Category Archives: Classes


Should you exercise while pregnant?

Women with uncomplicated pregnancies should be encouraged to engage in aerobic and strength-conditioning exercises before, during, and after pregnancy. Regular physical activity helps with weight management, reduces the risk of gestational diabetes in obese women, and enhances psychological well-being.  An exercise program that leads to an eventual goal of moderate-intensity exercise for at least 20–30 minutes per day on most or all days of the week should be developed and adjusted as medically indicated.

Here at Milltown Physiotherapy we offer ante and post natal Pilates classes for women from 16 weeks pregnant and from 6-8 weeks post natal. Women can enjoy Pilates in comfort and safety, knowing they are exercising correctly under the care of a Chartered Physiotherapist with experience in Women’s Health. Click here for further information on our classes



  • Swimming, walking, modified Yoga, stationary bike and low impact aerobics are all safe exercises in pregnancy. Some Yoga positions should be avoided later in pregnancy. Avoid Hot Yoga.
  • If you were lifting weights before you got pregnant, keep going as long as you go easy. Avoid heavy weights or routines where you have to lie flat on your back.
  • High intensity sports: If you regularly run or play tennis, you don’t need to stop. As you get closer to your due date, run on flat, groomed surfaces to reduce impact and avoid falls.
  • Risky Sports are the contact sports such as basketball, hockey, and soccer and activities that increase your risk of falling, such as off road cycling, roller-skating, downhill skiing, and horseback riding.


In consultation with your doctor running, jogging, racquet sports and strength training may be safe for pregnant women who participated in these activities regularly before pregnancy (ACOG 2015).


Engage your core i.e. your abdominals pelvic floor with impact or you might leak, get pelvic girdle pain or low back pain. If you are not sure how to do this find a Chartered Physiotherapist in your area.


When to slow down: As long as you can talk comfortably and aren’t short of breath while exercising, you’re moving at a good pace. Don’t exert yourself to the point of heavy sweating. Drink plenty of fluids. If you have any of the following symptoms, stop exercising and call your doctor right away:

  • Contractions
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Calf pain or swelling
  • Less movement by the baby
  • Headache
  • Muscle weakness
  • Fluid leaking from the vagina
  • Vaginal bleeding


The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Womens’s Health Care Physicians Number 650 • December 2015



Perineal Massage & Pelvic Floor Preparation

Antenatal digital perineal massage reduces the likelihood of perineal trauma (mainly episiotomies) and the reporting of ongoing perineal pain. Women should be made aware of the likely benefit of perineal massage and provided with information on how to massage (Beckmann & Stock 2013).

This is based on a review including four studies (2497 women) comparing digital perineal massage with control. Antenatal digital perineal massage was associated with an overall reduction in the incidence of trauma requiring suturing and women practicing perineal massage were less likely to have an episiotomy. These findings were significant for women without previous vaginal birth only.

No differences were seen in the incidence of first- or second-degree perineal tears or third- or fourth-degree perineal trauma. There was a reduction in the incidence of pain at three months postpartum in women who had previously given birth vaginally. No significant differences were observed in the incidence of instrumental deliveries, sexual satisfaction, or any type of incontinence for women who practiced perineal massage compared with those who did not massage.

The basic perineal massage technique is the woman or partner performs daily 5-10 minute perineal massage from 34 weeks. One to two fingers are introduced 3-4 cm in vagina, applying alternating downward and sideward pressure using sweet almond oil (Labreque 1994). Other descriptions are to perform massage for 4 minutes 3-4 times per week from 34 weeks, 5cms into the vagina and sweeping downward from 3 o clock to 9 o clock (Shipman 1997).

The Epi-No® has been designed to assist women with antenatal perineal release and it is recommended to use it from 37 weeks. It is recommended to insert the balloon 2/3rds into the vagina and to contract and relax the muscles against the balloon, which provides resistance. It should then slowly be inflated to the point of stretching and comfort each day and the muscles are stretched more. After the stretching phase the pelvic floor muscles are relaxed to allow the inflated balloon to be gently expelled from the vagina. A randomized controlled trial on this product showed that antenatal use of the Epi-No® device is unlikely to be clinically beneficial in the prevention of intrapartum levator ani damage or anal sphincter and perineal trauma as diagnosed with ultrasound imaging (Atan et al. 2016).

It has been shown that almost 60% of women who have never given birth report some pelvic floor symptoms (Durnea et al 2014) and clinically it can be observed that many women present with high tone and sometimes painful pelvic floor at this stage. At we teach breathing release for the pelvic floor from 34 weeks gestation and gradually increase to include perineal massage, connective tissue manipulation of the external perineum and extend to manual therapy of the deep pelvic floor muscles. We recommend 3-4 sessions as needed with a chartered physiotherapist with a special interest in women’s health depending on the resting position and tension of the pelvic floor. We teach a home exercise program for daily practice.


Call us now for Ante & Postnatal Pilates Classes

Pictured here is our physiotherapist Elaine with a few of the younger members of her popular Postnatal pilates class! Elaine has a special interest in women’s health and a wealth of experience in women’s health conditions.

Are you pregnant or have just given birth? To be eligible to join the ante natal class you must be at least 16 weeks pregnant and 6-8 weeks following delivery for the postnatal class.

All ante and postnatal Pilates classes are led by Chartered Physiotherapists who are experienced in the rehabilitation of women’s health conditions such as pelvic girdle pain and pelvic floor dysfunction.

Functional Fitness

Congratulations to our prize winner as part of World Physical Therapy Day

Congratulations to Rebekka Fischer who won a free six week Functional Fitness class here in Milltown Physiotherapy as part of our World Physical Therapy Day promotion World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT)
Functional Fitness classes are for men and women of all levels of fitness needing to improve function where strength, balance and endurance have been lost. Classes are tailored to suit the needs of the client as the class is carried out in stations. This is a 45 minute class.
Call our reception for further information

Tara Murtagh

Welcome to the clinic – Tara

We are delighted to welcome Tara Murtagh to the clinic due to increasing demand. Tara has a wealth of experience, and also expert post graduate training in Pelvic Floor rehab and continence.

Tara is passionate about treating prenatal and post natal musculoskeletal conditions, pelvic floor and continence rehab, clinical Pilates, dry needling as well as exercise prescription and rehabilitation.
Welcome on board Tara!

Welcome to the clinic – Helen and Louise

Milltown is delighted to announce due to increased patient demand two new physiotherapists for the clinic. Dr. Helen French joins us part time as she combines her role as a Senior Lecturer in the Royal College of Surgeons with some clinical work. We are delighted to be able to tap into some incredible experience and knowledge of cutting edge research.

We are also very happy that Louise Blackburn has agreed to join our team here in Milltown Physiotherapy. Louise (pictured) has extensive experience working in private practice in New Zealand. She has a masters in acupuncture, and specialises in orthopaedics, sport and spinal injuries.

We also say goodbye to  Niamh Dillon, who now takes up a teaching post in St. Vincent’s. While her clinical work ends, she has agreed to stay to continue to teach her very popular pilates evening classes. Good luck with the new job Niamh!

Exercising as you age – reduce falls risk and improve independence!

Muscle maintain

A great picture showing the difference between someone who exercises regularly and a sedentary person.

Research has shown that by staying active and exercising as you get older you can maintain muscle mass.

As you age, exercise helps protects your bones, joints and muscles. It also reduces risk of falling, increases independence. Studies have also found it can boost memory and help prevent dementia.

If you are unsure as to how you can begin an exercise program, there are a lot of gyms that provide pay as you go service that can advise you.

Also if you are a bit older and feeling apprehensive about exercise. Older In Ireland is a good organisation that helps people become more active.

As ever if you haven’t exercised for some time and you have health concerns, you may want to talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine


Back To Work Workshop – Helping New Mums Figure Stuff Out

Mum with baby on knee


Are you going back to work soon or have recently gone back to work after your maternity leave?

Some people find themselves dreading it. Some look forward to getting their brain back in action, getting dressed up and being able to take a coffee or lunch in peace. Many are a combination of both with a bit of self-doubt thrown in…

Can I still do my job? (Yes, you can) Will I be able to manage? (Yes, you will).

Adding in a spoonful of working mum guilt, a cup full of added responsibilities and a pot full of the juggling ahead makes it a challenging time. But by actively managing that transition back to work and being clear about your priorities – at work and at home – you can set yourself up to succeed in this new phase.

If you think that you could benefit from taking some time out to work through some of these thoughts and emotions, join us for our next workshop run by Dearbhalla Baviera, Executive Coach with a focus on Women in Business, on Saturday June 13th in Milltown Physiotherapy where we will help you:-

  • Get in the right and positive mindset to ramp up effectively when you get back to work
  • Clarify your objectives for the next 12-18 months at work and at home/in your life
  • Own your personal brand which is an important part of managing this transition
  • Prepare for any difficult conversations that you might need to have to help you set yourself up to succeed
  • Own this transition back to work as a working mum. It’s your career and your choices

Other themes that come up throughout the workshop include confidence, working mum guilt, assertiveness, and resilience – all key parts of navigating our career as successful women.

This workshop is an opportunity to learn, reflect, share experiences with like-minded women in similar situations. It always helps to know that you are not the only one in your situation.

The half day programme is run as a coaching style workshop – through listening, discussion and personal exercises which give you space to think on a personal level, you will walk away feeling energised, inspired and motivated to put in place the things that you can do to set yourself up to succeed.

Dearbhalla Baviera has been there. She went back to work as a Management Consultant after her first baby. She had time out at home after baby two during an international move and now after babies three and four (together!) she has set up her own business, Clearbird, as an Executive Coach and Consultant where her main focus is helping women in business to figure stuff out. This means navigating and succeeding from the mid career phase and beyond.


For more information and to book or check out


Next workshop will be held on

Date and time: June 13th 2015 from 12:00-17:00 in Milltown Physiotherapy Pilates Studio

Cost: €175 euro per person.

Workshop plus 1:1 coaching package available on request.

Some lovely ladies who have attended this workshop previously have said…

“I wish I had done this type of workshop before I went back to work after my first baby”

“Really interesting topics that made me stop and think about my priorities and where to focus my energies”

“I feel really motivated to take my career up a gear”

“Very inspiring. Had me thinking about where I want to be in a year and in 20!”



Pilates at Milltown Physiotherapy

A nice informative account on pilates by our chartered physiotherapist and pilates instructor Gráinne Wall.

“Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness. In order to achieve happiness it is important to gain mastery of your body” Joseph Pilates.

The Pilates method of exercise originally designed in the early 1900’s by Joseph Pilates still remains at the forefront of the exercise and rehabilitation industry today. Pilates is a whole body workout that is based on the principles of breathing, centering, control, precision and concentration. Joseph Pilates often called the abdominals, lower back muscles and buttocks the “powerhouse” of your body, where strength and stamina are built to prevent injury.

Pilates has been popular for decades in the dance industry and has grown in popularity due to the unique approach to mind-body awareness and extensive research promoting its benefits in treating back pain, a safe method of exercising during pregnancy, and also assist in postnatal recovery.

What can you expect to achieve from doing Pilates?


The spine supports the majority of your body weight and is under daily stress and strain spending hours sitting at a desk during the day or on the couch at night. During your Pilates class, the correct breathing technique will be taught to enhance your abdominal workout, improve circulation and enhance your flexibility.

Pilates will improve your balance, co-ordination of movement, body positioning and spatial awareness whilst also increasing strength which corrects postural faults and improves stamina.

Studies have shown the effectiveness of a few weekly Pilates sessions as helping to significantly reduce lower back pain (Patti et al 2015). Pilates exercises train the “core muscles” which decrease compression around the spinal joints and alter the tilt of the pelvis to a more neutral position. Much attention is paid to the legs, thighs, buttocks and spine and focus on developing good postural habits and relieves low back pain, a condition up to 80% of the population will be affected by at some point in their life.

Pilates during pregnancy


Exercises are also geared toward strengthening the pelvic floor muscles. When you are pregnant, muscles begin to stretch as the pelvis widens to support the added weight of the baby. In Pilates, we work on strengthening this area throughout pregnancy. Building a strong base of support will relieve your body from everyday aches and pains. The arms, legs and back are also worked extensively to prepare for labour and carrying a baby!
The benefits of Pilates are however not only physical. It assists with stress relief, has been proven to have a positive effect in treating depression, and helps clear the mind for optimal well being! It can be beneficial to everyone, regardless of age or ability!



Patti, Antonino, et al. “Effects of Pilates Exercise Programs in People With Chronic Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review.” Medicine 94.4 (2015): e383.

Rydeard, Rochenda, Andrew Leger, and Drew Smith. “Pilates-based therapeutic exercise: effect on subjects with nonspecific chronic low back pain and functional disability: a randomized controlled trial.” Journal of orthopaedic & sports physical therapy 36.7 (2006): 472-484.

Mokhtari, Mahyar, Maryam Nezakatalhossaini, and Fahimeh Esfarjani. “The effect of 12-week pilates exercises on depression and balance associated with falling in the elderly.” Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences 70 (2013): 1714-1723.

Van Middelkoop, Marienke, et al. “A systematic review on the effectiveness of physical and rehabilitation interventions for chronic non-specific low back pain.” European Spine Journal 20.1 (2011): 19-39.