Pre and Post-Natal Pilates

Why should you do Pre-Natal Pilates?
Expecting mums have special needs during pregnancy and exercises targeting these areas are vital to prevent complications and support your health and the health of your growing new arrival.  Prenatal Pilates at Body Smart is supervised by Exercise Physiologists and Physiotherapists, University trained experts in safe effective exercise for expecting mums to be so you can feel confident knowing your program is safe, specific to your needs and backed up by the best information available.

Pre and Post-natal Pilates is one of the best ways of teaching optimal pelvic floor function, the key muscles involved during delivery and to ensure a full recovery during the post-natal period. Regular Pilates strengthens these core muscles, preventing back pain and helping you carry the extra weight during pregnancy and ease pregnancy-related injuries such as back ache and pelvic pain.Providing all is going well, you can do Pre-natal Pilates right through till the big day. This regular exercise enables you to control excess weight gain during pregnancy and achieve a faster recovery following the birth of your child.Pre-natal Pilates prepares you not only for the big event of giving birth but the extremely physical job of having a newborn baby to lift, bath, feed, push and carry.

Never done Pilates before?
Not to worry! Whether you were previously a runner, dancer or couch potato the benefit of joining a Pregnancy Pilates class at Body Smart is that your exercise program is tailored to your individual needs. Exercising in small groups under the supervision of an Exercise Physiologist means your program can be modified as your body changes throughout each trimester so you can keep coming right up until the big day!

What you can expect from Body Smart’s Pre-Natal Pilates

  • Comprehensive screening and assessment.
  • A tailored Pilates program supervised by your Exercise Physiologist that will be modified as you progress through your pregnancy.
  • A wide variety of exercises utilising mat, gym ball and reformers and other equipment.
  • Modern up to date advice and education about the pelvic floor muscles and what activities need to be avoided, ensuring you are doing all the right things pre and post pregnancy.

As registered Allied health professionals, Body Smart practitioners are experts in providing exercise and Pilates instruction during pregnancy. So you can be confident your program is targeting the right area in the safest manner possible.

Post-Natal Pilates

Ready to get moving again after having a baby?
Body Smart offers new mum’s the chance to return to regular exercise safely while targeting the muscles most affected during pregnancy and child birth. With sleepless nights, breastfeeding, bathing and focusing so much time on your little one, the thought of getting back into exercise after having a new baby can be very daunting!

Many women feel a lot of pressure to get back into shape quickly, but in the early stages after giving birth, whether you have had a caesarean-section or vaginal birth, the most important thing to remember is to be kind to your body and allow it time to recover. After 6 weeks you are usually ready to get moving again. Post-Natal Pilates is an excellent next step to strengthen and tone the deep abdominal muscles and pelvic floor, and start to regain your fitness and pre-pregnancy body!

Benefits of Post-Natal Pilates at Body Smart

  • All Pilates sessions are supervised by an Accredited Exercise Physiologist.
  • Pelvic Floor Retraining: Unfortunately, pelvic floor complications are very common post-nataly with 1 in 3 women suffering some kind of incontinence after giving birth.
  • Core Muscle Retaining: This includes the deep abdominal and gluteal muscles, to help improve any back or pelvic pain as well as prepare your body for more vigorous exercise.
  • Specific Pilates-based exercises help to reduce rectus diastasis (abdominal separation).
  • Looking after your body gives you more energy, strength and movement to cope with all the new challenges of being a mum!

What to Expect from Post-Natal Pilates at Body Smart?

  • You will start with an Initial Pilates Assessment to discuss your medical history, labor and any complications or pelvic floor dysfunction.
  • A measure of rectus diastasis (abdominal separation) and specific exercises to reduce it.
  • An individualised program of Pilates exercises prescribed, monitored and progressed by your Exercise Physiologist.
  • A wide variety of equipment-based exercises utilising the mat, gym ball and reformer Pilates.
  • Modern up to date education and feedback about what activities need to be avoided, understanding the pelvic floor muscles and ensuring you are doing all the right things pre and post pregnancy.

When should I start Post-Natal Pilates?
You can start Post-Natal Pilates any time after your 6-week Postnatal checkup. But of course, it is still beneficial to start even 6-12 months or more after having your baby!

What if I have never done Pilates before?
Not a problem at all! Whether you have done Pilates before or not, you will have an Initial Pilates Assessment with an Exercise Physiologist. Your Exercise Physiologist will supervise you through some individual sessions to make sure you are safe, happy and comfortable with all the exercises before joining a small group class (max 6 people). The exercises can be modified to any level of fitness and close supervision allows us to progress you at your own pace to make sure you get the most out of each session.

So take some time back for yourself and book in for our Post-Natal Pilates sessions today!

Pilates for Pregnancy
During pregnancy, a woman's posture changes dramatically in response to the growing baby, this can cause discomfort and misalignment in different parts of her body. This may result in decreased energy levels, aches and pains, breathlessness and muscle tightness. By following a Pilates exercise programe throughout pregnancy, the mother can alleviate all these symptoms, as well as prepare for labor.

Practicing Pilates on a regular basis:

  • Increases abdominal strength, thus providing support for the weight of the uterus and baby;
  • Aids childbirth by making the pelvic floor muscles stronger;
  • Increases stamina;
  • Creates stronger, toned abdominal muscles that are less likely to separate severely;
  • Promotes good posture and strong core strength, which help to control the amount of pelvic tilt.
  • Excessive pelvic tilt can create posture problems and lower back pain;
  • Aids relaxation, improves sleep and increases energy levels;
  • Improves circulation and helps to prevent varicose veins and leg cramps;
  • Reduces general aches and pains by improving posture;
  • Aids breathing in labor and reduces shortness of breath during pregnancy
  • Quickens postnatal recovery

Pregnant? This Is the Only Exercise You Should Be Doing
Pregnancy is a journey, a physical journey. It's like training for a marathon for nine months and the labor is like running the marathon. Not only does working out ensure you are strong and healthy (keeping weight gain to a minimum) it also has a very positive impact on your baby’s mental and physical well-being.

Working out during your pregnancy also reduces your chances of gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia and can ease a lot of the niggling side effects of pregnancy like constipation, swollen ankles, varicose veins, lower back soreness, sacroiliac joint pain and trouble sleeping. But most importantly it prepares the body for birth and life as a new mum which is physically very taxing on the body.

Pilates is designed to realign and re-balance the body and with so much change going on in your body during your pregnancy you need to be working out to support this change not challenge it. That’s why Pilates is a really safe and effective way to exercise during your entire pregnancy. It's even safe enough for clients to continue with their Pilates until the week their baby arrives.

Pilates is able to isolate all the important areas in a low-impact way to ensure everything is still working but the baby and mum are safe. Pilates continues to work the abdominal's and pelvic floor without the need to do sit-ups or crunches. It also strengthens the areas needed post-baby to ensure there is reduced strain on the lower and upper back.

Once you fall pregnant, what is happening to your stomach muscles?  
In the beginning nothing really happens to your tummy muscles, instead we begin to feel a little more bloated and different, this is mainly due to the hormones our body is excreting, but there is no real impact on your stomach muscles at this stage. During your second and third trimester however your abdominal's can separate down the connective tissue called the linea alba. This is where the left-hand side and right-hand side of your rectus abdominal begin to move apart allowing room for your baby and uterus to continue growing. It is very common for your abdominal's to separate and what most women do not realise is that they actually need to work the muscles back together after birth. I like to call it "closing the gap”.

Will the stomach ever go back to pre-baby form?
Yes, yes, yes and if anyone has ever told you otherwise come and see us. The most important thing is to take it slow and make sure you reengage your abdominal's the right way. If you have had abdominal separation after birth, make sure there is no flexion of your upper spine (no chest lifts or sit-ups) when working out until it is closed.

If done the right way, it takes about three months for the abdominal wall to reengage. But we work to a nine-month calendar. Nine months pregnant and nine months to recover and get your body back. If the abdominal connection is rushed, the separation can remain and you may never fully achieve a closed abdominal wall. Some people think it is not possible but it is. It really upsets us to think that as females we think we cannot regain our pre-baby body and that we are always going to have a saggy tummy with little or no tone. The only reason this would happen is if you do not “close the gap" and you train your abdominal wall to remain apart.

How often should women be exercising after having baby?
Fifteen minutes a day three to four times a week, working towards one hour three times a week is ideal. This can be really hard for new mums but attending a class where you can take home some exercises is really important. The time out of the house and on your own is also really important for your mental well-being too.

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