Pilates in pregnancy is safe and beneficial- aiding your body in a healthy pregnancy, delivery and recovery*.
Here we outline some of the best Pilates exercises in pregnancy.
On All Fours
Seeing as this is a brilliant birthing position, it makes sense to strengthen the body on all fours too. It is also a good place to feel deep abdominal engagement, that sense of ‘hugging your baby’ with your tummy.
Start with the cat stretch: simply arch the back tucking under the hips and bottom as you exhale. Try superman: outstretch opposite arm and leg keeping your central core stable. Challenge yourself in leg pull prone: start by hovering your knees off the floor and then lengthen the legs and progressively lift each foot, staying strong across your shoulders (but we wouldn’t advise too many reps or holds, keep moving back and forth). Do a threading the needle or spinal rotation: where you reach one arm under and across the other side of your body for an upper back stretch.
Your most comfortable sleep position as you get bigger is likely to be lying on your side and the advice is to lie on your left. It’s a good position to work-out from too. You may need to place a cushion under your bump as you get bigger.
Leg circles are not as easy as they look and work the gluteal muscles that are so important for pelvic stability without loading your spine. Try adding top arm circles at the same time and keep lengthening your body. Oyster or clam openers, where your feet stay together and your knees open, driven from the side of the hips, really get deep into the medial glutes. Do adductor lifts to keep your inner/outer pelvic balance too- let the top leg relax bent forward and reach the bottom leg long skyward. Just remember to keep movements in a small range and to do both sides!
Sitting and standing
Posture is a question of good alignment and balanced working muscles. In pregnancy your centre of mass changes regularly and shifts your bony alignment, affecting muscle tension. This means that your posture adapts. Learn how to sit and stand well, regardless of what stage of pregnancy you are in. This article has some good tips. But you might want to book a private appointment with a pre-natal trained Pilates practitioner to get specialised advice.
Pelvic floor exercises are key to preventing loss of continence. No matter how you deliver your child, your pelvic floor will have been compromised by months of pregnancy. Keep the pelvic floor muscles strong with quick pulses and smooth lifts and you should be able to avoid unexpected leakages.
*Pilates is safe in most low-risk pregnancies. Consult with your healthcare practitioner first.