Strengthen Your Core
With Pilates During Pregnancy

Advice to get started and stay healthy with pilates during pregnancy.

It can be a daunting time, with many emotions running through your body.

Pilates will give you some peace of mind and reassurance.

How Can Pilates Help?

Regular pilates during pregnancy will help strengthen your core muscles.

This includes your abs and back (especially lower back). It also strengthens your pelvic floor muscles.

All these groups of muscles will help support your body when carrying your baby. They'll also help greatly during labour, along with your breathing control exercises, making for a quicker delivery.

pregnant workouts

Major adaptations in your body are caused by changing levels of certain hormones. Your muscles, tendons and ligaments will be able to stretch further than normal.

This change happens so that your womb is allowed to expand to accommodate your baby. The surrounding muscles (i.e. abs, lower back and pelvic floor) stretch and are weakened. This weakening will mean that you find it harder to control those muscles.

In terms of daily life, this can lead to slight incontinence (weak pelvic floor muscles) and lower back pain. This reduced quality of life may cause undue stress and anxiety for you and your baby.

In terms of exercise and pregnancy, this can lead to sprained and pulled muscles if you do the wrong activities. As a general rule, high impact activities are discouraged.

Pilates is a safe way to exercise during pregnancy. Low impact and easily adapted to you as an individual, and to your stage of pregnancy. Pilates goes hand-in-hand with pregnancy.

Other benefits of pregnancy pilates include:

  • Breathing techniques that help in your final trimester.
  • Better blood circulation for you and your baby.
  • Increased muscle tone and endurance, vital for labour.
  • Stretches to safely help control flexibility.
  • Easy on your heart.
  • Maintaining good posture and balance.

    When To Start Pilates?

    The ideal situation would be to have started pilates before getting pregnant. If you're planning a pregnancy, try going to pilates classes to get an idea and feel of what pilates is. When you get pregnant, you'll then be able to combine classes with home workouts safely for the first trimester.

    You're already pregnant and want to start pilates? I recommend you start pilates after your first trimester of pregnancy, either in group prenatal pilates classes or 1-to-1 classes.

    You have some pilates experience and are in your second or third trimester? I think it's a good idea to only do the simplest seated exercises at home. Most (or all) of your pilates should be done in prenatal pilates classes, especially by your third trimester.

    Each trimester brings different changes and challenges to your body. You have to adapt and pilates can adapt with you. These adaptations are based around the growth of your baby affecting your balance, posture and movement.

    Along with these changes, once you're beyond the first trimester, you shouldn't do any exercise whilst lying flat on your back. Your pilates exercises should all be done either standing, seated, on hands and knees or lying on your side. This will make sure there is proper blood flow to your baby at all times.

    Avoid Injury SideNote

    Get used to the feedback from your body. And always listen to it! Red flag signs telling you to stop include:

    • pain(!)
    • nausea
    • dizziness
    • blurred vision
    • a faint feeling
    • headaches

    Don't push yourself too hard, especially during the first and third trimesters. Always make sure you can easily talk at any time during your exercise. Sip plenty of water with your exercise.

    It's not recommended to do pilates during pregnancy if you're having twins (or triplets or quadruplets!), or if you've previously had a miscarriage. Please seek advice from your health professional.

    Pilates After Pregnancy

    You can continue with your pilates 6 to 12 weeks (or more depending on your delivery) after giving birth, with the advice of your health professional.

    Your pilates exercises will vary depending on whether you had a natural delivery or C-section. There are also other factors that may complicate your workout. It's best to go to post-natal pilates classes, as you'll get the specific advice that you need.

    The overall aim is generally the same for most women. To get your body back to it's pre-pregnancy state! Again the focus will be on strengthening your core. More emphasis will also be on your upper body strength, for the constant lifting of your new-born.

    You'll also discover the psychological benefits from post-natal pilates. It can be a very stressful time for new mothers and even repeat mothers. Each pregnancy is different and takes its toll.

    Pilates, amongst other forms of exercise and techniques, is very relaxing. More so, it offers you a chance to escape, even if it's for 30 minutes. It's your time, your world. Afterwards you feel re-energised to get back to your wonderful new baby.

    Final Word

    Please see your health professional as soon as you think you're pregnant.

    Always consult a health professional before starting any exercise during pregnancy.

    Your GP will be able to advise you on local pilates services. Many prenatal pilates classes ask to see a signed form by your GP.

    Pilates during pregnancy provides you and your baby with so many benefits. It's one of the safest forms of exercise for pregnancy.

    One that provides you with more than just the physical improvements, you also get the psychological benefits.

    You are part of something special! Enjoy the nine months and beyond with pilates during pregnancy.

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