Pilates during pregnancy is a fantastic way of exercising safely, targeting the specific muscles directly involved in labour in addition to offering a more ‘global’ work out.
During pregnancy your body produces a hormone called relaxin, which results in increased laxity of the ligaments. As a result of this some women experience pelvic girdle pain due to increased shearing forces transmitted across the pelvic girdle. Pilates focuses on strengthening of the abdominals, pelvic floor and gluteals to assist in counteracting this reduced stability and alleviating pain.
Pelvic floor strengthening helps to reduce urinary incontinence during and after pregnancy particularly during coughing, sneezing and exercise.
Pilates also focuses on arm and leg strength to prepare mums for holding and carrying their babies, lifting car seats and pushing prams.
During the later stages of pregnancy, as the baby gets bigger this impacts on your diaphragm so breathing can become shallower. Pilates exercises include upper back stretches to encourage lateral expansion of the rib cage and improve lung volume and oxygenation.
As pregnancy develops your centre of gravity moves further forwards which can result in feeling off balance and a little clumsy, so Pilates also includes standing balance exercises in addition to co-ordination.
Yes just be sure to let your instructor know you are pregnant, you might benefit from a few one to one sessions to get to grips with the basics and let your teacher know if you have any pain or discomfort during any of the exercises.
It is widely agreed that exercising during pregnancy has many benefits, however there are a number of factors to consider to ensure Pilates is delivered and executed as safely as possible. There are a number of considerations that a good teacher will take into account according to the stage of pregnancy with respect to positioning in addition to allowing regular breaks and encouraging hydration.