Looking to stay flexible and strong all pregnancy long? Pregnancy Pilates might be just the exercise for you – here are five reasons why…
Pregnancy can be incredibly tough on your body, and whether or not you managed to prepare well for pregnancy, it’s imperative that you pay attention to your nutrition and well-being throughout the nine months. Exercise is an important component of this. The general rule is that you should maintain fitness rather than challenging your body during pregnancy, paying particular attention to not getting your heart rate up too much and avoiding certain high-impact exercises. Walking and swimming are ideal, but always make sure you have the all clear from your doctor before embarking on any exercise regime when pregnant.
Even better, sign yourself up for a specific pregnancy exercise class, so you know you are getting the best results for your stage of pregnancy – and even more importantly, you and baby are staying safe. Our favourite is Pregnancy Pilates – and here’s five reasons why it’s such a good class all pregnancy long.
Pilates strengthens your tummy muscles
The weight of your growing baby can place a huge strain on your body, particularly your back. By strengthening your deepest tummy muscles, your back will be well supported. In addition, towards the end of your pregnancy, the hormone relaxin is produced, making your ligaments more pliable – this can make you more prone to injury, so having strong muscles to begin with will help you immensely.
Pilates strengthens your pelvic floor
Your pelvic floor helps support your bowel, bladder and uterus throughout pregnancy. Often leaking urine is an issue for pregnant women as their baby presses on their bladder, and afterwards, as your body recovers from childbirth – having a strong pelvic floor will help prevent or minimise this.
Pilates improves your balance
Your centre of gravity changes when you’re pregnant, and women often report feeling unbalanced or clumsy. Pilates strengthens your core muscles, which help make you feel more stable on your feet as your bump grows.
Pilates can help get your baby into position
There are certain exercises that will help prepare your body for childbirth. For instance, exercises that involve you on your hands and knees will take the pressure off your back and pelvis and encourage a baby to get into the right position for birth (head down).
Pilates works on your breathing
Pilates in general relies on a system of controlled breathing to aid the exercises. Being able to relax and control your breathing is an important skill to have in labour and birth.
Always go to a specific pregnancy Pilates class or make sure your instructor knows that you are pregnant and can adapt exercises to suit you. As with any exercise in pregnancy, stop immediately if you feel any discomfort. And of course, get the all clear from your medical team before embarking on any exercise.
…the pre- and post-natal Pilates classes offered by Total Physio in Sandyford, Dublin. See www.totalphysio.ie for more.