All-round lovely human and owner of Boutique Pilates Bath, Laura, points out the benefits of postnatal pilates….

There’s this overwhelming feeling and ‘holy sugar butties’ moment when you look at your freshly made human that you’ve just brought into this world and you realise this tiny person is entirely dependent on you for everything. You wonder how you’re going to cope with it all and I certainly can’t recall exercise being my first priority when I got home from the hospital.

Whilst some new mums are ready to begin exercise after their six weeks check up others take a little longer and (certainly longer if you have had a caesarean) before you embark on type of training you must get medical clearance before attending any exercise class in all cases.

If you’re a new mum and that time arrives and you’re ready to move towards structured exercise again, here are some reasons why Postnatal Pilates maybe be a good starting place.

STRENGTHEN YOUR PELVIC FLOOR

Your pelvic floor muscles basically stop you from peeing yourself when you laugh, cough or sneeze and jump (so kind of important) they have been put under a fair amount of pressure during pregnancy and childbirth and Pilates is a great way to reconnect with and strengthen your pelvic floor to tackle these issues.

 Learning to engage these muscles can be a little tricky as most women I’ve worked with tend to recruit their abdominal and buttocks instead of their pelvic floor muscles, thus working on engaging your pelvic floor with a trained postnatal Pilates teacher like myself can help ensure you aren’t wasting your time on exercises that aren’t hitting the right spot, it’s important to get everything ‘downstairs’ back to functioning properly avoiding any little accidents.

 IMPROVE DIASTASIS RECTI

During pregnancy your tummy muscles stretch and basically separate to allow for your baby to grow, after you’ve given birth it is quite common and normal for that separation to still be present and that’s what we refer to as Diastasis Recti. It’s important however to understand how you can check for this gap yourself and help these muscles knit back together without aggravating the separation further.

If these muscles are overstretched they can leave you a little weak in your centre, and vulnerable to things like back pain, some traditional abdominal exercise like sit ups, abdominal crunches and planks should be avoided as these add too much internal pressure and the area can become weaker for it.

Pilates breathing technique and specific Pilates exercises can help to safely encourage the muscles to draw back together getting you back to full strength quickly.

PREVENT BACK PAIN

There are a lot of changes happening to your body and rapidly and this can often affect your posture and core strength. Pilates helps to address this imbalance by working on areas that are weak and stiff.

Caring for your new baby often means spending lots of time either sitting, standing poorly, leaning over, carrying them about (particularly if you carry them on one side) – these things can all contribute to poor posture and likely lead to back pain.

Pilates exercises will help you become aware of your body and how you hold yourself and importantly how you move towards regaining your core stability and strength to help protect your back from pain.

FEELING STRONG

Looking after a baby is physically demanding, especially as they continue to grow into toddlers, your strength needs to grow too.

Pilates is a strength and conditioning workout, whilst it’s brilliant for rehab and encouraging your body to mobilise and stabilise it’s excellent at building a strong foundation. Childcare is also tiring so being strong ensures that your body is more efficient and able to perform everyday activities with less effort.

BUILDING FRIENDSHIPS & SELF ESTEEM

Postnatal Pilates is a way to help you reconnect with your body and rediscover yourself again. Your body has changed so much and it can be overwhelming not knowing how best to care for yourself whilst you care for this new human in your life. You will meet other mums in a similar position to you in a supportive and none judgemental environment.

It’s important that you give yourself time to recover and Pilates helps aid recovery, you will need to recharge yourself mentally as well as physically and if motherhood is feeling a little lonely help build lasting relationships with other new mums who perhaps need another mummy partner in crime.

I hope Pilates can help you through the postnatal period and if you would like to find out more about the classes I teach and how I can support you please head over to my website to read more.

I run specific Baby & Me Pilates classes where you bring your baby to class with you, Bump To Baby, which is a Prenatal & Postnatal class and general Dynamic Pilates classes. I am also available for private sessions, and for hire by small groups – so if you have a group of friends who would prefer a semi private session please get in get in touch on lauralouisethomas@me.com