Tuesday 21 May 2019

Kathryn Thomas: 'Pregnancy yoga helped with my flexibility and mobility as I got bigger'

Kathryn Thomas on the KBC Main Stage at WellFest. Picture: Marc O’Sullivan
Kathryn Thomas on the KBC Main Stage at WellFest. Picture: Marc O’Sullivan
Kathryn Thomas
Kathryn Thomas and daughter Ellie at WellFest 2019
Kathryn Thomas and daughter Ellie at WellFest 2019
Kathryn Thomas and daughter Ellie at WellFest 2019

TV and radio broadcaster Kathryn Thomas (40) runs Pure Results, a bootcamp that mixes fitness and fun. How did she adapt her exercise programme for pregnancy and beyond?

'During my pregnancy I was advised not to exercise for the first 12 weeks. This was really tough mentally as I've always found exercise to be an amazing form of stress relief. I was already extremely anxious due to my previous miscarriages and so managing my fear through those three months was tough.

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"Running has always been my way of escaping from the chaos of the day. A timeout where you can just be with yourself. But after three months with no running, when I tried to go back to it, it was like a mental block that I couldn't get past. I'm back running now but I really only started six months after Ellie was born.

"I took up pregnancy yoga in my first trimester. I'm not a yogi but was totally converted. While pregnant women are generally advised not to take up a new exercise, my doctor said because this was specifically adapted for pregnant women, it was an exception. I had private lessons under Miriam Kerins Hussey. It helped with my flexibility and mobility as I got bigger, but it also helped me connect with the pregnancy and really believe that it was going to happen this time.

Kathryn Thomas
Kathryn Thomas

"I posted home workout videos on Instagram throughout my pregnancy. I got quite a lot of online criticism; a few people thought I was more concerned about gaining weight than looking after my baby. Actually it was quite the opposite. I wanted to be as physically and mentally strong as possible in preparation for childbirth, and also to aid my recovery. It was very hard to find solid information online - I did a lot of research myself. That's why I created the BumpFit guide; to have everything in one place, for the three trimesters.

"Ellie decided to come early and so I had an emergency C-section in the end. People commented that I bounced back because I lost my pregnancy weight fairly quickly, but I one-hundred per cent didn't bounce anywhere. It took me three months to rebuild my strength and feel back to myself again, and at least five months for the C-section feeling to disappear. I thought it might never go. I've no doubt staying fit throughout my pregnancy helped my recovery.

"Afterwards, I found giving myself a goal or a boost helped. I did one of my Pure Results Bootcamps when Ellie was about a year old. That really helped accelerate my return to fitness. Setting yourself a goal like that is helpful - a 5km run would be another possibility."

For more from Kathryn on pregnancy and beyond, download KT BumpFit's 40-week guide; https://kathrynthomasofficial.com/kt-bump-fit/

In conversation with Liadan Hynes

Kathryn's 3 top tips

1. Take things slowly. You've just produced a tiny human; listen to your body.

2. I'm conscious of not generalising too much, but working with a trainer was very important for me. Your body has been through such trauma, it was great for building confidence.

3. After Ellie was born I had to be open to adapting my workouts to the new schedule. I broke them up, changed the timings. I might do 20 minutes in the morning before she woke up, or if she was having a nap, I might do 15 or 20 minutes of squats or stretches or yoga. Look at your day, at your baby's sleeping pattern, and try to work out something that works for both of you without putting yourself under too much pressure.

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