Why practice pilates in pregnancy?


Ok so this post is about pre + post natal ladies…… 

However I am going to start by saying men and women of all age / size / beginner or pro fitness background, you need to be incorporating Pilates into your routine. I cannot say enough, pilates is for everyone. It does not discriminate and should not just be for women in a village hall. 

Anyway back to the task in hand…… describing why pilates benefits those pre + post natal……

Taking Pilates classes prior to conception can improve your circulatory, respiratory, nervous and digestive system, alongside maintaining muscular strength! During pregnancy, the body changes in a way nothing can relate to. An already existing pilates workout can aid these changes to the body enormously. 
If you have discovered you are pregnant and want to attend class there are a few things I would want you to do before rolling out the mat and becoming a Pilates goddess.

Number 1 Do your research! Find a pilates instructor who you know is pre + post qualified and have a chat with them. Don’t be scared to ask questions and figure out if that class is right for you. I personally have a class of max 5 ladies. This is so I can maintain my full focus on you guys throughout the session and not be overwhelmed by clients. If pilates is new to you, I highly recommend going to a pre natal specific class and not a general. If you have taken class regularly before have a chat with your instructor!

Number 2 Explain to your GP or health practictioner that you are wanting to maintain an active lifestyle and get the go ahead to maintain class attendance. Of course in most cases they will say yes, however any underlying issues must be mentioned to ourselves, to give you the best experience and help.

Number 3 Tell your pilates instructor EVERYTHING. It is 100% confidential and 100% vital. Any small changes you feel or are going through we need to know about. A niggle in your back, pain through the pelvis …. Tell us. 

Pilates during pregnancy is just amazing (if I do say so myself). Here is a quick list of its benefits….

• Maintains strength in the abdominals, which combats the growing uterus and strain against the abdominal wall. This can help prevent something called diastasis recti, which is where the muscles become abnormally separated. I use the word abnormal… however it is very very common. The distance it seperates can vary, any more than roughly 2cm apart will need specific pilates rehab exercises. 

• Strengthens your pelvic floor. The pelvic floor aids a multitude of different things in the body such as passing urine, childbirth, reduces risk of prolapse to name a few. Performing pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy can aid recovery post natal. 

• Relieves and reduces back pain. During pregnancy, ladies are more likely to create a small arch in their lower back due to the bump growing forward and movement of the pelvis tilting anteriorly, alongside a rounded upper body due to a heavier chest and upper body weakness. By exercising the deepest tummy muscles that stabilise your back and pelvis, we can help maintain a neutral pelvis. 

• Aids relaxation… to me this is so important. So many of my clients have children and/or long hour jobs and come in stressed or preoccupied with day to day jobs. We live in such a fast paced world it is important to spend time focusing on yourself and that little bambino growing inside. There is nothing better than having a client leave and see their shoulders have dropped/relaxed, I can relax knowing they have slowed down even just for that 1 hour.

• Introduce lateral thoracic breathing which promotes deep inhale and exhale of breath. This will naturally control and relax the body and yourself during labour to the best of its ability.

There are many many more benefits … posture / balance / confidence / glute strength.. however you would be here all day and I havn’t got onto post natal yet!🤱🤱🤱🤱🤱🤱🤱

One of the last questions clients who are near the end of the 3rd trimester ask is ‘When can I restart after birth?’. The answer to this is so varied, I can’t give you a specific time…. 10 weeks / 12 weeks / 6 months. It is completely up to you and the type of birth you had. It may have been effortless and easy (can see many rolling their eyes at this), no complications or it may have been a little bit more…. Dare I say … uncomfortable.

Once again, upon returning, I would ask my clients to seek approval from their midwife or medical professional. We roughly say 8 weeks to be on the safe side if you have had a vaginal delivery. You may feel ok, however internally the body needs time to repair.

Pilates is one of the best things to practice once you have given birth. Practising abdominal hollowing or book closing are 2 of the techniques I teach whilst pregnant so clients know to incorporate into their lives within the first few days / weeks post birth. Learning how to activate the pelvic floor again and engage the abdominal muscles are your first port of call.

Imagine a bull being let loose in your house….. he/she leaves…. Would your house be liveable? The answer is no it would not, it would need some TLC and repair, and the same is for your body.  Internal repairs need to be made before you get cracking on in a HIIT class again!!!!!

The best thing to do post birth is message your pilates instructor, check in with her. Ask questions and book in a 1:1 session to get the ball rolling again. 

Personally, I love my Mummy and Me classes. Watching the mums grow stronger and the babies grow bigger is so lovely. It gives the mums time to socialise and ask each other questions, installing that they are not alone in this new world and support is out there.

Phew …. Ok so that is all I am going to bore you with this Sunday afternoon! Any questions in regards to Pre / Post natal Pilates please do not hesitate to get in touch. I am here to help, support and guide :)

Email jkpilates1@outlook.com for more information on classes and courses held by Jess.

Gaz BurrowsComment