Once you get the go-ahead from your doctor, pre-natal Pilates is one of the best forms of exercise you can do. It strengthens your core muscles and can help your body cope with carrying the extra weight of your growing baby, as well as preparing your body for child-birth and recovery afterwards. Taking that hour out for yourself can help calm your mind and give you confidence in your own strength and mobility.
What makes Pilates so beneficial during pregnancy?
In Pilates we focus on lateral breathing which means inhaling through your nose and letting your rib-cage expand to the side then exhaling through the mouth. This can help to expand the rib cage to make space for baby and stretch the intercostal muscles that can get tight during pregnancy. Learning to control your breathing is also beneficial during labour and delivery.
During pregnancy your centre of gravity changes due to the growing baby. Pilates is known for teaching good postural habits and improving body awareness while sitting, standing, or moving. By strengthening the deep abdominal muscles and developing better awareness of your posture, you are less likely to develop back pain during your pregnancy.
During pregnancy, the hormone relaxin is flowing through your body, making you more flexible and also helps to expand your pelvis to prepare for labour and delivery. The goal during pregnancy isn’t to try to increase your flexibility, it is to keep you stable, and strong, and connected to your core. This in turn can again help prevent lower back pain as the baby grows.
Pilates is all about creating a balanced body, something that’s especially important when you have a growing baby bump. As your uterus expands, your pelvis can start to tilt forwards and the hamstrings and glutes can weaken. Pilates helps to improve your core and glute strength and includes exercises to help maintain good balance throughout your pregnancy.
Hormonal changes along with the weight of your baby can weaken your pelvic floor muscles. Pilates can help to strengthen these muscles to support your bladder and bowel and reduce the risk of pelvic floor issues post-delivery.
Taking some time for yourself during pregnancy is important. Pilates gives you an opportunity to switch off from work and day-to-day stresses. It lets your mind slow down and helps to prepare you for labour and delivery.