Postnatal Pilates is a specific form of exercise designed for women who have recently given birth. It is safe to be practiced in a studio or online. It aims to reconnect your core and pelvic floor muscles, build strength, and relieve aches and pains.
Once you have the all-clear from your doctor, you can begin postnatal Pilates online or within a studio as early as 6 weeks postpartum. It’s important to take it slowly and easily. It is also crucial you work with a practitioner who is experienced with postnatal recovery, as the exercises are very different from regular Pilates.
Is Pilates Helpful for New Mothers?
For birth recovery and pelvic floor activation, postnatal Pilates is ideal. However, you’ll need to make certain adjustments to ensure the practice is safe for your body as you recover.
When Should a Postnatal Woman Begin Pilates?
You can begin postnatal Pilates online or within a studio as early as 6 weeks postpartum. It is safe to begin once you receive the all-clear from your doctor at your 6-week check-up. But remember, postnatal Pilates is different from a “regular” Pilates practice. Some exercises and positions should be limited, changed, or avoided entirely.
The Right Postnatal Pilates Exercises – Help Your Body Recover from Childbirth
Here is a guide to practicing Pilates along your postnatal journey:
6-12 Weeks Postpartum
· When needed, rest in a shell stretch, or sit comfortably
· Avoid deep or end-range stretching around your hips & pelvis (especially if you have had stitches)
· Focus on deep, slow breathing
· Practice connecting and releasing your pelvic floor muscles
· Perform gentle exercises on all-fours kneeling, laying on your back & side
· Take care to keep head down when laying on the back – no “crunches” or curl-ups
13-18 Weeks Postpartum
· Start to include more standing balancing postures (near a wall for added support and to avoid injury if needed)
· Practice upper body strength exercises
· Continue to connect and release core and pelvic floor muscles
· Start adding resistance bands and small weights to exercises for additional challenge
19 Weeks Postpartum and Beyond
· By 5 months after birth, you can start to return to pre-pregnancy exercises as long as your body is continuing to heal (you should not be experiencing any pain or incontinence)
· Continue to add resistance and small weights for a challenge
· Continue upper body and more challenging core strength work
5 Essential Benefits of Postnatal Pilates
There are numerous advantages to practicing Pilates in the postnatal period, either online or in a studio. These include:
Pilates can speed up your recovery
Building strength back into your body and reconnecting your core muscles allows you to start moving again with ease. Mobilizing tight areas of the body can increase blood flow and relieve tension in tight muscles.
2. Pilates during postnatal recovery helps your posture
Your posture changes throughout pregnancy as the weight of the baby causes your pelvis to tilt forward. After you give birth, your body does not automatically return to its pre-baby posture. Postnatal Pilates can realign your spine and relieve lower back pain, pelvic pain, and neck pain.
3. Postnatal Pilates can make future pregnancies easier
It is important to build your body back to a baseline of strength before you continue to build your family. Each subsequent pregnancy will place additional stress on your body. Postnatal Pilates can provide a good base of support.
4. Pilates can help your mental health
We all know that exercise is good for our mental health, especially when it comes to reducing anxiety and stress. Having a newborn creates a lot of load on your body – both physically and mentally. Allowing time for yourself to exercise increases endorphins (feel-good hormones), regulates your nervous system and increases blood flow to your brain and body.
5. Better sleep with postnatal Pilates
Regular and gentle exercise has a positive effect on calming your nervous system, therefore providing better sleep. Your nervous system is responsible for helping to balance hormones and this is crucial as your body adjusts in the postpartum period.
Postnatal Pilates is completely safe for you to practice both online and in a studio in the postpartum period. It will aid your recovery and relieve stress.
Before beginning any fitness plan, always visit your doctor.