Why is Pilates so beneficial during pregnancy?

Regular Pilates training is the perfect method of exercise to choose when you are pregnant as your body continually changes through each trimester. Pilates is consistently recommended by Doctors, Physiotherapists and generally just those in the know (women who have already had babies!) and there are many reasons why, if you are pregnant, you should be starting pre-natal Pilates today. 

I have shared my top 5 reasons below.

  1. To strengthen the pelvic floor

As your baby grows and you move through each semester, your pelvic floor muscles are put under increasing strain which can damage the pelvic floor.  During a pre-natal Pilates class we focus on pregnancy safe exercises which help to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.  This will help support the extra weight of pregnancy and assist in an easier delivery. When your pelvic floor muscles are strong, they have a better chance of full recovery to normal after being stretched during pregnancy.

  1. To strengthen the deep core muscles

Stretched, weakened stomach muscles may have a knock-on effect on your back and/or pelvis, making you feel uncomfortable and possibly in pain during your pregnancy. Pre-natal Pilates exercises activate the deepest layer of your tummy muscles (the transverse abdominis), which is necessary for stabilising your back and pelvis. Toning and conditioning these muscles will support your baby, so you can have a more comfortable pregnancy with less back-ache. 

  1. To strengthen the back and postural muscles

During pregnancy your posture will inevitably change due to the growing weight of your baby, and this, in turn will put increased strain on your back and postural muscles.  In addition, imbalances throughout the body may occur or become worse from the added weight of your growing baby.  All of these things can lead to discomfort and possible pain. Regular pre-natal Pilates classes will help to strengthen your back and stabilising, postural muscles.  Back and postural muscles play a critical role in improving spinal alignment and maintaining good posture throughout your pregnancy.

  1. To increase flexibility

During a pre-natal Pilates class, we focus on stretching exercises to release tight muscles as the body changes.  Due to the increased weight of the baby, the back muscles tend to get tired, ache and are sore so we focus on relieving this with gentle back stretches for the lower back.  The additional weight of the baby may also place more strain on the upper back as your shoulders and upper back round forward.  For this reason, we choose lengthening upper back and chest stretches to release tension and tight muscles in these areas.

  1. To prevent possible injury due to hormonal changes

During pregnancy, the hormone Relaxin is released into your body which make your muscles, joints and ligaments more pliable.  This is useful for childbirth as it softens the pelvic joints to aid delivery, however it also makes you more prone to injuries and strain during your pregnancy.  Attending regular pre-natal Pilates classes which focus on strengthening and conditioning your muscles, will help combat against this laxity in your joints and ligaments and potentially prevent injury and strain.

Our Pilates instructors are specifically trained in pre-natal Pilates.  Certain exercises and positions must be avoided, especially exercises lying flat on your back and our Instructors are qualified to know what is suitable during pregnancy and how to train you safely. Our pre-natal classes will utilise Pilates equipment and small apparatus to strengthen the back, arms, hip and postural muscles and the pelvic floor.