Whether your goal is to get back to your pre-baby weight or just to feel like yourself again, there’s a lot you can do to take care of your body during and after pregnancy. We look at three different treatments that have been specially designed with mums in mind.
#1 Low-impact Exercise
Hypoxi is an exercise method that uses the science of vacuum compression to target areas of stubborn fat and cellulite in a low-impact way. We sent new mum EMILY MCCABE to try it out.
“To be completely honest, when I heard about Hypoxi I thought it was just one of those alternative health fads; I was definitely skeptical, if not a little claustrophobic.
“My visit started with a detailed explanation by Jan, my trainer for the day. She helped me get into a full body suit – a very heavy deep-sea kind of body suit, which is built to hug your body tightly while the air is gradually vacuumed out of it. It was so bizarre! I was hooked up to this machine via four tubes. A strong pressure was then applied all over my body from the vacuum, and at the same time little balls inflated and deflated giving me an all-over body massage. Jan explained that the point is to stimulate lymphatic drainage, increase circulation in the body, tighten skin and improve cellulite – all very, very good things, and some of the areas that all women struggle with, especially post-baby.
“I have to say, I loved it! After 20 minutes, I was unhooked and de-suited and on to the next part of my session: the workout. I love working out so I was ready to sweat but this took an unexpected twist. Working with the same idea of fluctuating vacuum pressure, I was asked to pedal on a bike, which is built inside a very large pod that was sealed off around my upper waist. So off I went, pedalling as I normally would in a spin class, only to be promptly informed by my trainer that I should slow down and keep my heart rate at 70. This made things so comfortable and, after being out of action for so long with my second pregnancy and then a newborn, it was a nice way to get back into exercise. I’m usually unable to walk home after a good gym session because of a self-inflicted case of jelly-legs, but that wasn’t the case today.
“Hypoxi is something that would definitely appeal to someone who really wants results fast or who needs some extra support after baby. The staff were so attentive and the space was nice and private.”
8/F Eubank Plaza, 9 Chiu Lung Street, Central
2537 6637 | hypoxi.hk
#2 Abdominal Binding
FIONA LAU tried the practice of abdominal binding after both of her pregnancies. She spoke to us about the service offered by Restoring Mums.
When did you first visit Restoring Mums?
I contacted them around two weeks after I gave birth. I wanted to be sure that I was ready and in the mood for it before I committed – it was a really hectic period and I just didn’t have time for anything else apart from taking care of the baby and grabbing every minute to rest when I could. Getting back to shape wasn’t a priority for me until I felt that things were a little more settled.
What made you decide to try it?
I looked at the Restoring Mums website where Karen outlines clearly what each treatment will include (quite a lot of elements!) and it felt to me that it was well thought through and holistic. Karen’s blog provides quite a lot of useful information too, which also gave me the confidence to go for it.
Which treatments did you receive?
I had the “Slimum by Karen” for five days.
What did it involve?
Karen came to my place every morning for five days. She would spend the first 15 minutes on preparation, essentially turning my bedroom into a spa suite with the smell of essential oils and the sound of soothing music. And then she would begin the treatment, which includes a combination of massage, tummy mask and hot herbal compress. For the massage, every day she would concentrate on different areas of my body depending on my need and her assessment. For example, when I told her that I had ancillary lymph blockage, she would massage the associated area on my leg to alleviate the problem.
Towards the end of the session I would need to get up (unwillingly!) and Karen would wrap me with the abdominal binder, with another tummy mask underneath it. Bloating is one of my main problems so she concentrated quite a lot on tackling that. I was very happy with the result.
What did you like about the service at Restoring Mums?
I would say it is personalised, attentive and professional. Karen really put her knowledge and experience to work by tailoring a programme that suited my needs the most. I can tell that she puts a lot of thought into designing treatments and ensuring that she is addressing the overall wellness of new mothers. For example, on Day 5 she gave me a head massage using ginger paste to get rid of the “wind” that might have gathered as my body was exposed over the course of the five-day treatment. I don’t think you have that in other abdominal binding treatments.
I also like the fact that, while applying traditional wisdom and adopting natural methods, she also makes use of her scientific knowledge in body physiology in explaining and targeting any issues.
Would you recommend it to friends?
Yes! And I’m sure they’ll enjoy it as much as I have.
The instructors at Options Studio Hong Kong are specifically trained to teach pre-natal and post-natal Pilates, and they know which exercises to avoid and those that are contraindicated during and after pregnancy. We asked them to explain the benefits of their sessions.
“During pre-natal classes, we use the reformer Pilates machine and other small equipment to strengthen back, arm and hip muscles, postural muscles and the pelvic floor, in preparation for your changing body and additional weight as the baby grows. Toning and conditioning these muscles will support your baby, so you can have a more comfortable pregnancy with less backache and more control over your muscles during delivery.
We also work on strengthening your muscles so that you are strong and stable once the baby arrives, and focus on stretching exercises to release tight muscles as the body changes. Pre-natal Pilates will help to improve posture, circulation and wellbeing and prepare mums-to-be for giving birth and assist in a quicker recovery after birth. If you’re new to Pilates, we recommend that you obtain approval from your doctor to proceed with the exercise.
Post-natal classes will focus on re-alignment of the body and strengthening the core muscles, namely the transverse abdominal (TVA), which acts as a corset muscle around your lumbo-pelvic region to tighten your lower abdominal area and create stability and strength for your lower back. We also like to focus on stretching the body and re-building flexibility that has been lost through months of pregnancy. Generally, women can start post-natal Pilates six weeks after a normal childbirth and eight to 12 weeks after a caesarean birth.”
Options Studio offers both private and group classes (both priced at $350 for first time clients). Contact them for more information.
15/F, 11 Stanley Street, Central
3188 8112 | options-studio.com/hk
For more advice on parenting, from birth and beyond, check out our Body and Style page.