Pilates for Pregnancy and Post-Natal Recovery

Pilates can prepare your body as it transforms during gestation, with the labor process, and for a speedy recovery postpartum. We always recommend starting during the pre-natal phase because with the proper training up front and some modifications you can easily continue the practice well into your third trimester*. Once your baby is born the medical community recommends a six week reprieve before resuming any fitness regimen and we couldn't agree more. Let your body heal properly and then return to your Pilates workouts to begin a healthy post-natal recovery to get your pre-baby body back and build the strength in your upper body that is needed to care for your newborn.
*recommended for 'normal' pregnancies

Benefits of Pilates during Pregnancy

Why does my back ache?

Fitness for PregnancyAs you enter your second and third trimester you'll notice changes to your postural alignment and many muscles will become imbalanced. This imbalance places stress on your lower back, pelvis, hips and feet. Rounding of the shoulders and upper back is often experienced which results in kyphosis that tugs on the neck muscles and pulls your head forward. As your head pulls forward the chest muscles will shorten. Most common complaints of expectant mothers is pain in the lower back. This is because the spine is tightening and a curving of the lower spine (lordosis) sets in. This discomfort continues to increase as the baby grows and the belly expands forward putting even more strain on your lower back. Building your core strength will help maintain your spinal alignment and will alleviate the discomfort often associated with the third trimester.

Why am I waddling?

During your pregnancy your gravity will shift as your body transforms and grows along with the baby impacting both your balance and coordination. Your body will start to release a hormone called relaxin which is needed to prepare your body for the birth. During this time your pelvis will become unstable and this will impact everyday movements like walking, standing up and sleeping as you are resigned to side-lying through the nights and naps. Strengthening your deeper muscles and mild exercises done in correct alignment will ensure you enter this phase in the best possible form to reduce/avoid the waddling.

Congratulations! Baby has arrived!

Once your bundle of joy arrives you will have ample moments for bonding. These moments consist of constant lifting, carrying and holding your baby during feedings and they all require significant upper-body strength as your baby may triple in size in the first year of life. A post-natal Pilates exercise program will help your body recover and it will strengthen the mid and upper back, shoulders and arms. However, it is the learnings you will have acquired about proper alignment during your pre-natal Pilates training that will become most important now.

Benefits of Pilates during Pregnancy

Can anyone participate in a Pilates for Pregnancy program?

If you plan to workout during your pregnancy a note from your doctor will be required. You should ask him/her to periodically examine you for Diastasis Recti, the stretching and separation that often occurs in the rectus abdominis (the flat vertical muscle which extends from the pubis up towards the mid-rib section). While it is quite common it does require some modifications to your workout to avoid exasperating the condition. To check for Diastisis Recti your doctor will ask you lie down and will place his/her two fingers just above your navel as you raise your head to activate the rectus abdominis muscle.

For more information please call 805.496.2929