The ‘Core’ Principles Behind Getting Active After Childbirth


I have just come back from presenting at The Royal Society of Medicine in London on the role of Pilates in getting women active after childbirth.

I think we underestimate how much childbirth has an effect on our bodies and expect to bounce back to our pre baby lifestyle, but it’s not always that easy.

  • 45% of women have urinary incontinence at 7 weeks post birth

  • 60% of women have a diastasis recti (tummy muscle separation) at 6 weeks post birth

  • 20-25% of women have pelvic girdle pain post birth

When you look at these statistics, it’s no wonder it can be a challenge for some women to get back to an active lifestyle. A large proportion of the women that come to my Pilates classes are those who have faced challenges further down the line following having children. Whether that’s pelvic floor weakness, tummy muscle separation or pelvic/low back pain. It’s been so rewarding to see how Pilates can help them but it would be great if we could raise awareness of how to get back to active life initially after childbirth so these problems aren’t developing further down the line.

Pilates and The Pelvic Floor

Current research suggests that between 60-80% of women with pelvic floor problems causing what is known as stress incontinence can be improved or cured with pelvic floor muscle training.

As the pelvic floor muscles work in correlation with the deep abdominal muscles we use in Pilates, this form of exercise (under the care of a appropriately qualified instructor) can be highly beneficial for women with pelvic floor problems.

Tummy Muscle Separation

Medically this is known as Diastasis Recti but you may have also heard it being called ‘The Mummy Tummy.’ This is caused by a separation of the tummy muscles and is common in pregnancy. Often this resolves with time but some can be left with the separation. This can be made worse with some exercises such as sit ups so it is important to get professional advice about the most appropriate exercise therapy for this condition.

Pelvic/Low Back Pain

It is common for women to suffer with pelvic or low back pain during pregnancy and also after childbirth. This is often due to laxity of the ligaments, extra weight or due to lifting children as they get heavier. Pilates addresses any muscle weakness around the core and gluts which can help with any aches and pains post natally.

Being an active person myself I’m passionate about encouraging Mums to get back to an active lifestyle if they’d like to. I certainly underestimated the effect of having children on my body but seeing how Pilates helped me personally and also how it helps so many that come to the classes I would highly recommend new Mums to get the correct management as soon as they can after childbirth.

Kate and her team of Physiotherapists run Pilates classes and one to one sessions at Pure Chill Studio, Poole. You can contact Kate at or visit her Facebook page @katecadburypilates

Jason Rubino