Forum / Let's Discuss! / Returning to Pilates after birth

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Jaclyn
On: August 08, 2013 05:21 AM
Hi there! Loving my fusion reformer apprentice course; I have not been on to finish up the last few weeks because I have so much to work with already; I love every minute of it and am so excited to finish up over the next month or two - thank you Jen and Casey for all the hard work and dedication - this has truly helped me in so many ways. On to my question....I have just entered my 7th month of pregnancy, I feel wonderful; and everything is going just swimmingly (thanks to my Pilates practice before and during). I am starting to do research on Post-Natal work so I am prepared once my little man arrives and I really would love to know your thoughts on returning to Pilates and exercise after birth. At the moment, there is no foreseeable reason why I wouldn't be able to have a natural birth, but you never know. I was hoping you could give me a good guideline about returning to practice. (I have already purchased Jen's 3 DVD series, and absolutely love the prenatal workout and pregnancy workout, and plan to use the post-natal mommy and me DVD religiously after Jude is here). What I am perplexed about is the 6-week wellness check post delivery. To me it seems that waiting 6 weeks is way too long to return to physical activity, giving my body way to much time to become sticky and fall into bad patterns. I realize I won't be running or popping in my Insanity DVD right away, but I would love to hear what your advice is about returning to Pilates and to movement and exercise in general because I truly trust your guidance and knowledge as an Instructor more than any one else I can ask. Thank you so much for your feedback - and I really hope in the future I am able to come out for your Prenatal teacher training!!!
Casey
On: August 09, 2013 06:55 AM
Hi there Jaclyn! Oh my goodness, you are getting so close to your delivery date! Your questions here are great ones, let's see what we can do about clearing them up a bit. First of all, I am very excited to hear you got the pre and post natal DVDs. These are awesome to help to give you baseline ideas and cueing from home as you recover for your delivery. So speaking of delivery, the type you have, and the circumstances surrounding it will be the true guide as to when you will return to exercise again. Of course if you end up getting a C-section, your rest and recovery time will be longer, and your return to simple movement will be at a slower pace. A C-section is major surgery, and must be treated as such. Being patient with yourself in this tender time is essential to not stress your body or your mind through the wonderful transition of being a mom. Now if you have a vaginal birth, returning to Pilates practice will be a bit easier, but heavily modified. And there are many activations that you will be able to practice right in the hospital bed (or at home) to start to connect in with your core structures. The sooner you do this, the easier it will be for your sense memory to reactivate in your healing process. Right away you should start to connect to your breath to activate the diaphragm, which helps to massage the abdominal and pelvic organs aiding in correct placement after being rearranged for a spell. Also gentle pelvic floor contractions with the breath are essential to helping the stretched out musculature find tone and integrity. As we know our core structure work in concert, and by doing simple breath patterns with a pelvic floor focus you will ignite the transverse abdominals and multifidus to innervate as well. Also release work can be a wonderful moment to connect in with your body after the exertion of child birth. Hips, shoulders, neck, and face are all places where tension is hoarded, so it is crucial to open and find ease in these areas as you recover. And with a new baby to attend to you will find that feeding, holding, changing, and checking on the baby will often times have you in a flexed forward spinal posture. Opening these areas will help to off set this posture. It is important to wait for bigger movements until you get an ok from your doctor. They need to perform a diastisis check as this information will greatly change how you will construct your post natal workout. Also, please hold off on any four point kneeling exercises as they can cause a dangerous situation of a possible embolism inside the body. With all of this being said, it is important to remember and trust that you have a very smart body. And even after 6, 8, 10, 12 weeks of rest, you will find ease movement again. It is important to not be too cerebral during this time. When the choice between rest and workout pops up... you should choose rest. This doesn't mean you cannot move, but remember this a sacred moment in your life. And all of your attentions should be put towards healing, not strengthening. This is a time of massive reorganization, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Finding balance will be difficult as you adjust. And I think any mom would agree that the first six weeks are a blur as a new life moves into the picture. I encourage you to exercise your patience more than anything. And all of the wonderful work you have done already will resurface and pay you back tenfold on the other end of the birthing experience. Good luck with everything! You will do great! In Health, Casey Marie Herdt
Jaclyn
On: August 29, 2013 18:31 PM
Thanks so much Casey :) very helpful. Thanks for all the wishes also I am so excited! I really can't believe I'm going to be a mom. I think it's going to be very interesting experience putting my body back together after delivery - I think it's going to tune me in even more to my anatomy. I'm sure I'll have more questions!! Best to you :) Jackie P.S. I'm hoping to submit my session video soon - got a tripod for my birthday it's getting shipped shortly!
alesia_216
On: July 19, 2014 16:15 PM
[b]Post natal essentials workshop: breath[/b] Hi, I just viewed the post natal workshop. In the breath work section, Jen talks about the breastbone dropping on the exhale. I recently took a Franklin Method workshop and I was told that the sternum actually drops on the inhale and lifts on the exhale... Do you have a comment on this? Thanks much.
JenniferGianni
On: July 20, 2014 09:41 AM
Hi Alesia, Thanks for your question. The technique I used in the Post Natal workshop is a compression technique to try and restore the natural thoracic curve and the full glide of the diaphragm . On this technique you apply pressure in and down on the breastbone on both the inhale and the exhale. This can help release the manubrium which articulates with the 1st and 2nd rib which will help to release the scalene muscles and therefore free up the diaphragm.The fascia which goes in and around the diaphragm, lunges and heart is intimately connected to the fascia which transverses around and through the Scalenes. When someone takes on dysfunctional breathing patterns like shallow chest breathing or Paradoxical breathing (both of which we see a great bit with the post natal population) the scalene muscles are hanging the diaphragm up and are part of the reason that the client is not able to find the full glide of the diaphragm and easy full breath. With techniques like the one I used in the workshop we can start to balance the area so that the bones can find the correct bone rhythms. What I believe you are referring to from your Franklin workshop are the correct bone rhythms. Most of the clients that walk through my door have some kind of dysfunctional pattern going on that we have to remedy before we can find this correct rhythm. Just visualizing the correct bone rhythms with breath can be the start of restoring them. The way I understand the proper bone rhythm in this area is that on the inhale the Manubrium lifts ( along with the 1st and 2nd rib) and the sternum drops ( b/c the diaphragm contracts and lowers)and there is an expansion of the lower ribs. On the exhale the manubrium and the 1st and 2nd rib rotate downward but the sternum finds a release forward b/c the diaphragm is releasing . Let me know if this helps and if there are more details that you need. Looking forward to more questions from you! Love Jen
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