The reason I've started practicing Pilates was because I was pregnant. I worked out regularly before my pregnancy but I couldn't continue the same activities once I got pregnant because I was feeling heavier, I had back pain and overall I was looking to workout out with other expecting mothers. I've searched for a workout that would fit my needs and
I came across a special Pilates class for expecting mothers - prenatal Pilates. The workout help me a lot to relieve my back pain and strengthen my pelvic floor muscles and overall prepare me for birth. Also I met other women that were pregnant so it was really nice to connect with other women who are going the same things I was going through, especially as it was my first pregnancy.
After I gave birth, I waited 6 weeks and without searching any further, I went back to do Pilates again. Now my goal was to restore my body after birth, regain strength and energy, and also to get out of the house for a while...as a new mother I needed some ME time and also to meet other new mothers and share our experience, tips and mainly support with this new stage in life. Once I've started my Pilates business, I have opened a special class to new and expecting mums, with their babies. This class bring me so much joy! I enjoy seeing the mothers have some time for themselves while the babies either nap or play around them.
In case you are currently pregnant or just gave birth and you are considering working out, read below about the benefits of doing Pilates before and after being pregnant.
Helps with Breathing
The Pilates breathing calms the nervous system, thereby lowering blood pressure, but also helps build the stamina required for the mental and emotional strength of labor and delivery. The Pilates breathing involves diaphragmatic breathing and coordination of breath with movement patterns that are very beneficial. Stiffness in your upper back which develops as your belly grows can restrict deep breaths, so deep breathing exercises will help to maintain flexibility in this area. After giving birth it is important to continue with breathing exercises as it supplies oxygen throughout the body educes anxiety hence leaving you more energetic and happier after the workout. Strengthen the Core and Pelvic Floor
Pilates exercises regularly works on strengthening the abdomen and the pelvic floor muscles. These are the muscles that sits under the pelvis to support your bladder and bowel. Strengthening these muscles is important for everyone. But they specifically tend to weaken during pregnancy and after giving birth. The weight of your baby plus the hormonal changes can weaken your pelvic floor muscles. By strengthening these muscles through Pilates exercises, it can reduce the risk of incontinence that could develop during or after your pregnancy.
Learning how to activate these muscles provides a strong and stable base for activities such as lifting and for all forms of exercise. When these muscles are switched on and working properly, difficult activities are much easier to achieve with good technique.
Reduces back pain and other annoying pain in the body
By strengthening the deep abdominal muscles you are less likely to develop back pain. If you are already suffering with some back pain, targeted back exercises can help you relieve the pain and allow you to more more at east. Pilates also helps to give you better awareness of your posture, which tends to change as your baby grows which further helps to decrease pain in your back.
Relaxation and YOU Time
Taking some time for yourself during and after your pregnancy when there are a lot of changes happening in your body and mind is very important. The way the Pilates method is built, it allows you to switch off from the day-to-day stresses and let the mind slow down while reflecting on the physiological changes in your body. Our body needs to relax in order to become more flexible and stretched.
Prepare You for Birth and Speed Up Recovery
Our body needs to move no matter if we are pregnant or not. Keeping in shape during your pregnancy will help you get back your pre-pregnancy body more easily. Pilates has been shown to aid postpartum recovery and lower rates of cesarean deliveries birth interventions, episiotomies, and preeclampsia*. With an emphasis on the abdominals, back, breathing and pelvic floor, prenatal Pilates increases body awareness and prepares you for pushing. After birth Pilates can help with recovering muscle loss in your abs and pelvic floor and strengthen the entire body. Pilates doesn't only train the core muscles, it also strengthens the upper and lower body so as your baby grows, you have the energy and strength to look after your baby and run after him or her :-) *https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness/pilates-during-pregnancy#benefits
There are more benefits I can think of when doing Pilates, but these cover the major ones. The best way to know is to check it our for yourself! Join one of my classes or a Pilates class near you, and start feeling better with your body and mind!