Pilates is a great way to exercise and care for your body. It is a fantastic form of exercise when pregnant and in returning to activity following giving birth.
Women experience a number of changes to their bodies as a natural and normal part of being pregnant. Exercising while pregnant is a great way of keeping your body strong, and preparing it for the birthing process and recovery. In the post-partum period, it is a great way to restore the function of the muscles, particularly the stability muscles, which helps ensure a smooth return to activity and prevention of further issues. Pilates at Physiologix, with our variety of Pilates and gym equipment, offers each client an individualised program that can create a great challenging workout, performed safely.
When returning to exercise after giving birth it is important to have a postnatal check up with your GP or obstetrician. Megan, our physiotherapist who is working in the area of Women’s Health, offers a number of services to manage body issues that may arise. These include review of pelvic floor function, abdominal separation, and any other musculoskeletal conditions. She can give you advice on the safe, specific and targeted exercises that will help you achieve your goals, whether it’s returning to gentle walking, or getting back to gym classes and running.
As part of our Pilates program each person undertakes an individual assessment, including ultrasound review of the activation of the stability muscles.
The ultrasound allows you to see the muscles working and ensure you are activating correctly, and can really help you feel confident that you are performing the exercises correctly. Following the assessment, a personalised Pilates program is written, that can be performed in one of our classes, small groups or individual sessions. Each program is reviewed and progressed after each session to ensure your specific goals are achieved. Targeted exercise, specific to each person, is the best way to prevent and/or manage any issues.
Sometimes musculoskeletal issues can arise while pregnant, from back and pelvic pain, to leg swelling, or wrist pain. These issues may continue after giving birth, or new issues may arise. There are a numerous changes that can occur in the body to contribute to this. Again, this is why it is so important to be reviewed and get the right advice for your body, whatever stage you are at.
One area that we know is affected after giving birth is the timing and co-ordination of the pelvic floor muscles. These all-important continence muscles stop you leaking urine when you cough or run, and contribute to stability in and around the pelvis. They also help hold up the organs of the pelvis. It is important to retrain the co-ordination of these muscles, as well as the strength. It is part of what Pilates exercises focus on.
Many women want to ensure they strengthen their abdominals following birth. It is important to know how to do this safely and effectively to prevent overstress on the pelvic floor. Exercises performed incorrectly can increase the load on the pelvic floor and cause further weakness or issues. If you experience abdominal muscle separation, it is also important to ensure the correct exercises are performed to help reduce the separation and improve core stability ensuring the spine is protected. Pilates exercises are an excellent way to achieve this.
Every birth experience is different, and therefore it is normal to expect that return to activity will be as well. Be fitter and stronger going in, can help you feel fitter and stronger coming out.