Aromatherapy Awareness Week 2018

This week is Aromatherapy awareness week and as I am just in the process of finishing my aromatherapist qualification and an avid user of essential oils for my family’s health and wellbeing I thought I would do a little blog on aromatherapy and pregnancy and labour.





Use Oils Wisely

The main rules for essential oil use are:

·         Be aware of the oils that are not to be used in certain situations

·         Always dilute oils in a carrier oil

·         Do not take them internally

pregnancy exercise





Carrier Oils

Because essential oils are very concentrated it is important to use a carrier oil. The dilution is usually given in a percentage so 3% dilution is 3 drops of  essential oil to 100 drops of carrier oil. Or 3 drops to 5mls of carrier oil.

You can use just about any oil as long as it is cold pressed and containing no additives. Most carrier oils also have their own health properties but all are safe in pregnancy. The usual ones are sweet almond or grapeseed oil.

If you want to use oils in water you will need to mix them with a bit of alcohol first as they won’t mix in with the water without.


Some useful recipes

 pregnancy exercse



labour aromatherapy


(the last weeks of pregnancy can be from 38 weeks onwards)

next time we will look at other ways essential oils can be useful once your baby is born.


Enjoy your essential oils!

Rosie DhoopunRosie Dhoopun is a Pregnancy and Postnatal Exercise Specialist, Pilates Teacher, Movement Teacher, Massage Therapist, Antenatal Teacher, Pregnancy Coach, Baby and Toddler Massage and Yoga Teacher.

She runs Pregnancy Exercise classes and Restorative Post-natal Exercise Classes in Woodbridge and Ipswich Suffolk



UK Postpartum Blogs

Home birth

International Home Birth Day

The Birth Place Study showed that generally home was the safest place for low risk second time mums.

This was a study to look at the different places for birth and the safety for mother and baby as well as costs implications. It is an interesting study you can find some information about it here.

I’m, of course interested in transfer rates and wonder about the preparation of the mother and the skills that the birth attendants had to mitigate any issues, such as failure to progress.

My first birth was a planned home birth but with a failure to progress I was eventually transferred to hospital and had a failed ventuse and then forceps delivery. It was very traumatic and the interventions were incredibly painful and recovery was slow.

With my third I planned a home birth and actually had a freebirth with my partner and older son and doula in attendance. This was such a healing experience and wonderful not to be hustled off for a shower or bath afterwards, and instead have that time to be with my baby. To go to bed with him and wake up with him in my arms after a relaxing nights sleep rather than the hustle and noise of a ward.

I think that the preparations I made really helped achieve the home birth, first physical preparations so my baby was able to move as he needed and my body was strong and flexible to open and hold necessary positions.

The emotional work I did before, birth art, affirmation flags, meditations and lots of walking as well as ensuring I had someone I knew and trusted there with me (my doula) made such a difference.

I wonder if I had prepared better (had been told how to prepare my body ) and if I had had someone with me who had lots of skills to use during labour (such as affirmations and rebozo techniques) whether my first birth would have been at home too.

pregnancy exercise

I met Katy Bowman! And how quality is more important than quantity


pregnancy exercise
Meeting Katy Bowman a big moment needed a cheesy grin

I got to meet Katy Bowman in person this week. A huge moment for me

and yes I was star struck!

I’ve always wanted to do this

I had the luck that she was running a workshop just an hour away from me. And before that I was at our annual Home Education Circus Camp. Camping in a field, lots of walking from one place to another and the chance to try out trapeze, silks and arial hoop as well as brush up on some of my hoola hooping skills.

One of my goals since the last one was to develop my shoulder strength enough to be able to pull myself up onto the trapeze. My awareness of my body in space is not well developed and it was even worse hanging upside and gently spinning.

I was really interested in the warm ups for each discipline, some of the exercises really made me think about how we should be aware of our body’s limitations when it comes to warm ups and exercises in general. It was also something Katy spoke about during our workshop.

The quality of the exercise is important rather than how far you can push yourself

She promotes a very questioning attitude to exercising – how do I manage to do the exercise asked of me, now how can I do it if I attempt it in proper form – can I do it? Sometimes not – you realise that you have adapted to your body’s weakness and can easily work around this. Is this a problem? Depends. If you are wanting to be as fit and healthy as you can then maybe it is best to be able to do the exercises in proper form. It is especially important if you are trying to correct an issue such as pelvic floor weakness or diastasis recti. Or you are pregnant and want to ensure you are completely ready for birth and can allow your baby to have the space to move into the best position for birth AND prevent pelvic floor weakness postpartum.

All exercises can be performed in various ways, but which one is right for you and why?’

Generally, we measure the success of an exercise by how well we can perform it, take touching your toes as an example. Just by its name we assume the purpose of the exercise is to touch your toes. We can manipulate our body to achieve this result.

However, you have to look at what cost this might have on your body. If, in order for you to touch your toes, you are tucking your pelvis, rounding your lower back and holding your breath this is going to create extra unnecessary pressure on your pelvic floor.

If we looked instead at how much you are able to hinge your pelvis over your legs and keep it untucked and your ribs also in alignment (not an incredibly catchy name I know) it creates an idea of exploration, how much can I? Performing the exercise this way helps to increase mobility of the pelvis but ensures you stay in correct alignment and does not put pressure on your pelvic floor. In turn by practicing this exercise regularly you will be gaining more mobility in your pelvis and in turn creating a stronger more functional pelvic floor.

Avoid or reducing issues by being mindful of how you perform an exercise

By just changing how we think about an exercise can mean we can create a more functional exercise. It also means you lose the unnecessary idea of being ‘good’ or ‘bad’ at an exercise. It can be very easy in a class to see that everyone else can touch their toes, but I can’t and therefore ‘I am crap’ which can be pretty demoralising. But if everyone is attempting an exercise from a place of questioning and exploration the sense of competition is removed (apart from with yourself – how long will it take me to achieve a bit more movement here?)

Movement classes are a chance to explore and become the pilot of your body, building trust and confidence that you can do things

For me this is why I so love movement classes – I am no longer the one who ‘can’t do’, but now the pilot of my own body, knowing how I need to modify an exercise, what I need to work on to improve the mobility in a certain area and have my own sense of achievement as I make small steps to a more functional body.

Join me for my new pregnancy and postpartum movement classes

If you would like to come along to an exercise class that is more movement and exploration based, that is designed to prepare your body for birth or to help you recover postpartum. One that can prevent or reduce common issues surrounding pregnancy and birth; whilst, building a strong core and pelvic floor to enable you to be strong and functional then click the links below to join my newsletter, I will be letting people know when booking opens and those on my newsletter will be able to take advantage of an early bird special offer.

Pregnancy Fundamentals – a weekly class to help you become fit and functional and prepared for birth

Postpartum Essentials – a weekly exercise class to strengthen your core and pelvic floor after your baby is born


Rosie DhoopunRosie Dhoopun is a Pregnancy and Postnatal Exercise Specialist, Pilates Teacher, Movement Teacher, Massage Therapist, Antenatal Teacher, Pregnancy Coach, Baby and Toddler Massage and Yoga Teacher.

She runs Pregnancy Exercise classes and Restorative Post-natal Exercise Classes in Woodbridge and Ipswich Suffolk

UK Postpartum Blogs

Do you need a baby cow to help you walk better?

Walking is taken for granted by many of us. It’s a big milestone in the majority of babies development and once we’ve mastered it we don’t really think about it much.

Walking is really good – so many mental and physical health benefits daily walks make a perfect regular exercise activity. It’s a way to get some active meditation, some thinning time, a way to build a community, explore nature, go o an adventure. A way to connect with each other.

Sometimes though, our postural habits developed over our life can impede the benefits of walking.

Shoes limit the mobility in our feet creating a flat footed walk which makes falls more likely , limits the bio-feedback from the ground making balance more difficult.

Tight quads equal increased knee flexion and increased likelihood of damage.

Weak glutes mean you are over-using your hip flexors to achieve forward motion. Culminating in falling from foot to foot rather than being able a controlled motion which creates a mini whiplash effect causing stress to your shoulders and neck.

Becoming balanced, strong and aligned using exercises are the foundation for ensuring that you walk in a way that is truly beneficial for your body.

If you occasionally or frequently have back pain, knee ache, sore feet or neck ache that seemingly appear from nowhere or are a background noise in your life, then alignment and restorative exercises will make all the difference for you.

One of the best exercises to make a start on re-aligning is the calf stretch. You can set this up to do all round the house and even when you are out walking.


In celebration on walking

May is Suffolk’s Walking Festival – I love seeing all the different walks arranged but also reflect on all the amazing walks available to us here in Suffolk.

So why get fit for walking?

Well, the alignment issues you have in standing will be exacerbated while you are walking, so pressure on your pelvic floor and abdominal wall if you are pelvis tucking or rib thrusting. If you are unbalanced and have weak hips you will be falling from foot to foot at each step rather than being balanced and steady in your movements which means you give yourself a mini whiplash with each step causing neck and head and upper back problems.

If you are moving your leg forwards by lifting your knees and using them to pull you along rather than using your glutes to ‘push’ you forwards you will create extra wear and tear on your knees.

Not having flexible feet and ankles means you start to walk with a more flat- footed gait which will result in higher likelihood of falls – have a look at our elders who need walking aids – they have little mobility in the feet and ankles which is why they are so much more unsteady.

The exercises you learn on the mat are designed to benefit you in your whole life and for your whole life

As I say in my classes, the exercises I teach on the mat are designed to help you become stronger and more balanced in everyday life meaning you are less likely to develop injuries or have falls.

I thought I’d share some revelations I have had with connecting my ‘mat work’ with being in the wild so to speak. These aha moments have really enforced for me the importance and relevance of becoming aligned, balanced and strong.
I can easily leave my house and walk for 3 hours without seeing a road – wonderful!

The benefits of working on my alignment, strength and balance has been more noticeable as I have been putting them in practice and seen how strengthening my hips, working on hip flexors and mobilising my feet has helped me be able to walk for longer periods and not come home shattered and aching.

The rolling English drunkard made the rolling English road – or maybe they just had weak hips

The biggest change has been eliminating the ‘Balfour wandering gene’  – both my gran and my mum would wander back and forth in front of the rest of us on walks, like drunken people really. They both complained about each other too!

I was horrified to discover that I was doing this a few years ago – and not believing that stuff is hereditary (how can wandering all over the place be a hereditary gene?)  I did some reading and some thinking and realised that my weak hips had a lot to do with it. Weak hips also were contributing to my lower back pain , my crooked feet and weak ankles.

Pelvic lists were my go to exercise and I spent a whole winter standing by the fire working on them. Last year I realised that I could walk in a straight line and the only time I started wandering was at the end of a long walk. Interesting hey?


How glass doors will help my balance

My next discovery was when I was walking towards some glass doors and noticed my right heel flicking out to the side as I walked. Fascinated I spent a few minutes walking back and forth

Flicking out my ankle like this was also impacting on my knee creating unnecessary pressure on an unstable structure.

This is the ankle I broke two years running. Nope, never did do the recommended exercises and have a very stiff ankle. So I’ve been working on this and seeing results quite quickly. Releasing tension has allowed me to start to strengthen this ankle which is going to have an impact on my balance – which despite being great on horseback is pretty poor on my own two feet.

Coming up…….free stuff!

Over the next couple of weeks I will share some videos of essential exercises to help with your walking, some tests to see where you need to strengthen and some exercises to do during walks if you are starting to feel tired or achey.


Rosie Dhoopun is a Pregnancy and Postnatal Exercise Specialist, Pilates Teacher, Movement Teacher, Massage Therapist, Antenatal Teacher, Pregnancy Coach, Baby and Toddler Massage and Yoga Teacher.

She runs Pregnancy Exercise classes and Restorative Post-natal Exercise Classes in Woodbridge and Ipswich Suffolk