Benefits of Prenatal Pilates for Mum and Baby

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A woman’s body changes quickly and dramatically during pregnancy, As the new life grows inside, the centre of gravity begins to shift forwards setting in motion a series of postural changes. The balance between our abdominal muscles and the muscles around our lumbar spine are what keeps us standing tall, but the extra pressure on the abdomen as the baby grows, stretches the muscles, causing them to weaken. The extra weight in the body twinned with the weakened abdominal muscles results in the over compensation and strain of the lower back muscles, commonly resulting in pain in the lumbar area, especially as you head towards the third trimester.

Although pregnancy is not the time for super strong core work, Pilates is one of the safest and most efficient ways to exercise and strengthen the body, during pregnancy and can help with all the issues this special time can present. Pregnancy Pilates is hugely beneficial to gently and effectively work the abdominals and pelvic floor to keep them strong and flexible so you can support your baby and body during these changes.

The pelvic floor muscles are always hard at work, supporting our reproductive and digestive organs but during pregnancy they have a baby to support as well. That’s a lot of work! Keeping your pelvic floor strong during pregnancy is crucial as not only does it help Mum to carry baby more comfortably, it helps both Mother and baby during labour and birth. Towards the end of pregnancy it is important to release and open the pelvic floor, to help with delivery.

So what does prenatal pilates entail?

As your pregnancy progresses, the hormone relaxin kicks in, softening the ligaments, particularly those around the pelvis, in order to prepare the body for birth. Prenatal Pilates addresses all the areas effected in pregnancy by strengthening and activating the key muscles that stabilise the spine, pelvis and abdomen to help support the weight of the baby, relieve pain in the body and keep the body strong throughout pregnancy. Pregnancy Pilates can really enhance your experience of pregnancy by empowering you and increasing your connection and awareness of the body and your baby. Alongside making you feel physically strong and ready to meet the physical demands of motherhood, it aids postpartum recovery and will help get those muscles back into shape quicker after birth.

The emphasis on the breath encourages relaxation and is an invaluable tool that can help ease some of the discomfort of labour.

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Key areas of focus during a session will be:

  • strengthening the deep abdominal muscles to support the extra weight.

  • working and connecting to the pelvic floor muscles for labour preparation.

  • strengthening, and stabilisation of the muscles supporting the joints and the spine.

  • breath awareness and practice to help you during birth

When can I practice pregnancy pilates?

With a specialist pregnancy teacher in a private session, you can start postnatal Pilates right after birth, however for group classes we recommend the second trimester when your energy levels are increasing, before beginning or resuming a fitness routine.

How does post natal pilates differ?

Returning to exercise after having a baby can be a daunting prospect but the benefits to your physical and mental mental wellbeing are untold. Postnatal exercise has been reported to reduce the likelihood of postnatal depression, however it is important not to rush head first into high impact exercises too soon as you may be vulnerable to injury.

Postnatal Pilates is one of the safest and most effective ways to realign and get back into shape after giving birth. Whether you have had a vaginal or caesarean delivery, a safe Pilates workout is developed to target particular muscle groups problem areas that mothers face after pregnancy. Postnatal Pilates can help by improving core strength and posture, which in turn will help the inner body to work as well as it can.

A Postnatal Pilates sequence will focus on re-establishing the core and pelvic floor connection whilst strengthening and maintaining upper back mobility and arm strength to help with breastfeeding and hours spent holding your new bundle. As well as overall conditioning, postnatal pilates will help to improve posture and reduce any pain and tenderness in the body by gently rebuilding the body’s strength and speeding up the recovery process.

For all post natal clients, a specially tailored and modified Pilates exercise routine will be put in place.

What to expect from your post natal pilates session?

  • Abdominal and pelvic floor exercises to help you reconnect to your core.

  • Upper body focus to help improve posture and support with breastfeeding.

  • Breath awareness to help with stress and ‘New Mum anxiety’

  • Overall conditioning

When can I practice post natal pilates?

For group classes it is usually recommended that you wait six weeks after delivery before beginning to exercise, and eight to twelve weeks if you had a caesarean section. When working one to one with a skilled instructor (like ours are), you can begin a bespoke prenatal pilates programme as soon as your energy levels allow as it will help your body recover. As always, it is important to listen to your body and, if in doubt, seek advice from a health professional before you begin.

Pre and Post Natal Pilates are invaluable practices to help you stay connected to your body during and after pregnancy. Our teachers are highly skilled and compassionate individuals who work with new mums and mums-to-be to ensure clients their pre baby body comes back to it’s full power. Sessions are gentle and supportive during this transitional time but highly effective. Experience the benefits of pilates for you and your baby and book in a session today.