Pilates for Pregnancy

Tasmin Burgess

The main benefit of Pilates is that it targets the exact muscles and functions that can be a problem during pregnancy and after birth, in a completely safe way (Babycenter, 2013)

Many doctors and midwives recommend local pilates classes to their pregnant patients. We are told maintaining fitness throughout pregnancy is better for our bodies and our babies. Here are a few reasons why:

Better protection for your posture, back and pelvis - The increasing weight of a growing uterus and baby can alter posture which increases pressure on the lower back and pelvis. Pilates help to correct this posture and take pressure off the lower back through a series of exercises. Pilates exercises use the deepest layer of your inner muscles (core) which are necessary for stabilising your back and pelvis.

Strengthening of the Pelvic Floor muscles - These group of muscles are put under strain as baby grows. They are important to keep strong throughout pregnancy and post natally as they help stabilise the bladder, bowel and uterus. A strong pelvic floor also dramatically reduces the risk of incontinence in later life.

Breathing - Lateral or thoracic breathing practised in Pilates helps to strengthen muscles which are beneficial to supporting mum and baby. This breathing will also help to energise participants throughout class and aid relaxation afterwards.

Help for birth - Many Pilates exercises are performed on hands and knees, which is an ideal position for birth. Adopting this position can take some of the strain off your back and pelvis. Towards the end of your pregnancy, it may help to get your baby into the right position for birth.

Fitness - Maintaining fitness throughout your pregnancy will keep you feeling healthy, strong, flexible and in control.

Relaxation - I include relaxation at the end of class to give participants the chance to have some much needed ‘chill out/ me time’

My pregnancy Pilates class

The class I run is appropriate for women in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters (post 14 weeks). It is suitable for all abilities as long as your GP or midwife has advised that it’s safe to exercise. We use equipment such as balls, dynabands and inflatable support cushions behind the spine to allow safe movements in supine (on back) post 16 weeks. The class is small (max of 8) so I can focus on everybody’s individual needs. The environment is friendly, fun and positive.

This article was written as part of the Holistic Centre spring newsletter ‘Pregnancy and Childbirth’. Continue reading:

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