It is important to carefully consider a tailored exercise programme (eg Pilates) while you’re pregnant. Not only does it make you feel good and improve your post-natal recovery, there is an increasing amount of research that shows a considerable positive effect on both yours and your baby’s long-term health. We’ve summarised the top 10 benefits of doing Pilates while you’re pregnant.
A Hormone released during pregnancy called relaxin causes the ligaments that connect your bones to become more flexible, making you more prone to pelvic pain and lower back pain. Strengthening your deep abdominal muscles will help counter the laxity so you’re less likely to develop pain in your pelvis and lower back. Pilates is also great to strengthen your gluteus medius which helps minimise pain in your sacri-iliac joint
By strengthening the deep abdominal muscles you are less likely to develop back pain. Pilates also helps to give you better awareness of your posture, which tends to change as your baby grows which further helps to decrease pain in your back.
The weight of your baby plus the hormonal changes can weaken your pelvic floor muscles (PFM). Pilates can help to strengthen this hammock of muscle that sits under the pelvis to support your bladder and bowel and reduce the risk of incontinence that could develop during or after your pregnancy.
Breathing is a key focus in all prenatal pilates classes and is especially useful for pregnant women to learn, as good air exchange is important for you and your baby. Learning to control your breathing is also beneficial for labour. Stiffness in your upper back which develops as your belly grows can restrict deep breaths, so exercises like the arm opening (below) will help to maintain flexibility in this area. This exercise is also useful to help strengthen the oblique abdominal muscles.
Due to the change in posture and where your weight is distributed you may feel more clumsy or unstable when pregnant. Pilates helps your balance by increasing your core strength and teaching you to be sensitive to these postural changes.
In pre-natal Pilates we teach exercises in various safe and comfortable positions, such as 4 point kneeling (on hands and knees) to help reduce the load on your pelvis and lower back.
It is normal to gain weight throughout the pregnancy, however if a woman puts on more than the recommended weight she is at an increased risk of gestational diabetes. Doing regular, gentle exercise can help control a healthy weight gain throughout the pregnancy.
During pregnancy some women experience fluid retention, leg cramps and may develop varicose veins. Strengthening exercises for the legs can help to reduce the risk of these side effects.
Taking some time for yourself during your pregnancy when there are a lot of changes happening all around (and inside) you is important. Pilates gives you an opportunity to switch off from work and day-to-day stresses and let the mind slow down while reflecting on the physiological changes in your body.
Keeping in shape through your pregnancy will help you to get back your pre-pregnancy body more easily!
Get yourself a quiet, comfortable spot and lay back to listen to Kristie's soothing voice during this 20 minute relaxation session.
Quick 10 minutes of arm exercises. Try them, Do between 8 and 12 reps of each, 3 times round.
Lovely little beginners class for you
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