The benefits of prenatal Pilates
Prenatal Pilates is a less strenuous form of the original method, using equipment like an exercise ball, which is safe for pregnant women.
There are many benefits of prenatal Pilates which can help you during your pregnancy, as well as labour and delivery.
- Pilates focuses on strengthening the core muscles of the body – such as those muscles around the pelvis, abdominal, and spinal area. Pregnant women find that this can help to relieve backaches because their muscles adapt better to the strain of growing a baby bump.
- Prenatal Pilates exercise helps to strengthen and have better control of your pelvic floor muscles. This is good news as these muscles are used during labour and delivery. Stronger pelvic floor muscles also help to lessen the severity of incontinence during and after pregnancy.
- By practising prenatal Pilates regularly, you are able to improve your flexibility. As your bump grows and you put on weight, it can restrict your movements but with better flexibility, most women will agree that they have an added sense of gracefulness and poise.
- Breathing techniques are also taught in prenatal Pilates – which is a great tool for meditation. It is also beneficial to know how to maximise your oxygen intake and control your breathing during pregnancy, as breathlessness is a common side-effect of pregnancy, especially during the second and third trimester.
- Joining an exercise class, like prenatal Pilates, can give you the chance to mingle with other expectant mums-to-be, who are going through the same experience. Often, pregnancy itself can affect a woman’s social life, so the chance to meet new people at a prenatal Pilates class can be a real breath of fresh air!
Before you practice prenatal Pilates
- Pilates workouts tend to focus on stretching and resistance training – when pregnant, you need to take care not to push your body too much in case of injury. Your ligaments become more sensitive and prone to injuries when pregnant, so take it slow.
- Pregnant women should also avoid any vigorous movement in the abdominal area as it can lead to diastasis recti, which refers to a condition where there is a separation of the abdominal muscles.
- As water is lost through sweating during any exercise, be sure to keep well hydrated when practicing prenatal Pilates. Drink plenty of fluids before, after, and if needed, during a session.
- To avoid an injury, it is also advisable to learn from certified instructors at a group class or individual session, instead of doing it at home. Having an experienced teacher present will ensure the movements are safe to do while pregnant and also make sure you do not strain your body.
With all that in mind, don’t forget to have fun! Have you been to a prenatal Pilates session? Share your experience with us in the comments below!
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