Like most new moms, you’re probably anxious to start getting your body back into shape and maybe even enjoy a little time just for yourself! Postnatal Pilates is a terrific way to begin toning your body, improving your strength, and helping you focus on being present in your new life.
Diastasis Recti Check
Before you get started on Pilates exercises, be sure to have an instructor check to see if you have Diastasis Recti (DR) or a separation of the abdominal muscles. It’s very common for new moms to have a post-pregnancy pooch or baby belly. At Firehaus Pilates, we do a quick and painless test to determine if DR is present. If you have DR, don’t worry – we have qualified instructors to help you with Pilates exercises to ensure you are doing moves correctly and safely!
Pelvic Floor Tilts
This multi-layered area of muscles has earned some love! The pelvic floor muscles run from your pubic bone to the base of the spine in your back. Similar to a sling, the pelvic floor holds organs in place. Pilates pelvic floor tilts help this critical muscle sling recover from pregnancy and childbirth.
To start, lying on a mat, focus on the pelvic floor area. As you lengthen your spine, continue to keep it long and engage your pelvic floor. Engaging this area is the same as if you were stopping the flow of urine midstream. Maintain this squeeze as you lift your pelvic floor upward. This exercise can be done at the Pilates studio or anywhere and anytime of day. Help these muscles recover and grow stronger! Remember to use caution when starting pelvic floor exercises as over-recruitment can lead to cramping and discomfort. Start gently and increase only as your body tolerates.
While you may think you need crunches and sit-ups to get your post-pregnancy tummy back into shape, nothing could be further from the truth! There are many other Pilates exercises that are more subtle and will actually give you better results.
Lie on your back, arms alongside your hips. Raise and bend your knees so the knees are over your hips, shins parallel to the floor. Pull in your belly toward your spine. Lower one foot and leg, keeping the 90-degree bend, and tap the floor. Bring the leg back up to the bended start position and repeat with the other leg. Alternate legs as you keep your head down on the mat. Remember to breathe and focus on your tummy staying pulled in!
A strong core is an important aspect of being able to perform smooth, controlled movements of the body. The core provides inner stability and balance but can be challenging to use as you rebuild your strength. Keep at it! The results of a strengthened core will help you in every aspect of your busy life as a mom!
Lying flat on your back with your hands on your hip bones (or, for more support, hands under your butt with palms down), bend your knees and put your feet flat on the floor or mat. With your feet hip-distance apart, inhale, flex one foot with heel on the ground, and slide this leg out onto the mat. Exhale as you engage the abdomen muscles and slide the outstretched leg slowly back, dragging your heel along the mat. Perform heel slides with both legs. If you aren’t feeling the abdomen working, slow down and focus on your breath and tummy muscle engagement.
Firehaus Pilates offers trained instructors and personalized programs for new moms looking to get back into shape. Remember, though, to take it slow and easy as you get back into an exercise program following childbirth. Your body took nine months to change and prepare for a new baby and it will take a similar amount of time to get back to its pre-pregnancy shape!