All pregnant women hear numerous myths while they are expecting, almost all of which are based on individual experiences or on cultural beliefs that people hold. One of the most common myths is that women should not work/exercise certain parts of their bodies during pregnancy. Most women hear that the abdominal muscles, the back and the pelvic floor muscles should not be worked a lot, as they are crucial for a healthy pregnancy. Contrary to popular belief, these are exactly the muscles that should be trained during pregnancy to deliver a healthy baby and to help postnatal recovery. Pilates is a great way for pregnant women to stay fit, to maintain a good posture and to prepare their bodies for delivery.
Pilates is known to strengthen the back, the tummy and pelvic floor muscles. Pilates is a mind and body conditioning exercise, regimen that targets muscles and focuses on developing a strong core. It is a combination of mat and equipment based exercises and can be easily adjusted to suit different fitness levels. So an expectant mother can do Pilates according to her body and fitness needs. Some of the benefits of Pilates for pregnant women are:
- Improve posture and balance – As your body gains weight around the breast area, stress on the spine increases, leading to shoulder pain, neck pain and Diastasis Recti. Pilates focuses on breathing through the chest (as opposed to stomach breathing in yoga). This kind of breathing utilizes muscles of the diaphragm, abdomen and the pelvic floor muscles. During pregnancy, the abdominals stretch and a small separation occurs between the 2 sides of the abs. This is natural, however if it is not managed during pregnancy it can become permanent; a condition called exaggerated Diastasis Recti. Pilates can help to prevent this from happening and ensure that you maintain a healthy posture pre delivery and post delivery.
- Strengthen your core and pelvic floor muscles – As the uterus grows it relies more and more on the pelvic floor for support. A strong pelvic floor will provide better support and be the mother’s number one muscle group to have a smooth delivery. Pilates makes pelvic floor muscles more flexible and gives women more control over them.
- Improves breathing – The middle back or the thoracic spine can get tight during pregnancy and as the baby grows the diaphragm gets compressed into the chest. Pilates helps women train their intercostal muscles (lining their rib cage) to achieve flexibility and helps them to take deep breaths during delivery.
Although it is crucial for expectant mothers to accept that their bodies will change tremendously during and after pregnancy, they can really make a positive contribution to postnatal recovery by doing Pilates 3 to 5 times a week. Training your body to get ready for the delivery and the baby is paramount to being an energetic and healthy mother. Fitness Nation offers exciting Pilates classes at their state of the art fitness facility in Bedford. Our trainers will be more than happy to advise you on how you can be part of the Pilates class during pregnancy by directing you towards the right routines and by giving you individual attention in class. If you have any additional questions about what to expect at Fitness Nation’s Pilates offerings in Bedford please feel free to contact us today. Again, our Pilates classes are designed for people of all ages and experience levels and we would love to have you join our community!