Welcome to My Fit Postnatal.
This Postnatal Pilates exercise programme is suitable for anyone who has had a normal vaginal delivery or a caesarean delivery. The 8-staged Pilates programme is designed for all phases of postnatal recovery which means that you can move through the different exercise levels in your own time by following the Pilates-based videos.
Each postnatal Pilates exercise class will address pelvic floor strengthening, deep tummy activation, strengthening of the spinal muscles and breathing technique as well as overall upper and lower body strengthening, posture, bone density, co-ordination, flexibility and balance. The programme is suitable for all levels of fitness as the pace of your progress is controlled by you. There are full body Pilates classes and also shorter videos to allow you to plan your day and week around the demands of your postnatal life!
These exercise classes are based on my experience as an APPI- trained Pilates instructor teaching antenatal and postnatal groups, as well as beginners, intermediate, advanced, sports and older adult groups as well as my fifteen years of clinical practice treating women’s health conditions such as pelvic girdle dysfunction, pelvic floor dysfunction, diastasis recti abdominis, coccydinia ( tailbone pain), painful intercourse, pudendal neuralgia, sports injuries, joint issues and more.
I have added some life experience with my experience of four pregnancies, four instrumental vaginal deliveries, two episiotomies, 25 years of playing camogie, eleven marathons ( seven of them after babies), a brief history of triathlons, many repetitive strain injuries and a recent introduction to teenager children and possibly perimenopause!
Through prescribing and instructing individual and group exercise programmes for years I have designed these programmes to give you the feeling of one-to-one physiotherapy in the comfort of your own home. You may have had a very straight forward pregnancy and would like to return to running marathons, training for an ironman, lifting weights or getting back to the gym. You may have had a difficult pregnancy, delivery and recovery and you may be a little nervous about going back to your usual activities.
The My Fit Postnatal Pilates programme will:
- Provide you with video-based instruction
- Help you to zone in on your pelvic floor strength and futureproof this crucial set of muscles for exercise, future pregnancies, perimenopause, menopause and beyond.
- Address Diastasis Recti Abdominis, Prolapse, Incontinence and other issues in a preventative way. If you are sure you have a certain issue check out my tailored programmes e.g MyFit Diastasis and MyFit Prolapse)
- Focus on posture, breathing, balance, flexibility and co-ordination, all important for preventing pregnancy and age-related PREVENTABLE issues such as rounded shoulders, sore neck, falls, injuries and dysfunction.
- Bring you safely and in a supported way from the early days post-natal to your full return to your pre-pregnancy strength or to an even stronger point. Your exercise classes will be suitable for any stage of life and will be gradual, educational, restorative, functional, gradual, challenging and enjoyable.
- Provide you with the ability and confidence to join any classes in the future and the awareness of your bodies ability to complete or modify any exercises that you face into.
- Incorporate elements of return to running guidelines as published recently allowing you to ensure you are ready for higher intensity exercises.
- Give you an opportunity to work out at home safe in the knowledge that that your exercises have been carefully chosen by a specialised chartered physiotherapist with years of experience treating individuals and groups.
There is no requirement for equipment; all you will need is your screen, your mat, a bottle of water and TIME! Trust me, your older you will thank you for giving your body this chance to recover, rehabilitate and regain your confidence in your body’s strength, shape and ability.
Why should you follow a postnatal exercise programme?
There is no better example of the core under pressure than pregnancy and beyond! If we look at the core’s individual components we can see how the various elements are placed under strain during pregnancy, and stretched or injured during delivery.
1)The Diaphragm (breathing muscles) that form the top of the core:
During pregnancy your baby starts to take up extra room as the pregnancy progresses. This leads to reduced movement of the diaphragm as it becomes squashed by the baby and this is one of the reasons that you feel breathless after doing the simple activities like climbing the stairs. You are likely to compensate for this lack of movement by using your other breathing muscles ie those around your chest and neck and this is a more inefficient way of
2) Your abdominal muscles:
This is more obvious as you notice your tummy growing week by week during your pregnancy. Pregnancy hormones, particularly relaxin, allow your muscles, fascia, ligaments to stretch to accommodate your growing baby so stretching of the tummy muscles is a normal part of pregnancy.
People sometimes panic if they think they have a gap between their tummy muscles during pregnancy but this is common in most pregnancies. The growing baby takes up space in the abdomen and leads to a stretch along the bellies of the tummy muscles as well as at the linea alba which sits at midline between the bellies of the tummy muscles.
Most of the recovery of tummy muscle shape occurs in the first year after pregnancy. If you also have had a C-section your tummy muscles will have had an injury through the surgical incision required to access your uterus during the delivery.
3) Your pelvic floor:
The research says that one in three women who have had a vaginal delivery may suffer from urinary incontinence ( i.e involuntarily leakage of urine) and one in five women who have had a caesarean section, so it is obvious that the pelvic floor suffers during pregnancy and delivery, whether it is a section or vaginal delivery.
Your pelvic floor forms the base of the core and carries the weight of your growing bump as well as performing its usual tasks such as carrying your usual weight around and maintaining bladder and bowel control. Whether or not you suffer from incontinence during pregnancy it is so important to maintain a strong pelvic floor for the future to prevent things like urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.
4) Your lower back muscles:
With the increased load in the front of your body, your lower back muscles need to work harder to maintain your normal upright position during standing, walking etc. Some pregnant women tilt their pelvis forwards during pregnancy, others tilt it backwards; either way this changes the loading through your back muscles and puts them under extra pressure.