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Exercise and Pregnancy!

By Angela Jameson on 5 October 2020

Why you should do Pilates when you are Pregnant?

From the beginning of your pregnancy to the end, your body experiences the most amazing changes that are designed to help you carry your baby and eventually delivery your baby. With these changes, your body will become stretched, strained, weakened, tight and/or overused.  These adaptations can be very tiring for your body and can often increase over the length of your pregnancy. By maintaining good postural and body awareness from the start of your pregnancy can help to support and maintain your changing body over the different trimesters.

Pilates is the perfect low impact workout to do during pregnancy. Pilates is the type of exercise that involves using your core (the abdominals, pelvic floor, back muscles and diaphragm) to help you move efficiently and promotes restoring correct posture and alignment.  (This is important during pregnancy but REALLY IMPORTANT for your post- natal recovery especially if you have a diastasis recti separation.) It links movement exercises with your pelvic floor and this is greatly needed as a mum when your body is in such great demand to feed, carry, lift, push and care for your baby.

What physical changes take place in pregnancy?

  1. Weakened abdominals (due to the growing bump)
  2. Weak pelvic floor muscles (due to the downward pressure from carrying baby inside)
  3. Increased lumbar (lower back) lordosis (arching)
  4. Forward tilted pelvis (due to growing bump pulling pubic bone downward)
  5. Weakened glute muscles
  6. Thoracic tightness and kyphosis (due to growing breasts)
  7. Tight adductor muscles (due to pelvic tilt forward)

At the end of your first trimester, the hormone, Relaxin is released into your body; however it can be present earlier. Relaxin’s main role is to loosen and relax the pelvic floor muscles making it ready for a vaginal delivery. Relaxin affects most of your ligaments and connective tissues in your body due to its ‘loosening’ affect and therefore helps to stretch your abdominals to accommodate the growing baby; and your ribcage so that your body can adjust to the pressure of the diaphragm from your growing uterus.

Pilates exercises will;

  1. Strengthen your abdominals, back and pelvic floor muscles
  2. Help relax you due to the focus each exercise needs. There is much evidence to show how effective relaxation is on your mental and physical health.
  3. Establishes good breathing techniques. Exhale on the hard phase of the exercise and inhale on the easier phase of the exercise. The exhale increases your intra-abdominal pressure. This gives your body more strength during the movement which will be beneficial to know and do when you are lifting, carrying, holding and caring for your baby. Practice makes perfect, right!
  4. Provide pelvic stability and strength to help support your growing bump. This can reduce Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) which is the umbrella term for all pelvic pain during pregnancy. (please see blog on PGP for more information)
  5. Create mobility in your stiff areas such as spine, shoulders and neck. Due to the changing posture these areas are prone to more stiffness and our westernized lifestyles of Sitting, driving and watching TV does not help)
  6. Open up the front of your body by enjoying some much needed stretches
  1. Restore good posture
  2. Create postural awareness throughout your pregnancy to help a better and faster post-natal recovery. This is important if you suffer with a Diastasis Recti separation as an imbalance in pelvic neutral, ribcage displacement (from carrying your baby) and chest breathing patterns can all inhibit the healing of a DR. (please see my blog on What is a diastasis recti?)
  3. Strengthen all major muscles in preparation for delivery.
  4. Strengthen all major muscles for the physical demands of being a mum!

Physically-fit Pilates is a fantastic class that will continue teach you about your posture, create awareness about your posture, teach you how to perform your pelvic floor exercises correctly, build body confidence during and after your pregnancy, breathe for abdominal strength as well as relaxation, teach you functional mum movements to get you strong for all the lifting, carrying, pushing and pulling you will be doing as a mum and of course a great place to meet other like minded mums and be yourself! I look forward to seeing you at a pilates class!

"I started physically-fit for mothers who want to prepare and recover quickly from childbirth. We offer group and one to one fitness sessions and our membership club allows you to follow our premium videos at a time and place right for you."
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