Pregnancy and Pilates, Pre and Post Natal Pilates

Staying physically fit during pregnancy can be difficult. Whether you’re in your first, second or third trimester you’re probably more tired, sometimes uncomfortable and possibly concerned about the effect of exercise on your developing baby. There are the extremes of doing nothing and going all out. Pilates is a perfect alternative to the two extremes.

Is Pilates safe to do while i’m pregnant?

If Pilates is done correctly with a trained instructor and there’s no medical reason why you shouldn’t be exercising, then Pilates is one of the safest and most effective forms of exercise you could possibly do while pregnant. The very nature of Pilates lends itself to people with special needs. Pilates is a low to no impact exercise form that targets back, pelvic floor, deep abdominal muscles which are necessary for stabilizing your back and pelvis.

Pilates is a holistic form of exercise with an emphasis on developing body awareness, core strength, proper breathing, flexibility and posture. It is a safe and effective form of exercise to help maintain or build whole-body strength, prevent or treat low back pain, as well as increase the strength of the muscles that assist with labor and recovery. Pilates may include mat-work (involving minimal or no equipment), or Pilates equipment such as the Reformer, Cadillac, Pilates chair, or the Ladder Barrel. At ABove Physical Therapy, we often also use specific accessories that help expecting mothers to be more comfortable on the equipment and avoid positions that may be potentially harmful to her or her child.

Benefits of Pilates for Pregnant Women:

  • Assist with re-aligning your posture
  • Tighten your tummy muscles
  • Strengthen your pelvic floor
  • Diminish backache and sciatica
  • Challenge your balance
  • Tone your arms, legs and bum
  • Decrease cortisol (stress hormones) levels
  • Help reduce water retention
  • Contribute to a faster recovery after your baby is born

Pilates can help maintain the tone of your abdominals and pelvic floor as your baby grows. Which can also help with the birthing process as these are the same muscles required for pushing the baby out. The principles taught in Pilates can also help maintain focus and breath during childbirth. Post-natally, new mothers can use Pilates as a way to regain their “pre-baby bodies” through safe and gradual development of strength, flexibility and endurance. After childbirth you will be challenging your upper body a lot by holding your baby and if your breastfeeding you may notice the tendency for rolling your shoulders forward and increasing tension in your neck and shoulders, creating a “hunch” in the back. Pilates can help combat this natural tendency by increasing scapular stabilization and shoulder and neck strength.

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