Recently, we’ve had a lot of postpartum moms streaming into the studio. This is one of my favorite clients to work with and I have some strong opinions about pilates, exercise, and postpartum care for moms.
First, pilates is such an amazingly appropriate form of postpartum exercise. It’s low impact nature protects joints that may still be affected by the hormones that allow for all the musculoskeletal changes required in carrying and delivering a baby. As a mind body form of exercise, it gives a sense of reclaiming their bodies and for least 1 hour they get to focus on themselves (not everyone else’s needs). Pilates promotes postural awareness and working towards balance of muscles around joints and proper biomechanics. By focusing on the areas of the body most compromised by pregnancy and immediately put to work after giving birth, pilates provides core stability for the whole body, especially the low back and pelvis.
Second, I am consistently appalled at our countries obsession with how quickly a woman can get back to her pre-baby body! This is detrimental to the psyche of every pregnant woman and new mom. A woman’s body just experienced 9 months of the most amazing changes to produce a precious life. Why would one demand, expect, and abuse their body to be able to wear bikini or fit back into skinny jeans just 4 weeks after giving birth? And anyone in the fitness or healthcare profession that is promoting this expectation is irresponsible and dangerous! A woman’s body needs time to repair, rebalance, and metabolize all the hormones that have been raging thru her body. Give tissue time to rebalance and restore to its pre-pregnancy state. In Korea it is customary the first several weeks to three months the new mother is supposed to rest and limit her activity to allow her body to recharge, repair, and restore. I think there is something to this cultural tradition that warrants some consideration by our over-driven body obsessed society. Nurture, encourage, re-educate and de-stress through exercise in the first few months after pregnancy…..pilates is perfect for this approach and a knowledgeable PT can help to safely guide you through the initial phases if you are experiencing any low back pain. There is plenty of time for booty shaping and ab-burning in the months ahead, once you have restored some neuromuscular and fascial balance in your body.
Third, I am always so proud, amazed, and inspired by the new moms I work with. I know how difficult it is to make it to an appointment or class when you have an infant or toddler at home. It seems like it should be the last thing on your list of things to accomplish. But it should be on your top three things to accomplish each day; doing something to nurture and care for YOUR body! You can’t care for your baby or your family if your back hurts or you are overstressed. And you can’t outsource exercising and taking care of your body to anyone else.
I’ve seen several of our new moms experience some amazing changes in their bodies recently. Such as, not having to be embarrassed about leakage after sneezing or coughing, ridding themselves of low back pain and feeling confident in their bodies and their ability to get back into those pre-preggie jeans (without abusing their bodies)! It is such a pleasure to be able to engage, educate, and empower these women during such a special and critical period in their lives!