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Postnatal Pilates


Exercise is one of the most powerful tools we have in seeking or maintaining good physical and mental health. The urge to get back to where we were pre-pregnancy can be overwhelming; we want to feel great, firing on all cylinders, in order to be the best mum that we can.

Advice regarding what we should and shouldn’t be doing in the post-natal period can be contrasting and confusing. Official guidelines are often criticised for being general, however the variability of experience in pregnancy and birth does make it hard to produce more specific advice to cover all scenarios. Evaluating your experience giving thought to the following areas can help you to be mindful of when and what exercise is appropriate for you to return to:

o The nature of your pregnancy – all pregnancies are different, you may have had minimal symptoms and been able to exercise throughout or you may have had debilitating sickness / pain and had a 9 month struggle on your hands before you even got to the point of labour.

o Labour – the physical and mental effects of labour can vary hugely too. If your birth goes as you had planned and hoped for you will be both physically and mentally in a much different position than if you are dealing with large amounts of physical pain or feelings of shock, disappointment and even failure, or both.

o Feeding – the time an exclusively breastfeeding mother will spend feeding will be significantly more than if you are bottle feeding or combi feeding and have your partner sharing the demands of feeding. It may be that you need longer to take things slower if you are exclusively breastfeeding.

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o Support – having family and friends nearby can lessen the load and give you more time to rest and exercise in itself.

Modified Pilates* can bring so many benefits to post-natal women. Whether you are in the first few months after giving birth or years, even decades, down the line.

Advice can be completely confusing and contrasting around what we should and shouldn’t be doing in the post-natal period.

Pelvic floor exercises

Begin immediately

Low Impact

Walking

Rest

Feeding

Diastasis Recti

It can be a minefield determining first and foremost if you have a diastasis and then which exercises are appropriate if you do or don’t. As an ante and post natally trained Pilates teacher I wasn’t even completely sure if I had a diastatsis or not! After having a baby your body often doesn’t feel like your own so body awareness can take a while to build back up.

In terms of suitable exercises for a diastasis how your body reacts to the exercise should be the main factor in determining if an exercise is diastasis friendly for your body. In our post natal classes we aim to give you the tools to assess yourself throughout different exercises.

The exercises we do in a post natal classes are low impact and we will ensure in our classes that they are appropriate for you with correct form, however if you are experiencing symptoms of incontinence, pain xxx a pilates class is not your first point of call in resolving an issue. Even in the early post-natal period these symptoms are common but not normal. Seeing a women’s health physiotherapist would absolutely your priority. We are lucky to have a great physio here on the Island and I would personally recommend all mum’s to have a post-natal assessment for the long term recovery of your body. While you may feel OK, even good, post baby your body awareness can be hugely impacted by having a baby that it can be so valuable for all mums, irrelevant of the type of pregnancy and birth that you had. The NHS 10 year plan includes all postnatal women seeing a women’s health physio, as is standard in many countries already, which in itself shows the importance of this.

For more information about a postnatal check get in touch with Caroline xxx.

*Traditional pilates would not be a good choice as there are so many movements that would overload your core and pelvic floor. Pilates and Yoga can be excellent choices if the class is suitable and your teacher is post natally trained.

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