Pre and Postnatal

At BeMoore we do not separate pre and postnatal clients from the rest of the group so that it gives you the opportunity to continue to attend classes with your peers and attend any of the classes we offer!

We recommend that you have been doing Pilates or a similar core exercise for at least 6 months before attending a Pilates class when prenatal. There will be many modifications and if you are new to prenatal exercise we recommend you book in for a private session before attending.

Please take the time to read the following important information:

1-2-1 Private Sessions

I highly recommend a private pre / post-natal session to set you up for your pre/postnatal journey.

I also offer programs to be practised at home should you wish to do so.

The benefits of private tuition include:

  • 100% devoted attention to you, your body and your technique.
  • The best start in regards to understanding your body and the exercises to begin your pre or post pregnancy journey.
  • Know what to avoid during the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd trimesters.
  • Tailored exercises for you, your body and your ability.

Benefits of BeMoore Pilates for Prenatal

Most women benefit greatly from exercising throughout pregnancy as it can help to prevent or reduce the following:

  • Back pain
  • Leg cramps
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Excessive weight gain
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Varicose veins
  • Medical intervention during delivery, such as labour inducing drugs, caesarian section and forceps
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Diastasis recti
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Swelling of the limbs
  • Muscle imbalances
  • Pregnancy induced hypertension
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Deep vein thrombosis

Exercise may also increase or improve the following:

  • Posture
  • Cardiovascular fitness
  • Muscular strength and endurance
  • Functional capacity
  • Energy levels
  • Circulation and blood flow
  • Self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Mental well-being
  • Relaxation
  • Core strength to help support the baby
  • Energy levels
  • Recovery time after birth
  • Improved calcium absorption reducing the risk of future osteoporosis

What to avoid for Prenatal

After 16 weeks, it is advisable to avoid the following:

  • Laying Prone (on the front)
  • Laying Supine (on the back) because of the risk of supine hypotensive syndrome. Lying supine in the second and third trimesters can lead to a decrease in the amount of blood pumped out of the heart per minute, lowering blood pressure and foetal blood supply and oxygen.
  • Rotation – Avoid extreme rotational movements of the spine, as there is a (small) chance of causing the placenta to tear away from the uterus.
  • Stretching for more than 15 seconds – The hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy to allow the pelvis to expand and facilitate the birthing process also has an impact on your flexibility training. The connective tissue of the joints can be affected causing joint laxity, a decrease in joint stability and consequently, an increased risk of injury.
  • Valsalva manoeuvre – Pregnant women should avoid the Valsalva manoeuvre—breath-holding or forced expiration against a closed glottis—when lifting, to prevent changes in intra-abdominal pressure that could decrease the oxygen supply to the foetus. It is important to exhale on the effort.
  • Isometric muscle actions should also be avoided.

Being supervised by a qualified instructor will help to ensure you exercise as safely as possible during your pre and postnatal period.

Benefits of Pilates for Postnatal

The following are all recognised physical benefits of postnatal exercise:

  • Correction of muscle imbalances
  • Improved posture
  • Increased strength and endurance for performing functional tasks
  • Improved aerobic fitness
  • Increased energy and reduced fatigue
  • Enhanced immune function
  • Better quality of sleep
  • Improved circulation and healing
  • Improved digestion
  • Improved body composition, a reduction in body fat and an increase in muscle mass
  • Increased metabolic rate

Having a baby puts a lot of strain on a woman’s body, her spine and musculature.

Figuring out when to return to exercise can be difficult to determine, especially if the labour was challenging. Many new mums want to return to their former bodies as soon as possible after giving birth, but it is best to ease back into a fitness routine. There are certain guidelines that should be followed to not risk a new mother’s safety.

Pilates is an effective form of exercise that is safe for new mothers. It can be started as soon as six weeks after vaginal birth and 8-12 weeks after c-section. It is important to take this time to recover before beginning exercise so as to prevent injury. Joint instability is a common problem after childbirth. Pilates teaches you to mindfully live with more ease by listening to your body and finding inner strength. The focus on the breath is a great reminder of this.

The abdominals and the pelvic floor often become weak during pregnancy and after childbirth. Weakened pelvic floor muscles can lead to incontinence issues and prolapse of the pelvic organs. Strengthening the pelvic floor is a key element of Pilates, which helps to improve posture, core strength, and overall stability. Pilates classes directly address these issues through its focus on deep muscle engagement and breathing.

Diastasis Rectus is another common problem after childbirth. This condition occurs when the rectus abdominous separates around the navel area. If these muscles are weak and overstretched, it can lead to back pain and sciatica. Pilates focuses on strengthening the deep abdominals. These muscles help stabilise the spine and therefore tone and tighten the abdomen to protect the lumbar spine from injury.

Pilates teaches body awareness from the inside out. New mums can also attend Pilates classes to take a little time to focus on themselves! Getting back into a workout routine can help boost confidence and improve mood. Postpartum depression is common after having a baby. Pilates helps combat this while also getting the body back into pre-baby shape.

Pilates can also help fight fatigue and boost energy. It’s also a great way for new mothers to socialise!

Diastasis Recti

How common is diastasis recti?

Over a third of women will have a gap of two fingers or more after their first baby. After their second or subsequent pregnancies, this figure is more like two-thirds of women, especially if the gap wasn’t closed effectively after the first baby.

When should one expect the recti gap to return to normal?

By 6-8 weeks the recti gap should be approximately 20mm or 1-2 fingers or less. Even when fully recovered the muscles will always lie slightly apart – approximately 1.5-2cm.

If the gap is less than 2 fingers can you begin abdominal curls?

If the gap is less than 2 fingers, you should still work on the low load transverse abdominals and rectus abdominal exercises. You can then progress to the more demanding exercises such as half-roll backs, reverse curls and then onto abdominal curls and eventually oblique curls.

It’s also essential to ensure the abdominals remain hollowed or braced and that doming does not occur.

What if there is a persistent gap of 3 fingers width or more?

When there is a persistent gap of 3 fingers width or more, strong curl up type exercises should be avoided to prevent herniation (protrusion) of the abdominal contents.

Recommended exercises include:

  • Abdominal hollowing
  • Pelvic tilting
  • Low load stability exercises for the transverse abdominis
  • Gentle curl ups where only the head and shoulders are lifted to the point before doming occurs

What should be done if doming occurs?

The abdominals should remain hollowed throughout all of the exercises. Doming must not occur. If doming does occur reduce the intensity of the exercise or avoid the exercise until the abdominal wall can be held flat.

Exercises for the oblique abdominals that involve lateral flexion or rotation should be avoided until the abdominals are stronger.

The ACPWH and other sources recommend that those suffering from diastasis recti, where doming occurs during the basic core exercises, should consult their GP or a physio specialising in women’s health.

 Testing for diastasis recti

  • Lie supine (on the back) in neutral alignment with hips and knees flexed (bent) and feet flat on the floor with abdomen relaxed. Place two fingers of one hand horizontally across the abdomen with the fingertips down the centre of the abdominals below the umbilicus. She should gently press in and out to feel between the two halves of the muscle.
  • Place two fingers of one hand horizontally across the abdomen with the fingertips down the centre of the abdominals below the umbilicus. She should gently press in and out to feel between the two halves of the muscle.
  • Inhale and draw the umbilicus in towards the spine. Then slowly raise the head and shoulders off the floor, keeping gentle pressure on the abdomen with the fingertips. Hold the position, while continuing to breathe, and register the sensation under the fingertips.
  • You should be able to feel the two bands of the rectus abdominis closing in on either side of the fingers, with the soft dip of the linea alba in the centre. If this cannot be felt it may be necessary to curl up a little further.

Repeat the test
If the gap between the two bands appears to be wider than 2 fingers, repeat the test using 3 fingers. Lower back to the start position with control, keeping the umbilicus pulled in. You should check several times to be sure of the result.

It is important to note that this is not a highly specific test because everyone’s fingers will vary.

Progression of core re-conditioning

Essentially the progression of core re-conditioning can be summed up with the following steps:

1)      Pelvic floor exercises (PFEs) or Kegel exercises

2)      PFEs with abdominal hollowing for transverse abdominals

3)      PFEs with abdominal hollowing while performing pelvic tilts

4)      PFEs with abdominal hollowing while performing partial curl ups (head and shoulder raise)

5)      Maintaining the above sequence whilst layering on more advanced abdominal exercises such as crunches

We can provide adaptions during a Class environment and or please feel free to book in for private coaching.

When should I avoid exercise - prenatal?

Please Contact Me before attending BeMoore Pilates and Personal Training if you are concerned that any of the below apply to you.

Absolute contraindications:

  • Heart disease
  • Lung disease
  • Incompetent cervix
  • Multiple gestations
  • Persistent bleeding
  • Placenta previa
  • Premature labour
  • Breaking waters
  • Hypertension and pre-eclampsia

Relative contraindications:

  • Severe anaemia
  • Maternal cardiac arrhythmia
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Poorly controlled type 1 diabetes
  • Poorly controlled type 2 diabetes
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Extreme morbid obesity
  • Extreme underweight
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Intrauterine growth restriction
  • Poorly controlled hypertension
  • Poorly controlled hyperthyroidism
  • Poorly controlled seizure disorder
  • Heavy smoking

There are four main contraindications that need to be evaluated before you can start or resume exercise. These are:

  • Any significant physical injury
  • An acute bout of illness or a chronic underlying condition
  • The onset of persistent or recurring localised pain
  • Abnormal or heavy vaginal bleeding

May apply:

  • If you have pelvic girdle pain you should refer yourself to your midwife or a specialist physiotherapist as certain stretches could exacerbate the problem.
  • If you have sacro-iliac joint problems the advice of the POGP is to avoid movements that aggravate symptoms and that may also include certain stretches.

Please Contact Me before attending BeMoore Pilates and Personal Training if you are concerned that any of the above apply to you.

When should I avoid exercise - postnatal?

Please Contact Me before attending BeMoore Pilates and Personal Training if you are concerned that any of the below apply to you.

It is important to note that clients who have had multiple gestations will need to take extra care when returning to exercise and they may need a longer recovery period.

May apply:

  • If you have pelvic girdle pain you should refer yourself to your midwife or a specialist physiotherapist as certain stretches could exacerbate the problem.
  • If you have sacro-iliac joint problems the advice of the POGP is to avoid movements that aggravate symptoms and that may also include certain stretches.

Contraindications to post-natal exercise

  • Joint or pelvic pain
  • Poor healing or discomfort
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Gross diastasis of rectus abdominals
  • Breastfeeding women should not exercise with a breast abscess or with painful, engorged breasts