Preparing for Birth and Post Natal Recovery

Written by The Pilates Studio Whitstable

So you have bought the pram, you have prepared the nursery and you may even have picked out a name but have you considered how you intend to look after yourself and baby through the antenatal and postnatal period?

We all know that the miracle of life happens in 9 months but we often don’t fully appreciate the epic changes that the body goes through. I consider myself a feminist although I would still like to give credit where it’s due, to all the mums out there. 

Physically during the antenatal period, the stomach swells and the organs move, alongside this the musculoskeletal system has to adapt to accommodate such changes by softening ligaments. If you look at the spine of a pregnant woman you will see the curves deepen to give extra space for baby to grow. 

With all of the above changes you can see the need to assist the body by keeping mobile. This is also essential to help maintain fitness in preparation for birth and postnatal recovery. This is not always possible for everyone but where able, self-care should take priority. Pilates makes a great addition to a self-care regime. 

Antenatal Pilates can be of significant benefit by teaching women how to gently move their bodies helping to remain relatively comfortable and functional through pregnancy. Emphasis is placed on the importance of breathing and getting a better breathing pattern allowing mummy-to-be achieve relaxation through pregnancy and birth. 

The next thing to mention is the pelvic floor musculature. For most first time mums they have no idea what or where the pelvic floor muscles are let alone how to contract them! Pelvic floor muscles attach to the boney pelvis and run in a horseshoe shape from front to back. They act like a hammock to support the pelvic organs above. 

Pelvic floor muscles are a crucial part of antenatal Pilates classes. Having good pelvic floor control assists with carrying baby through the 9 months of pregnancy and for the miracle portion of birth. 

Pilates doesn’t just stop being beneficial once baby is born. Postnatal recovery and rehab needs time and gentle movement. Which is where Pilates fits so well with the rehab of the pelvic floor, abdominals and back muscles. This is the time when new mothers need the most amount of support and Pilates can assist with both the mental and the physical reconnection. Gentle, steady progression is key, following the natural cues of your body with the guidance of a qualified instructor. 

To quote Rebecca Schiller, Doula, one of the founders of Birth Rights and Author of Your No Guilty Pregnancy Plan “You are not an elastic band. Over the past nine months your body has mind-blowingly grown a human inside it. Your body has been through the most phenomenal set of changes. You cannot and should not feel the need to “snap back”.” 

As an Osteopath I regularly see postpartum women that have done an amazing job through pregnancy and birth of looking after themselves but afterwards they try too much too soon. The fourth trimester is the time it takes for your baby to adapt to living outside of the womb and is a huge time of change and development for your little one. This also applies to you. Give your body time. Be patient, be gentle and be kind. 

At The Pilates Studio Whitstable we offer both Antenatal and Postnatal trained instructors in addition to a full range of mat and Pilates studio equipment classes. 

The studio is run by Osteopath Gemma Dawson and a team of expert instructors specialising in rehabilitative/clinical Pilates. 

To find out more visit www.thepilatesstudiowhitstable.co.uk or find us on social media as The Pilates Studio Whitstable. Alternatively drop us an email info@thepilatesstudiowhitstable.co.uk to see what Pilates can do for you. 

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