Pilates during pregnancy… Why should you consider this??
It’s relatively well known that pilates style exercise is great for pregnancy but I thought I would explain from a physiotherapy point of you the reasons why. I certainly know that when I fall pregnant I will be picking up more pilates and doing less of my other forms of exercise and this is why…
ONE: It strengthens all the right areas for pregnancy
We know pregnancy causes significant changes to our bodies and pilates offers a repertoire of exercises and equipment that optimises the strength and flexibility to deal with these changes. Pilates exercises offers all round strength and stability and during a pregnancy we need more of this in our core, pelvis, and spine. It also improves our flexibility which is important nearing to the end of pregnancy when needing more opening around our hips and pelvis. Keeping our body strong and mobile during a pregnancy also decreases your risk of getting pain issues.
TWO: It allows you to keep exercising in a pregnancy safe way
Pilates is low impact which is perfect as your pregnancy progresses. There often comes a point where your previous pre-pregnant exercise (perhaps weight training, or high intensity exercise) is no longer comfortable or it just doesn’t feel right anymore. Although I am a great believer that pilates offers benefits all throughout your pregnancy journey it certainly enables you to keep fit and active once your training type has to change. And don’t be fooled, pilates isn’t ‘easy.’ You can certainly get those workout feels doing pilates!
THREE: It works your postural strength + endurance
Various types of pilates exercises aim to strengthen / improve your postural strength. This is often overlooked until you suddenly have a 6kg weight cradled in yours arms majority of your day. I often treat mums in the post-natal period for back pain issues and this is very commonly caused by postural weakness when doing all the baby cares that your body is not familiar with. During a pregnancy it is therefore so great if start to build your postural strength to be able to prevent these pain issues from occurring.
FOUR: It helps you manage/treat any pregnancy pain issues
Pilates exercise can target any area of the body which is a winner if you have any pregnancy pains (ie. pelvic girdle pain, pubic symphysis pain, back pain etc). Pilates offers a mixture of strength, stability, and flexibility exercises and if taught by the right person can be very successfully modified to tailor your needs.
FIVE: It makes you familiar with your pelvic floor muscles!
One of the foundations of pilates is your core muscles. Your pelvic floor is part of this so pilates is the perfect way to optimise your pelvic floor function. In pregnancy often pelvic floor weakness can start so pilates will make you work on this. It will also make you familiar with pelvic floor relaxation which assists with the delivery of your baby in a vaginal delivery.
SIX: It gives you a head start on your rehab post baby
I always like to say the stronger you are going into a delivery the easier your rehabilitation after your delivery! We do know that muscles often weaken in pregnancy so if you do your best to maintain/improve the strength you have the easier your body will recover after. Plus you likely have more time to prioritise yourself during your pregnancy compared to after so make the most of it!
SEVEN: It strengthens your wrists
This one might seem strange however wrist pain is a very common in the post-natal population and can be quite an annoyance when you have a new baby to care for. Your wrists/hands suddenly have support a baby and often it is the sustained holding in these positions that cause overuse injuries. And never before have they had to do this so often they are quite weak. Pilates exercise incorporates weight bearing exercises on your wrists which enable them to build strength over time. Your wrists will love you for this once your baby arrives!
EIGHT: It makes you familiar with the exercise which is safe to start after your deliver
Pilates is the perfect way to get back into exercise after you have your baby. Now I do realise I am bias being a Women’s Health Physiotherapist however pilates works on your core and pelvic floor and then puts this into all round workouts. I always like to explain this as building the foundation strength and awareness before you get back into your higher impact exercise or weight training etc. Plus if delivered by a physiotherapist who knows the women’s health field you know you are in the right hands!
If you are interested in trying pilates through your pregnancy contact me and I can help you start!