Anna Winstanley Physiotherapy York

Reclaiming Your Body: 6 Ways that Postnatal Pilates can help

A mother practicing her postnatal pilates outside, with her newborn resting on top of her

The journey of motherhood can be an incredible and transformative experience. Amidst the joy of welcoming their babies into the world many mothers find themselves grappling with the enormity of the physical and emotional changes within themselves. The journey to matrescence is unique for every woman, as is the physical recovery. Finding time to regain strength and reconnect with your body is so important at this time, and one highly effective method for postpartum recovery is Pilates. Let’s explore the world of Postnatal Pilates and its myriad benefits!

Rebuilding Core Strength with Postnatal Pilates

During pregnancy many of the core muscles have been stretched and loaded very differently. This happens gradually, but during birth, that load suddenly reverts back! The gentle yet targeted exercises of Postnatal Pilates help new Mums to reconnect with their changed (and still changing) bodies, reestablishing the natural synergy between the breath and the core, and rebuilding the strong foundations which will underpin their onward recovery. 

Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation

The pelvic floor can feel very different postnatally, whether you have had a vaginal birth or a C-Section. The altered tone, length and function can contribute to altered bladder or bowel control, sexual function and pain. Postnatal Pilates incorporates pelvic floor exercises within more general strength, flexibility, and breath work, to ensure comprehensive recovery of the pelvic floor. 

Enhancing Flexibility

Altered biomechanics of pregnancy, prolonged postures whilst feeding your baby can lead to tension and some muscle tightness. The controlled movements and stretches incorporated into the Pilates routines help improve overall flexibility. This increased flexibility is part of recovering in a blanched way, and also… it feels great!

Stress Relief and Relaxation through Postnatal Pilates

The postnatal period can be a time of nutritional depletion and definitely sleep deprivation and hormonal chaos! This can be overwhelming and stressful on the body and mind, even when it’s also a pleasure! Confusing right…? Postnatal Pilates incorporates controlled breathing and intentional, mindful movements which helps to reduce stress, promoting a sense of calm and well-being. Learning to prioritise your own wellbeing is a challenging but important part of becoming a mother. 

Posture Support

The physical changes that accompany pregnancy can impact posture, leading to discomfort and potential musculoskeletal issues. Postnatal Pilates includes exercises which target the postural support muscles of the back and shoulders as well as mobilising those which become tense through carrying, lifting, feeding and co-sleeping. 

Posture support through postnatal pilates

Gradual Progression

Every mother’s journey is unique. The exercises can be tailored to individual fitness levels, ensuring a gradual and safe progression. This adaptability makes it an ideal choice for women at various stages of postpartum recovery, allowing them to regain strength at their own pace.

As you begin your postpartum recovery journey, remember that prioritising your well-being is not just about you; it also impacts your little one. Reconnecting with your body and your baby is a beautiful aspect of this process, and postnatal Pilates can be a valuable addition to your routine. We’re here to support you at every stage of this journey whether you want a home programme or regular 1:1 support (packages are available). Reach out today to schedule your first postnatal Pilates session. Let’s embark on this empowering journey together!

If you have any questions about this article or would like to know more about working with me, please feel free to get in touch for a chat!

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Anna Winstanley

Hi I’m Anna, a Women's Health Physiotherapist and Pilates Instructor in York with a nerdy passion for all things women’s health and wellbeing. I’ve worked with countless women over the years, helping them to feel strong, overcome pain and improve their quality of life so they can be marvellous mums, excellent employees and super selves.

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