Pre-natal Pilates is a great exercise method that teaches a mother to deal with the physical changes through pregnancy, and get ready for childbirth. Here are the 7 ways of how pre-natal Pilates can benefit a mum-to be.
Rectus abdominis diastasis (or otherwise known as abdominal separation) refers to the separation of the 6-pack muscles from the midline of the abdominal wall. This commonly happens during the later stages of pregnancy, and if left untreated may lead to post childbirth issues such as pelvic girdle instability, lower back and pelvic pain.
How intense should your workouts be when you’re pregnant? As a general rule of thumb, you should feel a little shortness of breath, but not to the extend that you can’t talk at the same time. Read on for more pregnancy exercise tips.
Pregnancy is a magical and momentous experience. It is also a significant time for every mums-to-be as you experience physical changes in your body to accommodate your new little addition. The amount of pressure pregnancy puts on your neck, lower back, ankles, and your pelvis can cause a great deal of discomfort. This is not unexpected, as your whole weight distribution is shifting, and your posture may need a little help to readjust. All you want is to feel a bit of relief from the cramps and body aches!
Pregnancy also increases blood flow in your body. You may feel warmer and perspire more easily. The numerous hormonal changes and the enormity of your impending life change can also – let’s be honest about it, play havoc with your emotions. Depression and anxiety are often overlooked, but the experience is very real and may be overwhelming.
At UFIT Clinic, aside from working with athletes, we also wholeheartedly support expectant mums in their journey through pregnancy. Our team of pre-natal trained specialists are trained in working with expectant mums to help ease the discomforts you often experience in pregnancy. Having a massage can provide expectant mums a much-needed relief from these physical and psychological symptoms associated with pregnancy.
A pre-natal massage helps to improve your blood circulation, reduce swelling, and lower your blood pressure. It also helps you to you feel relaxed, lower your stress levels, and the very simple power of the right touch can be immensely soothing to your senses.
An experienced pre-natal therapist will make you feel comfortable, and work in a way that is safe for you and your baby. Trained pre-natal therapists are able to understand the baby’s position, and take into account the lymphatic system and blood circulation. Techniques are adjusted to suit your individual needs – a lighter stroke, more focus on hands and feet, and a gentle face massage to soothe away tension and headaches.
The attention does not end when your baby is born. Post pregnancy, a post-natal massage can give your body and mind a much needed break from the responsibilities of looking after a newborn. You might even nod off, just a little bit, but we won’t tell.
Lastly, always make sure your therapist knows that you are pregnant, and that your gynaecologist gave you the medical clearance to proceed!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lynsey Keyes is a UK trained massage therapist and certified in both ITEC and BTEC level 4 Massage and Anatomy and Physiology. Having spent 15 years working in high-pressure marketing roles, Lynsey embraced her ultimate passion in bodywork and uses her experience to help people overcome the physical and mental stresses of modern life.
She is a passionate believer that massage should be a part of our everyday lives to support our bodies in whatever challenge we put upon them; whether you are a professional sports person, have a sore back from carrying your baby, or simply need to release some tension from a day in the office.
Friends Jodie and Steph share their experience of how the UFIT Pre-Natal Program kept them in great mental and physical shape throughout their labour and into the delivery room. Each Saturday over 7 weeks they and other expecting mums were guided by UFIT specialists on everything relating to pre-natal fitness, nutrition, and meditation. Here is how it helped them.
What were your favourite parts of the program?
Steph: I liked the variety of sessions. I wouldn’t have taken myself to see a nutritionist or learnt how to meditate in pregnancy if it weren’t for the program. I didn’t appreciate or understand the importance of these areas and of some of the other topics covered until learning about them.
Jodie: I also liked the variety of topics and practical components covered in the course. I didn’t know what my limits were when exercising in pregnancy so it was good to go through that and things like proper technique when lifting and doing gym exercises with Holly.
Steph: Life is so busy. I would spend 5 days of the week carrying on as normal and working hard. It was nice to take the time out every weekend to focus on my pregnancy. It was a great way to connect with the baby and to meet other like-minded individuals in their pregnancies.
Was there anything you were surprised to learn?
Jodie: I found the talks on nutrition really interesting as I hadn’t realised there were certain foods that could prevent that feeling of nausea that comes with morning sickness.
Noa provided us with some great recipes that I continue to use.
Steph: I was surprised to learn what Women’s Health Physiotherapists do both during pregnancy to alleviate pelvic pain and immediately after delivery. It was good to know the service was there if we needed it.
Jodie, you’re a second-time mum – did you still find the UFIT Prenatal Program Beneficial?
Jodie: Yes! Firstly, it was a reminder of how the body changes in pregnancy and of the postpartum recovery. Secondly, I felt this program had a very different focus compared to the Antenatal classes that I attended in my first pregnancy. Other programs focus on the delivery, breastfeeding and how to care for your baby whereas this was more about the mother and how to maintain your health and fitness throughout your pregnancy.
Steph: The UFIT Program was unique in the sense it was very holistic – it was more about how to look after yourself which in turn will help your baby.
Have you kept in contact with the other participants from the course?
Steph: Yes, we see each other fairly often for walks.
Jodie: Most of the girls have posted a photo of their newborns on our Facebook group once they’ve had the baby which has been really nice.
Would you recommend the UFIT Prenatal Program to others?
Jodie: Definitely. It is very different from other Antenatal courses out there and it was great that it incorporated both theory as well as practical sessions in areas such as yoga and meditation.
Steph: I have already recommended it to friends who have since participated in it and loved it! The information presented was relevant and concise and the presenters are all pre and postnatal experts – I wouldn’t have had access to this information and to these presenters if I hadn’t have signed up for the course.
The UFIT Pre-Natal program is a 7 week program by UFIT's pre-natal experts who will prepare you for a safe and comfortable pregnancy and delivery, and includes:
* weekly seminars from experts in nutrition, exercise science, physiotherapy and psychology
* weekly exercise classes by our physios, yoga teachers and trainers
* a pre-natal personal training session
* a pre-natal massage session
* a meditation session
* a pelvic floor muscle assessment
* meeting others on the same journey as you.
Maybe you should see a Women’s Health and Continence Physio!
What does a women’s health and continence (WH &C) physiotherapist do?
A WH & C Physio is a physiotherapist that has done additional study at University to specialise in the areas of continence and women’s health. They can treat every day aches and pains and sports injuries but are also able to treat conditions related to pregnancy and pelvic floor muscle dysfunction.
What does an assessment with a women’s health and continence physiotherapist involve?
Initial assessments are usually between 45 minutes and an hour long. The physiotherapist will spend most of the first session asking questions to determine the source of your symptoms. If the pelvic floor muscles need to be examined, the initial and follow up assessments may involve the use of real-time ultrasound over the lower abdomen, to providing visual biofeedback during pelvic floor muscle training.
What conditions do women’s health and continence physiotherapists treat?
WH & C physiotherapists treat a diverse range of conditions related to pregnancy and the postnatal period as well as conditions related to pelvic floor muscle deficiency in men and women at any point in their lifespan, including:
1. Antenatal services
- Management of musculoskeletal complaints such as back and pelvic pain, pubic symphysis disorder and carpal tunnel syndrome
- Advice on exercise in pregnancy
- Pelvic floor muscle assessments.
2. Postnatal services
- Management of musculoskeletal conditions such as back and pelvic pain and
de Quervain’s tenosynovitis
- Assessment and management of abdominal separation
- Pelvic floor muscle assessments
- Advice on return to exercise
- Treatment of blocked milk ducts
- Treatment of perineal pain and swelling after delivery
- Pelvic floor muscle rehabilitation after obstetric tears
- Assessment of altered bladder sensation.
3. Other conditions treated by a women’s health and continence physiotherapist
- Urinary incontinence
- Faecal incontinence
- Pelvic organ prolapse
- Painful intercourse
- Provoked vestibulodynia
- Coccyx pain.
If you would like further information on the services or if you would like to book an appointment please contact UFIT clinic.
About the author
After spending the first part of her career juggling work, athletics and travel, Kelly decided to pursue her passion for Women’s Health and completed a Graduate Certificate in Continence and Women's Health at Curtin University. Upon completion of her course, Kelly worked for a specialist Women’s and Men’s Health and Continence Clinic where she gained further experience in the assessment and management of ante-natal and post-natal conditions, incontinence, post prostatectomy complications and pelvic pain disorders. Read more
A trip down memory lane for Kelly Latimer and her time spent with Declan, Head Physio at the UFIT Clinic so far. In Kelly's words...
I first saw Declan a couple of years ago after he reached out to me via social media. He had heard of an issue I was having that was initially diagnosed by another physio as a hamstring problem and said he would like to take a look at it. As my last physio was utterly useless, I agreed. A proper diagnosis and a few weeks of treatment later, I was back up and functioning like before, if not even better. His multi-pronged approach of manipulation, massage and strengthening exercises was exactly what I needed.
It was at that point I decided to start training with Declan too. We assessed my goals and he came up with routines for me that kept me safe and helped me reach new levels of fitness. We trained to prep my body for pregnancy, so that I could train through pregnancy. I’m happy to say that I’ve managed to escape a lot of pregnancy issues like trapped nerves in my back, back aches and excessive weight gain. I couldn’t have done it without Declan’s assistance and guidance.
I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Declan’s services to anyone. He is brilliant. Open-minded and always eager to learn more to help his patients, he’s now increasingly harder to get hold of. However I also know that he has cultivated the creme de la creme of rehabilitation specialists in Singapore (and likely South East Asia) at the UFIT Clinic, so whoever you see will be sure to get you back on the road to recovery - providing you do your exercises.
Thank you, Declan. And thank you, UFIT.