Ailish is a top physiotherapist & running guru with Six Physio in Fitzrovia. She is an expert in the ways of safe training and pregnancy exercises, AND has specialist knowledge when it comes to pre & post-natal exercise!
To celebrate the launch of our brand new ACTIVE KIT – 4 sporty essentials for active mamas – we caught up with her to ask a few questions about how to exercise safely through pregnancy and beyond.
1) Tell us a little about your background! What made you choose physiotherapy & why do you love it?
I’ve always been quite sporty and interested in how the body works. I love my job as I get to help people feel better and what’s not to love about that!
@Houseofvogahq Models The Active Kit
Perfect Before, During & After Pregnancy…
2) Us preggos are often advised to take it easy & put our feet up through pregnancy. Which is great for a little while, but soon gets boring for those of us used to an active lifestyle. What’s your advice?
The general rule is to maintain the fitness that you have pre-pregnancy for as long as you can but not to try and get fitter. However, during the first trimester a lot of women feel particularly tired and nauseous so it’s important to respect this and not push yourself just for the sake of it. It is also very important to respect any niggles as these can escalate quicker when you are pregnant as a result of the different hormones in your body.
3) Do you have any special tips for us mamas who like to run? Is there anything we should be thinking about taking extra care of?
Your pelvis goes through changes as pregnancy progresses and this needs to be assisted by certain muscles, in particular the glutes (bum) muscles. I would suggest that you start a glutes strengthening programme to do alongside a running routine. It is also very important to keep on top of your pelvic floor exercises. You have the extra weight of the baby for the pelvic floor to support so they need to be good and strong.
Oh and as the baby gets bigger, it is quite common to need to stop off on your runs to use the loo so make sure you know where they are!
4) What other forms of pregnancy exercises would you recommend for mums-to-be?
Swimming is fantastic as you can keep it up throughout the entire pregnancy. Lying on your tummy is something that pregnant ladies often miss so swimming is a nice way of getting your fix!
Pilates is another great way to keep strong and supple in the right areas. Working on arm strength and upper/mid back mobility will help for when the baby arrives for all the lifting and sustained postures while feeding.
5) What about after baby is born? Do you have advice for mamas wanting to get back in shape post-pregnancy?
Generally there is a six week rule: take it easy for the first six weeks. Walking is fine to do and is encouraged as it’s nice to get out and about with the pram. With running, I wouldn’t suggest it until after 10 weeks. Again however, glutes glutes glutes, it’s important to ensure the glutes are nice and strong to support the pelvis as it changes shape again.
The rules are slightly different post C-section and more care will be needed with regards to getting back into exercise – your midwife should take you through this.
6) Would you recommend massage through pregnancy? (Please say yes!)
Haha, yes, pregnancy massage is a great idea and I think is such a nice treat. The body goes through a lot when pregnant so why not give it a break. I would seek out someone with specific pregnancy massage experience. Some places even have beds with space for the bumps so you can lie on your tummy!!
7) Now enough about us… We hear that as well as being a keen marathon runner, you are also a triathlete! How do you do it? What’s your secret to staying motivated?
Yes, I love running, and encouraging people to run. Running, if done correctly, can be done until a great age with no ill effects. We’re hearing more and more about 90 year olds still running marathons which I think is just fantastic!!
When it comes to motivation, it always helps to join a club and make friends with people who exercise. It becomes social then and a lot less daunting.