Three Reasons To Do Pilates During Pregnancy
The benefits of prenatal pilate are many and various. Research suggests that pilates can increase strength and flexibility of the muscles used in childbirth; and can decrease some of the usual suspects of pregnancy like lower back pain, nausea, headaches and shortness of breath.
Here are some of the amazing benefits that pilates can have for you during (and after!) your pregnancy.
Body Awareness & Knowledge
One of the main lessons to be learned from regular pilates practice, is an awareness of your body. The ability to train your mind to focus on different areas of your body, and bring awareness and breath to those areas can be particularly useful during childbirth. Regular pilates classes will help to improve your focus and awareness and promote a deep sense of wellbeing and comfort in your own skin. This is the time of your life to love the wondrous body you’re in!
Let’s face it, most of us slouch even when we’re not pregnant and with that added weight on the front of you, even the most upright of pregnant women may start to slouch. Many women gain weight on their backs as well further along in the pregnancy and back pain is common. Pilates is tremendous for releasing the tension. Then of course, post-birth there’s breast-feeding, lifting and changing your baby and pushing a stroller when the baby arrives – there are a multitude of new activities that might worsen your posture. Pilates is brilliant for increasing back and shoulder strength and also opening your chest muscles making it easier to stand up straight and improve your overall posture. The sooner you get used to a strong posture and bring awareness to how you hold your body, the better equipped you’ll be to stand tall when you have a million other things on your mind.
The moral support of joining a pre or postnatal pilates group is not only a great way to make new friends who are going through the same things as you, but the energy of a group of women going through pregnancy together isn’t something to be underestimated. A class full of mindful, centred, strong and healthy women is a resource you should definitely try and tap into if you can. I found that just being in another room full of women of all different shapes, sizes and stages of their pregnancy really takes the pressure off feeling like you have to ‘look a certain way’. These classes are designed so perfectly to suit the pregnant body so there’s nothing you find difficult or unomfortable!
We recently started using a great app from SheBirths® as a refresher from the pre-natal class we did 2.5 years ago. (www.shebirths.com.au) which has been part of a large clinical trial in conjunction with the British Medical Journal. Studies have now shown that yoga, visualisation and back-to-basics practices is a really effective way to reduce the need for unnecessary intervention during child birth like epidurals, C-sections and tearing. In fact, in the study (you can read it here) She Births® couples experienced shorter labours, particularly second stage (pushing) by a mean of 32 minutes. There was also a 12% reduction in perineal trauma (84.7% vs 96.4%). Overall a 45% increase in natural vaginal births was found. She Births® is designed to give the power of childbirth back to the woman and her partner in the most natural way possible. Their course has prepared us with knowledge and resources from the moment we registered, and right through to our baby’s arrival!!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on prenatal pilates or any pre-natal courses have helped you and also how you found practicing after childbirth too – get in touch!
*Always check with your doctor before starting any exercise program and even more so when pregnant.