prenatal 7Any form of exercise during pregnancy is great, and I was always told  labour was like running a marathon, and you don’t run a marathon without training for one so why go in to labour without training for it?

So why choose Prenatal Pilates? Well it’s beneficial in a number of ways, our posture changes when we are pregnant and so there is more pressure put on our back and pelvis area. With the increase in the hormone ‘relaxan’ our ligaments loosen and this has an effect on the stability of our pelvis. Our lower backs naturally start to curve as the baby gets bigger and you can feel an added strain on your back.

During this exercise there is an emphasis on doing exercise while maintaining good posture, sitting up right with shoulders relaxed or simply lying on your side to perform exercises with your hips stacked on top of one another.

There are a number of exercises that focus on strengthening your shoulders because if you are breastfeeding or holding a bottle you tend to slouch when your feeding.  I always had neck and shoulder pain while feeding and had to remind myself about sitting upright and relaxing my shoulders which straight away reduces any shoulder pain.

 

Prenatal Pilates helps focus on developing your Pelvic muscles

 

These prenatal exercises focus on working the Pelvic Floor muscles. The pelvic floor muscles stretch like a trampoline from the tailbone (coccyx) to the pubic bone (front to back) and from one sitting bone to the other sitting bone (side to side). These muscles are normally firm and thick. The pelvic floor is able to move up and down like a trampoline and as it supports the weight of the baby these muscles loosen if they are not worked, it is a muscle after all.

It controls our bladder and bowl so when your pregnant and you cough or sneeze you can get some leakage as these muscles are slacking under the weight of the baby. To work your pelvic floor squeeze and draw in the muscles around your back passage and your vagina at the same time. Lift them UP inside.I often use the image of a box of tissues and pulling the tissue up out of the box, its not a sucking in of your tummy muscles.

You should have a sense of “lift” each time you squeeze your pelvic floor muscles. Try to hold them strong and tight as you count to 8. Now, let them go and relax. You should have a distinct feeling of letting go. Rest for about 8 seconds and then repeat. Gradually building up to holding for 12-15 seconds at a time.

Pilates also focuses on keeping our stomach muscles strong. When the baby is growing our tummy muscles, rectus abdominals naturally separate to allow room for the baby to grow. But if these muscle separate too much you can develop a diastasis rectis which may give the look of still being pregnant, can give back and pelvis pain.

Prenatal Pilates work on the transverse abdominal, which is our deepest tummy muscle that and focusing on this area can really help to reduce that gap. I have been teaching Pilates for 9 years, and have continued with my classes until i was 38 weeks pregnant on all 3 of my pregnancies. Labour was not easy for me even though I was very fit, but my recovery was brilliant. I was back in shape very soon after all the boys and I definitely owe this to doing Pilates.

Don’t forget Pilates can be very good for Kids as well