Becoming pregnant doesn’t have to mean the end of the exercise you enjoy. Likewise, pregnancy doesn’t have to mean being tired or uncomfortable all the time. Pregnancy is an ideal time to strengthen and condition your body in preparation for the birth and care of your baby.
Exercising while you are pregnant is safe and has many benefits including improved posture, prevention or relief of low back pain, stronger muscles in preparation for labour, promotion of good circulation, maintenance of aerobic endurance, increased energy and decreased fatigue, positive self image and well being, decreased muscle tension and general relaxation and wellness.
During pregnancy, the body experiences dramatic physiological changes that require a carefully designed exercise program. For example, ligaments become more relaxed to prepare the body for labour. This is not a permanent change but it is recommended to keep the muscles strong to help support the joints during this temporary change. It is important to participate in an exercise program that is adaptable so that you can modify exercises as your body goes through the inevitable changes of pregnancy.
Pilates is a fantastic form of exercise for pre-natal women due to the adaptability and nature of the movements. It is low-to-no impact and focuses on improving core and abdominal strength, pelvic floor control, postural alignment, balance, breathing and relaxation.
Practising Pilates during your pregnancy will not only help strengthen your abdominal, back and pelvic muscles, it will help make your pregnancy and labour more comfortable. The focus on the breath and mind-body connection also helps reduce stress and tension and helps you relaxation. Pilates is a great way to incorporate all these elements in a safe and effective way. Practicing Pilates regularly can also relieve lower-back discomfort and other pregnancy-induced aches and pains.
Pilates is also famous for helping moms regain their figures back after the baby is born. By practising pre-natal Pilates, you will be able to get your tummy back into shape faster after your delivery!
It is important to note that you should always obtain a doctor’s approval before starting any type of exercise program while pregnant.
Deanna Smith is an Exercise Physiologist and Stott Pilates Instructor at ‘Energy’. She can be contacted at: [email protected] or on 946-6006.