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.

Pilates can work wonders for Pelvic Girdle Pain (SPD) – a testimonial.

Here is an amazing testimonial from a lady who is now not just a client but also I now consider a friend. When Louise first came to me I really wasn’t too sure if I was going to be able to be of much help. I had to think creatively to come up with solutions for exercises she was able to do and over time I watched her get stronger, more confident and have less pain. This shows me how if you trust the science, assess the body in front of you and adapt accordingly it really can work wonders!
When I came to Priya, I was in already in a bad way and suffering with a lot of pelvis & hip pain and unable to do very much activities at all. I was also on crutches.
However, Priya was amazing, she assessed me and tailored a plan that was completely individual to me and my limitations with SPD. To my amazement, even after just a few sessions with Pirya, I noticed an improvement in my pain levels and had improved mobility. I continued to attend pilates sessions with Priya and used the moves learnt in my sessions everyday at home. I was unable to do very long but even just 10-15 minutes a day really helped. I was able to attend classes up until 7 months, & continued at home until almost the end of my pregnancy.  This was a vast improvement on my first pregnancy, & although I was still in pain, this time I could keep moving and was able to reduce the amount of pain relief I needed to take.
Pilates with Priya: The Pelvis
Post pregnancy i found that the pilates i had done pre birth had made a massive difference to how quickly I recovered from the spd post pregnancy. In my first pregnancy it took me almost two years to fully recover from the spd. However, this time I asked Priya to recommend some pilates exercises I could do from day 1 post pregnancy. She gave me three simple exercises which I did everyday for the first 12 weeks & they made an enormous difference to my recovery post pregnancy.
At 12 weeks I went back to pilates and was amazed by how much I had already improved from when i was pregnant.  I have continued to attend pilates twice a week with Pirya, and I contine to me amazed by what my body can do considering how much pain I was in a mere 7 months ago when my daughter was born.
For me attending pilates with Priya whilst I was pregnant and had spd was by far the best thing I did. It helped enormously with my pain and mobility and Priya was and continues to be amazing in understanding my body and individual needs. My SPD was extremely severe and I was previously told it was too bad to be able to attend a normal antenatal class, therefore,  I was really worried that doing any pilates would really hurt and make the SPD worse. However, Priya introduced me to very simple and gentle moves, which at first I thought were so basic they couldn’t help. However,  I couldn’t believe how much they did help and i would really recommend to anyone suffering with the SPD to try doing pilates.

I came to Priya for Pilates back in January 2014, 3 months pregnant and already really suffering with pain from SPD. In my first pregnancy the SPD became so bad that I ended up having to use a wheelchair as I couldn’t walk without pain. Therefore,  I was determined to try and prevent the same thing happening in my second pregnancy and a friend had told me how good Priya was, specifically in using pilates to help alleviate pain associated with spd.

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 🙂