Pilates for Pregnancy
Pilates is a system of exercises that promotes the development of core strength, spinal mobility and stability, balanced strength and flexibility around the body’s joints, focused mental attention, improved balance and graceful movement. A typical group class involves participants moving through a variety of body positions that challenge their strength and flexibility. During pregnancy, a woman’s body experiences many hormonal and physical changes. These changes must be considered during exercise to ensure the safety of both Mom and Baby.
Among the many physical and hormonal changes that occur during this time of a woman’s life, hormone-related joint laxity, postural changes, restrictions to breathing and circulation, compromised balance, aches and pains related to muscular-skeletal changes, pelvic floor stress, and overall fatigue and discomfort are all considered in a Pilates class specifically designed for a Prenatal Client.
Below are a few reasons PreNatal Pilates is beneficial during Pregnancy:
- Improved core strength and awareness can help reduce low back pain associated with postural and hormonal changes;
- Improved leg and hip strength can reduce the chances of experiencing sacroiliac dysfunction, help maintain balance, and reduce strain in the pelvis and low back;
- Clients develop an awareness of the risks of diastasis recti (a splitting of the abdominal muscles) and how to avoid movements that increase this risk;
- Pelvic floor muscles are trained to both contract and relax. Tone in these muscles is important to provide support for the bladder and bowels. An ability to relax these muscles is necessary for release during childbirth. A healthy balance between tone and relaxation is crucial in the prevention and recovery from incontinence;
- Improved mobility of the ribs and upper back, combined with an increased strength in the diaphragm helps maintain adequate breathing that often becomes restricted due to increasing pressure on the ribcage from the growing abdomen and postural changes;
- Clients develop and awareness of their changing centre of gravity and develop core, hip and leg strength to support and maintain balance;
- Clients practice reducing strain while moving around by transitioning and creating strength, flexibility and strength in a variety of body positions.
- Maintaining mobility and stability in a variety of positions is useful during labour;
- Working the leg muscles can help reduce fluid retention, leg cramps and a risk of developing varicose veins;
- Improved leg strength and endurance is helpful to women who chose to move around during labour;
- Classes help provide the Client with an opportunity to reflect on their body’s changes and to bond with the baby while doing something that is good for both of them;
- Regular, gentle exercise supports healthy weight and reduces the chances of developing gestational diabetes.
- Maintaining a connection and awareness to muscles during pregnancy supports better activation and development post-partum and can help speed up the recovery process.
Classes are designed to flow like a typical Pilates class to allow for a safe and effective workout. Although the previous benefits are not discussed at length during every class, the concepts and principles are incorporated into each session to ensure the Client receives the benefits. Various props and equipment are incorporated in the class to provide support and offer variety.