The benefits of ‘Prebiotics’ & ‘Probiotics’ for new mums

You will have often heard about the ‘good’ gut bacteria – Probiotics.   Probiotics are ‘good’ bacteria that help keep your digestive system healthy by controlling the growth of the harmful bacteria. Prebiotics are carbohydrates that can’t be digested by the human body but are necessary food for probiotics.  These are a few of the carbs our guts need to help the probiotics:  garlic, onion, leeks, asparagus, brown & red rice, orange & purple carrots, almonds (especially the skin).  You should cook & COOL red potatoes as it improves resistance to the bad bacteria. UNCOOKED oats are more resistant to starch and feeding the microbiome daily with good fats, protein & fibre.  By cultivating a healthy gut in a breast feeding mother, the baby will benefit massively!

Good bacteria in the gut can be killed off by poor diet & antibiotics.  If you need to take antibiotics then try and take some good Prebiotic supplements when taking the antibiotics or after to limit the damaging effects.  Non breast fed babies can be prescribed an infant pre-biotic  – rates of childhood infections have been found to drop in those children given a prebiotic supplement.  As always just try and maintain a varied diet with lots of colours on your plate!!


The new NCT classes I am involved in!!

I was really excited to be asked to join an amazing team of maternity specialists here in Bristol to talk about exercising during and after pregnancy.  I am teaming up with Helen Hodder, the brilliantly knowledgeable Women’s Health Physio and we will be taking one class on exercise, healing and nutrition for the new mum.  Bump to Cradle has been set up by a Bristol GP who found the NCT classes offered little other than a chance to forge new baby friends!  So she had the brainwave to ask a number of clinical and women’s health specialists if they would all be part of a team to educate and offer advise to Mums & Dads-to-be for the 3rd & 4th trimester – yep 1st 6 weeks of being a new parent.  The course will start in January 2017 and there are only a small amount of spaces, so tell your preggy friends to have a read and look into it.  Its website is and facebook page is   I’d better get planning my talk!!!

New Mum 30 minute Assessments

Due to so many enquiries for me to check abs & for advise post baby exercise I have set out times in my diary to offer 30 minute Assessments.  In the assessment I will check your abs – the size & tension of your gap, advise you how to push the buggy & lift the car seat whilst supporting your pelvic floor & back and importantly look at your posture.  I offer information on the best foods for optimal recovery after a C section and talk about the oils to use for massage & about tears and the pelvic floor.  It is for anyone who feels they would like an ‘MOT’ from 6 weeks after having a baby. Remember though, everyone is different and for some the gap can and tension can improve by 12 weeks PN whereas for others it can take much longer.  I always say, it is about the ‘tension’ not necessarily the gap which is most important.  I still see many ladies with ‘gooey’ gaps in their abs who have 6 year olds – you are still post natal and if you work at the correct exercises you can strengthen the deep abs – you do need to be prepared to do homework though ladies!  Get in touch if you would like to book in.  It is £25 for the assessment with exercises to take away.

What IS a Diastasis Recti?

There are many inaccurate blogs, videos and social media posts on the web and I often hear how women still feel frustrated that there is a lack of correct information available to them about Diastasis Recti. I’ve found some great info from New Zealand who explain it really well.

 1: Diastsais Recti (DR) goes by many names;

It is also known as Diastasis Rectus Abdominus (DRA) which is how most physiotherapists refer to it and (DRAM).

Diastasis means separation and during pregnancy we refer to the Diastasis of the rectus abdominal muscles.

Even though it is the rectus abdominal muscles that separate it’s actually the connective tissue, the Linea Alba that holds the rectus muscles together that actually widens.

How much the Linea alba has to stretch to accommodate a pregnancy will generally determine the width and depth of postnatal separation.

Its important that you accurately assess your Diastasis about 6 weeks post birth to determine the size. Testing too soon after birth can be inaccurate as extra fluid and a contracting uterus can inhibit an accurate test result. We now know that assessing the depth and tension of the connective tissue (the linea alba) is far more important than just recording a width separation (this way of measuring is old school).

Diastasis is naturally occurring during pregnancy

Most women will have some degree of separation towards the end of a pregnancy. A Diastasis is naturally occurring and often needs to happen to make room for a baby. But its the size and then depth of the separation that can become problematic post birth if not managed correctly. Women will often not feel the separation occurring during pregnancy.

If your Diastasis has not closed to optimum 8-12 weeks post birth then specific strengthening exercises need to be done, posture management and good nutrition are required to help healing.

Boissonnault & Blaschak (1988) found that 27% of women have a DRA in the second trimester and 66% in the third trimester of pregnancy. 53% of these women continued to have a DRA immediately postpartum and 36% remained abnormally wide at 5-7 weeks postpartum. Coldron et al (2008) measured the inter-recti distance from 1 day to 1 year postpartum and note that the distance decreased markedly from day 1 to 8 weeks, and that without any intervention (e.g. exercise training or other physiotherapy) there was no further closure at the end of the first year. – See more at:

3: You CAN reduce and prevent Diastasis during pregnancy

Exercise to avoid during pregnancy and postnatal

You can heal many years post birth

It is possible to heal a separation many, many years post birth. I personally have trained women who are 10+ years postnatal and they have noticed a big difference in their core strength, tummy appearance and posture! So its never to late to improve.

5: Only 5% of women need surgery to correct

It frustrates me that in many posts I see about DR on Facebook and Instagram that there are often comments which suggest ‘surgery is the only option’. This is definitely not true and the latest finding from Diane lee certainly do not suggest this.

Do you need surgery?

If you have been trying to heal your muscle separation for more than 12 months, have finished breastfeeding and your separation is not changing and you also find it hard to create any tension of the linea alba then you should see a Womens health Physiotherapist for an ultra sound.  An ultra sound will show you in detail if the connective tissue (linea alba) has stretched beyond healing with rehabilitation exercises, posture management and nutrition.

6: How you breathe and activate your core muscles is important

Learning how to breath and activate the 4 core muscles (Diaphragm, Transverse Abdominus (TA), Pelvic Floor (PF) and Multifudus) correctly both during and beyond pregnancy will help to reduce separation during pregnancy and then aid healing post birth.

Breathing is important not only because we need do it all the time but we use our core muscles to breathe! If we are not breathing and recruiting the core muscles sufficiently then the Transverse Abdominal muscles are not contracting optimally. Therefore incorrect breathing and core muscle activation will not assist to close a DR.Your inner core

Finally, if you want to help your tummy be vigilant about your posture and rehab exercises to prevent the separation increasing and to not worry about the fact that’s its not closing as quickly as you like. -remember sometimes it just wont close so focus on working the deep abs to maintain strength in the mid line.  Just ask me about the breathing exercise and some safe ones with the band or ask about my Core & Restore course I run.

Competition Time!!

If you would like to win the pair of Size 10 EVB sports Capri’s then all you need to do is post on my Buggyfit Bristol FB page –    or my Vicki Hill Personal training FB page –

Write something about what you have been doing exercise wise  – with Buggyfit, Core & Restore, Mums Bums & Tums, Running Club, the evening fitness classes or the early morning HITT classes.  Just a sentence as to what you enjoy from the classes, and maybe add a photo! I will let you all know the winner (most genuine response!!).  It will take a few minutes and you can win these excellent capris worth £50.



Engineered running leggings to support the pelvic floor

I was fortunate enough to meet the inspiring lady Yvonne Brady at the Womens Health Conference back in April. This lady is an engineer who had kids, had pelvic floor problems but wanted to run. She used her knowledge to create the newest MUST HAVE sports leggings, shorts & Capris – EVB SPORT ( Independent testers have found them to activate the core muscles, engage the pelvic floor and offer support to the back for increased muscular strength and performance. There has been such amazing feedback from ladies who have had pelvic problems & bought them. So if any of you have sore hips when running or maybe are still slightly having problems with the pelvic floor when exercising then these are a perfect way to support you. You know I always say you shouldn’t be running if you have a weak pelvic floor(!!) but i know I cant stop some of you – so those who don’t listen and just want to get back running – these would be ideal!! If you put this code in when buying then you can get 10% off:  Vicki10.   I have a pair of size 10 to be won so check out my competition!