There is so much to talk about when it comes to post natal fitness, there simply wasn’t enough room to talk about it on one page. So if you are wanting to understand things a bit better, this is a great place to start. Women feel a lot of pressure post-natally to get back to their pre-pregnant shape and, in our celebrity culture it is difficult not to get swept up in it. The good news is, you CAN get back to that shape but you need to go about it in the right way.
Anja and I both feel that as exercise professionals it is vital to be able to give clients the information they need to work safely. While it is tempting to rush back to exercise and continue where you left off before you were pregnant, in the long term it increases the risk of physical issues and should be avoided. Your body has been through a lot and major structural changes have taken place. If you are breastfeeding, those changes are continuing to take place and you need to work with instructors who understand the implications of this. The focus for post-natal exercise is on stability of the pelvis and joints, re-educating muscle patterns and imbalances and addressing postural changes. Your body also needs to be equipped for the strains of living with a new baby. So many Mums come to us when their babies are 2 years old with back problems that could have been avoided if they had worked on their stability sooner after the birth. The sooner you can commence with our exercise programme the better but you must wait until you have had your postnatal check, which is usually after 6 weeks (sometimes a bit longer after a C section).
Pilates is the perfect way to start getting back into exercise after pregnancy because there is so much focus on stability. The hormone relaxin is released at high levels in pregnancy to allow your pelvis to accommodate the growing child and to separate during the birth. However, it affects the connective tissue throughout the whole body and therefore stability decreases during and sometimes up to six months after pregnancy. All joints are therefore more susceptible to injury and high impact activity should be avoided for at least a few months to allow time for the joints to start stabilising. It is vital to learn to recruit the deep stabilising muscles of the pelvic floor, transverse abdominus (deep abdominals) and multifidi (deep spinal muscles) to reduce the risk of injury.