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Pilates Throughout Your Pregnancy

The Benefits of Pre and Post Natal Pilates

Posted on July 19th, 2017
Senior Physio, Stef Hurst

Senior Physio, Stef Hurst

Senior Physio, Stef is back with us at our Wigan clinic! She returns to us after bringing her new baby boy in to the world, congratulations to the Hursts! Being a Physio and a Pilates Instructor, Stef is a great resource for tips and advice on recovering after pregnancy. Here she discusses the benefits of pre and post natal benefits of the exercise.

I feel prepared to return to work, being pregnant is very demanding on the body!!

Having my second son eight months ago, has resulted in physically preparing my body in preparation to return to work. I remember being shocked by how weak my abs and pelvic floor felt straight after giving birth; a feeling I just didn’t have first time round. (I believe Pilates had something to do with this).

Throughout my first pregnancy, I taught Pilates and possibly due to this, I experienced an easy labour and a quick recovery. Second time round, I was keen to maintain some of my Pilates ability and my usual walking routine, however I was nowhere near the standard of last time. I had lost so much strength, I did not expect to feel as weak as I did.

It was eye opening just to see how tired my body was postpartum, again the delivery was smooth despite not undergoing a C-section, but this time round I felt incredibly WEAK.

Day to day looking after a new baby, as well as looking after my 3 year old and still doing household chores, made me realise how many other mums return to activities and/or exercise routines too soon or too intense after pregnancy.

We now live in a society which is pressured for women to bounce back to normality after giving birth and we all have the similar thoughts running through our heads…

‘I want to be able to fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans as soon as possible’

‘I want to get back to my pre-pregnancy fitness levels’

‘The house needs cleaning and hoovering’

‘I want to run and play with my older child like I did pre-pregnancy’

‘I want to be as strong as I was’

‘I want to look good for my summer holiday’

‘I need to do all the ironing/washing today’

The list can go on and on…and over the last eight months, I have probably had all of these thoughts.

However, I was also aware of the trauma my body had endured over the last nine months carrying my son. The postpartum body needs time to heal, even after clearance from the doctor/midwife the body will not just ‘snap’ back, I needed to work for it and I needed patience. This is the primary reason why I returned to Pilates.

Although my body was recovering and tired, my strength and control quickly came back – I hadn’t lost it! This is why I recommend Pilates to other new mums.

But firstly here is a list of important factors to consider, when returning to Pilates once your baby has arrived:

  1. Make sure you don’t rush back into any form of exercise of activity, listen to your body and make sure you have received clearance from your doctor/midwife. This can vary person to person as we all undergo different experiences during pregnancy and labour
  2. Take it slow, there is no point in rushing and pushing the body too hard, this usually results in not reaching your long term goal. Start with gentle routines, take breaks when needed, and just listen to your own body.
  3. Pay attention to trans abs and pelvic floor. In my running group, there are lots of mums who struggle to keep control, they find that running, or jumping on trampolines too much pressure – this is no problem for me.
  4. It’s good to get checked out for a Diastasis Recti either by your doctor/ midwife or a physiotherapist and Harris & Ross. This is when the abdominal wall muscles have separated, a gap bigger than two fingers requires special care.

For further information, you can read our Manchester based Senior Physio, Abigail’s article here.

If you have any questions, our practitioners at Harris & Ross will gladly try and answer them for you. You can contact us on 0161 832 9000 or email


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