Pre/post natal training by Club 360

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Posture exercises for mums and working women!

Hi! My name is Nienke and I am a physical therapist and sports physio at Club360 in Moto Azabu. Both my bachelor and master degree in Physiotherapy I obtained in my home country, The Netherlands.

One of my fields of interest is working with both pregnant and post natal women. It is amazing how many changes happen to the female body while creating that new life and it is equally amazing how the body can recover after being pregnant.

When you are pregnant your body changes, but also your mind set. You are responsible for not only yourself but also for that new life that is growing inside you. And with that, many insecurities surface. ‘What should I eat, what should I avoid. Can I still do sports?

I would like to try and answer that last question. The short answer is: Yes! Research shows positive outcomes for exercise throughout pregnancy and there are NO negative outcomes reported. Women who exercise throughout the whole pregnancy gain, on average, 8 pounds less than sedentary pregnant women. They also have a significant lower risk of cesarean delivery. 

There are no reported negative effects on the foetus, and one of the reported effects is that there is a greater perfusion of blood flow to the placenta, which is positive for the development of the foetus.

Of course exercise is not an option for everyone. There might be a medical reason why you are not allowed to exercise. And not every sport is suitable for pregnant women, high risk sports are generally to be avoided. 

Exercise under the guidance of a specialist might be a perfect option if you are not confident to do it yourself. There are special exercise groups for pregnant women and Club360 has specialized personal trainers to help you to stay active in a safe way. If you are interested in Pilates, the Reformer is a perfect tool to keep your body strong and active and is used by physio’s at our location close to the Tokyo Tower.

If you are in doubt, please consult your doctor to make sure you have no medical restrictions to exercise.

After giving birth your body will change in many ways again. The postnatal phase is a recovery phase and you have to respect that your body needs time to get physically back in shape. Maybe you are breastfeeding, most likely you are lacking sleep and you are mentally adjusting to your role as a mother.

It takes time and you can’t rush it! In the first 6 weeks you should focus on pelvic floor exercises. Once your doctor or midwife gives you the green light to restart exercise you should restart this in a safe way and slowly build it up. Remember that there are medical reasons like a diasthesis or pelvic floor issues that should be addressed before you can start to exercise. 

A diasthesis recti is a seperation of the midline of the rectus abdominus which happens during pregnancy. By not putting pressure on the abdominal muscles in the early postnatal phase this gap naturally closes again in most cases. Same goes for the pelvic floor; during pregnancy the pelvic floor is under strain and a natural delivery can cause more strain. By limiting the impact on the pelvic floor (not running or jumping) in the early post natal phase, the tension will already normalize. Basic pelvic floor exercises will help the recovery. 

A specialized trainer or physiotherapist can check if you have a diasthesis recti or pelvic floor issues. 

Like in the prenatal phase, also in the postnatal phase there are special exercise groups and our specialized personal trainers and physiotherapists are happy to help you during these special phases of your life.

I would like to give some general postural advice for pregnant and post natal women. Because the center of gravity shifts forward when you are pregnant, you might feel that your lower back experiences excessive load. 

Your shoulders will be pulled forward by your breasts that are getting heavier.

Go and stand with your back against a wall, with your feet about 10cm away from the wall. Now try to move your lower back towards the wall until you have two hands space left. Now try to flatten both your shoulder blades against the wall. Lastly, gently press the back of your head against the wall by tucking in your chin. Make your body as tall as possible.

This is also a prefect postural reminder for postnatal women. 

One other exercise a would like to give you is the chest stretch. An important stretch not only for the pre and post natal phase. Interlace your fingers behind your back and now lift your hands away and downward from your back. Keep your shoulders low and your head above your spine. You should feel a nice stretch in front of your shoulder, towards your chest.

I hope you learned something useful and please feel free to contact us at Club360 if you have any questions or if you would like to make an appointment.