Pilates is a form of exercise that helps strengthen your tummy, pelvic floor, and back muscles. Pilates encourages an overall improvement in strength, coordination, and flexibility which helps to reduce pain and instability and improve posture. Pilates also helps to control your breathing to help encourage full relaxation-something us pregnant women always need work on. So if you are pregnant for the first time and are looking to keep healthy/pain-free or have been pregnant previously and want to try something new this pregnancy, take a read of how Pilates could be for you!
Why should I participate in Pilates when I’m pregnant?
Good question… Well, as I mentioned above, Pilates is all about strengthening your tummy, pelvic floor and back muscles which can be massively beneficial during and after pregnancy. It is a safe form of exercise that targets common problem areas during pregnancy, to help improve function. Want to know some benefits? Here we go then…
- Strengthening of tummy and gluteal muscles: It is very common during pregnancy for women to experience pelvic floor or lower back pain due to an increase in circulation of a hormone called relaxin that causes your ligaments to become more flexible. Alongside relaxin, as you carry on with your pregnancy- you are also carrying quite a bit more weight. Strengthening your core muscles helps counteracts the laxity of the ligaments and therefore reduces development of pelvic floor pain and lower back pain. One of my favorite exercises for this is one called the clam exercise. Clams help to work your glute muscles whilst keeping your core stabilized at all times.
- Improved balance: As your little baby bump grows, it is common to feel more unstable and lose balance. This is usually because your posture will change and you will be carrying around more weight than usual. Pilates helps to increase strength of your core and leg muscles to help improve balance and coordination during pregnancy. Pilates is also a good way of making you aware of your posture and any changes that may occur during pregnancy, allowing you to concentrate on keeping as good a posture as possible at all times. A great exercise for this is is the Superman exercise. It fully engages your core, requires balance and gets those glute muscles working.
- Control your breathing: Breathing is another key focus in Pilates. Being able to control your breathing is essential in relaxing your muscles. It is common for women during pregnancy to experience stiffness across their back due to their constantly growing baby bump. Stiffness can often restrict your breathing resulting in poor air exchange between you and your baby. You will also soon find out how important controlled breathing is during labour. This is why exercises such as the spine twist in Pilates can be so important. The spine twist helps to increase range of movement and flexibility in the back whilst also helping to control your breathing throughout the slow movements.
So overall, Pilates can be very useful during pregnancy. From preparing your body for pregnancy to helping your body return to its old figure after pregnancy, Pilates has various advantages for all of you pregnant ladies!
If you are looking to try out our pre-natal Pilates class at Physiolates or just want a little more information about what’s involved then we are always more than happy to help.