Many women want to continue to exercise during pregnancy, but are concerned that physical exertion could cause harm to their unborn baby and indeed themselves.
Benefits Of Pilates During Pregnancy
Pilates is a gentle low impact form of exercise and as such it is considered one of the best forms of exercise for a pregnant woman. It's not surprising, then, that many women first attend Pilates classes during pregnancy or in post natal recovery.
And because pilates helps maintain and improve the condition of both your abdominal and pelvic floor muscles, it is not only a safe form of exercise while pregnant, it can be hugely beneficial too.
Exercises can be adapted at each stage of pregnancy to allow for gentler or more focused exercise, but should not be continued if any discomfort is experienced. Pilates will not place strain on the joints or back. In fact the back will be strengthened as will the stomach and muscles around the pelvic area - allowing for an easier pregnancy, delivery and recovery.
Pilates In The First Trimester Of Pregnancy
In the first three months, the changing hormones in the body can make you feel exhausted and nauseous, but gentle exercise can even be done while lying in bed. Often a little exercise can actually energise the body and make you feel mentally and physically better. And the relaxation techniques will relax both body and mind.
Pilates In The Second Trimester Of Pregnancy
The second trimester is, for most woman, the easiest part of pregnancy. Although the body is changing and expanding, energy levels are generally high and this should be when the exercises should be maximised to give you every advantage for the following months.
Pilates In The Third Trimester Of Pregnancy
In the third trimester, women tend to feel heavy and uncomfortable and hormones designed to loosen the pelvic joints can cause back pain. The additional weight of the baby can throw your centre of balance, legs can become swollen and varicose veins can develop. Pilates helps all of these conditions associated with pregnancy by strengthening the central or "core" muscles which in turn leads to improved posture and circulation.
Benefits Of Pilates During Labour
The improvement in muscle tone and circulation gained through practicing pilates will also be of value during labour. An improved circulation allows an increased oxygen supply to the womb and this is less distressing for the baby. And of course the breathing techniques used in Pilates can help with the control of breathing during childbirth.
Resuming Pilates After Childbirth Women can generally return to Pilates four to six weeks after delivery, or eight to twelve weeks after a Caesarean section. Your doctor will advise you on when your body is ready. Pilates will help your body regain its shape and tone and restrengthen muscles that have been weakened during your pregnancy.
Exercises can be adapted to individual needs, so whether you have had a vaginal or Caesarian delivery, a safe workout can be developed to target particular muscle groups.
Pre-Natal and Post-Natal pilates classes may be available in your area - see the Pilates Directory for details.