Pilates for pregnancy – Why is it a great form of pregnancy exercise?
Pilates for pregnancy are exercises which have been modified from standard Pilates exercises, a physical fitness system originally created by Joseph Pilates in the 20th Century. Pilates movements combine flexibility and strength training with breathing, relaxation, and body awareness. Each exercise is performed using your tummy and pelvic floor muscles – commonly referred to as the ‘stable core’.
Research has shown that by improving your deep abdominal stabilising muscles, you can reduce and prevent lower back pain, pelvic pain and instability, all of which are commonly experienced throughout pregnancy. Performing Pilates will help to train your body to be strong and flexible.
Why Pilates for pregnancy?
Pregnancy Pilates are an excellent form of exercise since each technique is designed to build core strength. If your abdominal, back, and pelvic floor muscles are toned, then there is a greater chance of you having a more comfortable pregnancy, labour, and delivery.
As your uterus grows, your stomach and pelvic floor muscles will experience increasing strain. Coupled with this, the hormone Relaxin (which is now rampaging through your body) is making the tough tissues which connect your bones more flexible. This results in your ligaments being more prone to stretching further than usual, and if you overload them, you may cause injury to yourself.
Since Pregnancy Pilates exercises (like those featured in the Pregalates DVD’s) specifically target the back, stomach, and pelvic floor muscles, without creating strain on your other joints, the exercises can be of great benefit to you during both your prenatal and postnatal stages.
Pregnancy Pilates will engage the deepest layer of your stomach muscles, which will ultimately stabilise your back and pelvis. This should in turn reduce the chances of you experiencing back and pelvis pain. It will also help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles which will help reduce the chance of experiencing incontinence or more serious conditions such as a prolapsed uterus.
Many Pregnancy Pilates positions are performed on your hands and knees. This is an excellent position during pregnancy, as it encourages good positioning of the baby in the womb, and will also relieve some of the strain from your back and pelvis. Research has increasingly shown that Pilates can help improve your flexibility, and we all know for certain that exercise is good for your health and that of your baby.
Before starting any new excercise regime – particularly when you are pregnant – it is always recommended that you first check with your obstetrician, doctor, or midwife to ensure it will not cause or add to any complications during your pregnancy.
If you are searching for more of a cardiac workout, another great pregnancy exercise programme is the Preggi Bellies DVD.