There is no question pregnancy leads to many changes in your body and can affect everything from your mood, sleep patterns, energy level and ability to continue to exercise.
I often recommend pilates for my prenatal and post-partum clients as a gentle, effective way to keep in shape. Pilates is pertinent in terms of keeping up core strength during pregnancy.
I have always said that posture and core strength are the roots of all exercises. By incorporating pilates into your routine, you will be more aware of your body and more aware of your form in all the exercises that you do. This will translate into better results, as well as more stamina, which is especially important during pregnancy.
Core strengthening focuses on your abdominals, back and pelvic floor muscles. Often times the pelvic floor muscles are referred to as Kegel muscles and when these muscles are toned, women typically report an easier pregnancy and delivery. Post-partum pilates is often credited for helping women build back that mind body connection, as well as get their pre-baby figures in a timely manner.
As your body changes through the various trimesters, so can the exercises. Pilates exercises can be modified and adapted as your body physically changes. While the focus is always through core stability and lengthening of the muscles, the range of motion can be adjusted to fit your body.
If you’re new to Pilates and pregnant, it is imperative to get proper one-on-one instruction or to join a Pilates class designed specifically for your prenatal needs. There are many reasons for this, including the continual gravity shift and hormonal changes. The hormone, relaxin, literally relaxes the muscles and joints, allowing your body to become more flexible to accommodate the baby.
It is important to be monitored as to not overstrain your muscles. A good way to modify exercises for pregnancy are, minimizing the range of motion and completing some of the exercises standing instead of lying on a mat.
Finally, you must understand the six principles of Pilates and how they relate to each exercise: centering, concentration, control, precision, breath and flow.