Exercise during pregnancy is important to keep your body in shape and get it ready for giving birth, it is important however to know which exercises are beneficial or harmful to you and your child.
Is it safe to do pilates whilst pregnant?
Pilates is a low-impact exercise that focuses on strength, posture, flexibility, balance and muscle tone. It is an extremely versatile form of exercise that can be adjusted to suit the individual and can be highly beneficial for women undergoing pregnancy. Pilates is considered safe and healthy for pregnant women, as long as it follows some simple rules to keep you and your baby safe.
Ways to keep you and your baby safe when exercising
While pilates is designed to be a low impact exercise that can be done by almost anyone, there are a few points to keep in mind when exercising while pregnant:
- Avoid raising your body temperature and heart rate too high. When performing pilates it is important to avoid high-impact exercises, strenuous movements or getting too hot. This is because when pregnant your body is already in an exercised state, and increasing temperature and heart rate too much can cause injury to you and your baby.
- Do not perform abdominal exercises. Abdominal exercises are intended to tighten your rectus (or stomach muscles). While normally a good thing during pregnancy we want the abdominal muscles to be flexible to avoid injury.
- Be careful of your joints. When pregnant your body creates a hormone called relaxin, which loosens the ligaments around your joints. This makes it important to limit movements that may overstretch or make your joints uncomfortable.
- Avoid prone and supine positions as your pregnancy progresses. Exercising while lying on your back or belly can put extra strain on your baby including cutting off blood supply, meaning that it should be avoided.
Having a certified instructor can be a great way to maximise the benefit of pilates and ensure that you are staying safe at the same time. Looking for a specific pregnancy class or one-on-one instructor can be a good place to start.
Benefits of doing pilates whilst pregnant
If pilates is done in a safe and controlled way there are many benefits for pregnant women, including:
- Pilates can keep you fit and healthy throughout all stages of your pregnancy. Pilates focuses on strengthening and toning the muscles throughout your body, while still maintaining low intensity, which makes it the ideal way of staying fit whilst pregnant.
- Pilates can reduce back pain. Pilates can help strengthen the supportive muscles for your back, reducing back pain and improving posture.
- Pilates is a great way to strengthen your pelvic floor. Strengthening your pelvic floor has many benefits, particularly for pregnant women, where it can help them control accidental leakage of urine during pregnancy.
- Pilates can help keep you relaxed. Pilates is a holistic exercise, which means that it focuses as much on breathing and mindfulness as it does on physical movement, helping to focus the mind and improve mental health.