Pilates During Pregnancy
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Many women turn to Pilates as a form of exercise when they're pregnant because it focuses on your core muscles which in turn will support your growing bump. Pilates is recognised for bringing your mind and body in tune with one another and encouraging good balance, posture and strength as well as deep breathing techniques which can be put to good use in labour and birth. It is also a form of exercise which you can start soon after birth to regain your pre-pregnancy figure.
Pilates adapts well to your changing body shape and capabilities as the exercises and postures can be modified to suit your level of fitness or the size of your bump. Each movement will be challenging but it will not put your body under stress.
As with all exercise during pregnancy, you should check with your doctor or midwife before starting to be sure that it safe for you to do so.
Find a Pilates class
Although you can buy many exercise-at-home DVD's for use during pregnancy, you would be best advised to find a class run by a qualified pre-natal instructor so that they can make sure you are performing the exercises correctly and will not cause any harm to you or your baby. It is also a good way of meeting new people and making friends.
How will Pilates help me through pregnancy?
Your growing baby, placenta and the large amount of fluids your body carries throughout pregnancy put a huge strain on your abdominal muscles, pelvic floor and back. Adding to this strain is the hormone relaxin which loosens your joints, putting you at greater risk of injury. In order to allow for your growing bump, your tummy muscles part slightly and have to stretch over the bump. If these muscles are not strong enough it is likely that you will suffer pelvic and back pain.
Some women report that during and after pregnancy they let out some urine when they laugh or sneeze. This is because their pelvic floor muscle has come under too much strain from the weight of the baby, bowel and bladder. Pilates can teach you to connect with your pelvic floor muscles to improve this problem both during and after pregnancy.
A large number of Pilates movements are carried out with you on your hands and knees; this is a great position in pregnancy as it reduces the strain on your back and pelvis. It is also a great position for encouraging your baby to engage towards to the end of pregnancy.