Exercise during pregnancy is important. It is a time to enjoy focusing on your posture, gentle stretching, toning and relaxing rather than aiming to get fit through rigorous exercise.
It is advised to get clearance from your Doctor before commencing Pilates while pregnant. Louise is happy for you to join her prenatal classes from week 15 of your pregnancy.
Modified Pilates for pregnancy
During pregnancy, your body undergoes many changes in a short period of time. Many of these changes are bought on by hormones Oestrogen and Progesterone which increases to around 100 times higher than normal levels. Their role is to provide an ideal environment for your baby to develop. These hormones and a third hormone called Relaxin also acts to soften the muscles and ligaments of the pelvis to allow room for the baby to grow. The pregnancy hormones have an important role but their effects on softening the ligaments of the body must be taken into consideration when exercising. Your upper back is also under stress due to the increasing size of the breast which may lead to tense muscles and joint pain.
Exercise is very important during pregnancy but it is important that it is the right form of exercise. The first trimester is an important time for the foetal development.
Pilates is a toning and conditioning exercises programme that concentrates on building a strong and efficient ‘centre’ of abdominal, spinal and pelvic floor muscles. A strong ‘centre’ of muscles acts to brace the spine to support the extra weight of the baby and provide stability to the joints. A strong and efficient pelvic floor provides continuous support to the uterus and helps to reduce weakening and stretching of the pelvic floor during pregnancy.
Tips for a Safe Workout
- You may need to reduce your regular exercise routine to mild to moderate levels during pregnancy. It is recommended exercising at least three times a week for approxiamately 30 minutes each time. Aim to have a rest day between workouts. You should include warm ups and cool downs. Avoid progressive and ballistic stretching. Pregnancy is not a time to increase your flexibility because your hormones are acting to stretch your muscles and joints naturally.
- You should avoid excessive breathlessness, exhaustion or a core temperature of over 38 degrees e.g. you should be able to carry on a conversation comfortably.
- Avoid lying on your back after the first trimester. It is here your trained Physiotherapist can modify the Pilates exercises safely. You can lie with some pillows under your back to prop your upper body up or use our pregnancy chair.
- Drink lots of water before, during, and after exercising. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends drinking 2 glasses 2 hours before exercising.
- Drink a small cup of water every 15-20 minutes during exercise and then drink 2 more glasses of water after exercising.
- Don’t do sit-ups or crunches after the first trimester. We can use modified Pilates exercises to maintain the tone you have in your abdominal muscles.
Benefits of Exercise
- Assists in weight management
- Assists in regulating fatigue levels
- Helps to maintain or slightly increase muscle tone, strength and endurance
- Improves posture
- May help improve sleep
- Assists in prevention of low back pain and urinary incontinence
- Decreases risk of blood clots, varicose veins, leg cramping and swelling
- May help improve mood, body image and reduce postpartum depression
- Lastly, enjoy your workout
Guidelines recommend that you should not commence Pilates until 6 weeks post partum and 12 weeks post C section.
We provide private pilates sessions if you would like to bring your baby with you.
Post-natal you may experience:
- Carpal Tunnel Symdrome
- Diastasis Recti
- Joint laxity
- Post-Partum Depression
- C Section issues
- Postural issues