How can Pilates help me in pregnancy?

July 25, 2015

Your stomach and pelvic floor muscles are put under increasing strain as your baby grows bigger. At the same time, the hormone relaxin is making the tough tissues (ligaments) that connect your bones more pliable. Your ligaments are likely to stretch more than usual and if you overload them you may injure yourself.

During pregnancy, your tummy muscles are stretched over your growing baby and if they’re weak, you may develop back or pelvic pain. Your weakened pelvic floor muscles may become less supportive to your bowel, bladder and uterus (womb), and move lower down into your pelvis under your baby’s weight.

As a result, you may find it harder to squeeze and hold these muscles. Because of this, you may leak small amounts of urine when you cough or sneeze, or feel a sensation of heaviness down below.

Because Pilates targets the stomach, back and pelvic floor muscles without straining other joints, the exercises can work well for you during pregnancy.

During pregnancy you may find that you feel a little more clumsy, or that your balance isn’t as good as usual. This is thought to be due to changes in your balance and posture. Pilates has been shown to help improve balance so you may find that you feel less clumsy if you carry out the exercises. It may also help you walk without swaying from side to side so much as your belly grows.

Pilates exercises use the deepest layer of your tummy muscles, which are necessary for stabilizing your back and pelvis.

Many Pilates exercises are performed on your hands and knees, which is an ideal position for pregnancy. Adopting this position can take some of the strain off your back and pelvis. Towards the end of your pregnancy, it may also help to get your baby into the right position for birth.

There isn’t any research on Pilates that looks directly at its effects on pregnant women. There is some research, though, that indicates that it can help to improve your flexibility and balance. And we do know for certain that exercise is good for you during pregnancy.

The main benefit of Pilates is that it targets the exact muscles and functions that can be a problem during pregnancy and after birth, in a completely safe way.

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