Pilates is famous for being an effective and enjoyable method of movement but is it really suitable during pregnancy and post-partum? The simple answer to this question is – absolutely!
Contrary to popular belief, Pilates does not ‘focus’ on abdominal strength. It focuses on full body movement because the whole body needs to be uniformly strong and flexible to be in peak condition. What’s the point in having a rocking 6 pack if your gluteal muscles aren’t strong enough to help you off the couch?
The need for a strong and flexible body does not diminish once pregnant. Current research (ASCM Guidelines for Exercise Testing and prescription) shows that moderate exercise 3 to 4 times per week is ideal for healthy pregnant women. The recommendation states, “Dynamic, rhythmic physical activities that use large muscle groups are ideal.” – Pilates anyone? All women who are pregnant and healthy are encouraged to exercise throughout their pregnancy however movement will need to be modified throughout pregnancy based on symptoms, discomforts and abilities of the individual.
I find small group sessions of 1 – 3 participants utilising the reformer, Cadillac and wunda chair to be the most enjoyable and effective classes for pregnant and post-natal clients. These sessions are so great because of the vast amount of modifications available for all stages of pregnancy. These variations in the movement are so valuable not only because it allows flexibility in the movement being taught but also because it means that you will never get bored during class. The Cadillac, chair and reformer allow movements to be performed standing, side lying or sitting once supine (lying on your back) is not an option for you. We offer these small group classes along with our group reformer classes at Pilates & Co. Modifications to suit your stage of pregnancy are offered in both types of class.
AVOID DURING PREGNANCY:
- Lying flat on back after 16 weeks. This ensures that venous obstruction does not occur
- High humidity
- Isometric muscle actions i.e. weighted holds
- Contact sports
- Quickly increasing physical exercise (especially if sedentary)
- Overstretching, due to the release of the hormone relaxin during pregnancy
TO DO DURING A HEALTHY PREGNANCY:
- Good movement
- Time outdoors
- Gentle Pelvic floor exercises – don’t overdo it!
- Time to relax
- Trust your body
- Nurture and nourish yourself
- Stay hydrated
- Listen to your body – you are a unique and beautiful individual. No comparisons or self-judgment are needed.
Pregnancy is not a condition or disorder however, if you have not been active previously or have any contraindications for exercising during pregnancy, it’s necessary to check with your doctor before joining a class.