Frequently asked questions

Is it safe to attend Willow classes during pregnancy?

Absolutely! As long as you have not been told otherwise by your medical provider, exercise during pregnancy confers a TON of benefit on the pregnant person and their baby. Depending on how your pregnancy is going, how you are feeling and what exercise you did before your conceived and what you've done during pregnancy so far, I can recommend which class is going to support you in the best way as it is very individual. Some benefits of pregnancy exercise include: * Maintenance of healthy weight during pregnancy * Reduction of the risks of some pregnancy complications including gestational diabetes and preeclampsia * A decrease in maternal discomfort and injury * Prevention or management of perinatal mood disorders * Reduction of the risk of medical interventions during delivery, including cesarean- or instrument-assisted delivery * Improvement in the growth and functional capacity of the placenta There is no evidence that recreational exercise as a part of an uncomplicated pregnancy causes any harm to the developing baby. Most, if any, concern over pregnancy fitness should revolve around keeping Mum’s body (and specifically, her core and pelvic floor) happy and healthy.

Why do I need a pregnancy/ postnatal specialist? What to look for?

A personal training qualification prepares someone to train the ‘average’ human. But who is that? With current fitness industry courses, "special populations" are very much hidden within a few pages of course texts and even specialist qualifications in pregnancy and postnatal fitness are hugely lacking in content. But women are half the population, and 85% of women will become pregnant in their lifetime and pre/postnatal people have very specific considerations! If you are in the market for a pregnancy or postpartum personal trainer or fitness coach, I urge you to pay attention to a coach’s qualifications. Having a basic personal training certificate is not enough. Having had a baby (or a “fit pregnancy” or “getting their body back”) does not qualify someone to coach anyone else. Good coaches invest in continuing education and mentorship to level up their knowledge and skills. Make sure your coach has solid training in pre- and postnatal fitness and a robust understanding of pelvic floor and core health. Ask how your coach is continuing to grow, improve and stay up-to-date on current research and practices in perinatal fitness and pelvic health. Beyond that, what should you keep an eye out for? Make sure your coach is: * Asking you about your pregnancy, labour and delivery details and pelvic health history. * Educating you on core and pelvic floor anatomy and function - They should be comfortable talking with you using proper anatomical language unless YOU have requested otherwise (and they should be comfortable with any boundaries you set in this regard). * Teaching you to access your core, stabilise your body and manage pelvic health symptoms from a framework based on breathing and posture (not sucking your belly button to spine!). * Tailoring your workouts and training plan to where you are in your childbearing journey, what your individual goals are and any pelvic health considerations. If you are curious what sets me apart as a coach, check out this post. If you are curious about my specific qualifications, click here.

What equipment do I need at home for online classes?

Check out my Recommended Equipment page for more info.

When can I return to exercise after having a baby?

This is very individual! Your 6-week postnatal GP check is not always the green light to return to exercise and it's definitely NOT the go ahead to recommence pre-pregnancy exercise! Every person, pregnancy and postnatal experience are unique and come with individual considerations. If you are healing well and you’re itching to get some movement in before that six week mark, I recommend beginning with by Posntatal Health Check where I can support you in reconnecting with your core and pelvic floor, taking a look at your posture and breathing strategy and introduce appropriate exercises which will help align you and reduce any aches and pains you may be experiencing. You might begin taking short walks. Typically new Mums join my group classes from 6 weeks postnatal, but again this can vary from woman to woman. For more information and guidance on returning to exercise after having a baby, please check out my articles, and you can also contact me!

Is it safe to exercise with Pelvic Organ Prolapse and/or Diastasis Recti?

In most cases, yes! I recommend all of my clients book in to The Willow Clinic before joining a group class is possible, particularly if you are displaying any signs or symptoms of a pelvic floor disorder (leaking, bulging or pressure in the pelvic floor, abdominal coning or doming etc.) to get recommendations specific to their body. Exercising with a pelvic floor or core dysfunction is about more than just eliminating certain exercises or modifying others. Often, it requires retraining the inner core muscles and learning strategies to manage the pressure generated in your abdomen when you exert yourself during exercise. I can educate you on your inner core muscle anatomy and function and teach you basic breathing strategies and I am able to modify exercises for many common core and pelvic floor dysfunctions and help educate you on strategies that will help you manage your symptoms as you navigate your return to fitness. One of my missions is to make sure that having birthed a baby is not a reason why you can’t go on to do all the things. I am passionate about helping you develop strategies to manage your pelvic health and help you return to your sport or fitness activity in a sustainable manner.

Can children be around me when doing online classes?

Of course! This is one of the greatest benefits of at-home online training. However, if your children are mobile, I recommend setting them up with an independent activity or babysitter so that we can complete our session efficiently. Unfortunately, I can’t extend sessions to accommodate childcare needs, so please plan to the best of your ability.