Many women often ask how Pilates benefits them throughout their pregnancy. Pilates is a fantastic choice of exercise during this time because of its wonderful ability to move with you through your pregnancy journey. Exercises can be easily modified for you depending on which stage of your pregnancy you are in and how you are feeling on the day of your Pilates class.
Every pregnancy is different and women experience many different and wonderful things.
Pilates targets the deeper core muscles which support the spine and pelvis to keep them stable, maintains pelvic floor strength, reduces the risk of diastasis recti and helps reduce back pain.
Prenatal Pilates exercises are low impact with an emphasis on posture and good quality movement. Pilates exercises also strengthen other parts of the body to prepare you for labor and for keeping up with your new born to be. A well tailored prenatal Pilates class will have you feeling more connected to your body, well balanced and energised.
It is important to carefully consider a Pilates program which is specific for you while you’re pregnant. Pilates will have you feeling amazing throughout your pregnancy and can improve your postnatal recovery. Here are some of the many benefits you will experience whilst doing prenatal Pilates.
Strengthens core and glutes
Relaxin, a hormone released during pregnancy, causes the ligaments to become more flexible and lax which makes 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 experience 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 and keep the pelvis stable.
Reduces back pain
By strengthening the deep abdominal muscles you are less likely to develop back pain or are able to manage it better. Pilates helps to give you better awareness of your posture, which changes as your baby grows. As your body changes throughout pregnancy, so will your Pilates program. It is important that the exercises you do are focused on what you need at that time and on that given day.
Strengthens your pelvic floor
The weight of your baby plus the hormonal changes which take place can weaken your pelvic floor muscles. Pilates can help to strengthen your pelvic floor which is like a sling that sits under the pelvis to support your bladder and bowel. Pilates can help to reduce the risk of incontinence that may develop during or after your pregnancy.
Due to the change in posture and your centre of gravity you may feel more askew and unstable when pregnant. Pilates helps your balance by increasing your core strength and other muscles in the body also responsible for balance and stability and gives you a better awareness of where your body is in space.
Awareness of breath
Breathing is one of the key principles in Pilates and is especially useful for pregnant women to learn as good air exchange is important for blood flow for you and your baby. It also helps to improve your mood due to the release of good endorphins. Being aware of your breathing is also beneficial for labour. Stiffness in your upper and mid back which develops as your belly grows can start to feel tight and restricted. Pilates can help to create movement and space in this area. Breathing also helps to promote relaxation and improve energy.
Taking some “you time" during your pregnancy is important. Pilates gives you an opportunity to switch off from work and day-to-day stressors and helps to focus your mind on the present moment, to focus on your body, where it is in space and what it needs.
Speeds up recovery
Keeping in shape throughout your pregnancy will help you to get back your pre-pregnancy body more easily!
Research shows that being inactive can do more harm than good such as contributing to excess weight gain, high blood pressure, additional aches and pains and a greater risk for gestational diabetes.
At Art Of Pilates our Instructors will always ensure you are guided though the exercises safely and effectively. If you have any questions, please ask any of our Instructors in our wonderful Neutral Bay Pilates Studio.