Mar 29

Diastasis Recti: Why does my back hurt?

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Diastasis recti is the separation of the abdomen muscles (aka our six pack), It’s totally normal to occur during pregnancy as our bodies have to make space for the growing baby. 

The trouble is that this separation can weaken our core and, left unchecked, this can lead to back pain and contribute to poor posture and alignment. Whether you are a new mum or seasoned parent, dealing with back pain is difficult and can cause all sorts of disruptions to life. 


How can I reduce my back pain?

The first step to alleviating the pain is to get to the core of the problem…our core! By ‘closing the gap’ and addressing our abdominal function, we can relieve the pressure on our spinal muscles and ensure that our back is not doing all the work. 


Exercises To Help Diastasis Recti

For anyone who DOES have time to exercise, here are some useful exercises to kick start your movement practice but in an ideal world I would find a local pregnancy and postnatal specialist trained by Carolyne Anthony or Jenny Burrell as there is no substitute for good teaching! Or come and work with me in my online membership! 

These exercises should only be performed after you have had clearance from your GP to exercise again. I would recommend that you also see a Women’s Health Physio before starting any exercise postnatally.



Sidelying Ribcage Rock
  • Lie on your side with both arms extended forwards at chest level with the palms together
  • Inhale to rock the ribcage forward while at the same time rocking the pelvis back
  • Exhale to rock the ribcage back as you rock the pelvis forward
  • Repeat then change sides

This is really helpful as it will mobilise the tissues around your ribcage and torso that could be causing tension that is preventing good function in your abdominals.


Double Knee Openings
  • Lie in neutral spine with your feet together. 
  • Exhale to allow your abdominals to flatten
  • Draw your hip bones towards each other and open both knees out to the side – focus on keeping the pelvis still as the legs move
  • Inhale to hold the legs there, exhale to connect to your abdominals again and pull the legs back together again. 
  • Think of the legs being heavy and using your abdominals to pull them back to the middle.

When working in neutral spine many postnatal women benefit from a higher head position (cushion/ block) to allow the back of the ribcage to stay released into the mat whilst the lower back can maintain its neutral curve. If neutral spine is uncomfortable for you, look at the positioning of the head.

This exercise will help to connect you to your deep core muscles. 


Single Knee Openings
  • Lie in semi-supine
  • Exhale to allow your abdominals to relax then draw your sit bones, hip bones and rib cage together
  • Open one leg out to the side
  • Inhale and hold it
  • Exhale to bring it back to parallel
  • Repeat with the other leg. 

Focus on keeping the pelvis and especially the supporting leg still and releasing as the other leg moves.


Pelvic Tilts
  • Lie on your back with your knees bent up and feet flat on the floor
  • Make sure that the feet are parallel to each other and be aware of the big toe joint connecting into the floor. 
  • Exhale to gently flatten your lower back so that your lower spine softens into the floor (rolling your pelvis under and thinking of bringing your pubic bone and your rib cage towards each other). 
  • Inhale and release back into neutral, allowing your hip flexors to release, the pelvic floor to open. 


As a variation:

  • Hold the pelvis in the tilt (if you can, try not to fully release on the in breath, keeping some connection)
  • Exhale to connect again
  • Visualising the abdominals drawing back into the middle
  • Have an awareness of your pelvic floor connecting as your ribcage is softening and the pelvic floor connecting the sit bones into the inner thighs and big toe joints with every out breath. 
  • Repeat the breathing 5 times.
  • Release the pelvis back to the floor.


Postnatal Classes with Centred Mums

All of our postnatal classes can help with your abdominal separation. We have designed each class to ensure it only contains exercises that will assist your recovery, and we will always encourage you to work at your own pace and listen to your body.

When it comes to dysfunctions like Diastasis Recti, you are often warned against exercises such as sit-ups, but we will teach you that it isn’t about the exercise but about the level of control you have. If your abdominals ‘dome’ and push out when you do a sit-up, then this isn’t a good exercise for you. But plenty of people who don’t have a diastasis also dome, and it’s not a good exercise for them either.

We’re here to assure you that you don’t be scared to move and to use your body, you simply need to learn how to use it better.

With a better understanding of what your postnatal body needs, you can avoid pushing yourself into exercises and movements that won’t serve you well in the long term. And, as experts in this, we can confidently support you through making these important changes and bring you great results with our postnatal classes or our online membership!

Dec 6

Five Christmas Gifts to Bring Back Your Spark in 2024!

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As the festive season approaches, what better way to express love and care than by giving gifts that contribute to the well-being and vitality of your loved ones?

This year, consider presents that not only celebrate the joy of the holiday season but also set the stage for a revitalized start to the New Year. Here are five Christmas gifts designed to bring back the spark in 2024!

Also, remember there is no shame in asking for presents for yourself, that you truly want and need, so why not send this list on, or drop some subtle hints to Santa! 😉

1. The Glucose Goddess Method: A 4-Week Guide to Energy, Craving Reduction, and Feeling Amazing

In a world filled with hectic schedules and constant demands, energy levels can easily plummet. Gift yourself or your loved ones ‘The Glucose Goddess Method’, a comprehensive 4-week guide that promises to rejuvenate and revitalize.

This program focuses on cutting cravings, boosting energy, and promoting an overall sense of well-being. It’s the perfect gift for those seeking a transformative start to the New Year.

2. Centred Mums Pilates Retreat Day

A day of self-care and rejuvenation can make a world of difference. My Centred Mums Pilates Retreat Day offers the perfect escape. This retreat combines the benefits of Pilates with a focus on centring the mind and body. A thoughtful and invigorating experience, it’s a gift that promotes both physical and mental well-being.

3. Treat Yourself to a Massage from Fernwood Remedies

Indulge in the gift of relaxation and tranquillity with a massage from Fernwood Remedies. Their professional and rejuvenating massage services provide a holistic approach to well-being. This gift is an excellent way to unwind and relieve the stresses of the holiday season, setting the stage for a calm and collected entry into the New Year.

4. The Gift of Sleep from Clare McDonald @creative.sleep

Ease into the New Year with Sleepy Sundays, A 3 part playful, calming and nurturing experience for parent and child. Using breath work, imagination and fun activities. This intuitive approach to tackling worries and wired minds is back again in January. Enjoy the whole course for £49!

For adult adults seeking better sleep, there’s also the ‘Help For Sleep’ online course, for £39!

Clare herself suffered from insomnia from childhood into her late 30s but eventually found a combination of the Coherent Breathing technique, guided imagination, a lot of reframing around her beliefs about sleep and an overall intuitive approach worked wonders.

5. The Pelvic Floor Project: Ongoing Wellbeing

Invest in long-term well-being with my Centred Mums Pelvic Floor Project. This initiative offers continuous support for pelvic health, promoting overall vitality.

By gifting a membership to The Pelvic Floor Project, to either a loved one or yourself, you provide a resource that focuses on an often-overlooked aspect of well-being, contributing to a healthier and more energised lifestyle.

Making this commitment to your wellbeing will set up your pelvic floor health for the rest of your life. Get rid of those pelvic floor issues like wetting yourself that you’ve been putting off for too long!


This holiday season, go beyond traditional gifts and give the present of well-being.

Each of these gifts is carefully curated to not only celebrate the joy of Christmas but also to lay the foundation for a revitalized and spirited start to the New Year.

Whether it’s promoting energy, relaxation, better sleep, or ongoing well-being, these gifts show that your love and care extend to the overall health and happiness of your friends and family.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Sparkly New Year!

Grace – Founder, Centred Mums

Sep 20

How emotional labour is impacting your sleep – By Dr Kat Lederle, Women’s Sleep Coach

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Becoming a mum brings about big (and small) changes to your daily life. And your night-time too. There are many physiological and psychological changes taking place during pregnancy which affect sleep. Many women struggle particularly during the first and third trimester while some women sleep relatively well during the second.

Once the baby is born, many mothers continue to experience poor sleep due to nursing the baby. And while there is some improvement in sleep quality in the months after birth, a recent study looking at heterosexual couples showed that sleep disruption can persist for at least 6 years. The same study also showed that while fathers’ sleep satisfaction is reduced too, this is much less so compared to the mothers. The authors speculate that this is down to the mother shouldering more of the childcare responsibilities and housekeeping tasks than fathers. Worse still, this is the case even if the mum is also working.

I think it is important to note that many couples attempt to divide family and
household tasks in an even way. But gender norms, the gender pay gap, and
societal expectations often get in the way. A mum might also have high expectations of herself, thinking she should be able to do everything for everyone, keep everyone happy and never stop smiling as she does it. All these beliefs and traditions lead to is that from a physical labour perspective mothers end up taking on more than their fair share of the chores. Compounding this is the emotional labour associated with looking after a family, with wanting to keep everyone else happy and be a ‘good mum’ that many women can feel.

Before I go on, let me explain what constitutes emotional labour: This is the act of managing one's own emotions to meet the emotional demands of a job. For mums, who are often the primary caregiver, this can include things like dealing with difficult children, managing conflict with their partner or other family members, and providing emotional support to others.

Sounds taxing? Well, that’s because it is. And while it is also exhausting, it often gets in the way of a good night’s sleep. Research found that women who reported high levels of emotional labour were more likely to have sleep problems than women who reported low levels of emotional labour.

And then there is the cognitive labour. This is all the organising, planning, preparing mums do.

Sounds tiresome? Yes, it is. And yes, you guessed right (and have probably
experienced it first-hand), cognitive labour has a negative impact on sleep too.

Research found that women who reported high levels of cognitive labour were more likely to have sleep problems than women who reported low levels of cognitive labour.

Cognitive and emotional labour take up a lot of time, energy and thinking. A big part of this thinking happens when you go to bed, and instead of slipping into peaceful slumber you find yourself lying there running through the ‘to dos’ of tomorrow and worrying how everyone will feel.

But – and this is a big but – you have to make it into bed first of all! Childcare, chores, and work fill up all of your day, and probably most of your evening too. Once the kids are in bed there is still plenty to do for mums to be ready for the next day.

Unfortunately, for many mums doing (or perhaps it is more apt to say having to do) these tasks will eat into their sleep time – by delaying their bedtime. What doesn’t change is their wake-up time though. The resulting night is short and often of poor quality. Not a great start into the next day.

The good news is that there are several things you can do to improve your situation!

  • Set boundaries. Learn to say no to extra work or commitments that will only
    add to your responsibilities and stress levels.
  • Delegate tasks. If you are feeling overwhelmed, don't be afraid to ask for help from your partner, family, or friends.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Eating healthy foods will give you the energy you need to
    cope with stress and stay focused.
  • Get regular exercise. Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and improve
    your sleep. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise most
    days of the week.
  • And then … have regular sleep times. That is one of the most important and
    yet difficult ones for most people including mums. I have deliberately put it last
    on this list of suggestions because for you to feel that you can go to bed at the
    time that your body clock wants you to you need to know that all is done for
    today. And to help you with the latter I suggest implementing the other steps

Final thought: Remember, you are not alone. Many women – with or without children- experience sleep problems. By taking steps to manage your stress, and set boundaries, you can look after your sleep, and your mental and physical health too.

If you are struggling with sleep and finding it hard to figure out where to start to improve your sleep, check out my website or book a free call with me so we can have a chat. They can help you to develop coping strategies and develop a plan to improve your sleep.