Returning to exercise the right way after having a baby is extremely important and is often daunting. A common fitness misconception is that doing plenty of sit-ups will always lead to a stronger, toned looking abdomen.

In fact, during the postnatal period, sit-ups may actually have the opposite effect, leading to an ongoing protruding stomach long after your baby is born.

Due to the anatomy of your main abdominal muscles, doing sit-ups or other ‘crunch’ type exercises can lead to worsening abdominal separation, which may lead to low back pain and urinary incontinence in the future.

Abdominal muscle separation often occurs during pregnancy due to the expansion of the abdomen to allow space for your growing baby. For many women, their separation will reduce significantly in the 8 weeks following the birth of their baby and may no longer be an issue.

For those that do have an abdominal separation following the first 8 weeks post-partum, a guided program is the best way to ensure that your abdominal muscles continue to improve and allow a return to activity or sports.

As the abdominal muscles normally act like a support system for spine and pelvis it is vital to tailor rehabilitation to assist strengthening around this area. There are many exercises that can give you a great workout without the risk of worsening any existing separation, and in fact, in many cases certain exercises can improve it.

A supervised program set by your physiotherapist or exercise physiologist can assist you to minimise any changes to the abdomen and return to activity after the birth of your child.

At Capital Clinic, all postnatal Pilates classes are run by pilates- qualified and women’s health trained physiotherapists who have a depth of knowledge in anatomy, physiology and injury rehabilitation.

Contact Capital Clinic to discuss the current Pilates timetable and options to suit your needs.