Congratulations! You’re a mummy.
Your new bundle of joy is here and is amazing. You’ve got the baby sensory classes booked in, the baby aqua sessions, the meet ups with other mums in the park. But what about YOU?!
It’s no exaggeration that motherhood is a job! A demanding one too. Physically your body has just gone through enormous changes in pregnancy. Your body has been stretched to a tiny elephant proportions to accommodate this gorgeous new life you now have and now they are here, you can’t wait to lose the baby weight, tone up and feel good.
Which is great!
But what about the bits you can’t see- the inside bits? They are the bits that have taken a bit of a battering. Remember the squashed lungs and ribcage and the difficulty breathing in pregnancy? That needs a bit of healing now.
Remember the weight you put on growing this bubba? That puts an extra load on your pelvic floor muscles and needs a bit of healing now.
Remember the fact that your pregnancy bump and boobs walked into the room before you? That pulled your spine forward and needs a little work now.
Remember the birth? (ok let’s not dwell on the graphic bits!) but that pushing, pulling, interception, tearing, stitching up? That all needs work now to heal the muscles and circulation.
Remember the feeding you’re doing now and the rounded upper body posture, the bigger boobs pulling you forward? Your tight chest and weaker upper back and neck needs some work now.
Now what if you add in a pelvic floor issue like a prolapse or some incontinence, or maybe caesarean section (a major operation!) or an abdominal separation? Well that sure needs a little work now.
Just because you can’t see your insides, don’t forget them. They are the most important thing to help you support your back, joints and your vital organs!
Our top tips for a great postnatal Pilates programme?
- Repetition! Do the same things and see your progress.
- Work with a teacher who is trained in post natal and specifically abdominal separation healing.
- Focus on re connecting to your deeper stabilising muscles, the ones that have been stretched through pregnancy and birth. Think pelvic floor, deep abdominals, obliques, rectus (six pack) too.
- Work on breath. Your lungs and rib cage have been squashed. Re train your diaphragm and breathing muscles (the core is part of this too!) You will feel better, be able to move your spine better, breathe easier and help your core too. Plus it’s great for postnatal relaxation!
- Buy a magic circle. They are awesome when use correctly to help you get your midline back and not as a thigh master!
- Do some chest opening. Using barrel work, roller etc can help you to stretch a tight chest and upper back, but the first focus should be on strength before stretch.
- Do some side work- mermaids, side bends feel great to help you balance your sides and give space to your lungs and baby carrying side. But also side kick series so you work on side glute/hip stabilising muscles to help your pelvis and lower body joints.
- Work inside out. You’ve had a baby, your insides will be mushy for a while so work on those first before starting to worry about the weight loss and the external body toning sessions. Pilates will do it anyway and you’ll thank us when those stronger internal muscles are also helping your pelvic floor muscles!
- Remember hormones! You are producing Relaxin hormones which makes ligaments loose, and this stays around a while even after breastfeeding stops. So work on strength and stability to combat and help. Think small not big bendy movements.
- Commit to yourself but be kind on yourself. It’s taken 9 months to carry this baby inside you, don’t expect to pop it out and be on your merry way! Take time to dedicate to your own self care and healing and it may take another 9 months to feel yourself again both physically and emotionally!
- NB: remember not all exercises are appropriate for everyone. Please see us directly for individual help.
Our client Lisa is 4 months postnatal, a personal trainer and a small abdominal separation. Here’s her home Matwork programme.
Share this post with someone you think could benefit too.
1. Reconnecting with the breath and deeper abdominals.
2. Pre Pilates foot lifts, leg slides and rib cage arms- these really show up where you’re at and where your focus should be.
3. 10-10-10 : the trifecta of Pilates (deep abs, inner thighs and glutes)
4. Cat stretches- a baby version of the elephant on the Reformer.
5. Modified Hundred- working on a deeper connection that the rectus (six pack)
6. Magic circle – supine legs and arms. There is nothing like the magic circle to connect you back to your midline and get that separation gap to start closing.
7. Modified Roll Up- half roll back for deeper strength, control and stability. With and without the circle.
8. One Leg Circles- with and without the circle to highlight the work needed to keep the torso stable.
9. Rolling like a Ball- smaller, more control.
10. Single Leg Stretch. Working up towards the abdominal series of 5.
11.Spine Stretch Forward.
12. Side kick series- small tiny circles.
13. Standing wall work, standing magic circle.