Your health and wellbeing are the very foundations upon which your baby’s growth and development are reliant. Now that you’re pregnant, your mama bear instincts would have begun to set in and with them, so do nausea and fatigue. The sudden efflux of hormones coupled with your rapidly growing uterus can often induce pelvic floor changes, including urinary incontinence and weakened glutes.
These unfavorable changes can elicit a decreased sense of balance and endurance and can have a negative impact on your quality of life. If left untreated, they may even put your pregnancy in peril. The goal of prenatal pilates is to help counteract these issues while also offering many excellent benefits throughout the course of your pregnancy.
WHAT IS PILATES?
Pilates is a low-impact exercise that focuses on your core and trains you to be flexible, strong, and well-balanced. It involves a series of movements and positions that are concentrated on your lower abdominal muscles, pelvic floor muscles, and back muscles, which are all pivotal to good posture, balance, coordination, and strength.
When done on a regular basis, it can also improve posture, alleviate backaches, and ultimately help with labor and delivery all the while also aiding in elevating mood and energy levels. These exercises can be done either on a mat or by using equipment such as reformers, trapeze tables, exercise balls, and resistance bands.
IS PILATES SAFE DURING PREGNANCY?
Yes, pilates exercises are safe during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester. While pilates is usually safe and gentle, you should focus on not over-exerting your body, but instead build a good base to start, with the help of deep breathing, relaxation, and stabilization. Whether you’re working on the reformer or on the mat, the pilates workout can be modified to accommodate how you’re feeling your tolerance levels on any given day.
All forms of Pilates exercise are safe to do during the initial stages of pregnancy. But from the 16th week, somewhere around the second trimester, you should avoid activities that involve lying on your back.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF PILATES DURING PREGNANCY?
Pilates tends to target the muscles, commonly addressing problems such as loss of muscle tone, endurance, edema, and poor posture during pregnancy. Practicing Pilates regularly can benefit you in the following ways:
- Helps strengthen the stomach and gluteal muscles
The relaxin hormone released during pregnancy makes the ligaments of the hips, pelvic muscles, and lower back highly flexible which can, in turn, open them up to injuries. Pilates helps tackle this laxity in ligaments by strengthening the deep abdominal and gluteal muscles.
- Provides relief from backache
By exercising the core abdominal muscles, you’re ensuring that your back and pelvic regions are better stabilized. This helps improve posture, strengthen the back muscles, and ultimately reduce back pain.
- Builds up the pelvic floor
Pilates strengthens the pelvic floor muscles and supports the uterus, bladder, and bowel as your baby moves downwards with increasing weight. This helps reduce the risk of incontinence.
- Helps control over breathing
One of the key elements of Pilates is breathing. Regular Pilates sessions help improve flexibility in the upper back region and release the stiffness that could inevitably hinder deep breathing. This can be especially useful during pregnancy and labor.
Many pregnant ladies experience a loss of balance and heightened clumsiness. Pilates strengthens the core and enhances stability and balance.
- Takes the strain off your back and pelvis
By using positions that involve going on your hands and knees, Pilates can help reduce the excess load on your pelvis and lower back. This not only helps relieve back pain but can also help get your baby into the right position for birth.
Pilates is a brilliant tool to help you deal with your everyday stresses and relax. Research also proves that pilates can lower the risk of depression and fatigue postpartum.
If you’re ready to make the most out of these benefits, consult your doctor to clear you for Pilates!
- Mom Junction, “9 Prenatal Pilates Exercises Safe During All Trimesters” -
- Tommys, “Pilates and Pregnancy” -