Once women fall pregnant, they often think that they should compromise on their exercise routine, and this means that they do little or no exercise. But which forms of exercise are safe to do during early, mid and late pregnancy? One of the most effective forms of exercise during all stages of pregnancy still remains Pilates. It is vital, though, that special pregnancy Pilates classes are attended during the early stages, because these Pilates classes are specifically designed to be safe for mother and baby, while still giving mom a good workout.
There are many benefits associated with attending regular Pilates classes while pregnant, and these include:
· Easier pregnancy and birth: Because the baby is carried by your abdominals and core muscles, it is vital to keep these muscles as strong as possible to support the weight. Stronger abdominal muscles and a more intact pelvic floor also help during childbirth, and if the pelvic floor is strong, it is more likely to recover faster after birth. This helps mom to regain her pre-pregnancy figure a lot easier – and in some cases, they look even better a little while after giving birth than before!
· Strengthen the core: The core muscles support the spinal column, and the. muscles are therefore challenged by all this extra weight. Often, the body is pulled forward and the posture becomes misaligned, which can cause exhaustion and backache. Sometimes, the back muscles are pulled inward and tend to arch as the baby grows. Attending regular Pilates classes will strengthen these muscles and help them to cope better with the growing weight. It can also help to correct your posture.
· Strong pelvic floor: Your pelvic floor muscles hold everything together, and the load of the baby is carried by these muscles. Pilates classes will strengthen your pelvic floor to the point that they are able to contract and relax on demand, and this can be very helpful during birthing. A toned pelvic floor will also help the reproductive system recover better after the stress of the birth.
· Better circulation: While it is great to build strong muscles, one of the main benefits of any form of exercise is that when the heart rate goes up, circulation becomes better. Women tend to increase their blood volume by around 40% during pregnancy, and it is vital that oxygen-rich blood is circulated to the important organs of the mom and the baby. It also strengthens the heart and helps it to pump better. Pilates is especially good for the improvement of circulation during pregnancy.
· Relaxation: Because part of the Pilates discipline focusses a lot on how to breathe effectively, it provides the expectant mother with a tool that can help her to relax and to increase lung capacity – which means that more oxygen is drawn into the body. Good breathing techniques also help with relaxation, and as pregnancy and birth can be very stressful for the mother, being able to breathe effectively can help to reduce stress. It can also help with pushing and relaxing, as well as pain relief, during delivery.
If you want to find out more about how Pilates classes can help you during your pregnancy, give our team at BASI Pilates a call.