Fitness and Wellbeing

Pilates in Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a special time for a women when the body goes through many changes to grow a baby. This means the women’s body is stronger and more supple than normal due to the hormonal changes taking place and its ability to cope with the demands of the changing shape from the uterine/fetal growth.  Pregnancy affect changes in nearly every organ and system in the body.  These changes are relatively rapid and unseen in the first trimester.  Physical changes become more apparent in the second and third trimesters.  These changes affect the way a pregnant women should or should not exercise.

As long as there is no medical reason to prohibit exercise, then exercising when pregnant keeps ladies flexible, strong, and mobile.  Many ladies continue with their exercise prior to pregnancy, many ladies modify their exercises.  There are many different types of exercise offered when pregnant – Yoga, Pilates and aquanatal.  The best guideline is listen to your own body if you feel ok then continue, if not then stop.   Some ladies have managed to continue cycling or even running throughtout pregnancy, this is individual and not the norm.

So why should I do Pilates whilst pregnant

Pilates strengthens, stretches and teaches release of the pelvic floor to aid in the birth process.  While it is important to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles it is equally important to know how to release and stretch it.  A overly tight pelvic floor can put stress on the pelvic bones and cause an imbalance or may increase tearing during the birth.

Pilates works to keep you flexible and strong in your limbs, with exercises in standing and lying (useful for strengthening upper and lower limbs, releasing and stretching the pelvic floor and for giving birth).  2nd trimester onwards Pilates exercises are modified to not stress the stretching abdominals.

Pilates uses breathing as a meditative and relaxation tool and as a abdominal and pelvic floor strengthening exercise.

Pilates mobilises the spine along its length, working on posture, length and mobility.  Also working on strengthening the gluteal area which often becomes weaker at this time due to all the posture changes over the 9 months.

I have discussed the benefits of Pilates, however many of these are also achieved by yoga, it is an individuals preference.  Yoga uses meditation, relaxation and focus on breathing, Pilates uses low / no impact exercises to strengthen limbs and specific work on the pelvic floor.

Common sense disclaimer: Please check with your doctor before beginning an exercise regime when pregnant.

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