During pregnancy, Pilates sessions can help you focus on your strength, pelvic floor and posture. These elements are vital to those going through pregnancy, working your stabilising muscles to support you and reducing the discomfort that may be caused by postural changes. By building strength from within, Pilates helps relax, tone and strengthen the body for the task of delivering and caring for your baby. The addition of breathing exercises and specific pelvic floor conditioning are useful tools during labour and after your baby is born.
When you are pregnant the amount of cardiovascular exercise available is often dramatically decreased. The Pilates exercises we teach are all non-impact and therefore do not put strain on sore joints. Pilates efficiently targets and builds strength in the vital parts of the abdomen, back and pelvis, particularly the deepest layers of muscle in the torso that stabilise the spine.
Not recommended if...
In some circumstances you could be advised against Pilates during pregnancy. You should always ask your Midwife or Doctor if Pilates is right for you, especially if you have any of the following conditions:
It is advised you do not start Pilates or any new form of exercise unless you are 12 weeks into your pregnancy as a precaution. However, if you already practice Pilates you can continue from the beginning of the pregnancy if you feel up to it. Remember to listen to your body and stop if you feel you need a break.
Knowing When To Stop...
If you notice any of these symptoms whilst practising Pilates, stop exercising and ask your Doctor if you should continue or not:
At So Pilates, Leeds we advise that during your pregnancy you avoid movements such as these:
Focus instead on posture and alignment. Do this by sitting correctly and keeping your core gravity over both feet through the ribs and pelvis. The following exercises that help are:
Post pregnancy Pilates will help get you back into shape and combat fatigue. Pilates post-pregnancy not only builds back up the strength in the core that mothers lose during pregnancy, it also tones and helps shift any weight gained (remember Pilates is not a weight loss technique). Also, having a new-born or toddler takes its toll on energy levels. Pilates will help build these levels back, giving you the strength to deal with the day-to-day errands of being a new mother. Post-pregnancy pilates will aid in regaining your former posture that may have been changed during pregnancy.
After delivery try to start pelvic floor exercises as soon as 24 hours later in batches of 6 contractions. You can also practice pelvic stability exercises, shoulder release movements and baby spine curls.
If you delivered by caesarean you can do pelvic floor exercises and lower abdominal contractions to help strengthen your transversus abdominis. Remember to follow advice from your doctor and ask when to start exercising again.
So Pilates recommend you recommence classes after a minimum of 6 weeks and when you feel ready. Remember your body will have changed and you may find some movements difficult or be advised to modify your level. Some movements may even be easier. If you had a caesarean delivery it is not advised that you do any flexion (sit up) exercises for at least 5 months, but instead use transversus (stable torso, neutral spine) exercises instead.
You must always check with your Doctor or Midwife before returning to Pilates. So Pilates has welcomed hundreds of Leeds' mums to our classes and it is lovely to now see people returning to the pregnancy sessions during their second and even third pregnancies. We look forward to finding out whether it is a boy or a girl!
For dates and times of pregnancy Pilates classes: