Staying physically fit during pregnancy can be difficult, especially if you're not in shape to begin with. You're generally more tired, sometimes uncomfortable and possibly concerned about the effects of exercise on your developing baby. Between the extremes of doing nothing and going all out, there is a highly regarded alternative ... Pilates ...
Conceived by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century, the original use was as rehabilitation after injury. Pilates is based on the principle that a central core is developed and then movements are introduced to challenge this core stability. This philosophy is clearly applicable in pregnancy - a significant test both mentally and physically on the mother's body. By maximising the mother's core stability before and during pregnancy, it’s often possible to limit any potential harm.
Moreover, pregnancy is associated with a number of musculoskeletal problems. It is important to educate all mothers, as well as those involved in ante- and postnatal care with advice on sacroiliac pain, lower back pain, pelvic floor control, postural awareness and exercises that are safe in pregnancy (in particular pelvic floor exercises).
What are the benefits of doing Pilates before birth?
- Increased body awareness with better posture
- Improved control and strength of pelvic floor region
- Supports joints and ligaments that may be compromised with increasing strain from developing baby
- Develops flexibility and muscular endurance as the body tries to adjust itself when normal movement patterns are altered
- Relieves common problems associated with pregnancy including backache, thoracic pain, sciatica and pubic symphysis pain
- Helps with breathing techniques that can be employed effectively during labor
- Makes it easier for pelvic floor to release in those crucial latter stages of giving birth
- Speeds up recovery after birth