The Many Benefits of Pilates During Pregnancy

Photo Credit: Ken Hurst

Exercising During Pregnancy Keeps You Healthy

Exercising during pregnancy keeps you healthy, improves your overall mood, helps you sleep better, and minimizes your pregnancy aches and pains. One of the best exercises for pregnant women is Pilates. Not only does it strengthen your back, pelvic, and abdominal muscles ““ which will help you during the difficult task of labor ““ but it also helps with your balance and flexibility. Although Pilates is a safe pregnancy workout, you should discuss any exercise program with your healthcare provider before you begin. Get the OK from your doctor first.

Prenatal Pilates

Pilates Strengthens Your Muscle Strength and Endurance

One of the major perks of Pilates during pregnancy is that it strengthens your abdominal and back muscles. When pelvic floor, abdominal and back muscles are toned, your body has more strength and resilience to adapt to your growing baby. As a result, you experience less severe backaches and other physical discomforts common to pregnancy. Having toned muscles also makes labor and delivery easier.

Practicing Pilates Gives You Improved Balance

In the second trimester of pregnancy, your center of gravity shifts upward as your belly gets larger. This can make you more prone to slips, falls, and stumbles. Pilates during pregnancy will help you become more balanced. This type of exercise focuses on balance, strong posture and spatial orientation ““ all of which may help you feel steadier on your feet.

Breathing and Concentration are Essential in Pilates

An important element of Pilates is breathing. The Pilates breath is a foundation of the Pilates exercise, and it focuses on taking full inhalations and exhalations. Regular practice of this breathing will help prepare you for delivering your child in nine months. In addition, the Pilates breath may also help increase your lung capacity in pregnancy. This may actually prevent the shortness of breath that is a common symptom in the second and third trimesters.

Pilates teaches pregnant women to focus their mind and concentrate on exactly what their bodies are doing. This is a useful skill during labor and delivery.

Pilates Helps You Bounce Back after Pregnancy

Continuing to practice Pilates after your baby is born will actually help your body bounce back. Pilates strengthens the deep lower abdominal wall, so it will help you work off that “baby belly.” In addition, the breathing exercises in Pilates increases oxygen and blood flow in your body, which may help the postpartum healing process.

Tips for Practicing Pilates in Pregnancy

When you’re looking to take a Pilates class, try to find one that is tailored specifically for pregnant women. These are often labeled as prenatal Pilates classes. If you take an ordinary Pilates class, you’ll want to avoid certain positions ““ including those that ask you to lie on your back or abdomen. Standing on one leg is also not recommended for pregnant women. Always let your instructor know that you’re pregnant. He or she will be able to adapt the exercise to your needs.

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