The postnatal body and Pilates

Cynthia Young

This week's short weekend workout is dedicated to the postnatal body.

One of my favourite groups of clients to work with is postnatal ladies.  I think its because I have been there myself twice and because I have worked with so many postnatal ladies and seen how Pilates can help women physically and mentally to heal and re-strengthen.

Postnatally, there are a myriad of things going on.

We are all recovering from the birth of our baby whether it went to plan or not, adjusting to becoming a mum of one, two or more, adjusting to being a parent on our own or with our partner, lack of sleep, pain, fear of failure, recovering or dealing with our own expectations of how or who we would be and the expectations we think others place on us.  All of this places not just physical load but also mental load on us at a time when we are more vulnerable than we admit.

We really need to learn to celebrate how amazing our bodies are, however we give birth, and support each other and ourselves.

Nobody has all the answers, and if there really was only one right way of doing things then there would be only one book out there available to buy, Right?  But there isn't.

We are awash with information and books on how to be pregnant, give birth,  feed our babies, how to get them into a routine or not, how to get them to sleep, raise their IQ etc etc.

So, take heart from the fact there are SO many opinions on all these things.  It means there is no one right way.

Take on board as much information as you want or need so you can make informed decisions, but don't be afraid to change your mind.  We are all unique beautiful people and so are our babies.  What worked for your friend, NCT friend, mum or sister just may not work for you and your baby, and that's OK.  In fact it's normal.

What is universal, and I see again and again in my classes, is women who have exercised during pregnancy, are stronger when they come to postnatal classes however they give birth.  I have seen women who have had a c-section in my postnatal classes start stronger and progress faster than women who had a vaginal birth but didn't exercise or practice Pilates in pregnancy.

Pilates is a mind body exercise, it puts you in touch with your body which  is exactly what we need postnatally.  This may feel a little overwhelming at first if you have never practised a mind body exercise before, but I believe this time to reconnect to you is SO important in your journey of healing and re-strengthening.

As well as re-strengthening, your flexibility will increase which means you have to let your body move but also allow it to open up and release.  This can be scary postnatally, depending on how we gave birth or feel about how we gave birth we can grip or hold tension in our bodies and when you see a woman let go of that tension and reconnect to her body it is amazing.

So, this weekend's workout is a short (5 minute) class to connect you to your centre, your breath and your posture..  You can use weights, as I have, or not.

If you are worried about any abdominal separation or pelvic floor issues, please see a women's health physio or youe GP and get the OK before following any classes.

Enjoy, and as usual any feedback is appreciated.

For more variety of classes guiding you from postnatal and beyond sign up for your 14 day free trial