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Bellies Inc

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The story

Bellies Inc was founded in 2010 by Kim Vopni, Julia Di Paolo and Samantha Montpetit-Huynh. Three strong, smart and incredible women who between them have the most impressive list of qualifications we’ve ever seen.

Working with pre- and postnatal women, Kim, Julia and Samantha were all searching for more effective and innovative ways to help them achieve core health and wellness in pregnancy and after.

And all three of them are mothers! So they know exactly what it takes to confidently recover from pregnancy and childbirth. 

“We are passionate about bringing the traditional practice of mother roasting to the western world. With the right information, women can better prepare, recover and restore from pregnancy and birth. Knowledge is power and when women are informed, they birth with power and confidence and they welcome support as they heal. We are honoured to play a role in a woman's journey to motherhood"- Kim
Samantha Montpetit-Huynh, Kim Vopni and Julia Di Paolo

As a personal trainer specialising in pre- and postnatal fitness, Kim was witnessing the correlation between diastasis recti abdominis (DRA) and pelvic floor dysfunction first hand. Through extensive product testing and specialised training  Kim created the Prepare To Push™ program for expectant Mums in 2009. And not long after she met Samantha and the two began to share strategies and explore ways to reach more women who could benefit from the program.

Samantha, also a certified pre- and postnatal exercise specialist created the successful ‘ab rehab’ program for the treatment of DRA which has helped hundreds of clients. Recognising a void in the availability of good quality information and products related to DRA, Samantha and Kim began researching abdominal support garments and treatment strategies, which eventually connected them to pelvic floor physiotherapist, Julia Di Paolo.

Julia’s extensive knowledge of spinal health, DRA and pelvic floor function makes her one of the most sought after physiotherapists for pelvic health and recovery in Toronto. After meeting with Samantha and Kim and realising their shared passions, a plan was hatched and Bellies Inc was born.

“Our passion is pelvic health and the abdomen as it relates to pregnancy and birth and we have been known to cause jaws to drop (in a good way)”

 

These three dynamos have dedicated their work at Bellies Inc to abolishing diastasis rectus abdominis (DRA) and restoring form and function to the abdominal wall in pregnant women and new Mamas. And drawing on their personal experiences, professional knowledge and the most current scientific research, they have created the Ab System, an innovative program to help women prepare their core for birth and optimise their postpartum healing.

All three women also remain active in teaching and speaking roles, and continue to develop new products and services to best serve you and make Bellies Inc great!

The owners

Kim Vopni

Personal trainer and mother of two boys, Kim diagnosed herself with diastasis after her second son was 2-years-old and knows first-hand that the strategies in the Ab System really work to restore the core. She holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Western Ontario and a Post Graduate Diploma in Health and Fitness from Simon Fraser University. Her impressive list of other qualifications includes:

  • Restorative Exercise Specialist™
  • Certified Personal Trainer
  • Certified Pre/Post Natal Fitness Consultant
  • Certified Fitness For Fertility Specialist
  • Certified Pilates Instructor
  • Hypopressive Method trainer

Samantha Montpetit-Huynh

Mother of two girls and certified pre- and postnatal exercise specialist, Samantha grew and sold a successful pre/postnatal personal training company. She established herself as an expert in the field and created the ‘ab rehab’ program for the treatment of DRA. Samantha’s rap sheet of qualifications includes:

  • Certified Personal Trainers Network, Certified Personal Trainer
  • Pre & Postnatal Fitness Specialist
  • Tupler Trained for Diastasis Recti
  • Pelvic Floor Pilates Certified Trainer
  • Nutrition & Wellness Specialist
  • Core Level 1 – Resist-A-Ball Core Specialist
  • Fitness Kickboxing Level 1
  • CPR certified

Julia Di Paolo 

Julia is the mother of two boys and is a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist with a special interest in women’s health, spine and sports injuries. She received her physiotherapy degree from the University of Ottawa in 1997. During her own pregnancies she was determined not to lose her core function and successfully avoided getting a diastasis of her abdominal muscles using an exercise program of her own design. 

Julia’s practice currently focuses on preconception, prenatal, intrapartum (labour and delivery), postpartum and all types of pelvic floor dysfunction at any stage of a woman’s life.

Julia is the author of the Labour and Birth Handbook (2016) and co-author of Pregnancy Fitness (2018). She is a guest lecturer for the Physiotherapy program at the University of Toronto, a pelvic floor palpation and prolapse assessment teacher for the Association of Ontario Midwives (AOM), and she is a contributor at Maternal Goddess. Phew! On top of this serious list of experience and credentials she also has certifications in:

  • Mechanical diagnosis and therapy (the McKenzie method)
  • Integrated Systems Model (ISM with Diane Lee and LJ Lee)
  • Hypopressives method
  • Pilates
  • Rost Therapy
  • Labour and Delivery-advanced techniques for labour support
  • Physical Therapy for the Pediatric Pelvic Floor patient
  • Pelvic Neurodynamics
  • Manual Therapy
  • Medical Exercise Therapy

The manufacturing process

Bellies Inc products are manufactured by NT Garments in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada. NT Garments is a family owned company with a small team 15 people who live in the local area, but are originally from South-East Asia, mainly Vietnam.

They use a small batch manufacturing process to maintain the highest quality standards. Every single item is hand inspected before it is packaged and shipped. Bellies Inc has a very small defect rate, less than 1%!

The fabric for Bellies Inc is provided by suppliers in British Columbia, Ontario, China and Taiwan.

Bellies Inc upcycles their scraps and unused fabric with Our Social Fabric, a textile recycling initiative that works to keep textiles out of the landfill and in the hands of creatives in the community.

Colleen from Our Social Fabric 

The global community

Bellies Inc proudly supports Shanti Uganda, an organisation dedicated to improving maternal and infant health throughout Uganda.