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Pre- and Post-Natal Pilates

Future and new mums rejoice—there is a safe and accessible exercise option for you!

The road of pregnancy and new motherhood is full of ups-and-downs. Every mum is different and may experience a variety of changes including morning sickness, fatigue, back pain, movement restrictions, and of course, the obvious changes in shape and size! Maintaining exercise might feel like the last priority during that pregnancy and post-pregnancy period, but Pilates might just be a great option for you.

Pregnancy Pilates offers new and expecting mums a safe exercise method that facilities strong core strength, flexibility, and movement. Pre- or postnatal Pilates targets areas of the body that support key muscle groups which are affected during pregnancy—like the back, glutes, and abdomen. It is a great way to support the physical changes during pregnancy, while encouraging greater body connection and awareness.

What the research says

Research supports Pilates as a beneficial practice for expecting and new mothers. Pilates is proven to be completely safe for expecting mothers and their baby. Not only that, but it is also linked to better health outcomes and prevention of pregnancy complications! Some of the benefits of postnatal Pilates include:

  • Increased lumbar support and prevention/treatment of back pain
  • Prevention of excessive weight gain
  • Prevention of macrosomia (high birth weight)
  • Re-strengthens pelvic floor muscles
  • Improves Diastasis Rectus (separation of rectus abdominis, common in pregnancy)
  • Corrects and improves posture
  • Reduces post-natal fatigue
  • Prevention of pre-eclampsia
  • Reduces post-natal depression

Pre- and Post-Natal Pilates at Pilates Can

Pilates Can offers pre- and postnatal Pilates through private and semi-private sessions. Each mum receives a thorough assessment and a personalized Pilates program designed to target their individual needs, restrictions, and goals. As you progress through your pregnancy, the instructor will guide you through changes to the Pilates program based on your body. The private and semi-private sessions allow for this personalized focus so you can feel assured all your needs will be taken care of.

Group mat Pilates sessions may also be an option for pre- or postnatal Pilates workout, provided there is no significant abdominal separation. We recommend talking to your doctor about whether exercise is suitable for you during your pregnancy, and we ask for clearance from your doctor to return to exercise after birth to ensure it is the right thing for your body.

Case Studies

Mum-of-four Karli (38) joined Pilates Can after her second pregnancy to address some exercise issues she had at the time. She has practiced Pilates flexibly over the last few years through two more pregnancies. Karli found that the benefits of postnatal Pilates has improved and maintained her general fitness, strength, and flexibility. Pilates also helped close the abdominal wall widening she experienced after her second pregnancy. She found that this separation was significantly less in her subsequent pregnancies. In addition to the physical changes, Karli also felt the mental health benefits of Pilates.

“It was lovely to be around a supportive instructor and familiar group each class. Mentally it gave me somewhere to go where I could have some space and time to do something for myself.”

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Amanda (34) began Pilates two years before her first pregnancy in 2018 and is currently expecting baby number two! She finds Pilates a great way to keep moving despite experiencing periods of fatigue during pregnancy. By strengthening her body, she believes Pilates is a great way to prepare for the physical changes of new motherhood. Like Karli, Amanda enjoyed the social and wellbeing aspects of pre-natal Pilates—her husband even joined in too!

Both Karli and Amanda continue to enjoy and practice Pilates. They both commend their instructors with continuing to check in and modify their sessions depending on their stage of pregnancy. Amanda recommends both prenatal Pilates and post-natal Pilates to other mums looking to feel better during and after pregnancies. 

“You will build strength to get you ready for the physicality of being a mum… You will learn about how your body changes and how to look after it more than any book will tell you.”

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Looking to feel better during and after

Pilates Can offers prenatal Pilates and postnatal Pilates with baby through
our private and semi-private sessions.
Each mum receives a thorough assessment and a personalized Pilates
program designed to target their individual needs, restrictions, and goals

To get started on your pre- and post-natal journey, talk to one of our friendly
 team at 0419 777 477 or provide your contact details.

Pilates for Lower Back Pain

What is the problem?

Did you know that 60-80% of adults will experience lower back pain during their lifetime?

In Australia, it is the second leading cause of disease burden. Approximately 4 million Australians had back problems between 2017-18 including 181,000 hospitalizations. Lower back pain is one of the most common causes of pain worldwide, so it’s not surprising we are used to treating it at Pilates Can! 

Lower back pain can be acute or chronic and covers a range of injuries and conditions related to bones, joints, connective tissue, muscles, and nerves. There are many causes for back pain. Factors relating to age, fitness, lifestyle, weight, or occupation can all impact the onset and severity of lower back pain. In Australia, most lower back problems present after the age of 24 and are slightly more common in males.

(Source: Prevalence of back problems by age group and sex 2017-18 AIHW)

Just because lower back pain is common, it does not mean it is normal and there is nothing you can do. In addition to the physical pain, back pain can cause significant limitations to body function and movement. It also can take a big toll on someone’s mental health— the rate of depression can be as high as nearly 50% in people with lower back pain! But it’s not all bad news, with the right help and persistence, lower back pain can be significantly reduced or even completely rehabilitated.

In this article, we'll discuss the benefits of Pilates and back pain specific exercises to your spinal health.

How Pilates can Help?

Pilates is a great evidence-based tool to fight lower back pain

It differs from other exercise because it targets functional movement. The best Pilates exercises for back pain are designed to strengthen and increase movement in key muscle groups that support healthy everyday movement. By rebuilding the strength and movement in the lower back and muscles that support the lower back, Pilates can safely rehabilitate lower back pain.

Don’t just take it from us— systematic research shows a strong link between Pilates and lower back pain improvement. Of course, not all Pilates practice is the same. The best results are achieved through individualized practice with experienced clinically trained practitioners, as well as utilizing specialty Pilates equipment.

Every lower back injury is different, whether it presents as different pain or is caused and trigger from different activities. It takes a specialized and personalized approach to really make a difference. At Pilates Can, we start with a thorough assessment of lower back pain, including medical history and pain onset. We then develop a tailor-made Pilates program designed to rebuild and maximize movement based on the specific problem areas.

We have seen so many success stories using Pilates to rehabilitate lower back pain. We love seeing the improvements in our clients and hearing how Pilates has improved their quality of life.

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Case study

Cat (43) has been doing Pilates to manage reoccurring injuries since 2003.

She developed a chronic lower back injury from sedentary desk work and high-pressure sports, which then worsened through pregnancies. During both her pregnancies, Cat relied on crutches to get around. In the years following she found it difficult to walk and preform everyday activities.

She was found to have an unreliable sacroiliac joint (SJI) that was easily aggravated. Cat committed to and persisted with rehabilitation using Pilates for chronic back pain, physio, and massage therapy. She credits Pilates for rebuilding and maintaining her back strength through increased her body awareness, movement, and control. Pilates also saved Cat from a major surgery involving fusing her pelvis together. With the help of Pilates, Cat now freely enjoys walking, swimming, and playing golf, and is committed to keeping up her Pilates program to prevent further injury.

“Pilates has been critical in allowing me to manage my injury… It’s also amazing to know that if it does flare up, I have a place to go that will make it better”

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- cat stuart

There are so many stories like Cat’s that show how the benefits of Pilates for back pain can make a long-term difference to lower back pain.

You might be our next one!

If lower back pain holds you back, reach out to our Pilates Can team for a Pilates assessment and personalised program

Chat to our team ( 0419 777 477 or provide your contact details),

or find out more about Healing Pilates here.


Sports Prehabilitation & Injury Prevention with Pilates

Photo credit: D-eye Photography

What if you could prevent injury before it happens and stops you doing what you do best? 

Pilates is widely recognised for its role in sports rehabilitation and injury prevention, but it’s also a great tool in maintenance for athletes and sportspeople.

But what exactly is prehabilitation, and how can Pilates help?

Prehabilitation (pre-hab) is the process of increasing the body’s capacity and movement, allowing the body to maintain a higher threshold for activity. By increasing muscular strength and stamina, the body can perform to a higher capacity, while reducing the incidence of new injury. Every sport is different, in the same way that every sportsperson has different strengths and weaknesses. Certain sports target different muscles groups and are more prone to certain injuries. For example, ankle or Achilles injuries are common in netballers, whereas wrist and back injuries are more associated with tennis players. Every person is different too. Our bodies are not perfect and may be prone to injury re-occurrence like ligament sprains and muscles tears.

Repetitive movement patterns in sport can place significant strain on the body.

Pilates for sports techniques can be used to prepare the body and correct imbalances to maximise sports performance. Sportspeople can increase their range of motion and strength, particularly in problem areas of the body. By targeting injury prone, or potentially problematic areas of the body, you can reduce the chance of future injury. Using the previous example, a netballer might look at improving their ankle stability, and the tennis player may want to strengthen their back to improve their serve.

A Pilates pre-hab program not only helps to prevent injury, but also create a routine for faster injury recovery and for preventing the exacerbation of chronic injuries.

Pilates can even act as a diagnostic tool to help athletes and sports people find areas of weakness to then target.

Because Pilates exercises challenge specific muscle groups, you may find you have strengths and weaknesses you had not considered before in your chosen sport! This can have a wide range of benefits in your sporting performance and general health and wellbeing.

At Pilates Can we have seen the benefits of prehabilitation in athletes in their chosen sport. Roller derby enthusiast Tara, AKA ‘Fast and Furiosa’, joined us in 2017 to help manage injuries and improve her derby performance.

Full contact sports like roller derby can be hard on the body and often require frequent management of injuries, strains, or sprains. In addition, Tara is hypermobile and manages femoroacetabular impingement, scapular dyskinesia and Osgood-Schlatter disease (knee condition).

Pilates pre-hab has helped Tara with injury prevention, recovery, and maintenance. She credits Pilates with helping her improve flexibility, strength, balance, body awareness and endurance. Her body anatomical structures are now conditioned enough to load simultaneously to withstand the repetitive knocks and crashes common in derby, preventing common acute derby injuries.

When she developed scapular dyskinesia in her right shoulder in the lead up to her team’s international derby debut in 2018, she was able to recover using physio and Pilates to reduce pain and increase movement. Regular Pilates not only helped get her shoulder under control, it has also been essential in maintaining her other conditions that stem from hypermobility. Pilates keeps her muscles and joints moving within a controlled range which is essential in maintaining her health and sporting performance.

“Regular Pilates sessions have helped me get to the stage where my hip pain doesn’t leave me limping around for days after a weekend long tournament, and my shoulder doesn’t require any extra physio on top of Pilates anymore.” – Tara 

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- TARA SMITH aka ‘Fast and Furiosa’

Since adding Pilates to her exercise routine, Tara has moved from a B-Grade Div-2 roller derby team to a local WFTDA team currently ranked 14th worldwide. Her team won the 2018 North American West Continental Cup, and she was voted Canberra Roller Derby League’s Jammer of the Year in 2019. Tara enthusiastically recommends Pilates to other players looking to take their game to the next level.

“I am constantly recommending Pilates to other derby players. The good core strength is vital for absorbing hits, and the control and body awareness gained have been invaluable… Pilates is enough to keep my issues stable enough for me to train and skate as furiously as I need to” – Tara

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- TARA SMITH aka ‘Fast and Furiosa’

The best way to target injury pre-habilitation is to start out with a personalised private Pilates assessment

The best way to target injury pre-hab is to start out with a personalized private Pilates assessment. The experienced Pilates Can staff can assess your body’s movement and capacity to develop a tailor-made program to meet your sporting goals. Prehabilitation in sport will allow you to feel the benefits of increased movement and strength,
keeping you on the track or field for longer!

To get started on your injury prehabilitation journey, talk to one of our friendly team

  0419 777 477 or provide your contact details.

Pilates Can Awarded by the Mental Health Foundation Australia

Thanks very much Mental Health Foundation Australia, for your recognition of our efforts through your “Certificate of Appreciation”. We were thrilled to receive this and will display it proudly.

We wondered who nominated this for us, and whilst still not knowing who this was, we are further gratified by the knowledge that it could have been one of many in our community.

Thanks again to whoever it was. It has given us a boost.

Thanks for being part of our wonderful community.

Claire & David Gunther – Directors – Pilates Can Pty Ltd

mental health award
mental health award

It’s been so wonderful to keep in touch with so many of our clients during these unusual times and help them to maintain their excellent Pilates exercise habits, and the response from the clients has been incredible to hear. We are thrilled to be able to still help so many people during these uncertain times, and even keep in touch with current or former clients who are interstate and even overseas! You can read some of those testimonials from our online clients on our homepage.