Benefits Of Pilates During Pregnancy
The best way to keep your baby happy is to keep yourself happy
Say goodbye to the common misconception that exercising while pregnant is bad for your baby. There are many Pilates based exercises you can do to help strengthen your core and help you through your pregnancy.
Improving your ‘pregnancy strength’ aims to work on muscles such as your pelvic floor (bowel and uterus), transverse abdominal (lower belly), multifidous (low back) and diaphragm (muscle involved in breathing). Working on these muscles can help prevent common pregnancy niggles.
During pregnancy all of these muscles need to work together for optimal functioning of your core. A strong core during pregnancy can take the weight bearing load off your back, improving your posture and minimising aches and pains.
Help prevent Diastasis Recti!
Pilates exercises not only helps strengthen your body pregnancy but it can help prevent things such as Diastasis Recti. This is the common and necessary abdominal separation that many women experience in pregnancy and postpartum but it is not nearly as scary as it sounds!
The abdominal separation that occurs is caused by internal abdominal pressure, with thanks to your growing baby! As this pressure increases, the right and left sides of the six pack muscles begin to widen at the linea alba, which is the connective tissue where your abdominal muscles meet. The muscles don’t tear or rupture, but a gap occurs between them.
Around 70% of pregnant women will experience this to some degree.
Core and abdominal strengthening Pilates exercises before pregnancy and in the early stages can prevent severe cases of abdominal separation.
It is important to note that if you begin to experience any pain, discomfort or can feel a separation in your abdominal muscles, you need to contact an obstetrician or medical health professional as Pilates based exercises can potentially worsen this condition.
Other benefits of Pilates include
- Its gentle – low impact, low intensity anyone can do it !
- Strengthens muscle elasticity and joint mobility
- Helps with flexability – so your less likely to be injured
- Strengthening core and muscles
- Improved posture
- Relaxation of shoulders, neck and upper back
- Stress management and relaxation
- You can do Pilates anywhere! Inside, outside at the gym!
1. Standing sit ups
As a rule of thumb try to avoid normal sit ups, generally they will be fine in the first trimester, but can cause complications thereafter.
Starting with hands on head, pull the knee towards your chest and twist upper half of body. Complete 10 reps for 3 sets.
2. Prone stretch and tuck
Starting with knees elbows on the ground, raise one arm and the opposite leg simultaneously (e.g. Lift the left arm and the right leg). Both the arm and leg should be outstretched straight, hold for 3 seconds then bring arm back in and bring knee towards chest. Repeat 8-10 times on each side for 3 sets.
3. Sitting Bicycle/ heel slide
Start by laying on the floor with arms placed by your side, raise one knee as shown in the image below and push down towards your other foot, while bringing the other leg up into a bent position without touching the ground (imagine you are pedalling a bike). Complete 10 either side or 20 in total for 3 sets.
4. Side Plank
Start by positioning yourself side on with your hand on your hip and elbow firmly planted on the floor. Elevate yourself so a triangle shape forms between your elbow and feet. Try and hold it for 30 seconds either side for 3 times each. This may be too hard or too easy. Hold for as long as you feel comfortable.
5. Fitness Ball Wall Squats
Using a medicine ball that is inflated to suggested capacity, place it up against a solid wall with your back against the ball. Start without using weights, and drop your knees into a squat, allowing the medicine ball to roll with you and down along your back. Make sure your weight is on your heels and not the balls of your feet. You should feel this in your glutes and quads. Make it harder by holding weights in your hands. Complete 10 reps for 3 sets.
It is advised that before undertaking any physical exercise while pregnant, you visit your obstetrician to ensure there are no underlying concerns that could affect your baby.
All of Muscle Joint Bone Clinic’s clinical pilates instructors are government registered healthcare professionals. For more information on our clinical pilates classes, or to book an appointment contact us on (03) 9715 0582.