Pre and Post-Natal Pilates

Today I want to share with you the benefits of Pilates Plus exercises before, during and after pregnancy. Pilates Plus integrates specialist physiotherapy knowledge with the Pilates method. For our pre and post-natal clients, we focus on preventing or treating common problems experienced during the different stages of pregnancy, while also taking into consideration each individual’s underlying musculoskeletal condition.

Pre-Natal Women

During the journey of pregnancy, the body undergoes many transformations besides weight gain and an expanding belly. While exercise during pregnancy is encouraged, it is important to do exercises that are appropriate for you both during and after your pregnancy so that you are in an optimal condition to care for your baby.

One of the most common complaints during pregnancy is low back pain. While there are a multitude of causes, sometimes the extra load of the growing baby to the lower back is too stressful and pain may result.

There are natural changes in the posture of the spine and pelvis through-out pregnancy: an increased arch in the lower back (lordosis), a forward tilt of the pelvis and your shoulders and head tend to move forward. Our focus is to minimise these changes by teaching you how to activate your supporting muscles and relax any overactive or tight muscles, thereby relieving some of the extra stress.

The Pilates Plus exercise program is modified according to the different stages of pregnancy. For example, during the third trimester, the focus will be on preparing your body for childbirth and caring for a new-born.

The exercises focus on:

  • Maintaining a balance of mobility and stability of the spine, pelvis and hips
  • Appropriate pelvic floor recruitment
  • Breathing and relaxation
  • Upper body strengthening exercises
  • Ergonomic adjustments to home and work setups
  • Postural education for breastfeeding, lifting, carrying and bathing the baby

Post-Natal Women

During the post-natal stage, the exercises Pilates Plus design for you will focus on supporting and restoring your body back to “before baby”. This may include realigning the pelvis and spine, strengthening the pelvic floor, mobilising stiff joints or stabilising loose joints.  Apart from restoring the body following childbirth, Pilates Plus will also incorporate exercises to assist your return to work, as well as a gradual return to your usual sporting activities.

The exercises will also be modified according to the type of birth you have experienced, as special considerations will be needed if you have undergone a Caesarean. We always assess for an important and often neglected condition called Diastasis Recti. This occurs when the fascia (connective tissue) centrally connecting the two sides of the Rectus Abdominus muscle (also known as your “six-pack” muscle) is stretched. It is extremely important that this is assessed and treated correctly.

Pilates Plus designs simple, gentle, effective and specific exercises for every individual – not everyone has the same pregnancy journey.

Leave a reply