Updated: Feb 27
When it comes to exercising during pregnancy, many women are unsure what to start or stop doing and what the best exercise is for them. You may not want to take any risks with your baby's health, but also don't want to stop being active altogether.
If you're looking for a safe and effective workout option, then Pilates may be the perfect choice for you.
Pilates is also great for any stage of your pregnancy. It can help build up core strength which will support your growing bump, labour and even postnatal recovery.
In this blog post, I’m going to explain why I believe Pilates is great for pregnancy and answer frequently asked questions about starting pilates when pregnant.
If you are expecting, then read on to find out everything you need to know about the benefits of pilates during pregnancy.
Why Pilates is a great choice for pregnancy
Pilates is a safe, low-intensity form of exercise that can improve posture and abdominal muscles and prepare your body for labour and post-natal healing.
However, always talk to your doctor before you start Pilates because Pilates can put stress on the body.
Pilates helps maintain muscle tone
You'll also get stronger abdominal muscles, which many women find very helpful during pregnancy.
Pilates can strengthen your pelvic floor which can be under a lot of stress during pregnancy and labour. Having a strong pelvic floor will also help you with giving birth and any bladder issues you might start having when you cough or sneeze.
Pilates can reduce back pain during pregnancy
Carrying the weight of a baby can put a lot of stress on your back muscles. Pilates can help strengthen the muscles in your back and your core to give you better control and balance too.
Pregnancy Pilates is a gentle way to burn calories
Another reason Pilates is great for pregnant women is that it burns a lot of calories without putting any strain on your body.
This makes Pilates a great choice for anyone who wants to manage weight gain during pregnancy while staying safe and healthy.
Pilates can help avoid diastasis recti
Diastasis recti can happen when the abdominal muscles separate during pregnancy, leaving a gap that makes your belly stick out.
This happens because of all the extra pressure on your midsection, but Pilates can help you prevent diastasis recti by strengthening the muscles in your stomach and back.
Pilates can help with your breathing
Pilates also helps you to develop your breathing muscles. Pilates exercises focus on strengthening your core which in turn helps with expanding your lungs. Your Pilates instructor will also help you focus your breathing during your exercises.
Pregnancy Pilates workouts are very flexible
You can do Pilates with or without equipment, in the comfort of your own home, in a Pilates studio, or even at the gym. Choose standard Pilates or Reformer Pilates for Pregnancy and Postnatal which involves using a Pilates Reformer bed.
This is just a flat bed with a sliding carriage with springs and weights that give you resistance while you complete your moves.
Your Pilates instructor will also have resistance bands, support cushions and balls to help you and your bump be comfortable while working out.
Is Pilates or yoga better for pregnancy?
Both yoga and pilates are beneficial during pregnancy. Yoga will help you with your breathing and help manage any stress and anxiety.
Pilates, however, focuses on maintaining your core muscles around your abdominals and lower body. These are all vital for prenatal support for you and your baby and your post-natal recovery.
If you’ve been practising Pilates during your pregnancy then you’ll also have a good core to help with postnatal recovery and give yourself the best chance of avoiding Diastasis Recti and preventing any issues with a weak pelvic floor.
What if I haven't done Pilates before becoming pregnant?
Pilates instructors will have dedicated pregnancy courses which are designed to support you during the session. All moves and exercises are specifically tailored for pregnant women.
When can I start pregnancy Pilates?
You can start pilates at any stage. If you are starting in your first trimester and maybe not yet showing, make sure you let your Pilates teacher know, so you can avoid specific exercises.
Can you do Pilates in the third trimester?
Pilates can also help support you during the third trimester. At this stage of your pregnancy, there will be a focus on breathing and building up core strength to get you ready for labour.
Benefits beyond just pregnancy - why you should continue Pilates after the baby arrives
Even after birth, pilates can help strengthen or rebuild a weak pelvic floor. For those mums who have had a c-section, then it can help strengthen your core muscles.
If you’ve been considering adding Pilates to your pregnancy exercises routine but aren’t sure if it will be safe or beneficial for you and your baby, we hope this article has helped clear up any concerns or questions you may have had.
All Active Pilates offers physio-led pregnancy classes in Dromore and Hillsborough in County Down, Northern Ireland.
Or if you’re ready to get started you can book now!