The following is a guest post by Rachel Lee of The Baby Lover. Rachel is an amazing mom and I’m excited to continue our relationship and for you all to get to know her too. There are many more exciting things to come!
Pilates during pregnancy is one of the biggest concerns pregnant women have. As we all know, pilates is great for training the body and keeping it strong, balanced, and stable. But is it really safe during pregnancy? Let’s find out more about this topic below including some tips to keep you safe while helping you maximize the benefits you can get from it.
Pilates Benefits for Pregnant Women
Pilates is a kind of an exercise that includes different types of positions and movements designed to keep you coordinated and strong. There are also breathing patterns when you perform each position to give you better control throughout the different transitions.
Here are the following benefits that pilates can do to your body:
1. Gives you a stronger core
Pilates keeps your abdominal muscles stronger, particularly when you perform movements that focus on your stomach. A strong core keeps you balanced and stable. It is also necessary for helping you maintain your proper posture and balance. This is important when you have a growing tummy that can be a little bit challenging for your posture.
2. Helps prevent back pains
Pregnant women are prone to suffer from back pains because as the abdominal muscles become stretched out more, the muscles in this area become a little weaker. The insufficient support causes you to become more susceptible to injury. This is why it helps to perform a gentle workout that is beneficial to your back such as certain pilates positions and movements. You can greatly benefit from a stronger back during childbirth, breastfeeding, and performing movements such as bending and lifting.
3. Improves your bowel and bladder control
Your pelvic floor muscles become a little weaker as these hold the immense weight your growing baby has. With weaker pelvic floor muscles, you will have a harder time with controlling your bladder. Incontinence may arise, and there are pregnant women who leak a bit of urine whenever they sneeze or cough. Sometimes, these women continue to experience such issues even after childbirth.
What to Consider Before Doing Pilates During Pregnancy
While it is a fact that pilates during pregnancy has some benefits, it is worth noting that you need to check with your doctor first before engaging in this type of exercise. There are some pregnancy cases that are delicate for certain movements, so you need to be sure your body is ready for such kind of workout.
In fact, those who have never done any pilates even before they were pregnant would need additional help and support from a Pilates instructor. It is not advisable that you simply start with the program without any background in it. Never attempt to start any kind of exercise until you have undergone an assessment from a professional.
During pregnancy, you can perform simple and basic movements that can support the strength of your abdominal and pelvic floor muscles. However, if you do more advanced and intense movements, you may only end up suffering from a strain and discomfort on your joints and muscles.
There are also some exercises that are not advisable for women in their mid-pregnancy stages. For instance, positions that require you to lie flat on your back or your tummy are no longer ideal for women in the latter part of their pregnancy. But if you are only exercising on your knees and hands or while in a kneeling and sitting position, these should be fine.
Pregnant women are better off doing clinical pilates, or a workout conducted with your physiotherapist. A studio pilates session is also fine, as long as it is with a small group where each participant receives special attention as needed. If you want, you can even search for pregnancy pilates offered in some studios, which are even better for all stages of pregnancy.
Important Tips for Pilates During Pregnancy
When you perform Pilates while pregnant, you need to keep in mind certain things that will help you make the most out of this activity without jeopardizing yourself or your child.
Keep yourself properly hydrated when you exercise. Since you are burning calories during your exercise routine, you need to replenish yourself with water and food after your workout. A healthy, small snack after your exercise is ideal. Bring with you something rehydrating and filling such as an apple, pear, watermelon, or a low-fat milk or yogurt to snack on. Carry a water bottle and drink enough fluids.
What’s good about pilates is that it’s a type of exercise that is low-impact. This means that it is safe and gentle on your joints. You can even have this workout modified just to match your special needs during pregnancy. But always be aware of your energy level and never overdo yourself during each session.
If you are feeling dizzy, nauseous, lightheaded, and faint, it means you have to slow down. Other signs that the workout is too intense for you include uterine contractions, headache, a very fast heartbeat, and some bleeding.
Notify your fitness instructor or pilates teacher right away when you experience all of these and immediately stop doing your workouts to take a break. You may even need prompt medical attention depending on the severity of your symptoms.
Additional Advice for Pilates During Pregnancy
It is very important that you avoid strenuous movements and exercises requiring you to get on and off the gym equipment or keep your balance on one foot. Your body makes it tougher for you to balance because of the forward shifting of your body’s center of gravity as your stomach gets bigger.
Also, avoid overstretching your joints. Movements that are gentle with more focus on your core strength and control are more ideal. You also need to activate your pelvic floor and abdominals instead of aiming to activate your other groups of muscle that can do more harm than good to you.
Although pregnancy is a delicate stage in a woman’s life, it should not stop them from staying fit through gentle workouts. Pilates is a great exercise routine for pregnant women, as long as you stay away from strenuous and high-impact movements. Most importantly, be sure to consult your doctor before you begin this workout to ensure your safety, as well as the child in your tummy.
Rachel Lee, founder of thebabylover
Only being 36, I understand that becoming a new mom is incredibly exciting but also challenging. I remember having a multitude of questions when it came to my pregnancy, taking care of a newborn child, and raising little ones. That is why I decided to create this blog. I wanted to share the vast amount of knowledge with other mommy’s who need help with everything regarding pregnancy and child care.