The Benefits of Pilates During Pregnancy

Women should keep active during their pregnancy because they gain so many benefits from doing so. First of all, they can burn the extra calories that they tend to take in while pregnant. Second, doing specific exercises helps them during their delivery. It can also help them with any aches that they encounter. Lastly, it will help them regain their pre-pregnancy body after delivery.


The most effective form of exercise offered by Capital Physiotherapyfor pregnant women is Pilates. This specific type targets parts of the body that will benefit moms-to-be the most.


  1. Transverse Abdominis


A stronger transverse abdominis is good in preventing Diastasis Recti. An exaggerated Diastasis Recti is a risk that mothers-to-be face. When the abdominal muscles stretch, the two sides of the rectus (the outermost layer of the abdominal wall) separate. While this is a natural response, the separation can become too great and it might not anymore go back to its normal state after giving birth. Women can have their bellies checked by the doctor or the Pilates instructor to see if they have an exaggerated Diastasis.


This is the main reason why, despite the misconception that the abdominals should not be exercised during pregnancy, women should still make an effort to do some Pilates on this part of the body. However, they should focus on the Transverse Abdominis, instead of the Rectus (or the six-pack muscles). It is important to avoid lifting or roll-ups, focusing instead on isometric contractions of the Transverse.


  1. Pelvic Floor Muscles


Though this is very popular for pregnant women, not everyone understands how important these muscles are. One of their most important functions is to provide support to the organs in the lower abdominal cavity. The pelvic floor is responsible for supporting the uterus, which is why it has to be strong during the pregnancy.

However, during delivery, these have to relax fully so that the baby is able to pass through. Pilates is the perfect exercise to practice the contraction and the release of these muscles so that they are not just strong, but they are also flexible. Lastly, when these muscles are strong, women can easily bounce back to their pre-pregnancy state and avoid experiencing incontinence.


  1. Diaphragm


As the baby becomes bigger, the diaphragm gets pushed up to the chest, making it more difficult to breathe. Practicing breathing while doing Pilates will work out the intercostal muscles that surround the ribcage. Moreover, the breathing exercises will make sure the thoracic spine remains flexible, as it tends to get tight during pregnancy. Of course, deep and slow breathing is also vital on the big day itself.


  1. Posture and Alignment


That growing human being inside your body needs space, and the mom’s body has to make room, affecting the posture and alignment. Pilates cannot prevent this but helps keep the stabilizing muscles strong, specifically around the hips and pelvis. Balance is improved and the discomfort common in the lower back area will also be reduced. When the baby is finally born, the exercises will ensure there are no permanent issues with balance.


  1. Post-pregnancy Recovery


A strong body during pregnancy will mean a strong body after pregnancy. Muscles that remain strong and firm will not require as much recovery time as stretched abdominals that will need time to reconnect. Moreover, any mom will still require those same muscles once the baby is out and growing. She will need them to carry the baby, bend over or lean forward while changing, feeding and pushing the stroller. This is why strong abdominal muscles, arms, and back are vital in reducing tension and lack of balance.


Having the first baby is truly a transition for any woman. Her body will no longer be the same and it will also play an active role in the growth of a new person. There will be enough changes going on that women should not add to the stress on their body. Moreover, it will be useless to expect the body to go back to how it exactly was before the baby.


With the advice of the doctor, Pilates can be a good pre- and post-natal exercise to prepare the body for the delivery and to help it get back to shape afterward. Beyond that, it will help moms feel great and fit during the time many women feel heavy and fat.

Author Details

Melanie Lim

Writer at Capital Physiotherapy
Melanie graduated with a Bachelor of Physiotherapy from the University of Melbourne. During her degree she obtained clinical experience throughout the public and private systems. Melanie has completed all levels of Mat clinical Pilates from APPI (Australian Physiotherapy and Pilates Institute).


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