"I avoided the typical problems of pregnancy with Pilates"

November 29, 2015

Expectant mum Holly Cole-Hawkins does a combination of Pilates Matwork and Physiolates at London Pilates Studio.

“Back pain and postural problems are an occupational hazard for dentists and are exacerbated by pregnancy. Thankfullyn my level of fitness was quite high prior to being pregnant. I have always enjoyed keeping fit, going to the gym, and doing a variety of activitiesn such as Pilates, running, weights, hi-intensity aerobics and swimming.

I felt very rough during the first three months but I have been lucky throughout the rest of my pregnancy and the credit for this goes to London Pilatesn Studio. Pilates is the only discipline I’ve been able to sustain throughout, thanks to Vanessa and Maggie. They are brilliant at managing people’sn individual needs. My workouts are tailored to my situation and fitness level and their tuition and care is outstanding.

I had been doing two Pilates classes for over a year prior to finding this Studio – a Pilates Reformer class in Notting Hill and a Matwork class in Chiswick.n The Matwork teacher said I wouldn’t be able to continue Pilates after 12 weeks, as the class size was too big to be safe. She also admitted to beingn limited by her own level of expertise. The Reformer teacher advised me to stop working out at six months.

So 12 weeks in, I started looking around for another studio. LPS is tucked away on Fisher’s Lane behind Starbucks on Chiswick High Road. I picked up an leaflet outside and initially chatted to Vanessa over the phone. Her caring approach and experience of the body during pregnancy was the main attraction.n And the fact that I am able to do a combination of Matwork and Reformer classes in one location. 

The classes are really small and the exercises were adapted for the different stages of my pregnancy.

Pilates is perfect for stabilising core muscles to avoid the typical problems of pregnancy such as backache. I have been prone to this in any case becausen of my clinical work. However, you have to work the core very carefully as the abdominal muscles are prone to separation during pregnancy.

In the second and third trimester lying horizontally should be avoided, which discounts some Pilates positions. As your uterus increases in size, lyingn flat can put pressure on the inferior vena cava, the large vein that runs vertically the length of your abdomen and is responsible for returning bloodn to the heart. This can make you feel nauseous and impede the maternal and foetal blood supply. As a dentist, I also take this into account, as my patientsn are supine during treatment.

Maggie and Vanessa adapted the positions to standing and kneeling and integrated the Stability Chair into my Matwork and Reformer routines. They are highlyn qualified, experienced and intuitive, and I’m allowed to do more than others in my situation, as they know I am strong.

I hope I’ll be well suited to looking after a newborn. Until recently I worked until 1.00 am three nights a week treating NHS emergency patients. So I’mn a morning person who is used to working late!

I’ve been trying to organise my PhD work before the baby arrives – my thesis is on head and neck cancer. I’m trying to keep abreast of the workload duringn my maternity leave, as I don’t want to lose the thread.

I’m also trying to relax while I still can! Pilates gives me a good reason to leave my desk, walk to the Studio in the fresh air, clear my mind and concentraten on my body. I can recommend London Pilates Studio as I feel very well looked after.  I’m looking forward to going back after my baby is born.n

Holly Cole-Hawkins is a Dentist and is currently on maternity leave.  

Related articles:nPilates and pregnancy Key considerations for expectant mums.nLondon Pilates Studio gave me my body back“Lifting myntriplets had taken its toll on my back” n


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