Pregnancy, childbirth, and the never-ending needs of a new baby place incredible physical and emotional demands on a woman. Committing to a specific Pilates program pre- and post-natal will do wonders to alleviate the back, hip, and shoulder pain that often accompanies pregnancy and new motherhood. Not to mention Pilates’ positive impact on the stubborn weight gain, the fog, and the fatigue. Here are six ways Pilates can help both expectant and new mothers.
1. Pull up your privates and strengthen your pelvic floor
A Pilates program that incorporates enhanced Keigel exercises with squats and lunges will strengthen your pelvic floor muscles before and after baby. Your pelvic floor muscles are highly stressed during pregnancy and labour and are often damaged during delivery. It’s important to rehabilitate your pelvic floor because those muscles play a vital role in healthy sexual function, urinary and anal continence, and core support of your spine and pelvis.
2. Connect to your core and build a strong foundation
Pilates will strengthen your deep-core abdominal muscles to ease pelvis and back pain and provide more support for weight changes and your shifting centre of gravity. Remember your core is not just your belly! Pilates strengthens, balances, and tones your deep back, buttock, and hip muscles too.
3. Ease the fatigue with better posture and improved flexibility
Your body goes through massive changes during pregnancy and then suddenly you are spending hours cradling, feeding, and carrying your baby. Plus your breasts are huge! All of this compromises your posture creating neck, shoulder, back, and hip stiffness and fatiguing your already exhausted body. Pilates will lengthen and strengthen your spine creating better posture and keeping your body in optimal alignment for everyday activities.
4. Power up those pipes
New babies may not weigh much at first, but they grow fast! Carrying around a 10-15 pound baby for hours every day – not to mention the weight of the car seat and diaper bag – requires upper-body strength. Pilates will not only strengthen your arms and shoulders, it will teach your body how to lift and carry in the most efficient way – strengthening your entire back.
5. Build muscle for better weight loss
It took nine months to put on the baby weight, it’s going to take at least that long and often up to a year to lose it. Total body conditioning with Pilates resistance training will build muscle and rev up your metabolism making weight loss easier. Plus you will feel better all over.
6. Connect mind and body to create a quiet calm
Pregnancy and motherhood are stressful. The concentration, precision, and purposeful breathing of your Pilates work-out will get you back in tune with your body and focus your mind on creating an inner calm.
It’s hard to find time to take care of your own needs when all your energy is focused on the new wee person in your life. Of course we know you will have an easier time after your baby is born if you work at getting strong, fit, and centered before the birth. But it’s never too late – or too early – to get started.