A BOURNEMOUTH mum is to step into the boxing ring just nine weeks after giving birth - to her sixth child.

Gemma Ruegg, 34, of Ensbury Park gave birth to baby Trixie in June. She has five other children aged 15, 11, four, three and one, plus two step-children aged 20 and 19.

"I had Trixie on a Sunday and I felt comfortable enough to do a circuits session on the Tuesday," she said. "I slowly increased the pace over the next week and was out running the Monday after. Within two weeks I felt strong enough to start sparring again and increase my work rate, training five days a week."

Prior to having Trixie she trained right through her pregnancy, believing that fitness would help her body recover from the effects of birth, having done likewise with her last three children.

"I took up boxing seven years ago, sort of on my doctor's advice," she said. "I suffered really badly with my mental health, with borderline personality disorder, and I was on a lot of medication. My doctor kept saying: 'join a gym, it will do you a world of good'. I think now he probably meant a Fitness First type gym but I joined a boxing gym instead!

"I felt great and within six months I was able to drop my medication and it changed my life - I had been on medication since I was 15 years old."

Gemma, who is married to her boxing trainer, said her midwife knew about her training and was happy for her to continue.

"She told me I knew what I was doing and to just listen to my body," said Gemma, who now puts her 'easy births' down to her training. "With the first two, the deliveries weren't easy and my recovery was slow, but with the last four I've trained throughout my recovery and the deliveries have got quicker every time," she said.

She believes physical fitness is not just good for a new mum's body but also for her mental health. "Mums are vulnerable after birth and could suffer from post natal depression but I think that working out three times a week for an hour helps keep that at bay, helping us cope better as mums and adjusting to our new lives," she said.

As if her sporting activities weren't enough, Gemma also runs a successful sportswear company called Combat Dollies, which makes fitness apparel especially for women and includes clothing that can be worn during pregnancy.

When asked if she has any advice for women who wish to train during or after their pregnancy Gemma said: "Get the all clear from their GP and take it slowly. Listen to your bodies but don't be afraid to push yourselves."

Gemma's opponent in her first post-baby bout will be seasoned fighter Gemma Marten and they will be battling for the Queensbury Boxing League Regional Welterweight Title in September.