Why you need to try postnatal Pilates this New Year.Published on
It’s that time of year when many of us look towards making positive fitness changes.
Postnatal Pilates, or postpartum Pilates is one of the best forms of exercise for new mums as it not only promotes fitness, it can also help you recover from pregnancy and childbirth.
Let’s find out more…
What’s Postnatal Pilates?
Pilates is designed to train the core muscles - including the deep muscles in your stomach waist, back, pelvic floor muscles, and buttocks. It helps create a good posture and can aid in weight loss.
Specifically, Postnatal Pilates helps you repair and rebuild the muscles that have been weakened in pregnancy and it can ease joint and muscle pain and enable you to regain strength and stamina. Because it is gentle and low-impact, postnatal Pilates offers a very safe way for you to ease back into exercise.
Let’s talk pelvic floor
Your midwife probably discussed the important of exercising the pelvic floor – the muscles that sit in the base of your pelvis and supports your womb, bladder and bowel – in pregnancy.
The pelvic floor muscles often loosen during pregnancy and birth due to hormonal changes in the body and the increased pressure of your growing baby on the pelvic floor. A weakened pelvic floor means you can experience a urine leak when you cough, laugh, sneeze or exercise. Not ideal!
Postnatal Pilates can help to strengthen the pelvic floor by engaging the muscles to improve core strength and stability.
Also known as DRA, diastasis recti is the natural separation of your abdominal muscles during pregnancy to make space for your growing little one. Postpartum, when your hormones return to pre-pregnancy, the muscles should natural come back together. But in some cases, this doesn’t happen, and you may need to do specific exercise to fix the problem. Surgery is rarely performed to fix diastasis recti.
Having a doctor or midwife check for diastasis recti should be a routine part of the 6-week postnatal check-up. Once you’ve been properly assessed, a qualified Pilates instructor can help you recover from DRA with exercises that restore your spine to a neutral position and help you realign your rib cage over your pelvis.
Postnatal Pilates significantly benefits the core muscles. Following pregnancy, a woman’s core muscles can become weakened and stretched. Pilates helps to build your deeper core muscles, as well as the muscles through your side, back, and the top and bottom. Pilates can also prevent back pain.
Mind body connection
After the changes your body endured in pregnancy, Postnatal Pilates can help you reconnect with your body again. The focus on breathing helps relax your mind and the classes are also a good way for you to meet other new mums.
When to start
Always look for a qualified instructor who has experience in postnatal Pilates. Most women choose to wait until after their 6-week GP review before returning to exercise such as Pilates. You can also consult a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist or organise a Mummy MOT assessment, to check things over, and give you more bespoke guidance.
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