How Pilates Prepared Me for Labor
By Cathleen Rodgers
I knew from the very beginning of my pregnancy that I would continue my Pilates practice up until the very end if I could. I’d learned in my previous interview with Sabrina how good Pilates is for the body before, during, and after pregnancy; and now I have my own experience to testify to the benefits of prenatal Pilates.
Though my practice slipped a little at the beginning (the first trimester was a little rough), I eventually picked back up and continued taking Private sessions, also doing a little here and there on my own in the studio. I managed to continue my Pilates until 38 weeks, which kept me feeling far better than I would have otherwise! Outside the studio, I took walks around my neighborhood a few times a week and stayed generally active when I felt up for it. Although a simple workout routine, combined with a healthy diet I was in good shape for labor and delivery.
Like most first-time babies, the arrival of my little one took some time. There was a good week of signs, symptoms and progress before labor really began. Labor itself started with a very cinematic water break—something I was not prepared for, as it is relatively uncommon! From there, it was another twelve hours as labor progressed before it was time to meet our daughter. The pushing stage lasted all of twenty minutes once all was said and done!
I credit my strong powerhouse and mind-body connection to the relatively smooth and easy delivery of our baby Isabelle. My body truly seemed to do most of the work, and I just had to surrender and let it happen. I put my deep breathing to practice throughout labor, which in itself was a test of my concentration. A strong abdominal wall and pelvic floor certainly made the pushing stage easier. Everything really came together throughout the process, and I know that the Pilates principles I’ve worked on for so long were a huge factor.
Although things moved a little slowly to start, they moved right on track and Isabelle ended up arriving a couple days before her due date! Even now in the postpartum period, my body seems to be bouncing back at a good rate. Despite being exhausted and in recovery, my body feels strong and improves by the day. I already look forward to getting back into my Pilates routine once I am cleared to do so!