During pregnancy, it is important to exercise regularly and most importantly, safely. Pilates helps to strengthen and maintain your pelvic floor muscle strength, as well as maintain general strength, flexibility and posture.
It is important to have a modified class whilst pregnant, here are some of our exercise guidelines.
- Maintain a low – moderate intensity
- Allow longer breaks, lowering the number of consecutive exercises.
- Keep cool, avoid hot, humid conditions.
- Stay hydrated, drink lots of water.
- Warm-up and cool-down
- Avoid prone, unilateral exercises, wide lunge/stance positions
- Stop immediately if feeling unwell
First trimester: avoid anything too strenuous, no “hard abs” increases rectus diastasis (tummy separation)
Second trimester: no ab work except obliques, no inner thigh work, avoid lying on back (weight of the baby compresses blood flow and increases dizziness)
Third Trimester: as above & be guided by comfort levels, focus on sitting, sidelying and standing exercises and pelvic floor activation with all exercises.
As a general rule, women can begin some basic Pilates training 4-6 weeks post-birth. A caesarean birth will be more likely to push exercise back to 6 weeks post birth or later. Be guided by your obstetrician.
After having a baby, many women strive to lose their weight gained through pregnancy to ‘get their tummy back’ incorrect exercises and poor technique can actually increase the bulging in the lower tummy. It also increases the size of an abdominal separation (rectus diastasis), and increase your risk of pelvic floor dysfunction as well as back pain.
Some general post natal guidelines:
- Start with basic pelvic floor activation (your physiotherapist or pilates teacher can help you with these)
- T-Zone retraining
- Don’t go straight into more advanced abdominals and be aware of repetitions
- Correct breathing patterns.
- Exercise intensity may be lighter
Only progress so far that the T-Zone can be maintained. Stronger, higher intensity exercises can be introduced only if the T-Zone can stay on. You should not to try and return to normal activities without the correct progression or build-up of exercise.
*** Refer to a Health Care Practitioner if you have any other issues with pelvic floor or if you had a significant rectus diastasis (more than 2.5cm.)