Danielle Lamy, a Senior Pilates Instructor, is a mom, outdoor enthusiast and Pilates lover. She instantly fell in love with Pilates when she was looking to get in shape for a friend’s wedding. After 3 months of Pilates, her chronic knee pain subsided and was able to ski, hike and bike pain-free! Danielle continues to share her experiences as a mom and Pilates instructor with students at Endurance Pilates and Yoga.
In today’s blog post, Danielle shares her insight on Pilates for pregnant women and moms from her personal experience and experience as a Pilates Instructor.
Is it safe for mothers-to-be to do pilates? Are there common misconceptions around this?
Pilates is absolutely safe for a healthy mom carrying a healthy baby. I wouldn’t suggest a person to begin Pilates when they are pregnant but this can certainly be done carefully through private sessions. Many women believe that they can’t use their abs during pregnancy but in reality, if you have been doing Pilates all along, you should absolutely continue. Pilates helps to strengthen the inner most abdominals (transverse abdominals) which can be a preventative strategy for Rectus Diastisis, pelvic floor issues, back pain, hip pain, etc.
During my pregnancy, despite being sick for 7 months, I continued my Pilates practice and had no pain of any kind and no pelvic floor issues. I carried high and had Rectus Diastisis (1 finger split) that my doctor said would have easily been a 3 finger wide split had I not continued with Pilates.
Another myth is that you cannot lie on your back. It’s all in how the mother feels. I lied on my back until the very end and had no issues. But, I’ve had other students who required modifications for lying reformer work or who needed to alternate more between sitting and lying exercises. Any well educated Pilates Instructor can modify for this type of work.
If you are already a mom and are experiencing Rectus Diastasis, feel free to sign up for our “Strong Abs for Moms” workshop where master instructor Julie Erickson will give you at home tips from Pilates to help heal your abs and strengthen them post birth. Regardless of how long ago you’ve had your child, this workshop will be beneficial for you.
Are there any everyday ‘stressors’ that mothers experience that can be corrected through Pilates?
For me and many of my students our Pilates practice is our “me” time! Pilates requires so much concentration that you literally can’t think of anything else other than your practice or your instructor saying “abs in” and “squeeze your butt” over and over again. It’s a one hour break from reality. It also helps correct spinal misalignments that can occur form hunching over to feed, pick up, change, or walk with your little one. It’ll prevent the shoulders from rolling forwards. Pilates helped when I experienced hip flexor pain from sitting for 3 months because my little one was constantly breastfeeding which lead me to constantly be sitting.
What are some of your favorite moves to teach mothers to be?
How does exercising differ while a woman is pregnant and after she delivers?
Exercise differs only as much as you need it to. Your ability to exercise also depends on your doctor’s suggestion. I highly suggest that active moms find a doctor who understands how important exercise is to active mamas and who can be realistic with expectations and goals during and after pregnancy. My doctor understood this need for me and was shocked when I closed my diastisis within 2 weeks of beginning to exercise again through the use of Pilates principals. After pregnancy it all depends on what giving birth did to your body! Moms who have uncomplicated births can return to Pilates very quickly. Moms who have had C-Sections, pelvic floor issues, or other complications can greatly benefit from private sessions to directly rehab those areas.