Let’s quit the “quick fix” and the “bounce back” talk. Having a baby is not quick, or bouncy, or easy. Your body undergoes the impossible. It grows, stretches, rearranges organs, generates new muscles, and stores fat – all to protect and nurture your baby. It takes a full 9 months to get there. Why should it take only a few months to get back? There’s a ton of pressure on new moms to return to their pre-pregnancy bodies. The truth is it takes time to recover and doing too much too fast can end up causing more harm than good. Here are a few ways safe Pilates can help aid in your recovery.
- Pilates let’s you ease back in. Pilates is the foundation for fitness. At the bare minimum, you will have taken a 6 week break from working out to recover. For those who have had multiples or high risk pregnancies, you may have had to abstain from your regular workouts for the full length of your pregnancy. Pilates will reacquaint you with your long lost abdominal muscles and how they work. Safety is always first. The relaxin your body has been producing to relax your ligaments and pelvis is still present in your system. Easing in with Pilates instead of a high impact workout will prevent injuries and will not fatigue your muscles, leaving you the energy needed to take care of your baby.
- Pilates can help you discover & deal with diastatis recti. During pregnancy the muscles surrounding your uterus stretch sometimes causing a separation in the middle, called diastatis. If you’re not sure whether or not you have diastatis, you can have your Pilates instructor check during your first session. Pilates will teach you how to work your abs safely without putting unnecessary pressure on your inner abdominal muscles and underlying organs. Movements like crunches and standard sit-ups can actually make things worse instead of better. Most cases of diastatis correct themselves naturally and all can be improved with proper care.
- Pilates will strengthen your pelvic floor. Pilates will connect you to your deepest ab muscles. These muscles work to support our lower organs, including the bladder. After pregnancy the pelvic floor muscles weaken sometimes causing annoying incontinence after a sneeze or a good laugh. Strengthening and lifting the pelvic floor muscles can help to gain control over the bladder.
- Pilates will bring your back to balance. Babies reek havoc on alignment causing all sorts of pain. Whether or not you are breast or bottle feeding, your posture is sure to shift. You may also notice that one of your hips is resting higher than the other from carrying your baby. Pilates helps bring everything back into balance and realignment.
- Pilates will reconnect you to your body. You’ve surrendered your body to your little one, for good reason. Still, we can all use a little time to reconnect ourselves with our bodies. Pilates will give you that mindbody connection you may have been craving. It can help to reduce the stress of new mommy hood and help you gain the strength to move well throughout the day.