Pilates during Pregnancy
One question I get asked all the time by women who are pregnant is:
“Is Pilates safe to do?”
And my response is:
“If you’re doing it correctly and there’s no medical reason why you shouldn’t be exercising, then Pilates is probably one of the safest and most effective forms of exercise you could possibly do while you’re pregnant.”
Here are just a few of the benefits of Pilates during pregnancy. Pilates exercises are purposefully designed, to:
- re-align your posture
- tighten your tummy muscles
- strengthen your pelvic floor
- diminish back ache
- challenge your balance
- tone your arms, legs and bum
- keep your cortisol (stress hormones) levels in check
- eliminate sciatica
- help reduce water retention
- produce results
- ease the labour
- contribute to a faster recovery after your baby is born
- give you the confidence to enjoy your body.
To me, it makes perfect sense when all the changing areas of your body – breasts are getting bigger, posture changing, tummy growing, lower back starting to curve, pelvic floor taking a hammering to name but a few, for women to do Pilates.
The midwife at the birth of my first child put down the fact that I managed to give birth to my daughter who was posterior (facing the wrong way) naturally, without intervention to Pilates. The muscles required to ‘push’ the baby out are the transversus abdominis which is the main muscle trained in Pilates, and if those aren’t strong then you may not last the distance. She was also astounded at how tight my tummy muscles were pretty much immediately after the birth – again, a result of a three times a week Pilates regime. I worked my pelvic floor morning, noon and night and was very aware of my postural changes at every step.
It’s not about slipping back into a size zero 10 minutes after the birth, Pilates just keeps you toned, focused and gives you the tools to birth confidently. It is also very handy to use the shoulder scapula stability exercises when you’re breastfeeding as the majority of women will find they automatically start to roll their shoulders forward, creating a ‘hunch’ in their back.
It is very important that you find an instructor who is trained specifically in pregnancy. Your body changes throughout each trimester, so it makes perfect sense for your workouts to do so too.
Tasha is a highly qualified Pilates instructor and TV presenter specializing in pregnancy. She is also an established writer in the field of pregnancy and exercise, and during her pregnancy with her second child, she decided to create (what has now become) a world first set of trimester specific Pilates workouts which are available from www.pregalates.com