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Is Pilates Safe During Pregnancy

Is Pilates Safe During Pregnancy


Pilates is a form of safe exercise which focuses on control and quality of movement. Optimal joint and movement control is achieved by improving strength of our core, pelvic floor, scapular and gluteal muscle groups. Due to its strengthening qualities, pilates is a great form of exercise to do when pregnant, and completely safe.

When pregnant, pelvic floor and abdominal muscles are stretched and weakened. This is due to the strain they are put under as your baby gets bigger. Ligaments are also more lax, due to the increase in the hormone relaxin in your body. Less ligamentous support, and decreased abdominal and pelvic floor strength, means that you are at increased risk of developing pelvic girdle and lower back pain.

For this reason, pilates is extremely beneficial during pregnancy, and it does not matter if you have tried pilates before you became pregnant.

Below are the main benefits of pilates:

  • Pilates strengthens your abdominal muscles. This allows your body to withstand and manage the strain caused by the weight of your growing baby.
  • Pilates helps reduce lower back pain, by strengthening the deepest layer of abdominal muscles (transversus abdominus), which stabilises your lower back and pelvis.
  • Pilates improves your pelvic floor strength. This helps support your bladder, bowel and womb as your baby grows and moves down. In turn this helps decrease the risk of urinary incontinence when you cough or sneeze.
  • You carry out pilates exercises on all fours. This is a great position to take strain off your lower back and pelvis, especially towards the end of your pregnancy.
  • Pilates also focuses on breathing control. This will assist in relaxing and controlling your breathing, which is particularly important in pregnancy and labour.

Before joining a pilates class, it is important to get the all clear from your physiotherapist. Also, check that you have sufficient strength. Generally speaking, if you can sustain a pelvic floor contraction for 10 seconds, and repeat this 10 times, it is safe to commence pilates. Try to look for a class that caters specifically for pregnancy, and ideally taught by a health professional.

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