pod + kin blog

Prenatal + Postpartum Pilates Instructor Training Tip June 05 2017, 0 Comments

If you work with women chances are you have had some prenatal and postpartum clients. Even 25 years later, a woman can still be experiencing postpartum alignment challenges, chronic pain related to childbirth and separated abdominals or, diastasis recti. If you are a barre instructor you may have students in your class who are starting to consider conception. If you are a yoga teacher, you may have clients with grown children who's ribs are still out of alignment and should be modifying twisting and extension poses. If you have attended a pre/post teacher training you may feel confident in offering movement modifications for prenatal and postpartum clients as a pre/post Pilates, yoga or barre instructor. But, if you have not attended a training you will want to do your students a favor a learn a little more about the Do's and Dont's of birth recovery essentials: diastasis recti, cesarean recovery, pelvic floor dysfunction or pubic symphysis because the chances are very high that many of the women in your classes will need support in these areas. Whether they are just beginning to consider their first pregnancy or they are grandmothers, there are a few OTHERS things you may want to consider:


postpartum birth recovery

#1 Take a pre/post teacher training

Find out if there is anyone in your area ( or a short distance away)  offering a prenatal or postpartum Pilates or yoga teacher training. Even you are not planning on teaching pre/post or mom + baby fitness classes but rather planning on working individually w/ birth recovery clients, you are going to want to know a few essential exercises, stretches and postpartum exercise modifications share.

#2 Assume that 75% of the women in your classes have abdominal separation

Abdominal separation  (diastasis recti) can affect anyone - it is an alignment/ intra-abdominal pressure issue that many postpartum women suffer from and can worsen with certain exercises and movements. Exercise contraindications include forward flexion, knees at a "table top position" +  mid lower thoracic extension. 

#3 Cue Rib placement for birth recovery

Alignment is key! Where are the ribs? Are they stacked over the pelvis? Rib flaring can encourage and worsen a diastasis recti. Your mamas need to know this so that when they are doing everyday tasks like caring for children or sitting at a desk, they know how to make their own adjustments for their ribs.

#4 Encourage Modifications

As the teacher if you can offer and demonstrate a modified version of an exercise, you will keep your pre/post clients students safe in a room full of other women. Use props to "bring the floor up",  reduce the range of motion (especially during rotation and extension exercises) and provide an easier version of the exercise or offer an alternate one depending on their needs.


If you are a prenatal Pilates instructor, postpartum doula offering home visits a studio owner, I hope you find these Birth Recovery Essentials helpful and please pass on to any Mama you know! 


NEW YORK, NY.      6/24 + 6/25      PORTLAND, OR.    10/21 + 10/22


CUPPING FOR C-SECTION SCAR / STRETCH MARKS-what is cupping for massage? April 30 2017, 0 Comments

Can cupping therapy help your c-section scar? I am always intrigue by bodywork and it's ability to facilitate healing. After my unplanned c-section 13 years ago, I turned to acupuncture, naturopathy and body work to help heal and recover. I was surprised to find my scar still "angry" even months postpartum and to this day I periodically check to ensure sure there is no numbness or inability to recruit my core properly when moving and exercising throughout my day. Lately, I have been exploring cupping therapy. A colleague of mine, Amber Clark, owns  Cupping Dynamix in Bend, Or. and offers workshops to teach other LMT's all about cupping. She suggested that I try cupping to help break up scar tissue/access fascia, increase ROM, circulation and lymphatic drainage-even years later! She says other benefits include:

  • Stimulating whole body relaxation response (parasympathetic response)
  • Stimulates oxygenation and detoxification of blood while promoting a feeling of lightness and relief of pressure
  •  Detoxifies metabolic debris in muscle tissue, fascia, and skin


Mind Body Green describes cupping as "The inverse of massage. Rather than applying pressure to muscles, the suction uses pressure to pull skin, tissue and muscles upward. I often combine cupping with acupuncture into one treatment, but it could also be used alone.

Cupping was developed thousands of years ago and though the techniques have modernized, the original philosophy remains the same.

Cupping involves placing glass, bamboo or plastic jars on the skin and creating a vacuum by suctioning out the air. The underlying tissue is raised, or sucked, partway into the cup. The purpose of cupping is to enhance circulation, help relieve pain, remove "heat" and pull out the toxins that linger in your body's tissues.

You usually will feel a tight sensation in the area of the cup. Often, this sensation is relaxing and soothing. Depending on your comfort and your practitioner's assessment of the problem, cups may be moved around or left in place. They may remain on your body briefly or for longer amounts of time. Each treatment is unique to you on that particular day. One very common area to be cupped is the back, although cups work well on other areas, too — particularly on fleshy sections of the body.It can actually reduce the scar tissue to a small fraction of the origional scar. It changes the tissue look and feel over time. And also helps to eliminate and alleviate stretch marks in the low belly."

We sat down with Amber Clark for a CUPPING 101 discussion with an emphasis on c-section scars and postpartum women. Read on to see what she has to say!


Aside from the surgical scar, many patients experience a swollen sac at the base of the belly. Cupping therapy can eliminate that also.  
Someone who is trained in cupping scar therapy can start this kind of treatment as early as the 12th week, post-partum, for a patient. It takes some time to see significant changes, anywhere from 6-16 weeks, depending on how often treatment occurs and how close together you receive those treatments.


I recommend 1-2 times/week for a couple of months to start, and see how things have progressed, to access if additional treatment might be needed.


I like to use clear silicone cups at home, and I keep them in my first aid kit as well. They are the easiest to keep clean, the easiest to learn to use, the least dangerous, because you really can't get them too tight, and the most convenient, by far. Get a range of sizes and experiment with them. Different sizes are appropriate for different parts of the body. The medium couple of sizes are the best for belly work, like for a C-section scar. You can find them at www.lhasaoms.com. Fire Cupping is recommended only by a licensed practitioner.


You never want to do cupping to loo long or too strong postpartum. It can be too draining for Mom! Keep it to 10 min or less, and keep the suction amount low to medium low. Also, it's good to keep the cups moving over scars, and never let them sit stationary.


Before you try this at home, go and see a licensed practitioner who has specific training with this, and knows what they are doing. That way, they can show you, and teach you personally any precautions you specifically might need to take in your own case, if you want to continue the treatments at home!

I tried this with a 1" silicone cup for 10 minutes 3 x in one week. I noticed that adhesions broke up, my scar became "less tight" and I could feel a release, almost unwinding all the way from my psoas down to my toes! 

So weather you are recovering from an injuring, stretch marks, major abdominal surgery or are an athlete looking to enhance ROM and performance, cupping may be an option for you!


 Wendy Foster is the founder of mamalates and the master trainer for all mamalates trainings. An internationally certified Pilates instructor, pre/post fitness specialist, and birth recovery expert, Wendy has been teaching Pilates since 1999 and practicing yoga for nearly two decades. She produced a DVD and presents at conferences. Contact her at wendy@mamalates.com or visit mamalates.com.




Announcing the launch of mamalates online! Safe postpartum exercises and MORE! April 06 2017, 1 Comment

We are very excited to announce our new video subscription site, mamalates online!

Stream and watch mamalates birth recovery videos (and more) from anywhere, anytime! From proper breathing technique to exercises with baby or an advanced core workout on the foam roller, the videos on this site are for any woman recovering from birth-even if it's years later. Some videos require small props including a CORE ball or resistance band and others simply a flat surface. We have some quick snippets/tips and longer workouts as well in this OB/GYN endorsed method.  Wondering what exercises are safe for diastasis recti? Or when you can start exercising again after your c-section? Visit mamalates online and view these workouts. Best of all we are offering a 14 day FREE TRIAL so you can check it out and see if you like it. We will be adding new videos regularly and would appreciate any feedback!

postpartum birth recovery

Optimal Nutrition During Pregnancy November 15 2016, 0 Comments

Did you hear that the WHO now recommends pregnant women receive at least 8 visits with their healthcare provider during pregnancy? That is double the amount of visits that they have suggested in the past. The WHO revised its recommendation to ensure babies have everything they need to thrive and that the mama-to-be remains healthy. 

How else can mama and baby remain healthy and reduce stress during pregnancy? Well, apple cider vinegar for heartburn, plenty of water and more, of course. Rachel, our Nutritional Therapist put her essentials together for mamalates-Read on!

Good nutrition in pregnacy is so very important during this most amazing time for you and baby. We need to EAT when we’re pregnant, and sometimes that can be diffiuclt due to hormone shifts, morning sickness and our crazy daily lives. When I say we need to EAT, I mean we need to EAT WELL and eating well includes; eating nutrient dense whole foods from good food sources. We shouldn’t be overeating, or consuming highly processed, high calorie, and empty nutrient foods. A woman’s pregnant body needs MORE of everything, calories, protein, healthy fat, vitamins and minerals as well as rest and exercise.

One of the common nutrient we forget is H20. Hydration is essential for everyone, and especially when pregnant. It helps the formation of amniotic fluid, and helps you flush toxins to protect your baby. Drink up!
Protein is the building blocks of our bodies and so essential for you and the developing baby.
Eat protein:
Organic grass-fed meats
Organic poultry
Organic dairy
Low-mercury wild-caught fish

Healthy fat is essential for brain growth in the developing fetus, and are the building blocks to cells and hormones. Cholesterol is fundamental for brain function for both you and the boby. Eat your EGGS!
Eat healthy fat:
Coconut oil
Olive oil (low heat cooking only)
Grass-fed butter
Avocado oil
Fatty fish omega 3s (wild-caught low-mercury salmon)

Here’s my Nutty Fat Bomb recipe to add some yummy healthy fats into your diet.

Eat plenty of fresh vegetables daily to get all those wonderful antioxidants, vitamins and minerals we so need during pregnancy. Eat a rainbow everyday! Eat them raw, steamed and roasted. Eat fresh fresh fruit too! Join a local CSA to get local fresh veggies.

We really need to fill our plates with appropriate macronutrient ratios; protein 30% - healthy fat 30% - complex carbohydrates 40%.

Appropriate macronutrient ratios and eating a nutrient dense diet keeps us satisfied. This provides our body with what it needs stay healthy, energized and grow that beautiful baby. Remember we are all bio-individuals so sometimes we may need a few more carbs or a bit more fat to feel satisfied. That’s ok, remember to listen to your body’s needs. Think of it this way, carbohydrates are the kindling. Protein and fat are the long burning logs. So if we fill up on carbohydrates then we will constantly be hungry, tired and not satisifed. But throw in some fat or protein and we will stay satisfied longer. Here’s a great visual to remind you how those macronutrient ratios look like on your plate.


Eat probiotic foods to support your digestion and immune health. Try whole milk yogurt, kefir, fermented vegetables and sauerkraut to name a few.
Raw Apple Cider Vinegar.

"If you feel bloated, have heartburn,or indigestion try a couple tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar mixed in water. It can really relieve those uncomfortable symptoms."

You can also give your digestive system a kick start about 15 minutes prior to eating, take 2 tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar with water. This can support all those wonderful nutrient dense foods you’re feeding you and baby are properly digested for optimal nutrient absorption!

Any Chemically processed oil (i.e.vegetable, canola and soy)
Hydrogenated oils/trans fat
High fructose corn syrup/refined sugars
Processed foods
Farmed fish

Enjoy this precious time growing your baby. And remember to make time for plenty of self care.
Be well,
Rachel Gustafson, BS, NTP
Soulpolish Nutrition


5 Favorite Pilates Hacks November 02 2016, 2 Comments

This past weekend I spent 4 days promoting my mamalates birth recovery training and licensing for Pilates professionals at the annual  Pilates Method Alliance Conference in Arizona.

 The sun was shinning HOT but we managed to find some shade as we assembled our booth, met other exhibitors and networked with fellow Pilates instructors from around the world. I loved meeting folks from Japan, Korea, Mexico and all over the USA. I also enjoyed meeting and connecting with other enthusiastic exhibitors; seeing their creations, bouncing ideas off one another, and hearing their stories.

It was exciting to check out all the new Pilates gear and manufacturers. The industry has grown since I started teaching over 16 years ago, and now instructors and studios are able to make a living working with special populations such as Pilates for Youth, Golf and Menopause. Awesome! 

I thought I'd highlight my 5 favorite businesses that I connected with throughout the weekend. Their inventions are sure to make your Pilates world more efficient + unique to YOU! Check 'em out (especially if you own a studio) and let me know what you think.


The Knot out is very likely my most favorite product that I have seen in a while. I am always on the lookout for  new and unique rolling and release gizmos and have tried a variety of sizes, shapes and weights. Certain diameters dig in deep and others are softer/more on the surface. This company manufactures 2 different densities to help you get into the goods in 6 different sizes. They are compact, can be used against the wall or the floor and will DEFINITELY be traveling with me over the holidays!




Good Citizen LA the original luxe Pilates loop is a fantastic concept that the attendees seem to scoop right up at the conference. If you have participated in a Pilates reformer workout then you are familiar with the straps that attach to the springs, usually used for legwork. Good Citizen suggest that you purchase your OWN loops to bring to class (color of your choice) + wash at your leisure. They come in a variety of single/double loops and look very durable. Sell these at your studio, in your boutique or on line. BONUS: This company manufactures their product in LA and distributes internationally.




 8th Avenue Rail is such a great, efficient concept for a home or business studio! A beautiful maple and stainless steel hanging and organizing system for your Pilates springs. It's easy to install +  attaches directly to the wall and are. Did I mention that they are handmade in NJ? The couple that is behind this creation thought of everything- they even notched out the top so that wooden dowels can rest across the unit providing an even more clutter free workout environment.


WAGS Wrist  Gloves were developed by an OT after she realized that certain yoga poses were aggravating her wrists and arms. They have a gel pad inserted near the palm, can be purchased with or without a wrist strap and come in different gel densities. These would be great for postpartum carpal tunnel and tendinitis. I could see them being used to alleviate pressure during yoga/pilates, pushing a stroller/jogger or even riding a bike. They are super comfortable and WARM!


Pilates Pal is an online resource for Pilates Professionals and students. Find classes / instructors, professional trainings and even used equipment. The mostly micro and small businesses listed also offer clothing, accessories and links to online videos-looks like everything you need under one roof. I met the folks behind this business and they seem very thorough indeed!  A great resource for the community. 

Conference Survival Tips October 03 2016, 0 Comments

As I travel more and attend conferences this fall (including the Spinning Babies Conference and The Pilates Method Alliance Conference),


I have noticed that there is definitely a formula to staying healthy, feeling energized, focused and organized while traveling. Fresh air, movement (not sitting!), earplugs +  green drinks are a few of my "must haves".  I talked with Rachel Gustafson, Nutritional Therapy Practitioner with Soulpolish Nutrition about healthy snacks, sneaking in fresh food on the go and other tips for indoor conferences or extended hotel stays. She says "Mini crockpots are portable, easy to clean & great for oatmeal & soups!"  Who knew?  She offers up more wisdom a delicious date ball recipe and more below. 

Conference Survival Tips

Going to a conference and travel are hard on your body. Whether you have to travel there or not, we’re disrupting our daily routines, and asking a lot from ourselves to focus and learn new information. 

Here are a few tips to keep your body healthy and your brain functioning at its best. With just a little planning you can have healthful things on hand, to be at your best during the conference.

Keeping protein and a healthy fat source for snacking is important to fuel the body and brain.

1) PROTEIN ideas:

Raw seed and nuts
Individual packets of nut butters
Bars like: Larabars or Rxbars
Wild caught canned salmon or fresh water sardines
Fresh fruit like apples, bananas, avocados, berries, cuties

2) Staying hydrated is so important to keep your mind fresh, and body happy. We really need to be drinking ½ our body weight in ounces daily. Here are a few tips on keeping H2O handy:

Bring your own water bottle ~ Hydro flasks are great because they keep your water cold or warm
Throw some of that fruit you bring in for a change
Try a daily water tracker app, iHydrate or Waterlogged are good ones.
Herbal non-caffeinated teas to ease stress

3) Staying in a hotel?
Bring a soft cooler
Use that mini-fridge
Bring a small crock-pot if you can, and make over-night oatmeal, warm up frozen pre-made soups and/or meals, or anything else you can pack in your cooler


4) Self-care

Move your body, take time to breathe, and let your mind rest. Meditating for 5-10 minutes right when you wake up or in the evening can be very helpful to ease any stress, and help the mind prepare to work.
Eating and drinking immune boosting food or tea will keep your stressed immune system supported.
Raw honey
These are great options to support your immune system.
Limit refined sugar and processed food.



Here’s a great recipe for a simple snack.
They are full of protein and healthy fats to help you stay full and keep your brain fueled and ready to learn!

Coconut date balls

1 1/2 C Medjool Dates, pitted and soaked in warm water 5min
2 C plus 2 T unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 C Almond meal
3 T Hemp hearts
1/4 t vanilla
1/4 t sea salt
1/2 t cinnamon
Preheat oven 325
Place 2 cups coconut flakes, dates, almond meal, hemp hearts, vanilla, sea salt and cinnamon in food processor and process until thick and sticky.
Place the remaining coconut flakes on a small plate.  Form the date mixture into little 1inch balls and roll in coconut.
Place on greased cookie sheet and bake 12-15min or until barely golden.
Storage- keep in refrigerator for about a week.
Add in ideas – chia seeds, nuts, nutmeg, dried fruit

Be well,
Rachel Gustafson, BS, NTP


   As a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, I believe our bodies can heal themselves most effectively with a nutrient dense whole food diet.  Even though each of us has a unique system, we all share the same nutritional foundations of hydration, proper digestion, blood sugar balance, mineral and vitamin status and fatty acid balance. Through individualized assessment we can address your unique needs and get at the root cause of your health concerns.  I will guide and support you on your health journey to a more vibrant life. My private practice is located in Portland, OR, and I work with clients locally and distance. Please contact me at Rachel@soulpolish.com for a complementary 30-min consultation.


Mamalates is growing! Introducing local instructors + upcoming classes March 10 2016, 1 Comment

After teaching mom + baby classes and workshops for over 11 years in the Portland area, I am now delighted to announce that others have taken my training and are offering classes, workshops or privates throughout the greater Portland area! These women are all passionate about what they offer- some offer prenatal or postpartum yoga classes or Pilates mat classes as well, and they all bring their own unique teaching style, experience and energy to the mamalates method. 

See your neighborhood below? Click on the corresponding link to get more information, attend a class, meet other mamas and ensure that you know how to modify your own moves before you return to your regular workout, running or the cross training marathon of motherhood. These instructors will check you for abdominal separation, provide alignment tips  and help you reclaim your core.

Some series starting up as soon as next week-and remember that you can  perform some of the mamalates essential stretches and exercises (with your baby) within the first 6 weeks of giving birth.

Don't live in the Portland area? No worries! Look for future blog posts on where you can find mamalates birth preparation and birth recovery classes throughout the US and beyond! Interested in becoming a licensed professional? Check out our calendar of upcoming trainings.


Where to find a Portland area mamalates class or instructor:

NE PORTLAND- Jessa Freeman

Classes and Private sessions at ModPhysique  2805 NE MLK JR BLVD Portland, OR 97212             NEXT Series is on Saturday's at 11:30 am Starting April 1st. 
SE PORTLAND- Molly Van Oostrum

Private sessions at Springwater Pilates and Movement.                              Classes COMING IN FALL  2016  www.pilateswithmolly.com   pilateswithmolly@gmail.com 503-384-8559.

SW PORTLAND-Mary El-Ebrashi


Weekly classes-drop-in or  session  pricing. Available for private sessions.           Classes on Wednesdays at 11 a.m.                                                          Registration: Santosha Yoga     www.SantoshaForEveryBody.com
NEWBERG- Patricia Couch

Thursday AM Classes at Andaluz Sol Wellness Center


OREGON CITY- Alia Fernandez

March workshop ( TBA) and another series starting  in the spring.
Prenatal Yoga. Starting back up in late April.

Thrive Wellness and Yoga 502 7th St, Oregon City, OR 97045


WEST LINN- Susan Mittelstrauss
Offering private mamalates sessions with mat work and Pilates equipment.
Small group classes coming soon to SE Portland!
Turtles Yoga & Wellness, Beaverton 
SILVERTON -Rita Horter 


Please feel free to contact me about any classes in the area or about scheduling a private session. And remember, some insurances are now reimbursing patients for birth recovery classes, products and privates- just submit your receipt!


Unwrapping the idea of "birth recovery" for the holidays December 09 2015, 0 Comments

Like anyone else, I love good cocktail party conversation. However, I also like to cut to the chase and talk about things that are REAL! Especially if the conversation involves birth, parenting, public schools, mom hacks, etc. I enjoy learning and listening to others who are rich with experience and further along in their parenting journey than I am.

At the same time, I like to offer up my postpartum/mothering challenges and offer support and resources to others. In this way, the holidays can be a perfect time to connect with your relatives and birth is a great conversation piece! Although you may come from a community where there is a plethora of birth recovery professionals and services, others may not be so fortunate.

Soon-to-be-moms may not realize that they should also have a plan B (cesarean birth?) when writing their birth plan, or they may not realize that a postpartum doula is essential for multiples. Postpartum doulas are also invaluable when it comes to sleepless infants and swaddling tips.


So the next time you're wandering around the living room or sitting around the holiday table, lean in. Cut to the chase and offer up some non-judgmental, authentic advice, support, and resources to your cousin who may not even know that waiting to cut the cord just 3-5 minutes after birth has tremendous benefits to baby.

Here are five tips I love to share to help women advocate for themselves, feel empowered, and navigate those first few months:


  • Ask if they know about diastasis recti and if they are considering abdominal binding postpartum.
  • If they have not yet had their baby, encourage them to get a prescription for PT (to help with separated abdominals or pelvic floor issues) before they leave the care of their provider- just in case!
  • Encourage them to breathe, stretch, or use a foam roller in those first six weeks postpartum- they will feel so much better!
  • Share your REAL experiences and struggles- not to freak them out, but as a way to connect.
  • Encourage them to prioritize self-care and consider getting bodywork.

These tips are not too "out there," even for your cousin from another planet! Connecting with other women and raising awareness around birth and the 4th trimester is a gift to each other, just waiting to be unwrapped for the holidays.

Wendy Foster is the creator of mamalates and the master trainer for all mamalates licensing programs. An internationally certified Pilates instructor, pre/post fitness specialist, and birth recovery expert, Wendy has been teaching Pilates since 1999 and practicing yoga for nearly two decades. Contact her at wendy@mamalates.com or visit mamalates.com.

Announcing a NEW location for Birth Recovery + MamaSculpt Private Sessions November 03 2015, 0 Comments

Mamalates has a new location at Portland Family Health in Portland, OR. on 40th + SE Woodstock!


I am excited to be working in a beautiful, nurturing space. Being part of such a healthy group of practitioners is inspiring and exciting! These ladies opened up with a  vision in 2013. They wanted chiropractic, acupuncture, naturopathy + women's health all under one roof in SE Portland. They motivated and created Portland Family Health on SE Woodstock and it is AWESOME!


I will be sharing an office space with Colleen Gibson of Cultivate Wellness and offering private sessions for prenatal fitness, birth recovery, postpartum fitness and mamaSculpt.

If it has been years and you need a "how do I access my core" refresher or you are a new postpartum mom looking to start somewhere safe with movement, a private session is ideal. 

I include a personalized postural/ alignment assessment + diastasis recti check before we move into safe core exercises. Identifying your imbalances and what specifically you need to work on can significantly accelerate the restorative process.  

Some insurances are now reimbursing for birth recovery sessions and products!

You can come and safely work or check your core! I use the  Pilates chair (great for pelvic floor and abdominal separation repair exercises)  and /or Sculpt station that I added to the room and am offering 60 minute private sessions (bring your baby or child!) on Mondays + Wednesdays The cost is $75 and includes a DVD. Or, just come by to say "Hi" and see my new digs!

Feel free to  email me wendy@mamalates.com to schedule or if you have any questions .


I hope to see you!







Postpartum exercise: five tips to stay motivated October 17 2015, 1 Comment


Just before I gave birth, I was so very excited to get back to riding fast on my bike, being able to do yoga while laying on my back AND my belly, and being able to practice Bikram without worrying about whether it was too hot.

Fast forward a couple months and many sleepless nights, add boobs heavy with milk and a new sense of responsibility for my sweet little one, and I was losing motivation. I knew that my husband would be fine with our little one and that our little one would be fine without nursing for a couple of hours, yet I still had a hard time leaving.

However, I learned very quickly that you have to take care of yourself first, in order to take care of others. With that in mind, now is the perfect time to show yourself some love. Once you’re feeling good and your doctor has cleared you, here are five postpartum exercise tips to help you get (and stay) motivated:

1. Grab a buddy

Have you ever noticed that time flies when you’re working out with a buddy versus working out on your own? Studies have shown that exercising with a friend motivates you in more ways than one. Think accountability- group ride at 9am on Saturday? You’re there. Plans to ride on your own sometime that week? Well, that may or may not happen. Plus, once friends start getting into shape and losing weight, others are motivated to do the same. Can’t find a friend? Groups like Hike it Baby are great for meeting other fitness-minded moms.

2. Set a goal

Whether you decide to run a 5K, join a mommy-baby workout class like mamalates, go to the gym, or even just walk with baby, be sure to set a goal, write it down, and tell your friends. In addition to giving you a reason to get moving, it’ll also give you an accomplishment to be proud of.

3. Schedule it

Coming from someone who pretty much despised schedules before baby came, schedules became my key to sanity with a newborn. Commit to the days and times that you’ll exercise and stick to them. If you signup for mamalates on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9am, it’s much easier to show up, even if you’ve had a sleepless night.

4. Track your progress

Proud that you ran 50 miles this month? Right on! But how would you know unless you’re tracking it? Apps like Nike+ Running track distance, pace, and time, while also sharing workouts with friends. If running’s not your thing, MyFitnessPal tracks meals and exercise, while connecting you with friends on the same path. (They say those who connect with friends lose twice the weight.) When you write it down and succeed, you can celebrate your success.

5. Reward yourself

Have you been dreaming of a spa day, a massage, or a new pair of yoga pants? Or maybe just a movie night at home- sans kiddos. At the same time you’re goal setting, decide what your reward will be. Pick something that you wouldn’t normally do for yourself. It has to be special so when you meet your goal you can really celebrate!

And just a quick PS- I'm putting together a few ideas for upcoming blogs like: safe core exercises postpartum, c-section recovery exercises, postpartum exercises with baby, how do I know if I have a diastasis recti, and more. What would you like to see on the blog? Post on Facebook to let us know!


Wendy Foster is the creator of mamalates and the master trainer for all mamalates licensing programs. An internationally certified Pilates instructor, pre/post fitness specialist, and birth recovery expert, Wendy has been teaching Pilates since 1999 and practicing yoga for nearly two decades. Contact her at wendy@mamalates.com or visit mamalates.com.

Diastasis Recti Assessment and Safe Core Postpartum Exercises October 05 2015, 0 Comments

Are you a fitness or birth professional that works with women?

Are you a fitness or birth professional that works with women? Did you know that even 20 years postpartum  a woman's abdominal muscles may still be separated and that certain exercises can make this condition worse?

Abdominal separation  ( diastasis recti) is when your linea alba, a band of connective tissue that connects you right and left side rectus muscles (six pack) splits or separates exposing inner organs. This can lead to chronic back pain, pelvic floor dysfunction and more.

This is caused by:
  • Misalignment/ collapsing through the spine
  • Growing uterus
  • Hypo or hyper tonic abdominal wall musculature ( over or under developed abdominals)
  • Superficial abdominal, core work during pregnancy
  • Improper bio mechanics and breathing
  • More
If you are a mom or a professional that works with women, certain exercises and movements are contraindicated if you have this condition as it can become worse if not treated..
Such as:
  • Belly breathing
  • Core exercises with legs at table top or out in a "V"
  • Lifting head off of the floor, Pilates Roll downs
  • Using heavy weights
  • Any forward folding

 If a woman is coming to you complaining of back pain the first thing you should do is check her abdominals for a diastasis recti- even if she is 20 years postpartum! It is important to asses from the zyphoid process to the belly button for separation and recognize that the separation can be shallow, medium or deep depending on how much of your finger can sink into the belly.

Here is Anne Rust of Baby Moon at a mamalates training Lexington.KY. learning how to assess an abdominal separation.

 If you are asking "How do I know if I have an abdominal separation or if my clients have one?" You can check out this video below for a self check and for a basic exercise to help close the gap and get yourself or your clients on the road to a healthier core!


VIDEO: How to check for an abdominal separation 

Look for more information on safe postpartum core exercises and an abdominal binding VIDEO in my next post!


Wendy Foster is the founder of mamalates and the master trainer for all mamalates licensing programs. An internationally certified Pilates instructor, pre/post fitness specialist, and birth recovery expert, Wendy has been teaching Pilates based restorative exercise since 1999 and practicing yoga for nearly two decades. She has a  practice in Southeast Portland, OR.  and offers her OB/GYN endorsed training around the country . To set up a training in your area or for any questions, contact her at wendy@mamalates.com or visit mamalates.com.


Summer Break, Fall Sessions July 14 2015, 1 Comment

Wendy is taking a break for the summer!

In the fall of 2015, she will be offering private and semi-private birth recovery sessions at Portland Family Health on Mondays and Wednesday.

You can bring your baby to these hour-long sessions for individualized birth recovery, diastasis recti repair or mamaSulpt.

Please contact Wendy to schedule: 503-459-8936

mamalates annoucement May 27 2015, 0 Comments

Dearest Clients, Colleagues and Friends:
I have been offering mom + baby and birth recovery classes, workshops and services to the Portland area for over 10 years and have been blessed to work with hundreds of women and honored to hold and cuddle many beautiful babies during this time. I have seen the birth recovery movement blossom from a tiny seed of an obscure idea to a more mainstream necessity that many women seek out or demand, advocating for their recovery. This has been my dream!
However, as  my own children grow and my professional life shifts, I am announcing that I will be taking a break from teaching group classes starting mid June and as such will be closing studio mamalates on SE Belmont. 
I will take this time to help my older son navigate the transition into middle school and will continue to focus on training other birth and fitness professionals in my method.
In the fall, I will be offering  private and semi private sessions at Portland Family Health so that I may continue to support women, doing the work that I love!
Please look for a virtual Studio mamalates coming in the fall with MORE videos and resources for mamas everywhere!
Thank you all for your support, encouragement and trust throughout the years. It has truly been a gift.

Spotlight on International Cesarean Awareness Network April 14 2015, 0 Comments

In honor of April's International Cesarean Awareness Month, we’d like to highlight an incredible resource, the nonprofit International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN). ICAN works to prevent unnecessary Cesareans through education, provide support for Cesarean recovery, and promote Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC).

My first baby was an emergency C-section and my second was a successful VBAC. So naturally I’m incredibly supportive of ICAN and their mission to help mamas. Read on for a chat with LaQuitha Glass, ICAN President, who joined ICAN in 2012 when she started a chapter after the birth of her second daughter.

Tell us a little about the International Cesarean Awareness Network.

LG: As an organization, ICAN provides support groups in various cities, who offer real-time support to mothers who are preparing for or recovering from Cesareans, mothers who are planning for a VBAC attempt, first-time mothers who are seeking information on how to avoid common pitfalls within the U.S. maternity care system, and mothers who are facing opposition in hostile birthing environments.

What is one success that ICAN has recently celebrated?

LG: We recently celebrated the release of the film 'Trial of Labor,' a project that we have been in support of for the past five years. Released by Elliot Berlin and Rob Humphreys, this film follows four women as their journey to a VBAC attempt is documented. We were proud endorsers of this film as we feel that it gives a voice to a part of the wide spectrum of experiences that we tend to encounter.

What is one of ICAN's big initiatives for this year?

LG: One initiative that we have is the implementation of ICAN Educators, who are specially trained volunteers who will go out into the community to teach classes on VBAC and Cesarean options.

What is your best piece of advice for new moms?

LG: No matter what your choices for birth or parenting, it is so important to surround yourself with people who understand, respect, and support your choices. In this digital and social media age, it is easy to find people online, but having real life support is invaluable. If you cannot find any real life support, try to be that support for the next person that comes along searching for a shoulder upon which to lean.

How can our readers help support ICAN?

LG: Connect and share! You can connect with our organization by attending a local meeting in your area or by joining as a personal or professional member. If you are unable to join or attend a meeting locally, please share us as a resource with the mothers in your community who may benefit from our services. Our website can be found at www.ican-online.org.

In honor of April’s International Cesarean Awareness month, mamalates is donating 5% of sales from the mamalates Cesarean Survival Kit to ICAN. The Cesarean Survival Kit provides new moms with instruction on safe, restorative movement, while addressing postpartum pain syndrome. The props and info help relieve low back pain, release scar tissue, and support safe healing.

Wendy Foster is the creator of mamalates and the master trainer for all mamalates licensing programs. An internationally certified Pilates instructor, pre/post fitness specialist, and birth recovery expert, Wendy has been teaching Pilates since 1999 and practicing yoga for nearly two decades. She owns a studio in Southeast Portland, OR. Contact her at wendy@mamalates.com or visit mamalates.com.

International Cesarean Awareness Month + Wendy’s Story April 07 2015, 1 Comment

Hi mamas, did you know that April is International Cesarean Awareness month? In the United States, one out of every three women gives birth via Cesarean. Whether planned or unplanned, C-sections are major abdominal surgeries. Many do not understand that maternal recovery can be difficult, both physically and emotionally. I was one of these women.

After delivering my first baby by unplanned Cesarean, I was surprised at the lack of support and physical guidelines for recovery. After a long and difficult labor, my doctor and I made the call to move forward with a Cesarean. I delivered a healthy baby boy, but my physical and emotional recovery was difficult.

As a Pilates instructor, I used my training to reconnect with my body after birth. A desire to share my knowledge with others led me to create the mamalates birth recovery method in 2005. Since then, I’ve dedicated my practice to working with prenatal and postpartum women.

International Cesarean Awareness Month
In honor of April’s International Cesarean Awareness month, mamalates is donating 5% of sales from the mamalates Cesarean Survival Kit to the International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN). The Cesarean Survival Kit provides new moms with instruction on safe, restorative movement, while addressing postpartum pain syndrome. The props and info help relieve low back pain, release scar tissue, and support safe healing.

To find out more about ICAN, click over to ICAN-online.org or connect on Facebook and Twitter.

COREnection Cesarean Recovery Workshop
If you're in Portland, be sure to check out my upcoming COREnection Cesarean Recovery Workshop at Studio mamalates on Weds., April 22 at 11:30am. Through breath and organized movement, you’ll learn how to release where you may be overcompensating, re-awaken and strengthen traumatized core muscles, and gain spinal mobility and stability. 1.5 hour workshop, $25. Details here.

Wendy Foster is the creator of mamalates and the master trainer for all mamalates licensing programs. An internationally certified Pilates instructor, pre/post fitness specialist, and birth recovery expert, Wendy has been teaching Pilates since 1999 and practicing yoga for nearly two decades. She owns a studio in Southeast Portland, OR. Contact her at wendy@mamalates.com or visit mamalates.com.

 Photo credit: Kelly Sue DeConnick via Flickr
Second photo: Wendy Foster and her little one / Credit: Wendy Foster




Welcome mamalates London and Maite March 24 2015, 0 Comments

mamalates is excited to announce that we’ve expanded into the United Kingdom. This is the first time that mamalates classes are being offered outside of the United States. Please help me welcome Maite Brines von Melle to the mamalates family!

Maite is an excellent Pilates instructor with a background in pre and postnatal anatomy. From the first time that I first spoke with her, I knew that she’d be the perfect fit to share the mamalates mission of helping women recover from birth and reconnect with their postpartum bodies.

Maite is teaching four classes per week, plus private sessions, at The Hayloft Studio in Chiswick, London. We couldn’t be more ecstatic to have her onboard and would love to share a little about her and her take on mamalates.

How did you become involved with mamalates?
After becoming a new mama myself last year, I realised that most new mamas don’t have the time and energy to look after themselves to fully recover from pregnancy and birth. We certainly spend plenty of time getting pregnant, being pregnant, and preparing for birth. But once the little bundle of joy arrives, it’s all about the baby.

We’re running from one baby class to the next, not sleeping enough, and meeting at "play dates" with other mums and babies that involve lots of sitting around and eating cake. (Okay, maybe that was just me, but I think I had more cake in the weeks after birth than in my entire life!)

In Germany every new mama is offered a free six-week course called "Rueckbildungskurs." This is a Pilates-based exercise class where mums bring their little ones along. I wanted to offer this format in London and am excited about partnering with mamalates on the first-ever international mamalates classes!

What is your fitness and pre/postnatal experience?
I am very passionate about birth recovery. My background includes teaching Pilates, studying pre/postnatal anatomy, and I am currently taking a course on biomechanics with Katy Bowman of the Restorative Exercise Institute. I love what I do and feel a real sense of satisfaction helping moms recover from birth.

What are your favorite things to do?
I love travelling, food, literature, dance, film, theatre, and long, long walks.

What is your best piece of advice for new moms?
I was so overwhelmed by all the advise that I was given when my little one was born last year, that I actually stopped listening and just followed what I felt was right. So I would be a hypocrite giving advise now. However I will say this: follow your instinct, you know what feels right for you and your baby. Be kind to yourself, have patience, and enjoy every single moment. My baby girl has taught me how to do something that I have been working on for a long time- to be in the now!

mamalates London offers four classes per week and private sessions (with baby in tow) at The Hayloft Studio in Chiswick, London. Find out more about mamalates London, connect on Facebook, or email Maite at mamalateslon@gmail.com.

Wendy Foster is the creator of mamalates and the master trainer for all mamalates licensing programs. An internationally certified Pilates instructor, pre/post fitness specialist, and birth recovery expert, Wendy has been teaching Pilates since 1999 and practicing yoga for nearly two decades. She owns a studio in Southeast Portland, OR. Contact her at wendy@mamalates.com or visit mamalates.com.

Photo: Maite Brines von Melle / Credit: Maite Brines von Melle

Contributing to a healthy lifestyle blog: Fit and Awesome March 16 2015, 0 Comments


Fit and Awesome, a healthy lifestyle blog, recently invited me to become a contributor to the site. The blog’s founder, Lindsay, shares healthy recipes (like these homemade paleo protein bars), fitness articles, posts on life with her new little girl, and much more. I’m looking forward to contributing my expertise from a perinatal fitness and birth recovery perspective.

Lindsay and I have been talking since about the time her little girl, Josie, was born. So I was excited when the opportunity came up to share a few mamalates birth recovery tips on her blog.

I’ve found that most moms are told what NOT to do after giving birth and they’re often left with vague, unhelpful details about their physical recovery. In the post, I share Seven Essential Birth Recovery Tips focusing on what moms SHOULD do postpartum, including the benefits of specific stretches, breathing techniques, and proper biomechanics for lifting and holding baby.

Click over to the full article for seven steps to take within the first six weeks postpartum to help reclaim your core and begin feeling fit and awesome! Keep an eye out for more mamalates content on Fit and Awesome in the coming weeks.


Wendy Foster is the creator of mamalates and the master trainer for all mamalates licensing programs. An internationally certified Pilates instructor, pre/post fitness specialist, and birth recovery expert, Wendy has been teaching Pilates since 1999 and practicing yoga for nearly two decades. She owns a studio in Southeast Portland, OR. Contact her at wendy@mamalates.com or visit mamalates.com.

Top photo: Lindsay's little girl, Josie / Credit: Fit and Awesome

Healing diastasis recti: tips for birth and fitness professionals February 18 2015, 0 Comments

It’s estimated that two out of three of women experience separated abdominals during pregnancy or postpartum. So when women come to me complaining of back pain or pelvic floor dysfunction, five days or even 15 years postpartum, the first thing I do is assess their abdominals. Separated abdominals affect the entire core and how it is (or isn’t!) supporting, performing, stabilizing, and loading the pelvis and back.

Although many people experience diastasis recti, new moms are at higher risk due to the constant lifting, twisting, carrying, and wearing of babies and toddlers. So what causes separated abdominals and what are the most effective steps to encourage healing? Here we diagnose diastasis, as well as provide tips and modifications for recovery.

What is diastasis recti?

The linea alba is a band of connective tissue that binds the right and left side of the rectus abdominals (six–pack) muscles together. This band of connective tissue is designed to stretch during pregnancy to make space for the growing baby and uterus. If the abdominals are too weak (or too tight!) and alignment is poor, this band will separate. This gap exposes the internal organs and compromises the “inner corset.”

Separation can be shallow or deep and can occur from the zyphoid process down to the pubic bone, but is most commonly found at the belly button. A small separation can become larger if not treated.

What causes diastasis recti?

Diastasis recti comes in all shapes and sizes. It's determined that poor alignment, weak or tight abdominals, too much rectus ab work during pregnancy, and a short torso all contribute to abdominal separation.

How to promote healing

First, you will need to determine the severity of the separation:

  • Where is the separation located?
  • How long and how deep is the separation?
  • Can the abs be drawn in to promote safe healing?
  • This video reviews how to diagnose diastasis.

After assessing the separation, the next step is to provide manual support in the form of an abdominal binder. A scarf or Moby Wrap can be used, however therapeutic binders are also readily available and may be covered by insurance. When not wearing an abdominal binder, instruction should be provided on using the hands to support the core when leaning forward.

The next step is to provide instruction on restorative exercise and how to adjust movement patterns to incorporate proper biomechanics. This video demonstrates how to promote healing. Restorative exercises are also taught in our mamalates workshops and trainings.

Modifications during exercise

There are many modifications to keep in mind when exercising with separated abdominals, however simple strengthening exercises and focus on alignment will be the most helpful. Tips include:

  • Any exercises where the ribs flare and shoulder girdle stabilization is lost are contraindicated.
  • Abdominals MUST be supported manually or with a binder during forward folds.
  • Rotations should be limited to 60%- ribs should rotate together, not away from each other.

For severe separation, physical therapy may be recommended. Remember to check with insurance companies regarding reimbursement for birth recovery sessions, classes, and products.

For more information and exercises to support your clients in recovering from diastasis recti, please join us at one of our upcoming trainings.

Wendy Foster is the creator of mamalates and the master trainer for all mamalates licensing programs. An internationally certified Pilates instructor, pre/post fitness specialist, and birth recovery expert, Wendy has been teaching Pilates since 1999 and practicing yoga for nearly two decades. She owns a studio in Southeast Portland, OR. Contact her at wendy@mamalates.com or visit mamalates.com.


Skiing with Toddlers and Kids on Mt. Hood December 27 2014, 1 Comment

For all you Portland mamas (and papas) there is finally some snow on Mt. Hood! If you have been anxious to get your Little Ones up skiing for the first time ever or for the first time this season, there are a few things to consider in order to make it a successful day for all.

 If you take the time and do a little research to get it dialed, you can get your kid hooked on skiing at a young age and in no time, you'll be shredding it up together- spending more time on the slopes than slope side. After all, there is nothing worse than spending $89 to go skiing, only to actually NOT go skiing.

1) For the first timers, make sure it is a mild (maybe even a sunny?) day.

I see so many parents dragging their kids up in a blizzard for the first time expecting them to have fun. So much fun in fact that next time they will want to return with a CAN DO attitude next Saturday- maybe even early enough for first tracks. YOU may be stoked to get some fresh powder but when your child is riding the magic carpet or skiing the bunny hill with you as their guide, you're not going to be getting any fresh powder. Plan the introduction to skiing for a warm, windless, sunny day. Your tot will ski longer and be happier.

2) Consecutive weekends skiing is best when learning 

Weather dependent of course (see #1). If you can swing it with your schedule and finances, plan on getting your kiddo up there weekly as much as possible as they are learning to ski. This helps you remember your systems that you set in place the weekend prior and, will  also help them with their muscle memory (and also with organization). If four weeks go by between strapping on the boards, they tend to forget- even the basics. How do I walk in these boots? How do I put on my helmet ? HAVE I done this before? 

You get the picture. Encourage independence + ownership with the gear. Even a 2 year old can have a job- they can carry the hand warmers! 

3)Timberline is  best for teaching kids to ski

We tried them all. We were anxious to get to Mt. Hood Meadows because the terrain is the best for us. But, I can tell you, the day lodge at Meadows is NOT where you want to spend your day when you child is tired after 1 hour. It's the most expensive, the drive is farther and often the parking lot gets full. If you have anything in your car you need you may not be able to access it. More importantly (and more often the case) if your kiddo is ready to retire to the car to play with the windshield wipers with one parent while the other one sneaks in a few extra turns, you don't want to have to take a shuttle or bus to do it. Save Meadows for when they can actually ski.

Skibowl has a free rope tow which we used for a while. It helped our son get strong.  It's hard to squat going up hill, holding onto a moving rope with all your biceps can muster -but its a good workout and he became solid on his feet. The other thing about Ski Bowl that I never would have noticed until I had kids.. The whole scene is like a PG13 /R rated movie. LOUD Foul language, skiing/boarding while drinking or under the influence skiing out of control. When you have a 5 or 6 year old, you will want to keep the scene (relatively) safe.

Timberline is the most family friendly. It is affordable, often sunny, has an amazing, spacious Lodge ( two actually with huge fireplaces) with plenty of distractions to entertain your little when they come in to take a break. Speaking of taking a break, if you have 2 kids and they are taking turns being out side with one parent while the other is chilling, the day passes and tickets for kids and adults are transferable. That means, you can use your spouses in the am and he can use it in the pm and the kids can just share the same jacket w/  the ticket. Bonus, kids 6 and under ski free! Just another reason to get 'em up young.


4) Pick your poison: leash, between the legs or Hula hoop?

We're sort of no nonsense and skied holding our kids between the legs, bent over for a few years. It was especially hard for my 6'3 husband to "pizza slice" all the way down holding on to a  2 1/2  foot, squirly peanut. But, it worked and worked us out. I figured it was good training for when they really became strong skiiers and I would be challenged just to keep up with them

Some choose to snap on a harness and a leash and let the child ski out in front. I could see how that may work for some, but it doesn't seem to offer the proprioceptive feedback that skiing in between the legs does. The child becomes used to you PULLING on the leash and then they are in the "back seat" of the skis. Not a  good place to be when you are trying to teach them to lean forward. The leash is easier for the teacher but to me, seems like it might actually hinder the child's ability to find balance and stability and slow down the process.

I have seen people skiing in the Sierras with Hula hoops out on front and this seems like a great idea! the child is contained, has something to hold on to, can find their balance and you don't need to be stooped over all day. There even tons of fun ski games you can do with a hula hoop. Definitely worth ha shot. And, if you live in Portland, you probably have one rolling around anyway.

5) Be Comfortable

Our attire and gear selection changed as the kids progressed. Depending on the day, we would get really warm crouched over, lifting/ twisting our 3 year old onto the lift. The bunny slope runs are short and we stayed VERY warm with all this schlepping. Once their skiing improved however, time was spent skiing a little and waiting a lot. I busted out the down jacket for these seasons. We also wore our touring boots as they were much more comfortable to clomp around in and we didn't really need the high performance alpine boots on Buttercup. We always had our backpacks on filled with treats, hot tea, and extra gear. Lots of breaks and real food in the parking lot before we set out seems to still work for my hypoglycemic one.

Have fun, be safe and get stoked!  Don't take it too seriously and just have a fun family day. This is what your kids will picture when you tell them you are all heading up to the mountain: fun, outdoor time, pushing their limits ( and of course, hot chocolate) and then they will always want to ski with you!

Wendy Foster is a skier and avid outdoors person. She started her boys skiing young and now can barely keep up with them. She is the owner of www.mamalates.com 

Do you have tips for skiing with toddlers/ kids? Please share!








Babes on planes: holiday travel tips December 17 2014, 0 Comments


Do you remember the first time that you flew with your little one? Or maybe baby’s first flight is right around the corner? There’s the usual packing and hustle to the airport, plus the experience of bringing along a baby or toddler (and all of the extra stuff!)

I’ve found that three to six month olds are typically the easiest to travel with. These little ones are happy to be held and chances are that the hum of the engine will lull them to sleep. But, we can't all be so fortunate as to have quiet, sleeping babes, so enjoy these tips to make your holiday travel less painful for you and more enjoyable for your littles.

Photo by Eternal*Voyageur via Flickr

Get the wiggles out before you board

Nothing is more difficult than a tot who gets antsy the minute the fasten seatbelt sign turns on. To help prevent this, get your little out of the stroller before the flight and have them walk or waddle all the way to the gate. Allow extra time at the airport to get their wiggles out before they’re expected to sit still. Some airports even offer indoor play zones for babies and toddlers.

Take care of those diapers

Smells travel on airplanes- fast! So be sure to change diapers just before boarding. Depending on your flight, you’ll likely have to try out the changing table on the plane at least once, but at least your little one will start out dry and comfortable.

Bring along suction cup toys

You know those suction cup toys that attach to the high chair? Babies love them. Bring a couple, attach them to the tray table in front of you, and your babe will be amused for at least 10 minutes. The guy sitting in front of you shouldn't mind. Hey, it’s better than a screaming kid!

Photo by donnierayjones via Flickr

Pack snacks separately

If you have a snacking tot, don't let the snacks sink to the bottom of the bag. Feeling around for goldfish under your seat, with a kiddo on your lap, is no fun. Pack snacks in small bags that you can easily grab and stash some food in your pockets too.

Bring a change of clothes... for yourself

We all know to bring extra clothes for the kids, but don’t forget yourself! At least bring an extra shirt. You don’t want to appear before the MIL wearing the 3 P's: puke, poop and pretzel dust. Enough said.

Photo by toosuto via Flickr

Always be prepared

Blame it on Murphy’s Law- if you forget the medicine, the kids will get sick. My best advice is to wash hands often and always be prepared. For little ones, I recommend traveling with a fever reducer and a nose sucker. You don’t want to fly with a sick kiddo, but at least you’re prepared if something comes up during the flight.

You also never know when you may run into a delay at the airport. Depending on the length of your trip, make sure to bring enough diapers, baby food, and snacks to last at least an extra day.

Have fun!

And last but not least, remember to have fun! Even if the going gets rough, at least you'll have some funny stories to share with your family and friends after the plane lands.

Wendy Foster is a mom of two boys and often travels from Oregon to California visit family. www.mamalates.com


Photos credit Eternal*Voyageur, Step 2, donnierayjones, toosuto via Flickr.

Healthy stocking stuffers for moms November 25 2014, 0 Comments


If you’ve welcomed a baby into the world in the past year, congratulations! Baby’s first holiday season is such a fun milestone. Or maybe you have older kids: soccer players, ballerinas, or aspiring astronauts. Kids are the light of our lives and make the holidays that much brighter.

Although kiddos often take center stage during the holidays, it’s important to remember the moms who have worked so hard to bring these little humans up in the world. We’ve pulled together some healthy stocking stuffer ideas, from in and around Portland, to honor our favorite mamas.

Credit: 52reasonsiloveyou.com

Share 52 reasons

Let the kids help create 52 Reasons Why I Love You cards, to remind mom just how special she is. This is a great DIY keepsake for mom, with love from the whole family. We think it would be fun to stack the deck with a few family photos too.

Credit: freeimages.com / b_rock

Grow with love

For moms with a green thumb, a delightful salsa kit from Victory Seeds in Molalla, OR is sure to please. With seeds, recipes, and instructions, everything she needs to grow and make her very own salsa can be found in this gift bag. Choose between mild and hot varieties. ($9.95)

Credit: mamalates.com

Mamalates for mom + baby

As the days grow shorter and the weather gets colder, it’s more important than ever for moms to stay active. Pick up a mom + baby workout DVD from Portland-based Mamalates. The 40-minute workout challenges moms to “reclaim their cores” safely, while connecting with their babies. ($19) (Use promo code DVD10 to save $10 through Nov. 30, 2014.)

Credit: camamu.com

Soaps to rejuvenate

Artesian soaps are a great gift to help moms rejuvenate. Check out Portland’s Camamu, who offer Green Goddess Soap with sweet fennel and lavender to help detoxify and boost the spirits. ($6) Other local soap companies include Sellwood Soap Co. and Oregon Soap Company.

Credit: freeimages.com / aga-grafik

Massage to relax

When the holidays get hectic, what could be better than a relaxing massage? Benefits of massage include stress relief, strengthened immune system, and lower blood pressure. Not to mention a chance for mom to enjoy a little “me time.” We love the healing hands of Savannah Mayfield, Licensed Massage Therapist at Nurture Life Coaching in Portland.

Credit: ican-online.org

Give back through ICAN

Sometimes the best way to give… is to give back. Consider donating to ICAN, whose mission is to improve maternal and child health by preventing unnecessary cesareans through education, providing support for cesarean recovery, and promoting VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). The gift can be made in honor of that special momma in your life. Plus, there’s even an ICAN Portland chapter.

UNCLE! I CAN'T do it all! Mamalates needs PT administrative/sales support November 05 2014, 0 Comments

Mamalates is hiring and  thought we would reach out to our community for support because 1) you mamas ROCK 2) many of you are small business minded 3) this is very flexible and can be done virtually, from home and 3) because mamas multitask and are the hardest workers we know.

If you have attention to detail, are social media savvy and want to help build the mamalates brand, please see below.


10 hrs. per week

Administrative, marketing assistant/ sales support needed for micro women's fitness studio and e-commerce business. This job is very flexible, can be done from home and is ideal for a self starter with attention to detail, social media savvy and a bit of marketing/sales experience. 

The ideal candidate WILL:

  • Have experience with:

          excel, word, mind body online, constant contact, word, social media outlets (twitter, FB and more), shopify,                           pic monkey

  • Strong written/ administrative skills 
  • Have project management skills/ be a task master
  • Marketing/Sales experience 

The ideal candidate MAY:

  • Be familiar with converting word docs to PDF Adobe/Photoshop 
  • Have a basic design background
  • Have basic video production abilities
  • Have Interests that  include business development, prenatal/ postpartum wellness and fitness.
  • Live in Portland, OR.

Position includes: e-commerce sales support, setting up systems, maintaining studio schedule and class/workshop descriptions, sending newsletters, and some data entry 

This is an independent contractor position to start with a 3 month trial period 

10 hours per week  

Compensation: $12-$15 per hr. to start 


Please include resume within body of reply email to wendy@mamalates.com. No attachments will be open. Thank you for considering! 

7 Smart tips for your first postpartum run-When can I start running again after my baby is born? July 01 2014, 1 Comment

When can I start running postpartum? Maybe it's been a few weeks or a few months but you are now ready to attempt your first run after you've had your baby.

You were a big runner before the birth or maybe you weren't and your thinking "This is a great, quick way to get my exercise on, may help me sleep better and I can do it on my own time- PERFECT!"

Well, there are a few things to keep in mind before you go for that jog, exasperated sprint or marathon that will help you run more efficiently and recover more quickly. And, the best news of all? They all start with "S" so they will be easier for your postpartum brain to remember.

But, before we start with those, let's back up a bit.

First: Can you jump off a curb without any pelvic pain? Chiropractor Dr. Bryan of Clearwater Clinic advises to try this first. No pain? Then you are ready for action!

Secondly: Will you have 5 minutes sometime during your day to use your foam roller and lengthen your hamstrings/ stretch your hips?

If you answered yes to both then NOW you are ready for the 7 "S's"!


1) START without a baby jogger- your alignment is messed up enough as it is and baby joggers DO NOT help. Try running solo a few times before you add the jogger and added weight into the mix- especially if you are running hills.

2) STAND tall- keep your ribs lifted off your hips and your spine long- minimize the compression.

3) STABILIZE shoulders-- your shoulder girdle should be stable as you run. DO NOT recruit your neck muscles by allowing your shoulders to creep up to ears- slide 'em down!

4) STACK ribs- align your ribs on top of your pelvis and keep them there- don't lean forward or flare them! 

5) SUCK in gut- well, not really but it starts w/ S. Draw your belly in and recruit those core muscles  about 20% your entire run. This will keep you tall and save your back.

6) SAVE knees- use your hamstrings, inner thighs and booty as  much as possible. See how little you can use your quads and give your knees a break. Try pushing a little more though the heels.

7)  SHIFT weight- you are probably leaning too far forward w/ your upper body, especially if you are exhausted or your breasts are full of milk! Bring your weight back on your heels and run more upright.


At mamalates we know that all mamas have their own path to recovery- some mamas don't run and that is OK! In fact, there are so many articles about the amazing benefits of walking if that is fine for you but these same tips apply!

One other thing to remember: if you have a diastasis recti, you can wear your binder while running..This will help you maintain length and offer support.  But if you are 3-4  fingers or more separated, it is recommended to wait until the gap closes up to less than 21/2 before you lace up those Brooks!


"Don't fear moving forward, fear standing still."


Wendy Foster is a mom, business owner, pre/post fitness specialist and part time runner.



10 Tips for a Successful Mom + Baby Class June 12 2014, 0 Comments

 Are you thinking about attending your first mom + baby yoga, Pilates or other fitness class with your newborn? Maybe your baby is 6 months old and you are ready to try a class- just the two of you!

More and more gyms, yoga studios and birth centers are offering some type of movement class where you are welcome to bring your new baby, take time for yourself and get out of the house. This is a wonderful thing! Studies show that daily exercise can help combat postpartum depression and improve sleep.  At  Studio Mamalates we get concerned moms wondering: How does it work? What if they cry? What should I bring? Maybe you are starting a new type of fitness that you never tried before at a new facility and feel a little intimidated. It can be overwhelming!

I've put together a list covering common questions that I've received in the past 10 years of teaching classes and added some helpful tips to help you navigate, prepare and encourage you to get out with your little one and MOVE!

1)  When to start classes:

It's recommended by ACOG not to start exercise classes until 6 weeks postpartum.  But, that doesn't mean you can't STRETCH, get on a foam roller or have your abdominal's check for separation + start to reintroduce yourself to your abs. sooner. Find out how vigorous the class is, check with your doctor and you may be able to start at 3 weeks or earlier. There also may be a  birth recovery workshop or option for a private session that you can bring your baby to before you start the weekly classes. 


2)  Let the instructor know if you have special issues:

When you do begin, take a few minutes to check in with the teacher. Are you recovering from a  cesarean or an episiotomy? Do you  have specific pelvic floor or diastasis recti issues? Inform the instructor- she may have some special exercises or handouts especially for you.

 3) Breathe:

Your baby will cry during class and probably need a diaper change or feeding. It's O.K!

The race to get to class, new smells, mama hormones, a little anxiety... this is all normal when attending some of your first classes. Relax and know that you will get your system down and it will become easier and more familiar (for both of you) each time.

4)Bring whatever you need:

Ask if mats are available and if there is a charge. You may have brought your own mat to prenatal yoga but now that you have baby, diaper bag, car seat, etc, you may be able to lighten your load while keeping your mat at home. Feel free to bring a boppy or bouncy seat-especially if your baby has reflux and prefers to be upright. 

5)Exercising with baby:

The mamalates method is designed with the mama's needs in mind. Although usually about 30% of the class is structured for direct  interaction with baby, this class is for YOU. Find out a little more about the class format and if that feels comfortable to you. Even if you are not holding your baby or making constant eye contact throughout the entire class, your baby is watching you move, listening to your breath- maybe getting gently bounced on a ball by the instructor. All of these experiences have benefits  to your baby. Some  women may  choose to leave baby at home so they can really focus on the moves- ask if that is ok.

6) No Judgment!

Bottle feeding or breastfeeding? Cloth, disposable or gDiapers? Home birth, hospital birth or birth center,  we all have our own style and reasons. The class should be about replenishing, exerting and filling up and everyone should feel comfortable with their choices and welcome other's.

7) Instructor:

Does the instructor specialize in pre/post fitness? How long has she been teaching and does she have personal experience with birth recovery? Take a few minutes to find out- maybe visit her FB page to get a feel and it will ensure a better fit!

8)Toys/ mirrors/ stimulate:

Are there mirrors on the wall? A fan on the ceiling? Spiky balls to hold?  If so, snag the spot where your baby can appreciate these stimulating options and distractions- especially if they are a little older.

9) Swaddle:

Do not underestimate the power of the swaddle. You may not swaddle at home and are able to hold your baby all day. But, at an exercise class, wrap that baby tight, put the baby down while still making her feel cozy with the pressure of mamas arms and you will be able to sneak in a little more movement. You can learn more about different swaddle techniques at 7 Swaddles Sleep Solution and it may be just what they need to calm in a class with other babies and noises.

10) Resources:

Getting to an exercise class is just a piece of scheduling in a workout with baby. Take this opportunity to meet new moms, gather resources on local support groups like Baby Blues Connection or body workers that may be able to help you navigate tongue tie, latch issues or reflux. Go for tea or lunch after class with other moms- you may need to be the one to initiate it but you'd be pleasantly surprised at how many mama's appreciate the camaraderie of other women while caring for a little one.


Wendy Foster specializes in pre/ post fitness and is the  owner of the mamalates method for birth recovery.

She has been teaching mom + baby classes for over 10 years in Portland,OR.