Postpartum pilates can help strengthen and rebuild your core resulting in a more balanced, supple body. To fix "mom posture": Lengthen your spine up through the crown of your head; creating space between each vertebra. Roll your shoulders back and down. Open your chest; try to reach across the room with your sternum. Take 3 deep breaths before starting again.
Congratulations! You have made it through your pregnancy, and now you have got a precious baby (or two!) in your arms.
Throughout the past nine months, you have probably spent a good portion of time wading through the debates of breastfeeding vs. formula feeding, and since you landed on this article, I am assuming you have decided to breastfeed.
However, we are not here to talk about those breastfed/formula-fed debates. We are here to talk about you. More specifically, your back and how Pilates has got your back in both a figurative and a very literal way.
Breastfeeding: Postural Challenges
Whether you have been breastfeeding for five months or years, you have probably started to notice some pain in your back that can be related to bad posture.
For the sake of this article, let us call it “Mom Posture”. Mom Posture comes with a flexed forward position from head to tail, including your cervical, thoracic, and lumbar areas of your spine.
From this flexed position there is a lot of spinal compression occurring – maybe you are rotated to one side to hold the baby, maybe you have a leg crossed to help keep the baby up, and maybe you even have your head twisted to one side so you can see your baby’s sweet face.
These positions can lead to pains that all nursing mothers face, whether it is immediate pain or pain that slowly creeps in through your baby’s childhood.
But there is hope! Do not let the last few sentences of postural challenges dishearten you. There is no reason for you to live with these issues.
Unfortunately a lot of new moms do not realize they do not have to live with the postural pain. With forward head posture/kyphosis, we most commonly see a weak posterior chain (another way of saying the backside) of the body.
This means you are so far pulled forward to the front of your body that your back/shoulder muscles, glutes, hamstrings (plus all the other muscles on the backside of your body) are all of a sudden becoming deconditioned and need strengthening!
Pilates Exercises To Fix “Mom Posture”
Here is a quick postural reset you can try while sitting, standing, feeding, walking, or even exercising:
- Think about lengthening your spine up through the crown of your head, trying to create space between each vertebra.
- Roll your shoulders back and down, imagining that if you had on long earrings that would not touch the tops of your shoulders. Then open your chest and reach across the room with your sternum.
- Take three deep breaths before starting again.
Smile. Now don’t you already feel better?!
There are also many at-home Pilates exercises you can use to restore your body to a more balanced state. These include swan, standing or seated back bend, chest expansion, bridge, shoulder rolls, tricep dips, criss-cross, and any walking rotation.
Benefits Of Pilates
By using Pilates exercises to help reverse the stages of bad breastfeeding posture, you are helping to create a more balanced, aligned, energetic, and strong body. Other benefits of a solid Pilates program include:
- Better breathing techniques that help keep you calm and collected.
- Strength for demanding daily jobs such as bathing and picking up or carrying a baby.
- Strong pelvic floor and a deep abdominal connection that will help your abdominals return more quickly to their original state.
- Little to no back pain.
- And, our favorite, some much needed “me” time.