PREGNANCY & POST NATAL PILATES
Congratulations on your pregnancy!
Pilates is one of the safest and most effective forms of exercise during this time as it helps you to:
Maintain your general fitness and strength – for labour and also afterwards to look after your baby
Prevent or assist with aches & pains - such as back and pelvic pain
Strengthen your pelvic floor and deep core abdominal muscles – assisting your recovery post pregnancy
Improve your posture, which changes a lot throughout pregnancy
Pilates is a very safe form of exercise during pregnancy, both for you and your baby as long as certain guidelines are followed and the exercises performed are prescribed specifically for pregnancy. Most women feel comfortable to attend classes right up until they give birth. Every woman is different though, so make sure you listen to your body. To increase your comfort as your baby-belly grows, I will modify your program accordingly for each trimester. Pillows and small props may also be used to support your spine and stomach.
PLEASE NOTE: I request that each of my pregnant clients obtain a medical certificate or letter from their obstetrician/GP outlining their due date (and number of weeks pregnant), any complications with their pregnancy, and a statement from the medical practitioner stating that the client is fit, willing and able to attend pilates classes and perform low impact pilates exercises. Anyone with a pregnancy considered to be ‘high risk’ is unfortunately unable to participate in pilates classes. Your safety is my number one priority, and I am happy to work with your obstetrician or medical practitioner to ensure you achieve your desired results in the safest way possible for both you and your baby.
General guidelines by trimester:
Following the below guidelines gives you an idea of generally what is acceptable for each trimester, but workouts will always be guided by each client’s health care professional for specific information on exercise prescription for the client. Please refer to the Client Information Sheet – Pre-Natal and Client Information Sheet – Post-Natal (below).
1st Trimester (1-12 weeks):
This initial stage of pregnancy has the highest risk of miscarriage. Pilates is safe to perform, however many women experience morning sickness and it is common that some women wait until the second trimester to exercise under recommendation by their health professional.
It is important that you inform me as early as possible that you are pregnant.
During the first trimester, it is recommended that the intensity of the exercises in decreased and the amount of ‘sit up’ abdominal exercises is reduced.
2nd Trimester (12-26 weeks):
The baby continues to grow and will start to show around this time. Throughout the second trimester, there are more series of positions and exercises which need to be avoided, and again the intensity level of the exercises needs to be decreased.
Avoid all abdominal work (except double leg lift)
Avoid inner thigh work
Avoid prone positions (lying on the stomach)
Avoid supine positions (lying on the back)
3rd Trimester (27 weeks to birth):
During the third trimester, the mother’s posture changes dramatically due to the baby’s increased growth. For pilates during the third trimester, the second trimester guidelines continue; however now avoiding ALL abdominal exercises, inner thigh work, supine and prone positions. Exercise intensity will need to be greatly decreased at this stage. Mothers can continue with their workouts as long as they feel comfortable, however most women will stop at 36 weeks or earlier.
How soon can I start Pilates after the birth of my baby?
As soon as your doctor gives you clearance to return to exercise, which is usually 4 weeks for a natural delivery, and 6 weeks for a Cesarean delivery.
You can however start to do some basic activations exercises right after your birth - gently activating your pelvic floor and tightening your T-Zone actually helps decrease any swelling in your pelvic floor or abdominal region and helps with the healing process. You will find this much easier as you have practised this beforehand.
What can I expect to feel in my Pilates classes after giving birth?
After giving birth both your abdominal muscles and pelvic floor muscles will be very weak - you shouldn’t expect to be able to instantly return to your previous level of strength for quite some time and after a lot of work - this will take at least several months.
In your Pilates sessions, you may need to initially stick to easier abdominal exercises that focus on the correct activation of your Pelvic Floor and deep abdominals (Transversus Abdominus), and slowly progress to performing harder abdominal exercises over a period of time.
Why is Pilates so important after having a baby?
Pilates is probably the single most targeted and effective form of exercise to perform post pregnancy. The many benefits of a postnatal Pilates program include:
Strengthens your Pelvic Floor and abdominals
Helps with any back, pelvic, hip, neck and shoulder pain
Increases your general strength you need to carry your baby around
Improves your posture - it corrects the increased arch of your lower back and rounded shoulders
Helps regain your pre-baby body shape, particularly the stomach
Being a mind-body form of exercise, Pilates also helps with relaxation and gives you some time to work specifically on yourself
When will I get my pre-baby body back?
Most women want their body back as soon as possible and it can be very frustrating for them when this does not occur. It is important for you to realise that it will take time and effort and to allow at least 9-12 months of working on it to see results. Pilates is one of the best things that women can do to help flatten their stomach as it specifically targets the Transversus Abdominus, which pulls the abdomen in.
Will Pilates help strengthen my Pelvic Floor?
A lot of women face Pelvic Floor weakness and symptoms such as incontinence and poor bladder control. Generally, Pilates is great for Pelvic Floor strengthening and will usually help with the symptoms. Your focus in your class needs to be on making sure that you have your Pelvic Floor muscles working with every exercise you do in the class, and only perform exercises that you can keep your Pelvic Floor and T-Zone on properly.
What is a Rectus Diastasis and will Pilates help with this?
A Rectus Diastasis is a separation of the Rectus Abdominis (or “6 pack” abdominal muscles) that run down the front of the abdomen. If the gap is larger than 2 fingers then the Diastasis is considered significant.
A Rectus Diastasis occurs during pregnancy, but is often not detected until after you give birth. Often a physiotherapist will check your abdominal muscles in hospital and let you know if you have a separation, but this is not always the case.
Pilates is one of the best things you can do to help a Diastasis, as the treatment is strengthening the Transversus Abdominis and Oblique muscles which act like a corset to pull the separated muscles back together and allow healing.
Care needs to be taken to avoid any sit up types of abdominal exercises as using the Rectus Abdominis too much can actually make the problem worse.
In most cases the Diastasis will heal with slow and careful progression of specific and controlled abdominal exercise. In more severe cases the exercises will help, but may not totally correct the diastasis. In very extreme cases surgery may be required.
Classes run for 45 minutes, all you’ll need is:
Workout Clothes (Tights Recommended)
Pilates/Yoga Mat (the thicker, the better)
Classes are $15, or $50 per week for Unlimited!
Unless otherwise stated, classes will be held at Margie’s Swim School, 56 Emerald End Rd, Mareeba.
There’s a lovely grassy area under a shade sail that catches a beautiful breeze & an undercovered area.