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The most important thing to realise when reading this article is that it doesn’t matter if you are 6 weeks, 6 months, or 6 years+ post natal.
If you have never done Pilates before, chances are you may never have actively discovered, recruited and used the muscles that we work in Pilates – especially those muscles which are left particularly weak and joints which are left unstable and posture which has been left uncorrected after having a baby. So even if your “baby” is a grown man or woman, please read on as this article includes you!

Pilates is an essential workout for any post natal mother. If you have never done Pilates before you could start with a private class, a beginner workshop, or join a Beginner course of classes.
Almost all exercises at Beginner level are suitable for postnatal mothers unless you have separation of the abdominal muscles (Diastasis Recti) and then depending on the nature of the separation you may still be able to join a beginner level class with Pilates Lifestyle and we will simply modified certain exercises for you which may be unsuitable.

How long should I wait before I can start exercising again?

It is important after having a baby to wait the following amount of time after giving birth:

  • at least 6 weeks if the delivery was natural, 
  • and 10 weeks if you had a c-section. 

In any event your GP should give you the go ahead to start exercising again.

Separation of the Abdominal Muscles

If you have a postnatal condition known as DRA Diastasis Rectus Abdominis (separation of the abdominal muscles) then you may need to see a chartered physiotherapist before returning to exercise, however, you can perform a simple test on yourself and if you are still unsure definitely go and see your GP. The GP will refer you on to a physiotherapist as this is a condition you do not want to leave, because you can do more damage by not addressing the issue straight away.

This video also explains how to do the "Rec test" to find out the state of muscular separation:

What Can be Done to Treat Someone with a DRA?

People with a DRA often have a poorly functioning deep core (transversus abdominis, pelvic floor, diaphragm and deep multifidus). As a method, Pilates strengthens all three of these muscles, making it an ideal workout for anyone who has this separation. Once you start Pilates you must tell your instructor and confirm that he or she is familiar working with clients with this condition otherwise you could certainly end up doing more harm than good.

All beginner classes at Pilates Lifestyle are suitable for both pregnant and postnatal mothers. All our instructors are trained and qualified to teach both antenatal and postnatal clients and where necessary we will liaise with GP’s and physiotherapists to ensure that you receive only the best treatment and a successful recovery.

There is a link between this separation condition and low back pain, prolapse and stress incontinence and if you exercise without seeking proper medical advice first you will probably make the condition worse.
This is not meant to frighten anyone but to make sure you go and get yourself seen to and start the correct path to recovery by encouraging these muscles to rejoin. 

Common postnatal conditions:

Sacroiliac pain and symphysis pubis are common conditions for postnatal mothers and once again you will be able to join one of our beginner level classes and there will be certain exercises that we modify for you until such time as your core becomes stronger and the signs and symptoms of these conditions disappear completely.

Every postnatal mother that comes into the studio and joins our beginner classes cannot believe how effective this method of exercise is in terms of rehabilitating the body post pregnancy.

This is what one of our many postnatal mothers had to say...

“I've been practising Pilates with Caroline for years with great enjoyment. Having experienced the benefits of Pilates (flexibility, great muscle tone etc.) there was no doubt I wanted to continue after both my pregnancies especially after the second one which was a twin pregnancy.
As a result of the big birth weight of my twins my tummy muscles got stretched to their limit and became very thin and weak. I was left with an umbilical hernia and a four-finger wide gap between my muscles. I couldn't do a single sit-up. After a few months of doing Pilates with Caroline's guidance my tummy muscles started to join and got stronger.
The breathing technique, together with tummy exercises, are a vital part of the recovery after any pregnancy. My babies are now 19 months old and my tummy is much stronger and the muscles are only two fingers apart. I can now perform any kind of exercises without pain or having to worry about doing damage. Pilates has worked and still works for me. I can't recommend it highly enough especially after pregnancy.”
(Zsofia, mother of 3)

This video will help relieve back pain:

What can you expect from a Pilates class?

The benefits of Pilates for the postnatal body are endless. You can expect to cough, sneeze and jump on the trampoline with confidence again! Pilates will make your body stronger and fitter. This method of exercise strengthens the core, helping to stabilise the pelvis. It mobilises the spine, helping to improve posture and reduce lower back, mid back, neck and shoulder pain. It strengthens the postural muscles of the upper body and teaches you a whole new way to move. Your will discover muscles you never knew you had.

Pilates classes at Pilates Lifestyle will help you highlight your own personal strengths, imbalances and weaknesses and provide you with the skills, space, time and opportunity for you to reform your body.

 

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