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Pre & postnatal fitness webchat. Monday 22nd August 12-1pm

Want to get your body ready for birth or need to rid your post baby belly? Fitness expert, Marie Behenna??????? is here to help.

A fitness expert for many years, Marie specialises in exercise for pregnant women.

Join us here, between 12-1pm on Monday 22nd August.

Don't worry if you can't make the chat then, post your question now and Marie will endevour to answer as many questions on the day as possible.


  • Hi Marie

    I have very bad PGP which is worst in my pubic bone and lower back. Do you know any exercises that will help? I find walking hard and have even been told I shouldn't swim. I'm 33 weeks pregnant so want to try to prepare for the birth by strenghening some muscles but feel like I'm in a bit of a catch 22. Any advice would be great.


  • Hello there, My name is Marie Behenna, and I am a Pregnancy & Postnatal Exercise specialist. I am now available to chat, so please begin to post your questions, and I will try to answer them as clearly as possible.
  • Hello Miss_Xan and thank you for your question.

    PGP, or Pelvic Girdle Pain, is common in many pregnant women, and can really affect your quality of life. It is a catch 22 as we need to keep you mobile, without aggravating the condition. As you find it difficult to walk, I am hoping that you have been referred to your local antenatal physio department at the hospital? If not, please arrange this soon via your midwife as they will prescribe you specific exercises to help you, and also usually will give you a belly belt (more industrial than the shop bought ones) and perhaps some crutches to aid your mobility.

    I too suffered like you so I can completely relate to your discomfort.

    My advice in the interim is to try to do two basic exercises as outlined below:

    1. Squats with a cushion between your knees. It is important to keep your knees lined up when you suffer PGP, so a cusshion between the knees and thighs as you slowly sit your bottom back behind you (as though you are hovering over the loo) and then slowly stand up again. Try to do this ten times each day. Don't go too deep as that will aggitate the your lower back. Breathe out as you sit down, and in as you stand up.

    2. Pelvic tilts against the wall. To aid your pelvic floor strength for delivery, recovery and to support your pelvis during pregnancy, stand against the wall, with your feet about two feet away from the wall, and your knees slightly bent. Tilt your tailbone away from the wall as you breathe out, and them return to the wall as you breathe in. Try to squeeze your bladder muscle as if you need a wee when doing this. Ten times every day.

    Good luck, and please go to see your Antenatal Physio.

    Marie x
  • Hi Marie

    Whats the best plan for exercise and fitness after a C-section?

    I have a breech baby so the odds are I'll have to have one however I'm very worried about the recovery. How long will it be before I can start exercising, is there a plan that helps with recovery and I've heard about the dreaded over hang that I really want to avoid if poss.

  • hello ErinH_2011 and thanks for your question about exercises after C-section.

    In most cases of normal C-section recovery, you are advised not to exercise with vigour until at least 12 weeks postnatal. However, it is important to get started with your pelvic floor exercises as soon as you feel ready after the birth of your baby. These are basic exercises you can do lying on your back in bed as soon as you are well enough.

    1. Pelvic Tilt, simply lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on bed. Rock your tailbone away from the mattress, and back down to the mattress. Breathe out as you rock up, breathe in as you return. Don't rush, and try to squeeze your bladder and back passage muscle (as though you need the loo) as you do this. Repeat 5-10 times.

    2. Leg fall outs. From the same position, squeeze your bladder and back passage as you slowly allow one knee to fall out to the side, and then gently return the leg so knees come back together. Do five on each side.

    Both of these exercises can be done three times during the day, or as often as mummyhood allows you too.

    As far as the overhang is concerned, really don't worry about this so much. Everyone is different, and that will really be down to genetics, nutrition and pure luck. If you are overweight, you are more prone to this, but if you started your pregnancy in good condition you may not suffer as much.

    I always tell my mums that it takes at least a year to return to something near normal, if not longer, so please dont' put yourself under too much pressure.

    You can try to encourage your baby to turn by getting down on elbows and knees and letting your bottom sit up in the air. Or rest your arms and chest on a birthing ball and gently sway your hips from side to side!

    I hope that helps, and good luck with your delivery!
  • Whats your advice about running when pregnant? We are currently trying but I miscarried last year so want to be careful. I miscarried at about 9 weeks and didn't stop running before. l like to run about 3 times a week in my lunch hour and do a bout 4/5 k each time. Is it ok to still do this? Id rather not stop as I want to stay fit while pregnant and love it. But having a baby is our priority. If all goes well this time, when can I run up to? I also heard you should stop riding a bike when pregnant is this true?

  • Thanks for the PGP advice.

    As I haven't been able to do an awful lot in the last few weeks I have put on a few pounds in in my late pregnancy, mostly in my bum and thighs. As there is not much I can do about it until after the birth can you suggest a plan for then. I'm hoping to join weight watchers and join a gym but when should I start and do you have an particularly plans or classes that you think are most effective?

    thanks again
  • Hello Swissfamilyswain and thanks for your questions about running in pregnancy. I'm sorry to hear that you have suffered a loss in your last pregnancy!

    The rule of thumb is that pregnant women can continue exercising at the level they entered their pregnancy with. So essentially you could continue to run at the same level until such time as you notice your body finding you need to lessen the intensity. Important not to find ways to blame yourself for this very sad loss, your running probably had less to do with your loss than perhaps the viability of the foetus. If you are an experienced runner, your body is used to the temperature changes and intensity of the exercise. However, having run during pregnancy myself, I also know that it is much harder to maintain the levels of endurance you will once have known. So listen to your body.

    An option to replace your running with power walking is always there. Power walking up hill is excellent for pregnancy, as you work your heart muscle just as well as you do in running, but the impact is no longer there. Impact can negatively effect your ligaments as pregnancy progresses due to the relaxin hormone, and you are more susceptable to Pelvic Girdle Pain at around 22-26 weeks.

    Extreme body temperature changes are dangerous for the foetus, so try to keep your exercise at a manageable level.

    The talk test is key... you should always be able to string a sentence together during your exercise, whether running or powerwalking, and if you struggle, or gasp while talking, you are overdoing it.

    Riding a bike is more affected by our change in balance during pregnancy, so that is a safety issue more than anything else. But if you suffer pelvic girdle pain, cycling can aggravate the pubic bone and pelvic girdle.

    I think your judgement and how you feel is your best rule of thumb. Good luck, I hope it all goes well for you x
  • Hi Miss_Xan

    My best advice is that you find a postnatal exercise group in your area. You can look on the Register for the Guild of Pregnancy and Postnatal Instructors to find a registered teacher for your area. Always use someone who is qualified to work with Postnatal women.

    Try to complete your pregnancy with good nutrition, avoid chocolate and cakes. Take magnesium supplements to help avoid these cravings. Magnesium also helps enormously when you are postnatal as it combats exhaustion from sleep deprivation, and helps you to stop craving sugar. Vitimin C and Omega oils are also great for postnatal time.

    Try to avoid diets for at least a year as your body needs to recover. Diets will deplete your vitamin and mineral levels in your body, and your health will suffer. Try to follow a balanced eating plan instead. You can download one of these from my page at

    Good luck... xx


    Thanks for the PGP advice.

    As I haven't been able to do an awful lot in the last few weeks I have put on a few pounds in in my late pregnancy, mostly in my bum and thighs. As there is not much I can do about it until after the birth can you suggest a plan for then. I'm hoping to join weight watchers and join a gym but when should I start and do you have an particularly plans or classes that you think are most effective?

    thanks again
  • Hi Marie,

    Just wondered if there is any exercise I do to strengthen my uterus? I have had 3 c sections and am planning a 4th very soon. I have been told that it is thin. :?

    Thanks so much Louise x
  • Hello loubilou1 and thanks for your question on strengthening your uterus.

    The best advice I can give you is to follow a good nutritional plan. Eating a well balanced and healthy diet will help the tissue of the uterus to improve.

    You can further support your uterus by keeping your pelvic floor and core muscles in good shape.

    There is a useful link to pelvic floor exercises here:

    Sometimes when people tell us things about our body, like your uterus is "Thin", it can make us feel really rubbish about ourselves. Please don't let this affect your confidence, and remember that your body is an amazing machine which can heal itself well, so long as you support it with healthy living. Remember to drink plenty of water too, so that your body remains hydrated and allows the organs to do their job.

    I hope that helps... best of luck x
  • Hi again loubilou1

    Further to my earlier post, you may find this useful:

    Estrogen is what causes our lining to grow. As we age, estrogen levels can decrease, affecting our lining. Our ovaries are just not putting out as much estrogen as they used to.

    Outside of cutting out sugar, which can upset the delicate balance of our hormones, and eating a healthy, mostly whole foods diet, Lyn Vaccaro, a holistic health practitioner, recommends eating foods that contain phytoestrogens, adding them in on a gradual basis.

    An article on increasing your uterine lining with nutrition:
  • Thanks so much to Marie Behenna for such a well informed webchat.

    Marie Behenna is an expert with our parenting advice helpline service in association with Greatvine. You can speak directly with Marie Behenna on 0906 194 9916 (??1.50/min).

    You can also find more advice about Marie on her Greatvine Consultant page:

    Or find suitable pregnancy and postnatal fitness classes on her own webpage:
  • Thanks to all of you for your very interesting questions. I hope that I have been able to answer you with clarity and useful information.

    If you want to ask me more questions outside of this forum, please search for me on

    You can also read more about my mission to improve antenatal health and education via my business Fitmama

    Good luck, and enjoy your babies! image
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