Updated: Jan 25
Postnatal Pilates is one of the best fitness methods for new mums. With its specific focus on abdominal muscles and pelvic floor, it will help you restore and bring back to strength and functionality those tummy muscles. Here are a few tips on what you need to know the most.
1. No sit ups.
Forget the hundred, sit-ups are actually contra-indicated in the first phase of postnatal recovery, especially if you experience diastasis recti which is a separation of your superficial abdominal muscles.
2. The breath is your ally.
The breath is intrinsically connected with your abdominals including your pelvic floor. The first exercises for your early postnatal recovery will focus on your breath and restoring that connection with your tummy muscles.
3. Diastasis recti.
It occurs when the superficial layer of your abdominals (your rectus abdominals aka your six-pack) become separated. It is a very common condition, and in most cases, it naturally resolves itself, but in others, it requires more attention. The cause for separation it is not the abdominal muscle itself, but the “fascia” which is the connective tissue that keeps the muscles together. So trying to “strengthen” those abs, to close the gap is not the solution. Likewise sit-ups are particularly contraindicated and you will need to work with a specialist that is able to modify the exercises for you.
4. Work those glutes.
After childbirth, your hormones will keep the ligaments and joints more flexible for up to 9 months, so it is important to regain strength and functionality in the pelvis area, which has taken the most burden of carrying the baby. Your glutes are fundamental to stabilize the lower back and your hips. They are particularly important if you want to go back to training and doing sports like running. If you have experienced a condition known as “symphysis pubis dysfunction” or any other type of dysfunction or pain during your pregnancy though, some of the most common exercises might be contra-indicated, so make sure that you work with a specialist.
5.Posture matters. You will do a lot of lifting and bending when you have small children so it is important to strengthen the postural muscles of the back especially if you are breastfeeding. In addition, your posture has a direct impact on the Diastasis Recti, and it is really important to help you recover well from childbirth and to help prevent problems with future pregnancies.
6.Take your time.
They say it takes 9 months to make a baby and it takes 9 months to recover from it. There is a lot of pressure on women to recover from childbirth quickly nowadays, but remember that everybody is unique and has his individual journey. Give yourself a bit self-loving time
If you just had a baby and would like to retrain those core and postural muscles, you can either join my very small group Post-natal Pilates class ( via Zoom ) or book a block of 1:1 Pilates sessions ( New Year Offer still valid).