It was Miranda Kerr’s secret weapon before and after the arrival of
baby Flynn. Yummy mummies Reese Witherspoon, Cindy Crawford and Gisele
Bundchen all swore by it to bounce back to perfect post-pregnancy shape.
No, it’s not any magic shakes, pills or potions…it’s Pilates!
The amazing thing about Pilates is that anyone, no matter their age,
size or fitness level, can take part and reap the outstanding benefits.
It is low impact, effective and it can be as challenging or as gentle as
you like due to the versatility of each exercise. Pilates exercises
dramatically strengthen the core and pelvic floor, providing stability,
strength and support for the spine. If you want amazing posture,
strength, balance, flexibility and a toned, taut figure, then Pilates is
I get a lot of questions asking if Pilates is a safe and beneficial
method for new or expecting mums to include in their fitness regime. My
answer is always a big, resounding yes! Pilates is the ultimate pre and
post pregnancy exercise to keep your body and baby healthy and happy.
Throughout pregnancy, the abdominal muscles are constantly expanding to
accommodate your growing baby. Even though your little one is nice and
comfortable in there, this may mean weakened muscles for you,
particularly the deep, stabilising muscles that support your pelvis.
When these supporting muscles are weakened, you become extremely
susceptible to lower back pain. On top of all of this, all of your
ligaments are much more soft and flexible due to the release of the
hormone relaxin to allow the pelvis to adjust for delivery. With weak
ligaments and abdominal muscles combined, it can put a painful spin on
an otherwise incredible journey!
Pilates will keep your abdominals strong and stable, alleviating stress
on the back and pelvic floor and also positioning the baby perfectly for
a smooth delivery! The improvement in muscle tone, circulation and
oxygen supply acquired through Pilates is extremely beneficial during
labour. Better circulation promotes oxygen supply to the womb, easing
discomfort for the baby. Additionally, the breathing techniques used in
Pilates will assist greatly in keeping you cool, calm and in control
during childbirth. Incontinence will also be a thing of the past when
the pelvic floor is strong, allowing you to stay comfortable and
confident. If you’ve been feeling a little wobbly as your belly grows,
the increasing weight of the baby can throw your centre of balance. A
strong centre and increased body awareness can keep you standing tall,
proud and pain free, thanks to the amazing benefits of this tried and
It is important to keep in mind that modifications are absolutely
essential to ensure the health and safety of your baby. Particular
exercises are not recommended from mid pregnancy onwards, for example
lying on your tummy or flat on your back. These can hinder the oxygen
supply to your baby, not to mention they would be extremely
uncomfortable! Never fear, there are plenty of exercises that can be
performed on all fours, lying on your side, in sitting, and in kneeling
positions that are perfectly safe. Before starting any new exercise
program, always seek the advice of your doctor.
Certain exercises should be avoided throughout pregnancy, particularly
abdominal crunches and curls. Using these muscles, especially as the
size of your bump increases, heightens the risk of abdominal diastasis,
where the connecting tissue that binds the external layer of abdominal
muscles separates. I also recommend steering clear of extreme stretches,
unstable exercises that require a great deal of balance, unsupported
back bends, keeping your feet elevated higher than your heart and high
Women can usually return to Pilates four to six weeks after childbirth,
or eight to twelve weeks after a Caesarean section. Your doctor will
inform you when it is safe for you to resume an exercise program. So if
you want to snap back into sexy shape after delivery and give your body
and baby the best treatment possible, Pilates is the way to go!
Guest Blogger- Lisa Pentony from Pilates By Lisa. For more information and to download Pilates eDVD’s go to: