Following months of pregnancy and then childbirth it is essential that exercise is safe and effective during the first few months after giving birth and that you are able to bring your baby with you. Having an instructor qualified to understand health issues associated with pregnancy and childbirth will help you to get the most from Pilates at this sensitive stage. These post-natal classes enable you to focus on re-training the core muscles back to pre-pregnancy state in a baby friendly environment and offer the opportunity to meet other new mums. These classes will help to gently restore your body and set you on the road to full fitness whilst spending time with your baby.
Coffee & tea are included at the end of these sessions whilst you feed/chat to others new mums in the class.
As well as pelvic floor and deep abdominal recovery, a Pilates programme can be an excellent way to help improve posture and re-educate movement and co-ordination post pregnancy. Post-natal concerns in exercise range from abdominal separation (diastasis recti), pubic symphis disfunction and joint instability to concerns about what to wear and leaking breasts. Specialised post-natal classes where you can bring your baby allow your needs to be catered for by a qualified specialist ante/post natal instructor in a relaxed and friendly environment.
Finally, the post natal class will enable you to return safely and confidently to regular Pilates, or other exercise regimes, with a much reduced chance of injury.
Just because you are pregnant shouldn't mean that you have to give up exercise. The very nature of Pilates lends itself as an ideal exercise regime as long as the moves are modified and tailored to the needs of pregnancy as it progresses.
Please note that these classes run at The Arkell Centre in Nailsworth which is a very baby friendly venue with good changing facilities, a kitchen and space to park your buggy.
For class descriptions and prices
During pregnancy the pelvic floor muscles can become weakened and dysfunctional. This can lead to urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse and haemorrhoids. During labour and delivery, the pelvic floor must relax to allow the baby to move down the birth canal. Although relaxin (hormone released during pregnancy) will have increased the elasticity of the pelvic floor, a considerable amount of stretching is still required. Not only does the strong pelvic floor help keep the urine and internal organs contained it will also help to turn and push the baby out. A trained pelvic floor can cope better with labour and can stretch more readily, minimizing the risk of tears or trauma. During Pilates classes you will learn how to find, train, use and relax the pelvic floor muscles.
As the pregnancy progresses, the mother's centre of gravity becomes greatly altered affecting posture, gait and balance. An increase in size and weight puts pressure on the spine and hips but particularly the lower back. By using gentle spinal and pelvic mobility exercises along with releasing stretches, aches and pains common in the lower back and shoulders can be eased making everyday activities feel more comfortable.
As pregnancy develops and the lower spine becomes more arched the abdominals can become strained as they stretch and the lower back muscles become tighter. Strong abdominals protect the back but are inevitably weakened during pregnancy. Pilates during pregnancy therefore, focuses on strengthening the core, back, legs, gluteals (bottom) and upper body. Maintaining a level of strength and fitness throughout your pregnancy will also get your pre-pregnancy body back much faster.
When to start:
The big question is: When can I resume/start a post pregnancy Pilates programme? The events of your labour can make this a tricky question but usually following a GP's 6 week check it is usually safe to start to join a post-natal class. The initiation of pelvic floor and deep abdominal exercises in the immediate postpartum period is encouraged and may reduce the risk of future urinary incontinence. Joining a post natal Pilates class will build on these initial exercises and incorporate more exercises to put you on the road to full recovery.