Beyond Your Bump: Postnatal Pilates DVD

Having a new born baby is hard work. Amongst the nappy changes, feeds, lack of sleep and recovering from the birth itself, there can be little time to think about exercise! The demands of pregnancy and then the energies of labour put  a great stress on your body and it needs time to recover and heal. So you may not feel like rushing straight back into exercise and that is understandable. However your body also needs the strength to carry, feed and lift without causing aches, pains and issues later down the line.

Pilates is the perfect compromise with this. It is exercise that can be started soon after birth but won’t feel too strenuous. Being able to do just 10 minutes a day will make such a difference to your body. Getting to a class can be stressful with a baby. Help is at hand. We run postnatal classes with a creche provided. Or our “Beyond Your Bump” DVD means you get the experience and benefit of a postnatal class devised by a Pilates specialist, ready to do in your home around your baby.

Postnatal Pilates DVD "Beyond your bump"

This is an hour long DVD in several sections that will:

  • Strengthen your abdominals.
  • Targets your bum, legs and tum.
  • Help with any pelvis pain.
  • Work your pelvic floor in a functional manner.
  • Correct upper body posture.


My little ones have always loved sitting in a bouncy chair watching me do exercise – why not see if yours does too!

How to pick up your baby with perfect posture.

Having a new baby means you really don’t spend much time thinking about yourself. It’s all about looking after that new precious bundle of love. Whilst that is so, so important it can mean that things like your posture quickly slip and a few months down the line you end up with back, neck or shoulder issues. One of the key things that can go wrong is lifting baby from the floor. It’s something that mums do all the time so important to get right. Here I demonstrate 2 ways to safely pick up your baby, using my baby as an example.

Royal Bumps and normal bumps, tips on getting your body back post birth.

So on Monday …… the newest addition to the Royal Family made an appearance. With Kate in labour there were people camping outside the hospital, live feeds recording the hospital and all sorts of chatter going on. Now I understand the excitement but thinking back to the birth of my first child, personally I was pleased to see they were given some privacy. The whole labour experience can be so challenging, unexpected and yet at the end there’s the amazement of meeting that gorgeous baby that you have been carrying around for 9 months. Those first few days are overwhelming, emotional, tiring and a big change to life.

The thing that I’ve found sad is the media chatter around Kate’s baby bump still being present a few days post-birth. Now in my mind that’s completely natural and normal. After 9 months of growing a baby your body is going to just spring back to it’s previous shape after a couple of days. It’s made me, as a pregnant lady and a antenatal Pilates instructor, think about the pressure on new mums. Yes, we wants new mums to look after their bodies, to eat healthily, to restart exercise when it’s safe to and to get that body confidence back…… but there can be far too much pressure. Having said that everyone’s bodies are different and if you have exercised through your pregnancy you are more likely to lose the weight quicker. Here I am 8 days post-baby number 1 back in my “comfy jeans” but certainly not back to my normal size and shape, who knows how I’ll be after baby number 2.

Bump to Birth Pilates: 8 days post baby.
Bump to Birth Pilates: 8 days post baby.

My advice:

  • It’s taken 9 months to grow a baby, it will take time for the baby weight to come off, be patient.
  • A few days after birth light exercise such as gentle walking and pelvic floor exercises should be safe.
  • Don’t engage in any high impact exercise until you have had your 6 week check from your GP and have built up to it. Jumping straight into high impact work can cause more damage than good. Strengthen your core and pelvic floor first.
  • Build your exercise back up slowly and steadily. Start with gentle walking, some light resistance work perhaps and think about a post natal Pilates class to strengthen your core and pelvic floor safely.
  • You may have diastasis recti (a gap in your tummy muscles) so certain abdominal exercises will not be suitable, post natal Pilates will help with this.
  • Try not to succomb to the cakes, biscuits and chocolates that are often around 😉 yes you need extra calories when breastfeeding but it’s better to get these from nutritious sources such as fruit, vegetables and wholegrains, lean protein, nuts and seeds. Keep the “treat foods” as treats.
  • Relaxin is a hormone that makes you more flexible and supple than usual, this hormone is still around post-birth so take care when stretching or in yoga moves.
  • If you are still bleeding post-birth be cautious not to overdo it, if the bleeding gets worse then rest.
  • Remember you have a new baby to look after and will be up in the night, so rest is also important.
  • Specialist post natal classes are fantastic – look for a cardio class such as a boot camp or aerobics class to complement a Pilates class. You can often take your baby to class with you.
  • Be active, take time for you and be kind to yourself!

Breastfeeding and Exercise

I’m posting this after a couple of posts and questions on the topic… I myself remember being a bit worried about breastfeeding and exercise but my experience was that as long as I fed before and after exercise I had no problems (the hubby on the other hand sometimes had a fractious baby!). I’ve based some of this on my initial questions and those I’ve been asked.

Feed before exercise

I’d always suggest that you feed your baby before your exercise.  If your breasts are full, chances are they will feel uncomfortable, and any amount of activity may stimulate milk flow, so it’s advisable to wear breast pads. If it’s a class like the ones I teach you can probably arrange to get there early and feed the baby before class. If not feed at home or even in the car! Remember you could also express if feeding is not an option.

Bump to Birth Pilates

Is a sports bra necessary?

Getting a properly fitted sports bra is essential if you’re embarking on any type of fitness class or activity to reduce the amount of “bounce” and provide adequate shock absorption to the breasts. Although wearing a nursing bra is very convenient for feeding before or after class it will not provide enough support. Consider wearing two bras, with a nursing bra on first, then a sports bra over the top. I know it sounds like a bit of a nuisance, but this “double-bra” effect will you with the support you need. I remember doing this and then whipping my top and sports bra off to feed in between classes on occasion – rather crazy but necessary 😉 I’m going to be looking out for a breastfeeding sports bra with baby 2 on the way, these are now more readily available thankfully.

Body positioning

I’m always quite aware of this in my  post-natal classes. Lying directly on your front can feel uncomfortable when breastfeeding.  For others, it feels fine.  When performing any exercise in this position, if it feels uncomfy, either mention it to your instructor who should be able to offer you an alternative exercise or you could try placing a rolled up towel above and/or below your breasts to reduce the amount of discomfort/pressure. Personally I only put ladies on their tummies for a short period of time then we change position.

Range of movement

Again, for comfort, it’s advisable to keep the range of movement of some arm exercises smaller and controlled. Anything vigorous that involves you reaching your arms over your head repetitively will cause tenderness, so it’s important you keep the range of movement of your arms smaller.  You know your body best, at the end of the day, so choose what feels comfortable for you.

Milk production

There is no significant research to suggest that moderate-intensity exercise inhibits milk production. Examples of moderate-intensity exercise include: weight training, low-impact aerobics, walking, swimming.  A study by Carey & Quinn (2001) suggested that lactate levels of milk production changed only after a mother performed maximal intensity exercise, and this may affect baby’s acceptance of post-exercise breast milk. But, the authors agreed that it’s highly unlikely that a postnatal women would feel comfortable pushing themselves to this level, so its findings have been discounted. Moderate-intensity exercise however, with good hydration will not affect the quantity or the quality of breast milk. Note the key here is good hydration. A great tip is to have a glass of water every time you breastfeed.

I hope this helps, any questions let me know and I’d love to hear your feedback too.