20190824_Bianca_Ducharme_Glow_Pilates-30

Method

Mix of pilates, yoga and pregnancy & postnatal corrective exercises
 
Thorough initial assessment 
Check for diastasis recti
Postural assessment
Identifying underlying issues such as incorrect breathing pattern
Personalised programming
Minimise & heal abdominal separation & pelvic floor issues
Learn early postpartum exercises 
Learn breathing techniques to prepare for birth
Address common prenatal & postnatal postural issues
Increase stamina in preparation for birth
Personalised exercises for home
Receive your personalised program via email
Easy to follow videos & explanations for each exercise
Helps you reach your goals faster

Helping you with any pregnancy related issues

Pelvic floor issues

During and after pregnancy the pelvic floor will go through enormous changes in terms of amount of pressure it has to deal with. Think of the pelvic floor as slings of muscles, ligaments and connective tissues that run from one of your sit bones to the other and also from your tailbone to your pubic bone to keep all of your pelvic organs (bladder, uterus and bowel) in and up inside of your lower abdomen.

Now think of the additional weight that you are carrying during pregnancy and the additional abdominal pressure this creates against your pelvic floor. If this additional pressure is not managed well it can lead to pelvic floor dysfunctions like incontinence (lack of control over urination or defecation), painful sex or pelvic floor organs prolapse.

This is why it is important to let me know about any pelvic floor symptoms you might have so we can address them before they aggravate.  Symptoms can be as mild as the occasional urine leakage when coughing or sneezing to a feeling of heaviness down the vagina as if your organs were pushing down.  Urine leakage can be either due to a weak or a tight pelvic floor, which is why I frequently refer my clients to women's physiotherapists for a pelvic floor internal examination so we know the exact cause of the symptoms and can adjust the exercises program accordingly. 

 

I have found over time that a combination of pilates and physiotherapy has shown great results with my clients.

Prolapse

Prolapse is the bulging of the pelvic organs (bladder, uterus or bowel) down the vagina. Prolapse can be diagnosed as uterine or apical, anterior or posterior and have 4 different stages which refer to  how far it has dropped down. Stage 1 being  the least severe stage while stage 4 is the most severe stage of a prolapse. 

This condition happens after the pelvic floor muscles, its ligaments and connective tissues have been weakened, stretched, damaged or  injured.   An increase in abdominal pressure as experienced during pregnancy, severe coughing associated with asthma or lung condition, frequent straining to pass bowel movement, repeated heavy lifting or being overweight can all contribute to pelvic floor organs prolapse. 

Childbirth increases the chances of prolapse due to the stress and trauma onto the pelvic floor muscles as well as the increase in abdominal pressure during the pushing stage of labour.  Here again, I have seen great results with pelvic floor re-education and physiotherapy treatments. When we start looking at the underlying reasons for a prolapse, it's often related to a poor abdominal pressure management, like bearing down when lifting things up or having to engage the core. 

It's all about assessing the cause and the body mechanics to manage that pressure better and then see improvement in the prolapse.  Consistency is key here.

Abdominal separation

Abdominal separation also called Diastasis recti (DR), happens when the Linea Alba gets stretched out from its original state and creates a gap at the front centre of the abdominal in a vertical manner.  The linea Alba is a thick connective tissue that keeps both side your rectus abdominus muscles connected together (your six pack muscles).

 

The Linea Alba is meant to stretched out during pregnancy and in fact it will stretch out to accommodate growing baby during pregnancy.  All pregnant women coming at term will present with some degrees of abdominal separation.  In other words, it is normal the get abdominal separation during pregnancy and we should stop fearing it! 

 

Less than 2 fingers gap is considered as normal with great chance to heal on its on or with specifics exercises aiming to close the gap, while more than 3 fingers gap is considered as a severe DR and might need more help and time before closing down but it is important to know that even with a severe DR it is still possible to improve the gap and avoid surgery in many cases! The separation can be the same from the top of the abdominal to the pubic bone or it can be more severe above or below the belly button, which is the most vulnerable area for separation. 

 

The important thing to remember here is that it's possible to prevent severe abdominal separation if we learn to menage well the extra abdominal pressure that pregnancy brings.  For example by avoiding certain movements that exert more pressure out and against the front of the abdominal wall and by learning correct breathing techniques that help reducing the pressure through the front body.

Pelvic girdle pain

Very common during pregnancy due to an increase in the relaxin hormone in the body which soften the ligaments of the joints but also due to the increase pressure of the uterus weight onto the pelvic bowl. 

 

This softening of the ligaments holding the pelvic bones together mix with an increase in weight from the growing uterus can lead to pain which will be most likely felt at the front of the pelvis, at the pubic symphysis attachment, and/or at the back of the pelvis, at the attachment of the sacrum and iliac bones.

 

Strengthening the muscles around the pelvis helps bringing stability which is essential to counterbalance the effects of the relaxin in the body and to be able to bear the increasing weight of the uterus.   

Back pain

The pregnant body goes through a lot of physical and hormonal changes during pregnancy. The uterus shifts forward to accommodate baby which bring the pelvis naturally more into an anterior tilt and the lower back into more lordosis than usual. These shifts can lead to lower back pain as the lower back muscles become under more strain than usual.  In fact they counterbalance for the laxity of the abdominals to help keeping upright and stable during our everyday movements. 

 

There is lots of things we can do to improve back pain and manage this new pregnancy posture better like maintaining a functional abdominal strength to support the back and the weight of uterus, strengthening our glutes to help support the lower back increased load, learning back releasing techniques and looking a how we load our body into our everyday movements is key here! How we breath, squats and lean forward to reach for things can play a huge role in back pain.