Having a baby puts a lot of strain on a woman’s body, her spine and musculature.
Figuring out when to return to exercise can be difficult to determine, especially if the labor was challenging. Many new moms want to return to their former bodies as soon as possible after giving birth, but it is best to ease back into a fitness routine. There are certain guidelines that should be followed to not risk a new mother’s safety.
Pilates instructors can help women safely and effectively return to their pre-baby bodies and gain a new appreciation for their post-baby self through appropriate exercises, spotting, and sequencing. Many Pilates exercises can be adapted and modified for the postpartum body. Learn this and more through our Pre and Postnatal Exercise course.
Many women struggle with their changing bodies, frustrated that their midsection may no longer look the way it did before. There may even be some aches and pains never felt before in the body due to weakness and joint laxity. Pilates is a popular way to gently get the body moving again without overexertion. It will also help tone and develop core strength and definition. This strength will help new moms feel more in control of their lives and bodies.
Pilates is an effective form of exercise that is safe for new mothers. It can be started as soon as six weeks after vaginal birth and 8-12 weeks after c-section. It is important to take this time to recover before beginning exercise so as to prevent injury. Joint instability is a common problem after childbirth. Pilates gracefully teaches the post-childbirth mother to mindfully live with more ease by listening to the body and finding inner strength. The focus on the breath is a great reminder of this.
The abdominals and the pelvic floor often become weak during pregnancy and after childbirth. Weakened pelvic floor muscles can lead to incontinence issues and prolapse of the pelvic organs. Strengthening the pelvic floor is a key element of Pilates, which helps to improve posture, core strength, and overall stability. Pilates classes directly address these issues through its focus on deep muscle engagement and breathing.
Diastasis Rectus is another common problem after childbirth. This condition occurs when the rectus abdominus separates around the navel area. If these muscles are weak and overstretched, it can lead to back pain and sciatica. Pilates focuses on strengthening the deep abdominals, such as the transverse abdominus, lumbar multifidus and quadratus lumborum. These muscles all work together to help stabilize the spine and therefore toning and tightening the abdomen to protect the lumbar spine from injury.
The truth is many women are unhappy with their bodies after having a baby, and Pilates teaches them to build body awareness from the inside out. This internal body awareness of Pilates will show women how to appreciate their changing body and accept it as it is while working toward a healthy goal.
New moms can also attend Pilates classes to take a little time to focus on herself and making herself feel good! Getting back into a workout routine can also help boost confidence and improve your mood. Postpartum depression is common after having a baby. Pilates helps combat this while also getting the body back into pre-baby shape.
Pilates can also help fight fatigue and boost energy as well. It’s also a great way for new mothers to meet other new moms, making it a social experience too. As an exercise specialist, learn how to cultivate postnatal Pilates classes designed to accommodate the needs of a woman’s body after childbirth with specific guidelines in mind through our specialist course.