Can I do Pilates while pregnant ?
What is pilates?
Pilates trains your body to be strong, flexible and balanced. It involves a series of movements and positions that help to improve your strength and coordination.
The movements focus on your tummy, pelvic floor muscles and back muscles, which are all key to good posture, balance and strength. They also help your back and pelvis to be supported.
Can I do Pilates while pregnant ?
Of course you can!
But it is important to take into consideration :
Do a specific antenatal pilates class with an instructor who has specialised in this area.
If you have any pre-existing conditions, talk to your GP to see if you are allowed to do exercises while pregnant. Exercising can be forbidden in some conditions such as Placenta previa, high blood pressure, pre eclampsia in a previous pregnancy etc...
Know the “worrying signs”, and stop the exercise if you experience :
How can pilates help me in pregnancy?
Strengthen your deep tummy muscles
One of the major misconceptions out there is that women should not work their abdominal muscles during pregnancy: it’s just a matter of “how” they are working it!
Women should focus in on the Transverse Abdominis (our internal corset) during pregnancy as opposed to the “ six pack muscles” .
This means forgoing any ab work involving lifting the torso up against gravity, sit ups and crunches, in brief avoid any exercises increasing abdominal pressure.
Strengthening your transverse abdominis helps your body to cope better with the strains caused by the weight of your growing baby.
Connect to the pelvic floor muscles !
We all have heard of “Kegel Exercises”, but we don’t really understand the importance of the Pelvic Floor during pregnancy. The pelvic floor is the hammock supporting the organs and so your baby.
Pilates helps women not only to Strengthen the pelvic floor muscles to hold baby but also to learn to relax it in order to give birth.
Better breath control
Breathing is a key focus in all 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.
Improve your balance
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.
A quicker recovery & return to pre-pregnancy body
Keeping in shape through your pregnancy will help you to get back your pre-pregnancy body more easily!
maintain healthy weight
recent research showed exercising during pregnancy limit hypertention, post partum depression and pre eclampsia.
reduced constipation/ swelling
What if I haven’t done pilates before?
Before trying pilates, make sure that you can find your pelvic floor muscles. As it is an important key of a well-performed-exercise.
If you can't find or feel them, we would suggest to have a one to one session to start with, to learn how to engage the pelvic floor and transverse muscles efficiently .
In conclusion :
- Check that your pilates instructor is experienced in teaching pregnant women, and try to choose a pilates class that's for pregnant women.
- The Pilates exercises you won't do as pregnant:
Any exercises which increase the abdominal pressure
Any exercises making you work on the abdominal rectus to avoid diastasis, prolapse, incontinence ...
Positions that involve lying on your tummy or back
Exercises which overs stretch the joints
Remember it is important to listen to your body and rest when needed and do not forget to increase your water intake as you are two now ;) !