Being one of the most loved Pilates instructors at Upside for the past 4 years, Ashley recently took a mummy duty break to welcome her second baby. Now back on the Upside, Ashley shares with us her journey on being a mum and tips on how to take care of your pre/postnatal body.
1) How are you feeling now? How long did it take for you to bounce back after giving birth to your first kid?
Physically, I was pretty alright soon after my first child. Although, it took a while to feel relatively normal emotionally and mentally after my first child - probably a year give or take. For my second baby, physically it's still a work in progress, partly because I'm older now so the body takes longer to recover.
2) What are the common body aches you experience during pregnancy?
General body aches, back pain, leg cramps, swollen ankles, and feet.
I was lucky with my first pregnancy, except for the breathlessness at the end of the third trimester. My body actually felt better than ever. I felt stronger and more flexible. The second pregnancy was where all the pregnancy aches came in. I had leg cramps, numb arms, pelvis pain, body aches, ribcage pains, and the list goes on.
I always felt better when I kept my body moving but the aches came back when I was stationary. Like when I am in bed, for example.
3) What is the advice you want to give to moms to be?
Be kind to yourself. Your body is amazing and so are you. One thing that stuck with me was when someone told me that mom guilt exists no matter what you do. Moms will always feel like we are not doing enough or not good enough. Stop those thoughts. You grew a human being. You are awesome!
4) What exercises do you do to build strength safely after birth?
You want to be careful with over-strengthening the pelvic floor. Overactive pelvic muscles can lead to pelvic floor dysfunction as well.
Breathing exercises that connect the breath and pelvic floor are great. I know they are not the most exciting stuff to do but they are functional. And think of strengthening the body as a whole from inside out as opposed to focusing on the abdominals.
5) Here’s a quick tip from Ashley on how to do a simple breathing exercise:
Step 1: Inhale fully, think three-dimensional breathing, and send the air all the way down. Allow your rib cage to expand, belly to expand, relax your pelvic floor, and gluteus muscles.
Step 2: As you exhale, connect your pelvic floor by gently drawing your sit bones, pubic bone, and tailbone closer to each other. It's not so much a squeezing sensation, you want to feel more lifting like you are growing taller.