faq: frequently asked questions


Are the ten sessions transferable to anyone else?

Unfortunately not.

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General questions – all three classes


Holiday Timetable

We are closing from the 18th December 2010 and re-opening on the 11th January 2011, when the timetable will resume to normal.

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How to find us

Classes are held in the Fitness Centre, Physiotherapy Department, Royal Hospital for Women, Barker Street, Randwick NSW 2031, Australia. Please see the hospital’s website for contact information, maps and transport and parking information.

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What to bring to class?

A drink bottle is a good idea. We do have a water fountain in the class.

We supply mats, balls, theraband, rollers and body blades.

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What do I wear?

What do I wear?
Comfortable stretch gear, no shoes required, small towel optional to go over mat.

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Who are the Physiotherapists?

Classes are conducted by physiotherapists with over 20 years experience running classes. They all have extensive experience working with pre and post natal women in Sydney’s leading obstetric hospitals. Having a close working relationship with the midwives and doctors and having provided physiotherapy services in women’s health, both in private practice and in the public health system for over 25 years, we are proudly contracted to provide exercise classes for The Royal Hospital for Women, supported by Sydney’s leading obstetricians.

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How much does it cost?

For either the Pregnancy or the Mother + Baby class: $24.00 per class, $220.00 pre-paid for 10 sessions. 12 months use-by date.
It is possible to “roll over” the pregnancy ten-session to the post natal if any classes are left over.

For the Over-50s or Grandmothers class: $13.00per session, $110.00 pre paid for 10 sessions. 12 months use-by date for 10 sessions

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Can I have a private physiotherapy session?

Yes this is possible, but bear in mind the classes are not only an exercise session, but are loaded with so much information that most do not need one. However if you feel you wish to see one of the physiotherapists for a one hour session on your own
call Jane on 0418 556 840.

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Are there any Health Fund Rebates?

Rebates are applicable with some funds, under the category of group physiotherapy exercise classes. Please make your own enquiry with your particular fund.

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Do I need to book?

Bookings as such, are not needed. Our flexibility caters to your special needs, as life is fairly unpredictable not only in pregnancy, as well after the baby is born and also for those with busy work schedules. All of our classes have an open-house drop-in policy. First timers may want to call to chat to Jane to check for any timetable change or to discuss anything especially that of a medical nature. Call 9327 4294

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Do I need a doctor’s referral?

No, but it is always good to mention to your doctor you are attending classes that are run by experienced physiotherapists. They may wish to liaise or send medical information.

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Can I attend if I am having baby elsewhere at another hospital?

Yes the classes are open to anyone from anywhere.

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Do you run cardio-vascular style exercise classes?

No. The one hour class is needed for the strengthening, toning and flexibility work -a blend of yoga, Pilates and classic physiotherapy. Special needs of pregnancy demand careful instruction and slow, steady strength and stretch is an appropriate exercise form. . With increased body awareness, you will condition muscles and protect joints, so providing you with strength needed for a cardio program of your own choice – eg walking, swimming, etc..

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Does it matter if I am not very fit?

No, not really. However, if you are feeling unfit, today is a good day to start to make some changes. Strength and resilience is required not only in pregnancy as your tummy grows but most importantly for new motherhood and as well for grandmothers or Fitseniors. Being fit makes all the difference to how we use our bodies, not only in class but in the way we live our lives. Fitness is a complex combination of strength, flexibility, reliable balance and self awareness. We need to nurture this to be able to use it as a life skill in terms of how to preserve joints and muscles 247.

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Does preventative health feature as part of your program?

Absolutely yes. Strong muscles, flexible joints, good balance and an awareness of self during any movement is the essence of a finely tuned function body. This is especially important while exercising, Most of us need to learn these skills and needless to say, essential with the dramatic change our bodies go through in the childbearing year. Then with the growth of a young family we need to adapt again, to keep strong, to meet the physical load. Grandparents need this even more in order to age gracefully.

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Is your program based on Pilates or Yoga?

Our classes are a blend of many exercise disciplines associated with the skills of a qualified physiotherapist. Core stability is the essence of Pilates and indeed is the basis of each of our exercises. Yoga is about stretching and strength and we have chosen those postures that are appropriate for those in the classes in the childbearing year and those in the fitseniors classes. Tai chi is about meditation, balance and power. The design of our exercise prescription comes not only from our training in classic physiotherapy but as well from post graduate training in the Alexander technique, Feldenkrais, swiss-ball, yoga , pilates and tai chi. Careful selection and years of experience have given us this fine blend. ( whoops sounds like an ad for good coffee or fine wine!!!)

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Do you teach pelvic floor exercises?

Absolutely yes. You will learn detailed pelvic floor awareness and control from day one. Then, most importantly and from today onwards, how vital it is to contract these muscles not only into every exercise, but integrating them but into every activity of daily living.

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Do you teach correct lifting and care of the spine?

Yes, in every class. Our aim is to train you, equipping you with the means to become responsible for the welfare of your spine in this physically taxing time of your life. Fitseniors need this even more so. You will learn “rescue- remedies” to counteract spine pain but more importantly you will learn about preventing back-pain in the first place.

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If I purchase a “ten pack”, is there a “use-by” date?

No. However they do expire after one year. If you are using them for a pregnancy class you can roll them over to the Mother and Baby class if you have not used them all up by the time your baby is born. If you need an extension on time please speak to Jane

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Is there any parking?

There is the parking station at the Barker Street entrance. However there is parking around the streets of the hospital and access from all the side streets to the entrances of the hospital. Be sure to give yourself ten minutes or less before class to find these outside spots. Parking a Coles in Randwick shopping centre (and walking through from High Street to the Barker Street entrance) together with a purchase from one of the shops in that centre will give you free parking.

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“Pregnancy exercise” questions


Why exercise in the childbearing year?

For pregnancy: Considering the spectrum of pre-pregnancy levels of fitness, some will be wanting to maintain high levels of fitness throughout the nine months, indeed some may be looking to improve. As your baby grows and your body changes you need to learn how to adapt with safety, learning strategies to manage those wonderful changes pregnancy brings. Yes getting bigger every day is a good thing! This means your previous exercise of choice may need to be adapted. We tailor our classes to varying levels of fitness, extending those who need it and modifying the program for others needing to improve.

For labour: Frequent position changes and being up and about and walking around for the duration of your labour requires strength and endurance. Degrees of pain relief can be achieved with movement learned in class . Yes like all other times in life, it helps to be fit.

For new motherhood: The persistent bending and lifting that comes with motherhood requires core stability, strong legs and strong backs. Needless to say following birth, tummy muscles and pelvic floor muscles need urgent attention. Most importantly we aim to integrate the exercises we teach, the use of your core, the protection of your back into how you use your body during activities of daily living, your real world,.

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How do I deal with Back Pain in pregnancy?

Back pain in pregnancy is almost “a given”. You are fortunate indeed if you have none. Back pain is often confused with sciatica. A small percentage of women have spine pain but the symptoms are mostly not from the real sciatica that originates in the spine and is probably pelvic pain originating from your loosening pelvis.
At the class you will learn to differentiate the causes of spine pain as compared to pelvic pain, what movements you can or cannot do, how to remedy the problem and most important how to minimize or prevent it in the first place. Self managed relief is our aim.

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What are the common pregnancy discomforts dealt with in your class?

They are:
• Sacro-iliac pain
• Pubic symphysis pain
• Coccyx pain
• Round ligament pain
• Rib-cage pain or discomfort
• Separation of tummy muscles or rectus separation
• Dealing with dizziness or light-headedness in exercise
• urinary incontinence in pregnancy
• prolapse in pregnancy
• carpal tunnel syndrome or painful hands-pins and needles in the hands

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When can I start or stop exercising in pregnancy?

Start from 12 weeks and exercise to the day you go into labour. Learn to monitor your well-being and there will be good days and uncomfortable days. Come when you wish.

Remember the fitness levels achieved in the 9 months are a great start for feeling fit in the early sleep-deprived days with a newborn.

Should any complications arise within the 9 months consult with your medical team and they will guide you when to come or not to come.

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How often should I attend pregnancy exercise class?

In the perfect world it would be great to do 3 classes a week. However, this is not possible for everyone be it for economic, time constraint or other reasons. Attending class once or twice a week especially at the beginning is advised. Interestingly enough, those able to come 2-3 times a week often report that when they miss coming to class for a week or two, they notice increased stiffness , perhaps some loss of strength. Even if you cannot come to class, try do those exercises you remember, from class, alone at home. It is fine to do 5 or 6 of the ones you can remember than not do any at all. My book Powering through Pregnancy or Pregnancy exercise DVD can be useful as a guide.

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Is it safe for me to exercise in pregnancy?

Absolutely yes. Pregnancy brings high physical demands on your body and physical fitness is invaluable. However, if you are unsure or have any medical concerns first check with your doctor. In Australia, women receive excellent pre-natal care from doctors and clinics. If you have any pregnancy related medical problems or medical conditions of any kind, first check with your doctor if you can attend classes. Then call to relay this information to Jane before starting.

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Can I attend the classes if I have gestational diabetes?

Yes very much so. You need to keep up your exercise if you have gestational diabetes. We are there to guide you with any questions so please call Jane on 0418 556 840 or just come along.

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When is it too late to start pregnancy exercise?

It is never too late. Starting at 12 weeks is the optimal time when you enter the second trimester and begin to feel normal again. As pregnancy develops, you adapt with those body changes. So starting later than 12 weeks into your pregnancy has its challenges but it is always “better late than never!”

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Can toddlers attend the classes with mum?

Yes of course. Please call to chat to Jane before you come with your toddler. You know your child and they need to be reasonably quiet for the 60 minutes. They can play with toys, have their own big ball and mat, just see how it goes. You know if your child has the ability to do this and if it does not work out we will both know!! And then the second invitation won’t come!!

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“Mother and Baby exercise” class questions


When can I start exercising after the birth?

On day one, following a vaginal delivery. You will be seen by hospital physiotherapy staff on day one and then once home you can come as soon as you please. The hardest thing about post delivery exercise is finding the time and getting out of the house. If you are finding this too much of an ask, there is the post natal Mother and baby exercise DVD that you can purchase on-line.
Pelvic pain in rare instances may persist for weeks, often months following birth. If this is you, you will have all explained at class, in terms of how to prevent the problem getting worse and then some strategies on how to help, hopefully leaving you feeling more in control; of your symptoms.

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When can I exercise after a caesarean section?

Wait for at least 2-3 weeks and then come as soon as you wish. In class, be guided by your own pain levels and you will be carefully supervised with each exercise by the physiotherapists. Call Jane to discuss this if you are not sure.
Some doctors advise a 6 week wait. I believe you need to get back on track ASAP. From day one after a caesarean you are obliged to lift, carry and be a new mum, you need to restore strength, learn to preserve your back..

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What do I do with the baby at the classes?

Baby can be in a variety of spots, on the mat next to you, stay in the pram, capsule, in the bouncy or bean bag. Once they are a few months old a good option is to let them join the communal baby mat in the centre of the room, From here they become absorbed in the activity within the room, often fascinated by the presence of other babies around them. Sitting them in the bean bag in front of a mirror is an old fashioned favourite as they begin to notice their own image.

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What if my baby cries during class?

Arrive in time to feed baby before a class to eliminate hunger as a reason for baby crying. Bean bags are available for baby to lie in, but always and only under supervision. Toys and the distraction of the activity of the class help settle a crying baby too. Baby crying (as its settling strategy)is also fine and does not disturb anyone. You may stop to feed baby at any time but if baby continues to be unsettled we will assist and try to help settle the baby. Every mum in the room is in the “same boat,” each baby has its turn, it’s good days and bad days, so do not worry “what if my baby cries.”

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How long can I continue attending Mother + Baby Exercise Class?

There are no cut off times. We have second time rounders coming with toddler and newborn. Once your baby becomes mobile they need more supervision, affecting you and no one else. You will find there are a few other babies who are mobile and crawling around. There are no upper limits to the age of your baby in this class. We have up to 18month old toddlers come with first time mums and as well siblings of the new baby.

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Why is it called the mother and baby class?

We incorporate some exercises to be done separately with baby. These are specifically for baby, designed with the intension that baby benefits from tummy time positions, helping baby reach normal milestones a touch sooner. As well, these few exercises with baby are useful as a great distraction for babies if they are momentarily unsettled and should be used at these times at home. There is no doubt in my mind that they make a baby more capable learning head control and sitting, giving new mums confidence in handling a newborn. For the rest of the time during the course of the class you have baby next to you on the mat or baby could join the others on the play mat in the centre of the room.

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How soon can baby have tummy time?

From day one, under your supervision. Babies love being on their tummy but it is advised not for sleeping as directed by the SIDS prevention protocol. However supervised tummy time needs to be extended daily within baby’s tolerance. Tummy time helps baby gain head control, the pre-requisite to baby achieving all the natural milestones of development.

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Can I interrupt my class to feed baby during a class?

Absolutely. The class goes for a full hour so taking a few minutes out of the class to feed is fine.

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Can I bring my mum\partner\friend\ to class?.

Of course. They can be there to help you with baby and if all is quiet with your baby, they are invited to join in and exercise

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“Fitseniors” questions


Can I attend classes – I have chronic back pain?

Certainly, yes, if you have chronic back pain. We will try to diagnose the cause of your on-going pain and then teach you appropriate exercises to remedy it. We then teach self help techniques. The essence of spine care is to keep flexible and strong, using core strength which learned in our classes. We will work together and if you do not feel any benefit we will refer you on to other professionals.

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Am I too old to be in the class?

We have 80 year olds in our Fitseniors classes, with everyone being at their own level of fitness. The ages of women in the class vary from 50 to 82. You can chat to the others in the class and discover that everyone felt the same way as you do when they first attended.We hope that you will be inspired by the ability of those who have attended for years and you will soon know if the class is not for you. You will be carefully supervised when you first attend and in no time at all your flexibility, balance and strength, in other words your fitness levels, will improve.

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I have never exercised before. Can I still attend?

Everyone presents with their own baseline level of fitness and we go from there. Take one day at a time. We modify exercises for those who need it, for those having any difficulty. It may take a while but sooner than you think you will notice your confidence and ability begins to improve. Chat to the others at the class, they were in the same boat!

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Can I exercise after surgery?

Yes indeed. You need to have your doctors permission in some cases but as long as you are about 6 weeks post surgery it should be fine. We have women attending who have recovered from hip replacements, double knee replacements and many other forms of abdominal or orthopaedic surgery. We have women in our classes who have had cancer in some form. Call to talk to Jane first and she will guide you as to what is appropriate.

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Can I do anything to improve my balance?

Of course you can. We do balance training with every class. Ask yourself when you last tested your balance. The answer is mostly – don’t know. So let today be the first day to try to turn this around, to begin to restore confident balance.

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I know I am very stiff. Can I restore my flexibility?

One day at a time. Yes you will do so by stretching carefully, consistently and with respect to your levels of pain or discomfort. Constant gentle repetition of safe movement will get you there.

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My pelvic floor control is getting worse as I age. Can I do something about that?

You will learn detailed instructions on how to contract and strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. Core stability training is the basis of pelvic floor strength, control and awareness. This is the essence of our class.

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