bra and you must improve your leg and pelvic floor (i.e. you are not having any ‘leaks’ when you walk, cough or sneeze, lift objects) and core strength (neglect your core post baby and you risk injury) before doing any jogging or running (usually 6 months after a baby).  Start slow with a 10-15 minute jog and then walk for 10-15 minutes making it a total of 20-30 minutes’ activity.

To run well and improve your performance you need to have a strong and well functioning core. One of the common misconceptions is that the core is solely your ab muscles. The core is in fact the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex, consisting of 29 muscles! The abdominal muscles are only a small portion of the total musculature involved in the core.  Adequately training the core involves a lot more than just doing crunches and sit-ups. In fact, you can strengthen and develop your core without doing a single sit-up!

All human movement originates from the core whether it be crawling, walking, running, swimming or kayaking. A well-functioning core is the base from which the rest of the body moves.

3. Cycling

Cycling outdoors is perfect for getting fit – cycling in parks is more strenuous as some namely Richmond Park have some great hills!  Plus you haven’t got the traffic and you can take your little one with you on the back of your bike (ensure you have a good child’s bike seat). Alternatively ditch the train/tube or car and  ‘commute cycle’ to work also saving you time and money. Cycling really helps tone your bottom and thighs.  Wear a helmet and start slow and increase speed and distance over time.

4.  Bodyweight Circuits

A great all over conditioning and fat loss form of exercise. Structured classes are enjoyable as you can go with a friend and you only need a mat. Try TheBeezKneez for outdoors classes.

5. Outdoors Park Gym Equipment

Some of the local parks now have fitness equipment and cardio machines.  If you children are playing in the park at the time, it’s a great way for you to get fit. Be sure to wear full fitness gear and good quality trainers and know how to use the equipment – start slow, then build up your speed or time as you get fitter.

 

This recipe is great if you want to beat the bloat and flatten that tummy as it is wheat free (sometimes the culprit for feeling bloated as wheat can cause some irritation of the gut). Given to me by the lovely Jennifer Irvine, the inspirational founder of The Pure Package and it comes from her new book The Pure Package: The Diet For Food Lovers by Jennifer Irvine, which you can buy from all leading retailers now. It is a recipe that is included in our Post Baby Belly Blitz Programme. Absolutely delicious, beats your usual (and somewhat boring!) cereal.

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Wheat free (vegetarian)
Preheat oven to 180°C / Gas 4

Ingredients:  Preparation:  
1 large apple½ cinnamon stick1 star anise

3 cloves

Pinch grated nutmeg

200ml pomegranate juice

200ml grape juice

Core the apple, leaving the skin on, and cut into 8 segments. Place it in a heavy-based saucepan with the cinnamon stick, star anise, cloves, nutmeg and pomegranate and grape juices and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes. Remove the apple with a slotted spoon and reserve. Continue to boil the juice and spices for 15 minutes until reduced to a thick syrup, then pass through a fine sieve to remove the spices. Return the syrup to the pan with four of the apple pieces. Cook over a medium heat for 2 minutes. Using a hand-held blender, blitz to a smooth puree. Set aside
20g jumbo porridge oats Meanwhile, sprinkle the oats over a non-stick baking sheet and toast in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool
240ml natural yoghurt½ teaspoon vanilla paste In a small bowl mix the yoghurt and vanilla paste together
60g jumbo porridge oats40g brown rice flour1 teaspoon baking powder

100ml apple juice

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 free-range egg whites, at room temp

Groundnut oil, for oiling

Place the oats, rice flour, baking powder, apple juice and cinnamon in a food processor and blitz to a smooth paste. Transfer to a mixing bowl.In a clean, grease-free bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Using a large metal spoon, carefully fold the egg whites into the pancake paste, keeping as much air in the mixture as possible.Heat a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Brush with oil and drop a large tablespoonful of batter per pancake into the pan. This will make pancakes about 6cm across, so you can make 4 at time. Cook for about 2 minutes, until small bubbles appear on the surface, then turn and cook for a further 2-3 minutes until golden. Transfer to a warmed plate and cover with kitchen paper while you make another batch. You should have enough batter for 8 pancakes.

 

To Serve:110g blackberries60g raspberries

80g blueberries

4 sprigs mint (optional)

Either stack the pancakes together on a serving dish or arrange two on each plate. Pour over the pomegranate and apple puree and top with the vanilla yoghurt. Spoon over the reserved poached apple segments and sprinkle the blackberries, raspberries and blueberries around the plate. Scatter over the toasted oats and decorate with the mint, if liked.

 

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.

1. 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.

2. 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!

 

   Navel:  Waist: Hips: Chest:  Upper Arm: Thigh:
Date  Measure directly in line with your belly button  Measure around the smallest part of the waist, approx 2 inches above the navel    Measure below the boney part of your hip bones at the widest part of your hips, including your bottom     Place the tape measure around your breasts in line with the nipples  Measure around the middle of upper arm between shoulder and elbow. Measure both arms Measure the widest part of each thigh


Start of exercise Programme:

 
                              
Two weeks after starting:

 
                              
Four weeks post:

 
                              
Six weeks post:

 
                              
Eight weeks post:

 
                              
Ten weeks post:

 
                              
Twelve weeks post:

 

  • One of the well recognised health benefits of exercise is the increase in energy you get from starting a programme. Notice the differences in your vitality, everyday performance and feeling and record them here.
  • Another benefit is with the added movement and burning calories you start to fit into your clothes again.
  • Then you notice how much more confident you feel.

Here’s a table you can use to record your energy levels and all of the above. This will really motivate as you go through your exercise programme.

   

 Date Energy Levels  How do your clothes feel? Tight, looser? Can you get into your skinny jeans yet? How is your body confidence?

 

Beginning of programme
               
Two weeks in
               
Four weeks in
               
Six weeks in

               

 

The Post Baby Belly Blitz Programme with The Pure Package, your food and exercise all taken care of..

Flatten your abs, restore your core, pelvic floor and lose the baby weight.
When you become a new mum finding time to exercise or eat well is a real challenge. Looking after your new baby is 24/7 and there is little time for yourself. Yet one of the things you want to do is get your tummy back!  So we have teamed up with The Pure Package, the gourmet diet delivery company to bring you a perfect solution, without having to leave the house or find someone to look after your baby. We take care your exercise, diet and daily nutrition so while you take care of your baby.

Twelve postnatal home personal training sessions at your home or park, taken in one month with a leading TheBeezKneez specialist post natal trainer – combined with
Ten days
of having all your meals prepared, cooked and delivered to your door, by The Pure Package, London’s leading Diet Gourmet Delivery Service.

Exclusively for the New Mum you simply cannot fail on this programme with thoroughly researched exercise plus healthy, nutritious meals to:

  • Provide exceptional results in shifting body fat
  • Sculpt and tone up your body
  • Improve metabolism to burn more calories
  • Increase energy, helping with sleep deprivation
  • Dramatically improve body confidence
  • Establish a consistent routine, key to fat loss success
  • Buy you more time
  • Reduce post natal depression by restoring hormonal and emotional imbalances

Plus receive the ‘Post Baby Belly Blitz’ Menu of postpartum exercises e-book fully downloadable e-book with full exercise descriptions and photographs.

Cost of Programme: £1198.50
*This is less than half of the price of one night’s private maternity care in London at the Portland Hospital in London!

Anti-ageing food secret for mums

Contrary to what the fat phobics believe, the right kind of fat is essential to not only keep skin looking young but also to help prevent the dreaded belly fat.
Actually eating too much sugar and refined carbohydrate is more likely to put on the extra pounds and make your skin look tired and spotty. The right kind of fat can help flatten your stomach and seriously improve your health!

So which foods contain the fats you should be eating?
Since looking closely at many of my client’s food diaries and researching more into nutrition, I now take two dessertspoons of Flaxseed daily and stir fry vegetables with a tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle Brazil nut oil on salads. Just two to three tablespoons of Olive Oil a day can protect you against Heart Disease, improve your skin, boost your mood, improve your immune system, and boosts brain function (ah – mummy brain!)

Flaxseed, olive oil and nut oil fall under the umbrella term ‘essential fatty acids’ with the key word being ‘essential’. Your body needs them – this kind of fat is actually your friend! These fats help you absorb Vitamins A, D and E, vital for your nervous system, lower cholesterol levels and also help prevent stubborn abdominal fat!

There are two kinds of the Essential Fats to include in your diet:

These are typically liquid at room temperature but start to turn solid when chilled.

Mono-unsaturated: You’ll find them in:
Olive Oil
Olives
Canola Oil
Almonds
Cashews
Peanut Butter
Nut oil Butter (check out your Health food shop, or Nature Intended)
Sesame Seeds
Avocados

Polyunsaturated:
These contain omega 6 and omega 3’s that your body needs but doesn’t produce itself so you have to get these essential fats from foods containing them.
Omega-6 and omega-3 play a crucial role in brain function, memory and in the normal growth and development of your body. They are also essential to the healthy development of your baby’s brain!
Vegetable oils, nuts and seeds are good sources of omega 6 fatty acids. Fish is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. However – government research shows that we are not eating enough omega 3 fish oils obtained from eating oily fish required for anti-ageing and great health. This is because many of us can’t stomach oily fish (or the smell!) or are concerned about the levels of toxins, PCB’s and other pollutants in fresh fish. Plus during pregnancy some fish are to be avoided due to the risk of high mercury levels. If you are not pregnant you can eat these fish but it’s worth enquiring about where they have come from. Also go for a variety of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury such as canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, sea bass.
A supplement of Omega 3 is key, especially if you do not like oily fish. Healthspan has a good Omega 3 supplement.

Stretch for back ache

This stretch releases muscle tightness in the back, a common complaint during pregnancy and after the baby. The extra weight from carrying your baby around (both prior to him being born and afterwards) means a lot of pressure is placed on all the muscles around the spine. The stretch also improves flexibility in the back.

 

  • Kneel on all fours, hands under shoulders and knees under hips.
  • Spread your fingers with palms flat and draw your belly button up towards your spine to bring your head, neck and back in alignment and straight.
  • Breathe in and tip your bottom up towards the ceiling, looking up and drawing your shoulders away from ears and slightly together.
  • Breathe out, tuck the chin and look down and pull your belly button up towards your spine. Round up your back and feel a stretch down your spine.
  • Repeat for four to six breaths, moving slowly and smoothly between each one.

 

The new way to get fit quicker (for a busy mum)

Beach_bodyWhether you’re hitting the beach in a few weeks time or just wanting to get into shape for the great weather – as busy mums we need and want something quick, fun and easy to do, that also gets us radical results, right?!

Enter the best (secret) way to get fit in no time – cardio intervals. These are based on the American method of Tabata training. It is the most effective, time efficient cardio workout you can have. Alternating short bursts (30, 45 or 60 secs usually) of exercise – running, cycling, rowing or swimming at a ‘high/fast pace’, followed by a similar period of time (30, 45 or 60 secs or so) at a slow pace, repeated several times for three times a week over eight weeks.

Why it makes you super fit, quicker!

Shorter, higher intensity exercise works your body and cardio-vascular system harder so that it boosts your metabolism. Your body responds by becoming leaner and stronger, improving your body shape improving your muscle tone. Plus they are acutally quite fun to do – believe me – and they are over quickly! They are not however suitable if you are pregnant or less than 16 weeks post natal. Make sure you’ve had the green light from the Doctor or Midwife to say you’re OK to exercise!

This is a maximum fat burning technique and far more effective than slow, long cardio like walking of swimming leisurely for 40 minutes or so, where you don’t feel out of breath. To back this up if you swim gently you burn about 6 calories per minute. Times that by 30 minutes (30 x 6) and you burn 180 calories (equivalent of a glass of wine)!

If you swim front crawl at a higher/faster pace doing say a length (25 metres) in 25-30 secs, you would burn approx 10 calories per minute, if you did that for 30 minutes then you would burn 300 calories.

HOWEVER, as you are going at a much faster pace, it’s not possible to keep going for 30 minutes (this would be asking you to sprint for 30 minutes – sprinters only sprint for 20 secs or so, hence we do the short intervals. If you did eight intervals of fast swimming you’d burn approx. 80 calories in 8 minutes (8 x 60 seconds fast pace at 10 calories per minute) and burn 48 calories during your slow gentle swims (in between the fast ones).

That would total 128 Calories in 16 minutes ( 8 x 60 secs fast pace, 8 x 60 secs slow pace). So you can see you burn nearly as many calories in half the time of doing slow gentle swimming for 30 minutes!

You can also try skipping, cycling or running.

The actual Tabata training is based on eight 20 second bursts of exercise done at the highest level you can with eight ten second rest periods to make up four minutes. This is known as the four minute workout. HOWEVER, it is NOT suitable if you’ve just had a baby or for people who are not fit.

Instead follow the following variations:

Always WARM -Up first for 3-5 minutes at a slow pace and perform dynamic stretches and after the workout cool down at a slow pace for 2-3 minutes and stretch

Introductory: (for twelve weeks post natal if you exercised before your pregnancy)
30 secs fast
2 minutes – slow
Repeat 4 times

Beginner: (for minimum twelve weeks post natal if you exercised before and during your pregnancy)
30 secs fast
60 secs slow
Repeat 5 -6 times

Intermediate: (for sixteen weeks plus post natal and if you feel fit and exercised before and during your pregnancy)
60 secs – fast
60 secs – slow
Repeat 6 times

Advanced: (for minimum five months plus post natal and if you feel fit and exercised before and during your pregnancy)
45-60 secs flat out
30 secs – slow
Repeat 6-8 times

Considerations if you’ve just had a baby!
• You must, you must do your pelvic floor exercises – especially if you are doing higher impact activities such as running.
• Listen to your body – you experience any short, sharp pain or chest pains you must stop immediately.

 

 

Baby Steps

Exercise is a very important part of everyone’s lives, if you don’t exercise it leads to an increase in fatigue and a greater chance of obesity and all the demons that come with obesity, like heart disease. But I’m not a doctor so I’m not here to lecture you. One thing I learnt recently is that exercise isn’t just something for adults and teens, it’s actually important for children and babies too! Since there has been a rise in the how much time children spend watching TV, there has been less time spent playing around like the good old days. Studies have shown that if a child grows up with exercise as part of their daily regime, they are less likely to become obese as they grow up. Now I’m not saying you should get your child to drop and give you 20 push ups, what I mean by exercises are just fun and playful physical activities.

If you’ve got a newborn you can’t do anything rigorous with them, but them simply being around you doing exercise, or taking them for a walk in their stroller will demonstrate healthy habits and get them used to the nature of physical activity and encourage them to be more active.

Flying-BabyAs your baby grows they will start to develop their own exercises, like grabbing for objects, lifting their heads while laying down, and kicking their little legs. In addition to this you can help your babies development further by playing with them in lots of different ways, a couple for example would be raising your baby in the air to “fly” while you support their abdomen, this is a fun game that we’ve all played but it also helps to strengthen your baby and is a great help to their development. Another exercise would be helping your baby to a sitting position, simply holding your babies hands and helping them get up. Other exercises you can do is just dancing with them, or moving their legs in a cycling motion while they’re laid on their back, letting your baby kick a beach ball or something similar. All of this is natural and what a playful little baby loves to do any way, so you’re not forcing exercise on them rather encouraging them to do what they like to do, there are even some gyms opening specifically designed for babies. It’s also a great way to strengthen the parental bond.

All it takes is about 1 to 3 hours of exercise a day and your baby will be on its way to a naturally healthy lifestyle as they grow and develop. It’s also important for you and your baby to get good a good rest because this helps your body and your babies body replenish and recharge. The right bed is really important for a good nights rest, silent night beds are available and they’re great after a day of play.