The Benefits of Pilates during Pregnancy

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 gained through Pilates has been shown to improve Optimal Foetal Positioning, (baby’s position in pelvis). It takes a whole body approach to exercise linking the body and mind through the fundamentals of concentration, breathing, control; precision and flow.

Postural changes and the impact of relaxin on the pelvis in pregnancy causes a shift in your centre of gravity, Pilates, helps to improve balance and stability combating some of this shift. Engaging and strengthening muscles in the pelvis helps to provide a stable base for the spine and movement.

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 childbirth is fear and anxiety, releasing adrenaline – constricting and reducing the body’s own natural pain relief, (endorphins). Learning breathing techniques throughout the class will aid with the management of this pain and aid 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. At the centre of Pilates is the correct core activation, this starts from the pelvic floor up. Teaching women how to correctly activate their pelvic floor with their breathing is essential when working to improve abdominal separation/ rectus Diastasis post delivery.

Why is Pilates so effective during pregnancy?

Pilates has 8 key principles which underlie every movement

  1. Relaxation: Helps reduces stress and relieves unwanted tension, aiding sleep
  2. Concentration: Allows you to put your day aside, focus on you and your baby and listen to what your body is telling you..
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Centering: tones muscles which create an inner strength, helping to stabilise the spine and support back during pregnancy and beyond.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

 

 

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