Pre and Post-Natal Pilates – How can Pilates help me through this time?
If you’re reading this, chances are you are either pregnant, planning to get pregnant, or have recently had your baby. So sending you a huge congratulations! What an exciting time in your life! Pregnancy and babies bring you so many exciting moments, emotional highs, lots of learning and many physical changes and challenges.
Pregnancy sure can take a toll on the body! Some women go through pregnancy with little to no symptoms and happily watch their bump grow (lucky ducks!) Other women experience a range of severity of morning sickness, lower back pain, pelvic pain, groin pain and heart burn.
The challenges faced physically during pregnancy can be immense, even for women who have come from a background of high physical fitness and strength, or women who have had relatively uneventful previous pregnancies. Each pregnancy is different, and it is important to take the necessary steps to keep your body in its best possible health to prepare you for pregnancy, labour/birth and postnatal recovery.
Pilates is the perfect tool to improve your physical condition before, during and after pregnancy. At the Sports & Spinal Group, we conduct ‘Clinical Pilates’ sessions. What does this mean and how is it different? Clinical Pilates provides you with strength and mobility training completely personalised for YOU and you only. Our osteopaths take into consideration your medical history, pregnancy history, physical goals and prepare a tailored pilates programme to give you the best results.
During pregnancy it is important to adjust your workouts to suit your abilities. The general rule is that you can continue doing the sort of exercise that your body is already used to doing, but you do need to gradually taper off as your pregnancy progresses. You need to re-evaluate your exercises and capabilities with each workout. Pregnancy is NOT the time to start new exercises or increase your load. (Clinical Pilates is the exception though!) It is important for pregnant women to exercise to the degree that they are capable and comfortable with. You may find that this could change based on your trimester, week to week, or even day to day! It is particularly important to really tune into your body, and do what feels right for you each day. If you are feeling particularly fatigued one day, let yourself have that 2 hour nap your body is craving. Your body needs it. You are growing a little human after all!
Exercise during pregnancy needs to be adjusted to minimise load and impact passing through the body, especially the pelvis.
Precautions or potential modifications to exercises include, but not limited to:
- avoiding asymmetrical leg movements
- avoiding single leg weight bearing
- limiting time laying on back
- Avoid laying prone
- modifying moderate-high impact exercises
- Avoid/modify inner thigh work
- modifying abdominal/core work (intense core work can exacerbate a possible abdominal separation)
- Avoid raising the core body temperature above 38.5degrees (the foetus cannot regulate it’s body temperature)
- Avoid contact sports
Benefits of Clinical Pilates during and post pregnancy:
- Strengthening legs: Helps with fluid retention, leg cramps and varicose veins
- Strengthening lower back and abdominal muscles: Will help support the growing baby, relieve lower back pain, help support the pelvis while ligaments become more lax. Additionally, will help postnatally when recovering from any abdominal separation, strains occurred during labour and managing a newborn (feeding, lifting, bending etc)
- Strengthening Pelvic Floor: Improved function and helps to support the growing baby. Improved prognosis for recovery post birth. Improved outcomes during labour
- Improved pelvic stability during/post pregnancy
- Low impact exercise without stressing joints
- Faster physical recovery post labour/birth and improved healing times
- Injury prevention
- Improve posture and flexibility
- Exercises can be modified for those who underwent caesarian sections, abdominal separation, pelvic instability etc.
It is important to discuss any health concerns you may have with your osteopath, so that both treatment and exercise prescription is advised accordingly.
Our team at the Sports & Spinal Group look forward to working with you to achieve your best health and pregnancy outcomes. Come and see us for your personalised clinical pilates plan.