Pilates in Pregnancy, it’s a must.

I’ve been lucky enough to teach antenatal pilates for 4 years now and in that time I must have worked with over 250 ladies. I’ve also used pilates myself through 3 pregnancies and it has helped keep me strong, shown me which parts of my body needed working on and enables me to keep working and being a hands on mum throughout. The comments we get from some of our ladies are:

“If I miss a class I really notice the difference”

“My hips and pelvis ache less and I can feel the difference Pilates is making”

“Classes help to keep me strong and relaxed during pregnancy”

“I always leave feeling better than when I arrived and with exercises to use in the week”

 

Pilates with Priya: Antenatal Pilates class

 

Antenatal Pilates offers multiple benefits including, developing your natural corset to support your back and baby, helping with the changes to your posture, pelvic floor education, breathing technique, toning the muscles and, thus, helping in weight management. Practising Pilates on a regular basis can improve posture, alleviate backaches, and, ultimately, help with labour and delivery. It can even help the baby rotate in the optimal position. I tend to have a format where I use a mixture of functional exercises that help in daily living, for example moves you will need to bend, lift, rotate, get to the floor, release stretches for the areas I know get tight as pregnancy progresses, core strengthening exercises and some move to help in labour and for baby positioning.

CAT

Lets look at some of the changes that happen in pregnancy:

1. Breathlessness:

There is around 15-20% increase in oxygen consumption during pregnancy. The breathing rate will stay the same, but an expecting mum will breathe more deeply each time. The changes in the blood vessels caused by the hormonal changes together with the changed position of the ribcage and diaphragm may make a mum-to-be feel breathless at times.

The breathing we use in Pilates helps make an expecting mum’s breathing more efficient. Focusing on breathing in an antenatal class also has a relaxing and calming effect which can then be used in labour.

2. Muscle, ligament, joint and postural adaptations: 

Hormonal changes during pregnancy have an effect on muscles, ligaments and joints. There can be more movement, stretching and instability. A safe pregnancy pilates class will help you exercise within a safe range of movement and strengthen the supporting muscles. It can really help with conditions such as SPD/pelvic girdle pain.

3. Core Strength:

Pilates exercises focus on core stability, and pelvic stability. This obviously helps keep the abdominals strengthened  but it also can help keep your pelvis in good alignment and reduce pelvic girdle pain.

4.Posture:

Pregnancy affects posture as the centre of gravity shifts. Some women adopt a posterior pelvic tilt (tucked under) with a flat lower back, whilst others adopt an anterior tilt (bum stuck out) with an increased curve in the lower back. Either way it is not helpful for the body. Knowing about neutral posture will help you correct this in day to day life and pilates will provide you will a range of exercises to strengthen the right muscles.

So if you are pregnant, antenatal Pilates with a specialist teacher is a MUST. If you can’t get to a class or want something to use in between sessions check out my specialst Bump to Birth DVD.

Postnatal Hair Loss, how to look after those locks.

One of the lovely side effects I had during pregnancy was to have thicker, faster growing hair. My hairdresser was always amazed when she saw me yet again for a trim.

This extra hair growth that some ladies see is due to the hormone levels, specifically the oestrogen. Hair has a cycle of growth and loss. Usually we lose about 100 hairs a day, however in pregnancy this hair loss can be reduced giving you those extra lush locks. All good things must come to an end however and as the oestrogen levels drop so must the extra hair. It is not uncommon for clumps or handfuls of hair to come out when you are brushing or washing it. So do not panic! Your hair will go back to how it was pre-pregnancy, you will not be bald (phew).

For some mums this will happen from birth and for others it will be when breastfeeding stops.

Pilates with Priya: postnatal hair loss

Top Tips:
1. Be kind to your hair, don’t was it excessively (as if you have time to with a baby!) and be gentle when styling it.
2. Try to stay away from hair dryers and straighteners, chemicals and treatments for a while.
3. Take a postnatal vitamins and eat a healthy balanced diet. Essential fatty acids are needed for hair to grow strong and healthy so no low fat diets.
4. Talk to your health visitor or GP is you feel the hair loss is excessive as it could be a sign something else is not quite right.

Losing the Baby Weight Week 6: my first training session.

So I’ve reached the 6 week post baby place. This is usually when you get an appointment with your GP and hopefully are given the green light to exercise. In my GP surgery the 6 week check is carried out at 8 weeks. Fortunately as a specialist in the antenatal and postnatal fitness arena I know what exercise is safe to do at this stage, so this weekend I made a start. I’d love to go for a run and do some high impact work, but I’m very aware that my core is not as strong as I’d like it to be yet and my pelvic floor is still regaining strength. Also Relaxin is still in my system making my joints prone to overstretching. So I’m being patient and holding back. Doing high impact activites such as running, jumping, aerobics can put extra strain on your pelvic floor and joints. So my thoughts and advice are to take it easy and go for low impact options after birth until you have regained some core strength first, this is like your foundation for all other exercise.  My Exercise this week: I’m doing some Pilates pretty much everyday. Just 15 minutes is really making a difference and I am now so much stronger than I was. I’m loving 1/2 roll ups, swimming in hands and knees and shoulder bridges with knee folds. I’ve even done a bit of Pilates with baby asleep in the sling 😉 Hard work indeed!

Pilates with Priya: Pilates with a Sling

At the weekend I did my first weights session. I focused on squats, lunges, chest presses, shoulder rows and modified press ups. My toddler joined me with her imaginery weights and baby kicked along to the music on his playmat. Exercising with children can be done! It was nice to feel my muscles the next day! Walking is key for me too, I’m making sure I get a walk in 3 time a week, usually this is with baby in the sling or pushing the baby and toddler in the buggy – both make for a good workout 🙂

My Top 3 Pilates Exercises for Pregnancy.

I’m a huge fan of Pilates during pregnancy, it really kept me strong, active and held my pelvis together throughout 2 pregnancies. In fact in my second pregnancy when I was teaching 11 Pilates classes a week and doing Pilates daily I had no lower back pain or pelvic pain. It  really does work!

So here are my top 3 Pilates exercises to do in pregnancy. These were filmed when I was 34 weeks pregnancy myself and are safe to do throughout all 3 trimesters of pregnancy and after birth too.

 

 

You can buy my “Bump to Birth” Pilates in Pregnancy DVD here.

Bump to Birth DVD Review from EDM fitness.

Here is a lovely review of our Bump to Birth Antenatal Pilates DVD that I recieved from Victoria at EDM Fitness:

“‘From Bump to Birth’ was very easy to follow (even if you are a complete beginner at Pilates) and could be done at home when you have a quiet moment. You do not necessarily need any special equipment, but if you would like a mat, and a swiss ball, but you can still do these exercises on a chair!

The exercises are clearly explained, and you can work to your own ability and trimester as adaptations for easier/harder exercises are offered. The beauty of this DVD is that all exercises are suitable for the complete duration of your pregnancy, so you don’t have to worry whatsoever about if what you’re doing is ‘okay!’

I would thoroughly recommend this workout, it targets the main niggles that women get during pregnancy.. (e.g. lower back pain, stress incontinence, stress) as well as prepare you for birth and after delivery. The whole workout is just generally is very relaxing and gets you to take some time out in your busy day.

Highly recommended, quick, easy and cost effective way of regularly doing some core strengthening exercises during your pregnancy. ”

The full review is here.

Or go like them on Facebook.

Antenatal DVD Release: From Bump to Birth.

From Bump to Birth: Pilates can Help – Southampton Based Pilates Instructor Releases Antenatal Pilates DVD

We’ve only gone and done it, this week sees the release of our Antenatal Pilates DVD and it is looking pretty fabulous! The DVD was filmed when Priya was 18 weeks pregnant and the wonderful Alun Leppitt has done a fantastic job with directing and producing it.

F”rom Bump to Birth” is designed to help keep pregnant ladies strong, fit, mobile and toned throughout pregnancy. Suitable for all stages of pregnancy and also after giving birth this DVD includes seated, stood, side lying and hands and knees sections so you can dip into whichever part you fancy.

Priya now teaches 3 antenatal classes a week and sees a large number of pregnant ladies each week so really does know the exercises that help and are most useful.

Sat on Ball DSC_0884

Priya says “Pilates can strengthen your core, so supporting your lower back, aiding with pregnancy back aches as well as help stabilise the pelvis as the exercises I use also focus on the muscles in the thighs and bum, so we support below the pelvis.”

“Personally Pilates is essential for me in pregnancy, it prevent too much pelvic pain and back ache and ensures I stay fit and mobile”

 

The DVD is available from her website: www.pilateswithpriya.co.uk/site/DVD or directly from the studio (priya@pilateswithpriya.co.uk), costing £15 if collected directly from the studio. Please do spread the word!

 

 

From Bump to Birth, It’s a Wrap. Antenatal DVD.

Wow what a day. I’ve been filming the new Pilates with Priya DVD, as I’m currently pregnant it made sense to make an antenatal DVD. Personally I found Pilates kept me well in pregnancy. I have a tendency to suffer from lower back pain when pregnant and Pilates is such a help for that. I was only teaching 1 class a week during my last pregnancy so was doing my own pregnancy pilates each night.

We now have 3 Antenatal classes running a week and it’s a joy to see so many pregnant ladies stay fit and strong throughout their journey. I’m currently 18 weeks pregnant with number 2 and am teaching 11 Pilates classes a week at present, it’s certainly keeping me toned and those aches and pains are staying away.

So as so many in my classes have said how helping Antenatal Pilates has been to them….. we took the hint and the new DVD will be coming out soon! Today we had 3 cameras, 2 sets of lights, 2 camera men and me, all in my little studio. It seemed to go well, but I haven’t seen any of it yet – looking forward to that bit 😉 The DVD includes a standing warm-up, some exercises seated either on  gym ball or a chair, exercises in hands and knees and lying on the side. It’s designed to strengthen the core and the pelvis, support the lower back and help prepare ladies for labour whilst keeping them well in pregnancy.

So if you are pregnant or know any one who is – then watch out for our DVD, coming very soon.