"Can I do Pilates when I'm pregnant?" Pilates always has a place for soon-to-be mothers; before, during, and after the pregnancy. There are many benefits to doing Pilates throughout each trimester of a woman's pregnancy. Pilates strengthens your abdominal, back, and pelvic floor muscles without straining other joints. With any type of exercise always take precaution and consider looking into private training. This will ensure that you will be receiving appropriate modifications specific to your body and needs.
During pregnancy, many women suffer from back pain and an exaggerated lower lumbar curve, which will lead to imbalances in the body. With all the changes occuring within the womb and the mother's body, there are also factors that instructors and mothers-to-be should be aware of as well. Here, we take a look at the benefits of Pilates during each stage of pregnancy.
Pilates before (prenatal) and during the first trimester of pregnancy. This is probably the most crucial time, since it is where you are finding your inner self and connections with the muscles in the body. It is important to be mindful of the strength of the pelvic floor. Having a strong pelvis floor means you are able to engage those muscles and hold it for at least 10 seconds during 10 repetitions. If the pelvis floor muscles are weak, it make cause overstressing your joints and ligaments, which are already loosening up due to relaxin, a pregnancy hormone.
Use caution during the first trimester, by informing the instructor of your pregnancy. During this time fatigue, exhaustion, nausea, dizziness, and vomiting is very common, so being aware of the signals your body gives you is vital to yours and your baby's health. If any of these syptoms occur, avoid increasing the level of your workout during this crucial time.
Pilates during the second trimester of pregnancy. As the pregnancy progresses, avoid all exercises that require lying supine (on the back facing up). The weight of the uterus can put pressure on the vena cava, which is the main vein that carries blood from your lower body to your heart. Compressing this vein can interfere with the circulation of blood to you and your baby.
During this point of your pregnacy, breathing cycles may become shallower as your grows, which puts pressure on your diaphram. It benefits to focus your Pilates practice on stretching and breathing techniques to help exphand the rib cage to offset the decreased space in your abdominal area.
Pilates during the third trimester and after (postnatal) of pregnancy. During the final trimester of the pregnancy still avoid lying on your back, since it will cause your heart to pump less blood and in turn lower your blood pressure. This may cause you to feel anxious, lightheaded, and nauseated. To alleviate this problem, try to lie on your left side to keep the uterus from compressing the vena cava. Also, be very mindful during this time and always practice safety first.
The last trimester in Pilates should be preparing for the labor process. Avoid all exercises that require a crunch type movement (i.e. abdominal muscles). Constant engagement of these muscles may cause the abdominal muscles to separate, also known as diastasis reti. Also, avoid exercises to focus on the inner thighs because this type could possibly encourage labor.
Focus your Pilates practice on your arms, which you help you gain strenght to hold your new born, and the mid-back to keep you strong and standing tall. Lastly work on your hips and outer thighs, which will help aid you through your delivery process. Besure to rest a few days during this last trimester and leading up to the delivery date.
Prior to starting or continuing your Pilates journey, please consult with your doctor. As long as you are cleared by the doctor, it is never too late to combine your Pilates and pregnancy journey together.