The human body experiences so many changes during pregnancy and in the postpartum period. Commonly, women experience reduced pelvic floor and core strength, abdominal separation, postural changes, ligamentous laxity and general muscular tightness and weakness. All these changes can lead of course to some aches and pains. A great way to try and combat all of this is through a strengthening and stretching program using pilates.
So what is ante and post-natal pilates?
Ante and post-natal pilates is a form of exercise and rehabilitation that involves resistance exercise, stretches and dynamic movements designed to lengthen, strengthen, and align the body. These can be performed on a mat or using specialised Pilates equipment such as a reformer.
Ante and post-natal pilates is specifically designed to accommodate the needs of the expecting mother or a mother in the post partum period. It is regarded as one of the best forms of exercise during this time of life.
Who is it for?
Our ante and Post natal pilates are for those who are currently pregnant, regardless of how far along you are and those in the post partum period. It is recommended to have at least six weeks off after giving birth to allow the body some natural rest and healing time.
Common pregnancy related concerns
Approximately 1 in 20 women have chronic pain during pregnancy in Australia, with many pregnancy related pain coming from existing health conditions or underlying medical illness that have worsened as a result of the physiological changes that occur during pregnancy. Some examples of these health conditions/illnesses are:
-chronic back pain/ pelvic girdle pain/ neck + upper back pain/ TMJ + headaches
-Autoimmune diseases/ systemic issues such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and arthritis
-Gastrointestinal issues such as Chrons and ulcerative colitis
-Gynaecologic related pelvic pain
Another major health concern in the post partum period is post partum fatigue. Symptoms of this includes hesitation, persistent concern, impatience, mixed thoughts, decreased concentration and memory performance. It is often a concern that this fatigue could lead into post natal depression.
Urinary incontinence is another common occurrence that occurs during and after the pregnancy period, with it estimated to affect 1 in 3 women. Those who suffer are often linked to being less active as well as having a reduction in their lower limb strength and balance.
What are the benefits of being active?
There is supporting evidence to show positive effects of being physically active during and after the pregnancy period on physical and mental wellbeing. Reformer pilates has been shown to be one of the top recommended forms of exercise during this period due to its low impact emphasis on stabilising the joints, strengthening the muscles and increasing mobility as well as its high safety rating for the mother and child.
Pilates is a great way to manage:
-Current health conditions/ aches and pain as a lot of these conditions can be managed with appropriate strength work
-Reduce fatigue/ improve energy levels
-Rehab any abdominal separation
-Reduce any incontinence issues
-Improve mental health
You don’t have to be in any pain to come to an ante or post natal pilates class, it can be a great way to stay fit, active and mobile throughout your whole pregnancy and afterwards with the knowledge that you are being well looked after and closely monitored the whole time.
How does it work?
Just like any of our clinical or PIER pilates, you will undergo a one-on-one assessment where we will chat about your goals you want to achieve with pilates, address any concerns, discuss any injuries or current aches and pains and perform a full body assessment including an external pelvic floor ultrasound to assess your strengths and weakness and gives us a good base to make our pilates plan. From there, you will undergo two one on one sessions on the reformer going over the class made for you where we can make alterations as needed. From there, you can start booking into classes, there will be a maximum for four people per class where you are closely monitored and instructed through your own personalised program.
About the author
CSSM Osteopath Jaimi Schroen has a strong passion in working with women throughout their pregnancy journey whether that’s in the treatment room or upstairs in our pilates space. Jaimi enjoys working with women to achieve their goals in pregnancy and to combat any aches and pains that may arise. If you have any other questions about our ante and post natal reformer pilates give us a call.
Ashrafinia, F., Mirmohammadali, M., Rajabi, H., Kazemnejad, A., Sadeghniiat Haghighi, K., & Amelvalizadeh, M. (2015). Effect of Pilates exercises on postpartum maternal fatigue. Singapore Medical Journal, 56(03), 169-173. doi: 10.11622/smedj.2015042
Güder, D. (2018). Pregnancy Pilates and Benefits of Pregnancy Pilates during Childbirth. Journal Of Yoga And Physiotherapy, 5(1). doi: 10.19080/jyp.2018.05.555652
Mothaghi Dastenaei, B., Aein, F., Safdari, F., & Karimiankakolaki, Z. (2020). Designing an intervention program over the effects of Pilates on pregnancy outcomes among the pregnant women: A protocol study. International Journal Of Surgery Protocols, 24, 27-30. doi: 10.1016/j.isjp.2020.10.004
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