Trustpilot

Pilates and the Postnatal Body

pilates-admin

After having your baby your body will be healing from however you gave birth, recovering from the changes pregnancy brought about but also dealing with the tiredness and demands of being a mum to a baby. In short, your body and your mind will have been through a lot and now is not the time to start worrying about losing any weight and getting back to fitness. You are already moving more than you did when you worked probably in an office, driving to and from work, or getting the tube and going to the gym or the odd class over the week.

You will be walking more than ever (for me it was the only way to guarantee those sleeps during the day), carrying and tidying up more stuff.

Whether you gave birth to your baby vaginally with or without intervention or by c-section your body will need to heal and recover. I had no stitches or intervention and still that first wee stung way more than I was prepared for and I was worried about how things may have changed “down there”. You hopefully will have been doing your pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy and you will still need to do them now, however you gave birth, but I tend to find and believe that quite often postnatally we actually need to allow our bodies to release and open up. Our pelvic floors while needing to be re-strengthened desperately need to relax as we hold our bodies protecting our tummies or pelvic floor's while they heal and recover, and we get to grips with the new stresses on our bodies of lack of sleep, breastfeeding, carrying and caring for a baby and all their paraphernalia.

Pilates, I think is a great way to start to reconnect to our bodies, our core, our breath and think about ourselves!

Here are my go to exercises which I start with for every new mum.

 

Breathing – (This is great for just relaxing, reconnecting us to our breath and reminding us how to breath) lying down with knees bent and soles of the feet to the floor or sitting.

Place your hands on your tummy with heal of hand just inside of your hips and fingers pointing to your pubic bone.

Inhale gently through your nose, feel your tummy gently rise against your hand.

Exhale gently through your nose or mouth and feel your tummy gently fall.

Repeat this for as long as you are comfortable with and try to mentally count for 5 on the inhale and the same on the exhale.

Pelvic Elevator – (For re-strengthening your pelvic floor but also releasing your pelvic floor which is just as important) lying down with knees bent and soles of the feet to the floor or sitting.

Place your hands on your tummy with heal of hand just inside of your hips and fingers pointing to your pubic bone.

Inhale to prepare

As you exhale very gently engage your pelvic floor (the first floor of your elevator) your bum should not tighten/contract and your pelvis should not move.

Inhale hold it there

Exhale lift your pelvic floor a little higher, 2nd floor, again no movement in your pelvis or your bum

Inhale hold it there

Exhale lift your pelvic floor as high as you can, again there should be no movement of your pelvis or your bum but you should feel your abdominals under your hands gently pull back from your hand.

Inhale hold it there.

Exhale release your pelvic floor to the ground floor where you started.

Inhale to prepare, as you exhale you are going to relax your pelvic floor, do not bear down on your pelvic floor, but rather imagine your tailbone sliding away from your pubic bone and your sit bones drifting sideways.

Inhale hold it there and on the next exhale bring your pelvic floor back to the ground floor.

Repeat 3 times

Knee Openings - (For starting to relax and release your inner thighs and pelvic floor whilst also strengthening the pelvic floor) lying down with knees bent and soles of the feet to the floor.

Place your hands on your tummy and hips just for some feedback.

Inhale Open your right leg out to the side rolling your right foot onto its outside border (side of your little toe), whilst keeping your pelvis and hips still, the furthest you will be able to open your leg is about 45 degrees the intention is not to get the leg to the floor.

Exhale Draw the right leg back keeping the hips and pelvis still and rolling your foot back to flat to the floor feeling big toe to little toe connected to the floor.

Repeat with the left leg and continue to alternate the knee opening repeat about 8 times each leg.

Ribcage Closure – (helps focus the breath, stretch the shoulders, open the chest and work on the idea of the ribcage closing down after it has increased in size to accommodate your baby, it wasn’t just because your boobs got bigger that you needed that bigger bra!) lying down with knees bent and soles of the feet to the floor, arms down by your side.

Inhale raise both arm up reaching towards the ceiling

Exhale Take your arms as far overhead towards your ears that you can without your ribcage arching away from the floor behind you.

Inhale bring your arms back up above your chest reaching for the ceiling

Exhale lower arms back down by your side

Repeat up to 10 times

Sharepilates.com offers a growing library of Pilates videos to help heal and re-strengthen your body.  Register for your free trial.

top