Jo Everill-Taylor B.Sc (Hon’s) Answers public questions from clients. Read her answers to help you when clients ask you the same questions.

Q1: Any suggested exercise type/sport best for someone with diastasis recti (ripped stomach muscles) after 2nd child?

Diastasis recti is a separation of the connective tissue of the abdominal wall and most women will have some separation due to pregnancy (some people have it even if they haven’t been pregnant including guys or those who over load the abdominals in training!). It’s a good idea to check yourself (we teach all our post-natal ladies this in class) or ask your health care practitioner to teach you so you can monitor the situation.

Care for this can start in Pregnancy- so no extremes of rotation with momentum, no heavy loading into abdominals including the side abdominals (obliques) as this can cause extra tension and pull on the collagen connections and exacerbate separation.

Once baby is here there is a 3 pronged approach to take to help return your body to normal function;

  • Strengthen the core muscles– these are the deep lying muscles and soft tissue connections that give your torso stability.

In our Post-natal Pilates sessions we do exercises such as “Heel Slides with see saw arms” and “single leg circles” which help you to tune these connection back in.

heel slides

single leg circles


Heel Slides                                                                                                                                                                                       Hip Circles

2) Release the Tension in the Back

Extra tension in the back can make any separation in the abdominals harder to close so it’s important any work you do at the front of the body is complemented with loosening off the back. A “shoulder bridge” is a great example of aiding spinal mobility whilst also firing up the buttock muscles to give support to the lower back area.





You could also use a foam roller to release tension in this area – simply lie on it and roll tuning into any “sweet” spots.


back rolling






3) Avoid Crunches & Sit ups

We all know it is tempting to “go for it” once baby is here and try to re-claim our pre pregnancy bodies as soon as possible. However doing full on crunches will in fact make the matter worse by pulling on the abdominal wall connections and potentially opening it up further. We’ve seen plenty of women who come to us in this situation after a few months of these traditional abdominal exercises and it then takes them extra time to re-build. So please be kind to yourself and by all means work hard- just make it the right work!

Q2: I hear yoga/Pilates are great for pregnancy but also hear you shouldn’t try new sports during pregnancy. I’ve never tried either. What’s the recommendation?

Your right that your Pregnancy is not necessarily the time to take up new exercise regimes; however there are specialist Pregnancy exercise sessions that are programmed around the needs of the pregnant body so are ideal for beginners and the experienced exerciser alike.

Both Pilates and yoga can really help you to relax and enjoy the changes that are happening to your body as you progress through your pregnancy.  They can also both help with the breath work which is a useful skill to have during labour.

In Pregnancy Pilates sessions we aim keep you in the best possible shape during your pregnancy and prepare you for an active birth with the emphasis on pelvic floor work, back mobility and posture. We also work on optimal foetal positioning and include biomechanical releases to help with muscle spasm. We use various pieces of small equipment during the sessions such as small balls, magic circles and bands to adapt the exercises so they are comfortable and effective whichever trimester you are in.

Whichever you decide to do remember the aim should be maintenance of function rather than trying to progress your programme. The focus needs to be on what your body needs to do to go through labour and look after a baby- so lots of leg strength, upper back strength for carrying and feeding  and stretches to release off the back and chest areas.

 Q3: When should I start Pilates after birth?

If you’ve had a regular vaginal delivery and have had your 6 week post-partum check from your gp/midwife then you are able to start doing Pilates.

If you’ve had a caesarean section then you must again wait until you are signed off to exercise- this can be between 8-12 weeks after the operation.

You can however start to think about waking up the core using the pelvic floor muscles as soon after birth as you feel able (and can remember!) Whilst sitting feeding baby try igniting around the back passage, move to the middle and then the front passage, hold momentarily and then release. Complete 10 repetitions. Then do 10 quicker, pulses- lifting up from the middle passage. (Imagine you are bouncing on a trampoline!). If there is any pain or discomfort please rest and seek clinical advice.

Jo Everill-TaylorJo Everill-Taylor BSc (hons) PT Dip.

Jo is a senior trainer for Drummond Education and specialises in Pilates. She is a national lead in Pilates education development. As well as this Jo runs her local business “Better Body Pilates” which offers specialist pre & post-natal training sessions around Hersham, Walton & Weybridge.

She has now been looking after people’s health and fitness goals as an instructor for over 14 years. Having suffered back problems after the birth of her children, she is determined to share her knowledge and experience to help you become pain free.

She is a fully qualified Pilates Coach, Biomechanics Coach, and Back Care & Exercise referral Specialist, Personal Trainer, Nutritional Counsellor and Group Exercise Instructor.

Jo also works for the Sector Skills Council Skillsactive and writes and delivers qualifications on a range of subjects.

Jo combines her coaching with international presenting for Drummond Education; tutoring the next generation of instructors.

If you’d like to receive our monthly newsletter with an exercise of the month/ hints/tips and general support for a healthy lifestyle just contact Jo on 07957 571 513 or email

For lots of information and exercises to use at home visit Jo’s website