Pregnancy can be daunting for any first time mother. The physical changes to your body can cause a lot of stress for some women which is why it is important to embrace the changes going on in your body and to realise that getting uber fit whilst pregnant is not a priority. Rather, it is a time to understand and embrace the changes of whats going within, both mentally and physically, and how to care for your body by engaging in regular exercise and maintaining a balanced, healthy diet.
Having three children myself, Sofia 14, George 8 and Rafferty 4 I know how important it is to exercise whilst pregnant and to maintain this after the birth. Quite often I am asked how I regained my tone, strength and my waist! The answer is simple: Pilates and regular exercise.
For me Pilates is one of the best forms of exercise for the pre and post natal woman. The main benefit of pilates is that it safely targets the exact muscles and functions that can be problematic during pregnancy and after birth. Doing regular pilates will help to strengthen your tummy muscles, which enables your body to cope better with the strains caused by the weight of your growing baby.
The benefits of Pilates Pre Natal:
– Pilates improves your posture. As your body changes during pregnancy, your shoulders can become rounded as your breasts grow heavier. There is also excessive lower back arching as the weight of your baby increases.
– It will improve your core strength, especially the muscles around your pelvis and spine which are so important as your baby develops. This will help you to manage any niggling pregnancy backache and joint pain.
– Pelvic floor exercises are imperative for pregnant women – regular pregnancy Pilates sessions will encourage you to work the pelvic floor throughout the session. Pregnancy Pilates will also teach you how to relax the pelvic floor and how to use it during child birth.
– Pregnancy Pilates exercises will help prepare your body for the rigorous demands of labour. Circulation is improved and keeping the body moving can alleviate swollen ankles and other circulation issues during your pregnancy.
– Learning different breathing and relaxation techniques is a great benefit during the birth of your baby. Not only for the calming effect but also for the use of your breath during childbirth.
– Improving your overall strength and fitness during pregnancy is not only good for you but also good for your baby.
– Regular exercise during pregnancy helps relieve stress and can greatly improve your mood.
– Staying fit during pregnancy encourages you to stay toned and maintain a healthy pregnancy weight gain – which is important for your baby, as well as making it easier to regain your pre-baby shape after your baby is born.
After the birth the post-natal body needs rehabilitation. Although the body recovers naturally to an extent, it needs a little extra helping hand to regain pre-baby strength, tone and posture and to work on the problems encountered during pregnancy.
It is vital to understand that you need to “walk before you can run” (literally) after you’ve had a baby as certain exercises are easily performed incorrectly. The effects of this is:
- Damage to joints and the pelvis
- An increase an abdominal separation (Diastasis)
I have recognised in the past 14 years of training pre and post natal women that the most important, yet sadly neglected, areas of women’s health today is early post partum rehabilitation exercises. Generally, doctors don’t advise which exercises are to be performed and avoided.
I have seen many damaged pelvic floors and abdominal separations over the years post partum. Often women are unaware of the techniques to rehabilitate the body correctly.
It is essential to perform some simple exercises IMMEDIATELY after the birth and after the six week check up. Perform exercises which slowly strengthen and realign the muscles, putting strong emphasis on the core and pelvic floors. This should be done before you can start any rigorous exercise routine… if not you may encounter many problems down the track. (Such as constantly peeing your pants when you sneeze or still looking like you are 4/5 months pregnant a year down the line!)
I believe that Pilates is one of the best forms of exercise you can do whilst you are pregnant and after the birth. Myself and my team endeavour to keep the body strong, pain free and prepared for the birth and after the birth; we work towards a speedy recovery, rehabilitating the areas that were problematic during pregnancy. Once you have passed the recovery period we work with you to make you strong, lean and toned.
PBB offers hospital visits for the basic post partum exercises or home visits before the doctors 6 week check up. We can come to you in the comfort of your own home, either as a one-on-one or teaching small groups. This is is one of the most unstable times for the body. Poor alignment, weak and stretched abdominals and a stretched and traumatised pelvic floor.
My team offer nutritional advice and strongly advise against crash dieting! We encourage healthy eating for steady fat loss (without losing muscle) whilst giving you all the nutrients your body needs for breastfeeding and/or the demands a new baby places on the body. You’ll need all the energy you can get!
If you are expecting or have just become a new mummy, please get in touch with the PBB Team at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us directly on 07713 745065.