The benefits of Pilates for postnatal mothers are endless. Pilates will help your body become stronger and fitter and you can expect to cough, sneeze and jump on the trampoline with confidence again! The Pilates method of exercise focuses on strengthening core muscle groups which will help to stabilise your pelvis. It mobilises the spine, helping to improve posture and reduce lower back, mid back, neck and shoulder pain. It strengthens the postural muscles of the upper body and teaches you a whole new way to move. If you are new to postnatal Pilates it is important that you wait at least 6 but possibly 8 weeks if the delivery was natural, and 10 but possibly 12 weeks if you had a c-section before starting classes. Speak to your GP at your postnatal check-up and be guided by their advice.
If you have a postnatal condition known as DRA Diastasis Rectus Abdominis (separation of the abdominal muscles) then you may need to see a chartered physiotherapist before returning to exercise. You can perform a simple test on yourself and if you are still unsure make an appointment with your GP. Your GP may refer you on to a physiotherapist as this is a condition you do not want to leave, because you can do more damage by not addressing the issue straight away.
This video also explains how to do the "Rec test" to find out the state of muscular separation:
People with a DRA often have a poorly functioning deep core (transversus abdominis, pelvic ﬂoor, diaphragm and deep multiﬁdus). As a method, Pilates strengthens all three of these muscles, making it an ideal workout for anyone who has this separation. Once you start Pilates you must tell your instructor and confirm that he or she is familiar working with clients with this condition otherwise you could certainly end up doing more harm than good.
All our instructors at Pilates Lifestyle are trained and qualified to teach both antenatal and postnatal Pilates and where necessary we will liaise with GP’s and physiotherapists to ensure that you receive only the best treatment and a successful recovery.
There is a link between this separation condition and low back pain, prolapse and stress incontinence and if you exercise without seeking proper medical advice first you will probably make the condition worse.
This is not meant to frighten anyone but to make sure you go and get yourself seen to and start the correct path to recovery by encouraging these muscles to rejoin.
This video will help relieve back pain: