Exercising during your pregnancy is mainly about preparing your body for childbirth, maintaining strength and increasing your body awareness and posture.
Pilates exercises during your pregnancy can help with your labour and help to speed up your postnatal recovery.
The Prenatal Pilatesclasses focuses on your core stability and posture, with particular attention paid to your pelvic floor muscles (see below).
These classes are suitable from week 12 week to due date. No previous experience of Pilates is needed. It is advisable to check with your doctor as to the suitability of Pilates for you during pregnancy.
It is also advisable to work gently and at the level that is right for you. This may change daily and as your pregnancy progresses. Stop and rest when needed. Focus on quality of movement rather than quantity of repetitions.
I am qualified in prenatal exercise with NTC. Each class is designed to help maintain fitness, strength and mobility. Each week you'll get a handout covering what we did in class - you may find it useful if you wanted to practice between classes.
Note: Some health insurers allow for prenatal classes under their insurance policies, worth checking with your insurer to see if you are covered.
You may feel an added flexibility and suppleness during pregnancy – this is due to the presence of a hormone called relaxin. This softens the ligaments (which join bone to bone) and can cause the joints to become slightly unstable. Be very aware of your alignment when exercising and take care not to over extend yourself.
This helps to support the abdominal organs and the growing uterus during pregnancy, and will stretch to assist with the birth. Exercising your pelvic floor muscles will increase your ability to activate and control them – this will help you relax them during labour, facilitating childbirth. To engage your pelvic floor, imagine that you are bursting and about to wet yourself – pull in the muscles needed to stop this happening – on a scale of 1 to 10, hold them at level 3. In your third trimester, learning how to relax the pelvic floor as well as to contract it will be useful. To do this practice moving from engagement at level 3 to complete disengagement at level 0.