Pregnancy and the Benefits of Pilates
Exercising during Pregnancy keeps you healthy, improves your overall mood, helps you sleep better and reduces your pregnancy aches and pains.
Pilates in pregnancy can help release, tone and provide suppleness to the right muscles during these growing changes, helping to reduce aches and pains and allowing the body to prepare for labour.
Pilates focuses on precision and concentration improving body awareness.
Greater body awareness grained through Pilates has been shown to improve Optimal Foetal Positioning, (baby’s position in pelvis). Pilates is a holistic form of exercise which links the body and mind through the fundamentals of concentration, breathing, control; precision and flow.
Pilates helps to improve balance and flexibility. The breathing component used in Pilates can aid relaxation and help in the management of Labour Pain. Mothal Gowi (2004) suggests that one of the greatest barriers to a natural child birth is fear and anxiety, releasing adrenaline – constricting and reducing the body’s own natural pain relief, (endorphins). Learning breathing techniques through out the class will aid with the management of this pain and aide with the passage of baby through the birthing canal during labour. The breathing technique used during class will be combined with movements that naturally provide tone and suppleness to the pelvic floor. These exercises are not specific to pregnancy but may help improve a woman’s ability to have a natural delivery and improve their recovery time.
The exercises are a non-sweat, relaxing workout that you can do whether you’re one or 31 weeks pregnant. The benefits of pilates can also be passed on to your baby. These gentle but effective exercises help improve oxygen and nutrient delivery to your baby by focusing on breathing techniques which also help lower stress levels for mum and baby.
For some mums a natural delivery may not be an option:
Pilates can still help prepare these mums for their labour and recovery. The incorporation of relaxation, breathing and visualisation techniques used during class prepares mums not only for labour but for life after birth.
Why is Pilates so effective during pregnancy?
Pilates has 8 key principles which underlie every movement
- Relaxation: Helps reduces stress and relieves unwanted tension, aiding sleep
- Concentration: Allows you to put your day aside, focus on you and your baby and listen to what your body is telling you..
- Alignment: Releasing and toning, can help relieve aches & pains of pregnancy. Stretching tired achy muscles and toning muscles that help stabilise your pelvis during pregnancy.
- Breathing: Improves efficiency of breathing and oxygen delivery to your baby, breathing techniques learned can help contribute to a more relaxed mum, allowing you to work with your body’s natural progression through labour.
- Centering: tones muscles which create an inner strength, helping to stabilise the spine and support back during pregnancy and beyond.
- Co-ordination: Utilising moves that coordinate different muscles groups ensure here is a functional focus on exercises allowing you to benefit not only in pregnancy and labour, but also beyond.
- Flowing and Rocking movements: The gentle use of flowing and rocking of movements, ensure you are not causing excessive stress to an already tired, achy and over worked body. The Rocking also helps release tight fascia aiding the correct alignment of muscles and improved function of these muscles.
- Stamina: Gradually building up a series of exercises, allows you to build tone and stamina aiding you deal with the demands of labour and beyond.
Pregnancy Pilates Class
This class is an hour long session combing the use of the Birthing Ball / exercise ball to take you through a sequence of exercises which will help loosen tired achy bodies while at the same time working to physically improve and tone the stabilising muscles of the upper body and pelvis. Although the movements can be challenging, they won’t put strain on your body or baby.
You do not need to have any experience with Pilates to attend this class, and although often full, spaces become available throughout the term.
If you are worried about exercise in pregnancy or perhaps you have had difficulties or complications with current or previous pregnancies, please contact me to discuss any worries.