What happens to a woman’s body during pregnancy and the postnatal period and why it is important to stay fit and active?

During pregnancy many phenomenal changes occur to the body which causes alterations to the loading and requirements of the musculoskeletal system. These requirements that have developed over nine months are then dramatically changed again quite suddenly with delivery of the baby. It is truly a unique time for the body, when else in our lives does the body alter this much? It is therefore so important to help prepare the body for such changes prenatally and during pregnancy, and to exercise postnatally to restore balance. Here are a few changes that occur;

-The centre of gravity is shifted forwards due to the growing foetus which can cause alterations in spinal posture and the workload placed upon certain muscles such as the abdominals, buttocks, calves and back extensors. Postural exercises and Pilates can be an excellent way to keep up with these demands and adjustments.

-Pregnancy hormones such as relaxin can affect our soft tissue integrity. This together with the above biomechanical changes can put ladies at risk of experiencing Pregnancy Related Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP). The pelvis is normally a very stable structure, designed to transfer load effectively from the trunk to the lower limbs. However in PGP this can become troublesome. Performing an individualised core stability and strengthening exercise programme can help to address this.

– There is a 50% increase in blood volume putting more requirements on the cardiovascular system. Aerobic exercise such as walking, running and swimming can help to meet these demands.

– The pelvic floor muscles which span the outlet of the pelvis like a hammock, and have a role in organ support, continence, sexual function and pelvic stability, have increased load placed upon them in pregnancy which can cause fatigue in them and therefore reduction in the efficiency of what they do. Through vaginal delivery they can be subject to trauma. Every lady expecting a baby should perform pelvic floor exercises daily, and continue them following delivery.

Visit the following website for more information or contact Jenna directly to organise an appointment or to reserve a place on the antenatal / postnatal pilates course,  http://pogp.csp.org.uk/publications/pelvic-floor-muscle-exercises-women