Pilates Before, During and After Pregnancy

I have completed additional ante and post-natal Pilates training. Pilates is safe to do during pregnancy and after delivery when the exercises are modified appropriately.  The initial assessment will allow me to assess the areas that need to be worked on in Pilates sessions and allow me to modify the exercises appropriately to ensure safety.  

Pregnancy poses many challenges to the body with changes in hormone levels reducing the stabilising effects of ligaments around the joints in your body and potentially leads to:

  • Changes in posture.
  • Changes in the way you walk (swaying from side to side) and move in daily activities 
  • Pain, most commonly in the pelvic area (SPD - symphysis pubis dysfunction) or back.
  • Separation of abdominal muscles (diastasis recti)
  • Continence problems and prolapse.
  • Altered breathing pattern
  • Stress or Anxiety
  • Poor balance
  • Decreased energy

How Pilates Helps Before, During and After Pregnancy

Increasing core strength with Pilates helps to support the back and pelvis which are common areas of pain in pregnancy.  Strengthening this area can also help to improve balance.

Pilates is great for improving body awareness and posture, which reduces the strain on the lax ligaments.  This is also important once the baby is born, and when caring for your baby.

Pilates exercises focus on strengthening the muscles working around your back, pelvis and hips.  This allows for a good balance of muscles keeping you moving normally which again will help to prevent or treat pain, such as SPD or back pain.

Your abdominal muscles are in layers with your core muscles being the deepest and the Rectus Abdominus (the "six pack" muscle) being the one nearest the skin.  All of these muscles need to stretch in pregnancy.  Pilates works with the deeper layers of the abdominal muscles and can help prevent, minimise or treat diastasis recti.

Most people are aware of the importance of pelvic floor exercises during and after pregnancy.  These exercises are done to help prevent incontinence and prolapse.  All Pilates exercises work the pelvic floor muscles, and can help support both the womb and bladder.

The combined diaphragmatic and lateral breathing technique, which is central to Pilates, is great for helping to change habits of shallow breathing and improving this can help with energy levels as more oxygen is then circulating.

Relaxation is achieved through a combination of the breathing technique involved in the exercises and the focussed manner in which the movements are performed.  

Further information can be found in my blog article "Pregnancy and how Pilates can help the ever-changing body."