Practising Pilates in pregnancy is extremely beneficial.
Pilates provides a gentle way to train the deepest abdominal layer, the transversus, and its partner muscles which are so critical for bodily support when carrying extra load.
Correct posture and pelvic floor control are key Pilates principles that if you haven’t mastered before pregnancy are well worth investing in. They will aid a more comfortable pregnancy, birth experience and recovery post-baby.
Pilates can help counter the effects of ligament laxity caused by pregnancy hormones. It particularly helps in stabilising the hips (too much movement in the pelvis can cause excruciating pain in pregnancy). Other Pilates exercises promote good range of motion through the neck/upper back/shoulder, a muscular complex that can get very tight from more frontal weight (ie. bigger boobs).
Practising Pilates in pregnancy is also very safe, as long as you listen to your body. Expectant mothers are encouraged to be responsible for themselves when exercising as everyone- and every pregnancy- is different. Stop immediately if you feel any pain and take a break when you feel tired.
Your health and baby’s health is paramount so take note of advice from your health practitioner. Know that you will have to make some allowances for each of the three stages of pregnancy too. Noted below are some Pilates-related considerations:
The first trimester (0-3months)- if you have a low risk pregnancy and are used to Pilates, you can work as normal to begin with. After around 12-16 weeks, you shouldn’t lie for any period of time on your back as this may inhibit blood flow to baby.
In the second trimester (4-6months)- it’s unlikely that you will be able to lie on your tummy now! Come to all fours. Avoid lifting both legs off the floor at once and try to limit too much rotational abdominal work.
The final trimester (6months+)- don’t work with the legs in a wide position. Don’t do a roll-down from standing all the way down as the tummy muscles will be overstretched.
By the way, because you will be intensely focussing your mind and body in your Pilates class, you will also be deriving another lovely benefit: stress release. You might need this aspect more when baby is born!
A final point, always work with a Pilates teacher who has had training in pre- and post-natal exercise.