After having a baby, I was keen to make bounce back to fully functioning as soon as it was safe to. I had been doing weekly pregnant pilates in the lead-up to labour and returned for mummies pilates six weeks after my baby was born.
Extend Pilates is run out of the home of Auckland physiotherapist Lisa Tetzlaff, with a maximum of about 12 mums per class and babies welcome.
Giving it a bash
The body can take a beating after having a baby - both physically and mentally. Pilates offers a safe return to exercise and a new activity for bubs. My baby is the youngest in the room at 8-weeks-old, and the other kids are up to a crawling age.
Mums arrive early to get babies settled - give them a feed, lay out a playmate or strap them in to one of the bouncers that Lisa has set up.
A kind and intuitive helper is on stand-by to nurse, cuddle and entertain little ones. Lisa stays focused through the 60 minute session, despite her own cutie crawling up to her.
Each session of the six week (or so) block has a different focus - cardio, strength, abs, arms, bums - keeping it fresh every time. It's harder than I expect. I work up a light sweat most weeks and feel the burn the following day especially in my glutes.
The babies are unpredictable - some weeks it will run smoothly, others it's a symphony of screams. But I find it a real hoot having the kidlets around.
Mums do what they have to, and Lisa offers options if baby needs to be held as a weight.
Why you should try it
Pilates is an excellent way to rebuild core strength - essential with all the heavy lifting that comes with parenting. And, of course, keeping that crucial pelvic floor lifted.
Lisa adds that it helps women gain confidence in their new bodies, knowing it will carry them through this challenging new gig as a mum.
Mums and bubs classes exist all around the country (Google will provide a list in your area) giving new parents the chance to break cabin fever and mingle with other mums. You might even make a few mates.
It's safe to start low level breathing and activation exercises with the right guidance from a women's health physio as soon as you are medically recovered and comfortable.
I found a free physio tutorial at Birthcare, who was able to check my abdominals a couple of days post birth and give some indication of recovery.
In terms of a return to a class scenario, Lisa says wait at least six weeks post vaginal delivery and more like eight weeks post c-section. Her final word: "I do try and advise my clients not to rush."
- Sunday Star Times