New mums need to be cautious about exercise

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Having had twins myself, I know only too well how hard it is to come to terms with your ‘baby body’ after giving birth and how easy it is to get caught up in all the hype, seeing celebrities lose dramatic amounts of weight after giving birth.

While women have differing attitudes to their pregnancy, depending on how difficult it was, they tend to all agree on one thing: they want to lose their baby weight as quickly as possible.

Of course, this is a natural reaction.

The average weight gain during pregnancy is said to be about 12.5kg; 4kg of which is fat to be used as energy for breastfeeding.

In such a body-conscious world, where every celebrity mum seems to get their body back in a week, it’s no wonder women feel pressure to return their bodies to their pre-pregnancy weight quickly.

However, traditional forms of exercise may well be either adding to existing conditions caused by the pregnancy or creating new ones.

Those problems can include medical conditions that still seem to be taboo. Urinary Incontinence (UI) and prolapse of the pelvic organs are two such conditions.

It’s not just the preserve of the sedentary to be inflicted by such problems though.

There are numerous studies that demonstrate that female athletes experience some kind of incontinence and not just when they’re competing.

A 2002 study of elite female athletes and dancers concluded that 51.9 per cent experienced some kind of urine loss.

A similar study of female long distance runners in Brazil saw 62.2 per cent complain of urine loss.

The problem with traditional forms of exercise is that they increase pressure in the thoracic, abdominal and pelvic cavities.

All that jumping up and down, sit-ups and crunches is just going to worsen the condition or create one.

It takes three years for the connective tissue of a post-natal woman to recover fully.

So just imagine the damage that can be done to the pelvic floor by exercising in the traditional way.

The health and fitness industry has been guilty of exercising a lack of care for post-natal women.

Training for fitness instr-uctors and personal trainers has been woefully inadequate.

But it’s not all doom and gloom!

A new method of training to the UK is particularly applicable to new mums.

The Hypopresive Method (‘hypo’ because it reduces pressure) was developed by Marcel Caufriez and is widely used in countries such as Spain and France.

In fact, in Spain there are over 1500 Hypopresive instructors who are working in either physiotherapy or fitness.

This research-led method has demonstrated some fantastic results and success in alleviating and eradicating some of the conditions discussed in this article.

It’s also the perfect way back to exercise for any post-natal woman as it will help them with existing conditions and prevent some of the potential problems occurring in the first place.

I am busy putting a workshop together where I will be discussing other wide-ranging benefits of the Hypopresive Method.

But, in the meantime, if you’re a post-natal mum just make sure you proceed with caution!

For more information on Hypopresives please email nikki@challenge-fitness.com.

Or visit www.hypopresivesmethod.com and www.howilostmymummytummy.com

Nikki Caputa is a health and fitness coach who works one-to-one with clients and runs her own fitness camps, where she trains groups of people towards specific health, fitness and fat loss goals.

Known as FAB Body Bootcamps, two are based in Fareham and one is in Portsmouth.

Nikki, who is 44 and married with twin boys, is also an ambassador for Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.

Visit fabbodybootcamp.co.uk and challenge-fitness.co.uk to find out more about Nikki’s work.