mamalates blog

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.

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 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 or visit

 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

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 or visit

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

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.




Transitions and the Birth of a Business August 09 2013, 0 Comments

Transitions and the birth of a business.

Phew! This website has been a few months in the making and we are finally ready to launch,  making a few minor tweaks as we wrap it up. Thank you to Elisabeth of invisible ink freelance  for  all your hard work and collaboration on this project.

Since my first son was born over 9 years ago, I have tackled a just a few big work projects and whether  a loooong labor or a short push, it always feels like giving birth all over again. 

First,There was the transition of a full time studio owner to full time mom/ part time studio owner (How is that going to happen?).

Once I resurfaced, there was the mom and baby postpartum workout DVD that we filmed in a weekend and then spent one year editing- now THAT felt like the birth of a child. The build up (production), sliding up and down the creative canal (the editing) then a big push out (designing and manufacturing) to wrapping up the little bundle in a birth recovery kit!

Then, between the juggling of raising kids, being available for my husband, finding time for exercise, friends and self-care, (oh, and teaching pre/post classes all over Portland and selling essential birth recovery products) it felt like lots of shorter labors with a couple of relatively easy pushes.

The next big birth was the mama makeover, a non-profit event that we created to support moms and raise awareness about the birth recovery process. Two years up until midnight, tweaking and refining.

Long transition. Hard labor. BIG baby.

Then the pause while still moving (what just happened?).


I was starting to get the hang of this "birth of a project thing" (or at least familiar with it!) and decided to get a little more intentional, realizing that pauses  and "rest days" were necessary as I was in "this parenting thing" for the long haul and my boys were my #1 priority.

Although opening up a movement studio in SE Portland would seem like another long labor/big baby I stuck with my intentions to create a space and welcome other birth professionals and experts to teach, mindful of not increasing my own class load.

Short transition. Small baby. Good sleeper.

Working with so many moms and hearing their stories, I realized there must be women all over the country (world?) with these same birth recovery needs that lacked all the amazing prenatal and postpartum classes and workshops that Portland offered. The birth recovery movement had begun locally, now we needed to get the word OUT. Solution? An online site that provides tips, tools and resources for women and their postpartum recovery- was born!

Easy conception."Average" transition. Short labor. Eight pound baby.


 Wendy Foster is  a certified Pilates instructor, pre/post fitness specialist and birth recovery expert. She is the creator of the mamalates restorative birth recovery method. She is the mother of 2 boys, having had a c-section and a VBAC. She an outdoor enthusiast and currently obsessed with sensory processing disorder in infants and children and the lack of physical movement in our public schools.

She can be contacted at


Do you have Diastasis? March 14 2013, 0 Comments

Diastasis recti is separation of the rectus abdominus (your “six pack!”). This happens at the linea alba (which is a fibrous band of connective tissue down middle of abdomen between the muscles) and can affect 2/3 of postpartum women.

You may been experiencing this and not even know it!


Diastasis is when the linea alba that runs vertical from your zyphoid process to your pubic bone splits. It can split the entire length or just an inch or 2. The separation is most comonly found around the belly button.


It can happen to anyone but most usually is caused by a big growth spurt during pregnancy. It is more commonly found in small frame women (no room for the baby to go except OUT front) and women who are extremely tight or fit around the core and then become pregnant. It may also be found in women who have undergone a cesarean.

Diastasis is also found in "gym rats" (men and women) who perform hundreds of abdominal crunches improperly.


Your rectus abdominus is a crucial part of your "inner corset." It helps protect your back, plays a big role in posture and alingment and contains your inner organs. If it is compromised, your body starts to overcompensate. Your back does the work your core should be doing. Your shoulders start engaging overtime as well and you can end up with neck discomfort. Having abdominal separation can actaully make you appear to be bloated or 5 lbs heavier than you are. Your abdominals become hard to "reel in" and separation can actally become worse. Problems may not manifest until 2-3 or 10 years down the road, but get a handle on it now.


Ask your doctor or midwife to check you immeditely after baby is born.

  1. Lay on your back with knees bent. One hand behind head, one hand on your xyphoid proccess with fingers going perpendicular to zyphoid (across).
  2. Roll up with your head + shoulders and look down at your feet. Do not engage abdominals.
  3. Slowly, starty to walk your fingers down. Walk them all the way down to your pubic bone. If you feel a divit or a groove where your fingers sink in a bit, then you have diastasis.
  4. It may be wider in some spots and narrower in others.
  5. One to 2 finger width separation is normal immediately postpartum and, can repair on its own .Greater than that, you need extra help


Binding! Splint yourself immediately postpartum. Use a scarf or store bought girdle (like spanks) or purchase a splint. Wrap from your hips up to the top of your ribcage. If your separation is greater than a 2 finger tip width, you need manual support to bring everything back.

  1. Move mindfully. Keep a neutral pelvis and spine while holding and lifting. This includes baby, car seat, emptying dishwasher... DO NOT ALLOW YOUR ABS TO POOCH OUT! Exhale, and draw your belly button towards your spine as you exert yourself.
  2. Log roll out of bed and/or down to the floor to play with baby and children. Use your hand to prevent your abs from bulging by placing it on your belly
  3. Perform specific diastasis recovery exercises and incorporate your pelvic floor as you do so.
  4. NO CRUNCHES or CURLS. Do not do any exercise where you lift your head off the floor or have your knees up att table top. (This can worsen the diastasis.)
  5. Get a prescription for physical therapy if your diastasis recti is 2 1/2 finger width or greater. Demand it from your doctor.
  6. Please check Mamalates for diastasis repair workshop, and our mom+babe workout DVD for a safe workout if you have diastasis

Other resources for diastasis

Local doctors and pyhsical therapists:

Dr. Lara Williams- Every Woman's Health-

Lisa Friedman -Moxie body PT-(503) 239-6199


C-section Recovery Tips March 14 2013, 0 Comments

"After delivering my first child by unplanned cesarean (after a long labor), my body felt foreign. I noticed I was using my shoulders and my back to lift my new baby. Because of the scar tissue and general soreness, my abdominals were unfamiliar and I was in pain. I started to listen to my body, researching which muscles were tight and where I needed to stretch. I knew that although I was anxious to start walking and get exercise, I needed to open up, lengthen and release before I started to build strength. After consulting with doctors, numerous physical therapists, fellow Pilates instructors and most importantly, other moms recovering from c-sections, I created my COREnection class to offer support to others in this process."
—Wendy Foster, creater of My Birth Recovery


  1. Breathe deeply. Use your diaphragm to expel stale, old air and breath fresh, renewed air into your body. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
  2. Ask your doctor what stretches/exercises are safe immediately.
  3. Request a prescription for physical therapy.
  4. Start walking as soon as possible. Begin by walking to the window in your room and then down the hall, slowly adding distance.


  1. Continue to Breathe deeply. Use your diaphragm to expel stale, old air and breath fresh, renewed air into your body. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
  2. Do a hot castor oil compress to draw out toxins and “emotional baggage” from your scar and core area.
  3. If necessary, talk with your baby about your feelings around your labor and delivery. Re-birth with your baby your ideal birth.
  4. Ask for and receive support from others.
  5. Stretch your hamstrings, open up from your shoulders, stretch your spine.


  1. Receive myofascial massage on your scar by a trained therapist.
  2. Exercise. Any exercise is better than no exercise and movement can help elevate mood and bonding with your baby. Start slowly and be patient with yourself.
  3. Get acupuncture to open up energetic blockages, improve circulation and healing and decrease pain.
  4. Have your adrenal and hormone levels checked if you are still feeling tired and foggy, or overwhelmed. Remember that sleep deprivation can impact both your energy level and your mood.
  5. When you feel ready and your baby is weaned, consider doing a cleanse or fast to remove toxins and “emotional constipation.” Always check with your health care provider before cleansing or taking any herbal supplements.

Recommended reading

Silent Knife: Cesarean Prevention and Vaginal Birth after Cesarean (VBAC)
by Nancy Wainer Cohen, Lois J. Estner

Mother Nurture: Mother Depletion Syndrome and More!
by Rick Hanson, Jan Hanson, and Ricki Pollycove

Healing resource for C-section recovery

Nurture Therapeutic Bodyworks: Savannah Mayfield 503.473.4754
Dr. Sarah Ogushi, ND: 503.703.7825
Mississippi Health Center: 503.282.5358
MotherRoots Counseling: 503.287.2295
Womens Healthcare clinic of Oregon: Dr. Brendan Carroll. Strong advocate for VBAC 503-256-1470

Q&A with Lara Williams, MD March 14 2013, 0 Comments

Lara Williams, MD is a board-certified OB/GYN who currently practices with Everywoman's Health in Portland, Oregon. She graduated from Rice University in Houston, Texas and did her residency in OB/GYN at University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico. During that time, she injured her hands. Through Pilates, Aston Patterning and Cranio-Sacral therapy, she was able to completely heal her injuries. She started training as a Pilates instructor through Core Dynamic Pilates and was PMA certified in 2006. She is now studying to be an instructor in both Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis exercise systems. She conducts Pilates workshops in Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation and continues to use Pilates.


Every Woman's Health

"The immediate post-partum period is the culmination of fatigue, sleep deprivation, hormonal changes, muscle and nerve stretch/injury, redistribution of weight, laxiaty of the ligaments, poor nutrition (mainly from being too tired to eat), the art of breastfeeding and complete devotion to a newborn's hourly needs. During that period, finding support for all of those facets of recovery and growth can be challenging and even more difficult because of the added requirement of finding childcare. This is a critical period for a woman to regain strength and balance in both physical and emotional realms and more needs to be done in the way we offer support."
—Dr Lara Williams, on Birth Recovery

Q+A with Dr. Lara Williams


Diastasis recti is defined as a separation of the rectus abdominis muscles (the muscles in the center of the abdomen) into right and left sides. Normally they are joined the middle of the abdomen at the linea alba. During pregnancy, as the uterus continues to grow, the rectus muscles must stretch to accommodate the enlarged uterus. In some cases (a large baby, excess amniotic fluid, twins or other multiples, or just because), the muscles will separate to either side of the abdomen and leave a space between them. This can be felt on exam by your physician or midwife. Sometimes patients will notice a soft bulge in the middle of their abdomen when they try to sit up.


Yes. When the abdominal muscles don’t work in concert with each other then the muscles in your back have to compensate. For example, when you go to lift something like your beautiful child and their car seat and the diaper bag and the toy bag for the other child and your purse which has everything you could possibly need for any emergency, your back muscles have to strain to compensate for your poorly functioning abdominal muscles. Since the back muscles are not made to perform the functions of the abdominal muscles, this can lead to back strain and pain.


A hernia is a defect or weakening in the fascia (the strong layer that separates the inside organs from the stomach muscles). Sometimes this defect allows an organ (such as the intestines) that was previously contained by the fascia to protrude through this layer. A medical examination and either ultrasound or CT scan is needed to distinguish between a hernia and a diastasis recti . An example of a hernia would be an umbilical hernia, where part of the small intestine pushes through a weakening or defect in the fascia in the belly button. It will feel like a soft ball and sometimes can be very painful. This is a common place to get a hernia after a pregnancy or some surgeries.


First, you need to be seen by your medical professional to make sure that this is a diastasis recti and not a ventral (central) or umbilical (around belly button) hernia. There are physical therapists and other fitness experts who specialize in diastasis recti. Surgery may be needed in advanced cases, but most diastasis recti resolve with appropriate exercises. It is important to learn what exercises are good to help resolve your diastasis since some abdominal exercises can actually make it worse.

Welcome to My Birth Recovery! July 28 2012, 0 Comments

We are so happy that you have found us and that you are commited to RECLAIMING YOUR CORE!

We aim to offer the best postpartum/postnatal fitness and birth recovery products, so that you can put yourself back together and create a strong fitness foundation in your possibly unfamiliar, postnatal body. We feel this is just essential for new moms. Whether you are a boot camper or a couch potoato, if you do not have the support and tools you need postpartum, you could be setting yourself up for lifelong postural issues and chronic pain. Just lifting, wearing and caring for your new baby is a workout!

Modifications and a deeper focus on your alignment may be necessary for you before you jump back into your fitness routine.

All of our products are mom-tested and approved. We will be adding to our Mamalates and entire collection regularly—be sure to check back for new items, information and prenatal/postpartum fitness videos.

Thank you!