Amazing changes occur in your body in every trimester of your pregnancy, each bringing new challenges and experiences! At times the LAST thing on your mind will be exercise, but staying fit, flexible and healthy is so crucial at this time in your life!
I get a lot of questions asking if Pilates is a safe and beneficial method for new or expecting mums to include in their fitness regime. My answer is always a big, resounding yes! Pilates is the ultimate pre and post pregnancy exercise to keep your body and baby healthy and happy.
Pilates is the perfect solution to keep you in top condition throughout your entire pregnancy and beyond. Not only will it keep you strong, flexible, balanced and toned, but it’s also the perfect cure for back aches, pains and the discomforts associated with your evolving body. It is also low impact without stressing the joints in the body, all of the exercises are completely adaptable so they are not only safe but also super effective!
Throughout pregnancy, the abdominal muscles are constantly expanding to accommodate your growing baby. Even though your little one is nice and comfortable in there, this may mean weakened muscles for you, particularly the deep, stabilising muscles that support your pelvis. When these supporting muscles are weakened, you become extremely susceptible to lower back pain. On top of all of this, all of your ligaments are much more soft and flexible due to the release of the hormone relaxin to allow the pelvis to adjust for delivery. With weak ligaments and abdominal muscles combined, it can put a painful spin on an otherwise incredible journey!
Because Pilates strengthens your deepest core stabilisers, pelvic floor and the muscles that support your hips and spine, you’ll develop muscle strength and memory that will help you recover in no time after birth!
In your first trimester, your main focus will be core strength, stamina and creating muscle memory. Pilates will strengthen your entire core so it can support you and give your body the support it needs as your centre of gravity shifts.
Throughout the second trimester, your focus will be core stability and balance. The exercises will keep your spine healthy, protecting your back and neck as you continue to grow. They also assist with balance, stability, stamina and control.
In your final trimester, you will be focusing on flexibility, mobility and getting your body ready to deliver! Pilates will assist by strengthening the pelvic-floor, lubricating your joints and enabling a smooth delivery.
It is important to keep in mind that modifications are absolutely essential to ensure the health and safety of your baby. Particular exercises are not recommended from mid pregnancy onwards, for example lying on your tummy or flat on your back. These can hinder the oxygen supply to your baby, not to mention they would be extremely uncomfortable! There are plenty of exercises that can be performed on all fours, lying on your side, in sitting, and in kneeling positions that are perfectly safe. Check out the workouts below for safe and efffective prenatal exercise:
Certain exercises should be avoided throughout pregnancy, particularly abdominal crunches and curls. Using these muscles, especially as thesize of your bump increases, heightens the risk of abdominal diastasis,where the connecting tissue that binds the external layer of abdominal muscles separates. I also recommend steering clear of extreme stretches, unstable exercises that require a great deal of balance, unsupported back bends, keeping your feet elevated higher than your heart and high impact movements.
Women can usually return to Pilates four to six weeks after childbirth, or eight to twelve weeks after a Caesarean section. Your doctor will inform you when it is safe for you to resume an exercise program. So if you want to snap back into sexy shape after delivery and give your body and baby the best treatment possible, Pilates is the way to go! These workouts below are fantastic for your post baby recovery: