Pregnancy Pilates is a great way to tone and maintain good postural and abdominal strength, during a time when your body is going through many changes. The strength gains achieved will keep you fitter as your bump grows larger (and larger!). Pregnancy Pilates helps to strengthen your body to manage the new positions you'll be in as a new mum, such as feeding, carrying the car seat, and lifting and pushing the buggy.
Pregnancy Pilates offers many benefits:
The breathing techniques learned during Pregnancy Pilates are very helpful during pregnancy and labour. Correct breathing will help to release tension in the body, leaving you feeling calm and relaxed. As your baby grows, he may begin to push or kick into your ribcage, leaving you short of breath; this effect can be reduced, as your Pilates breathing will help to increase your lung capacity.
Pilates focuses on working your deep postural muscles, especially the transversus abdominis muscle. Strengthening this muscle will help support your bump and protect the areas prone to weakness from ligament laxity, such as your pelvis and lower back.
There should be pelvic floor strengthening exercises as part of every Pregnancy Pilates class. This will be a vital part of caring for yourself during pregnancy, as your pelvic floor has to bear the weight of your growing bump. Pelvic floor exercises should be done regularly throughout the day, regardless of how you plan to deliver.
During pregnancy, your posture will be constantly changing due to enlarging breasts and your growing bump. Pregnancy Pilates helps to enhance your postural awareness and will help you to manage these changes, to avoid aches and pains in your neck and spine. Pregnancy Pilates will help you to stretch out the areas prone to tightness from postural changes, such as your chest, neck and upper spine.

Postural strengthening is also very important for when baby arrives, as the new positions of feeding and changing nappies all require prolonged positions that can be stressful on the spine.

As your bump grows, your balance can start to change, and you may feel clumsy and more prone to unsteadiness on your feet. Pregnancy Pilates safely challenges these balance changes, which will help you feel more confident in your movements, even at the end of your pregnancy.
Finally, Pregnancy Pilates can be a great place to meet other mums-to-be, to compare notes each week, and to plan for maternity leave outings!
Pilates is safe to do during an uncomplicated pregnancy. If you are in any doubt, contact your GP or obstetrician before starting a course of Pregnancy Pilates. We advise that mums-to-be do not begin pregnancy pilates until they are 16 weeks into their pregnancy. This allows time for feelings of fatigue and nausea to pass. It is also not recommended to take up any new form of exercise in the all important first trimester of pregnancy.
As Chartered Physiotherapists, we have specialised knowledge of how your body will change during this exciting phase, and we can adapt our Pregnancy Pilates exercises according to the trimester you are in. Equally, we are best placed to adapt your movements depending on aches or pains you may be suffering, such as pelvic girdle pain or carpal tunnel syndrome. Please ensure your Pregnancy Pilates teacher has trained specifically in Pregnancy Pilates instruction, so you will be in safe hands.
Pregnancy Pilates classes run weekly at Total Physio and are taught by Jenny. Email info@totalphysio for more information.
Please note:
If you have pain or any concerns while pregnant or in the post natal period, please report them to your Chartered Physiotherapist, GP or obstetrician ASAP. Do not suffer in silence. If in doubt, get it checked out. Not all aches and pains are normal, and it is important to resolve any issues that are affecting your ability to go about your daily business.
Physiotherapist & Pilates Instructor