Pregnant lady performing a Pilates movement | Featured image for 6 Benefits of pre-natal Pilates.

During pregnancy, you are experiencing a lot of changes in your body, for example, an increase in weight, an increase in size of breast, uterine and abdominal tissue, ligament laxity due to an increased production level of the hormone relaxin. These factors can increase the mechanical load and stress to your lower back and your pelvis; therefore lower back pain, sacroiliac joint pain and pelvic pain are fairly common throughout pregnancy. The best way to address this is to perform exercises that are individualised to suit your pain and condition along with the treatment provided by your physiotherapist.

Pilates is one of the most favourable exercise modalities throughout pregnancy as it has many benefits not only limited to reducing pain and strengthening muscles, but it can also assist in weight maintenance and breathing pattern. More importantly, it is effective in minimizing future episodes of back and/or hip pain.

Is Pilates safe during pregnancy? The answer is Yes.

Your physiotherapist at Refine will conduct a thorough assessment prior to pre-natal Pilates training and then design the best exercising plan for you! You will receive guidance and attention throughout each 1 on 1 Pilates session.

Here are the 6 main benefits of pre-natal Pilates

1. Reduced back pain and hip pain & Gain a better posture

  • As mentioned above, it is common for pregnant women to experience one of or a combination of lower back pain, sacroiliac joint pain and hip pain as a result of increased mechanical stress and more flexible joints caused by increase production of relaxin (a hormone).
  • Pilates is an effective way to help you strengthen your back muscles, deep abdominal muscles, pelvic floor muscles as well as your gluteus muscle groups.
  • In addition, Pilates can help you get a better awareness of your posture and develop an appropriate motor control pattern through movement. 

2. Strengthen your back, abdominal and buttock muscles

  • Strengthening your back, abdominal and buttock muscles can improve the stability and support to the back and pelvis, improved strength of these muscles can help you to minimise the episodes of excruciating lower back and/or pelvic pain during pre-natal stage.
  • In later stage, after you give birth, strength built in these muscles can help you again preventing lower pain or pelvic pain, especially when you are going to be frequently lifting, bending over and breastfeeding your baby.

3. Improve your breathing

  • Breathing pattern and techniques are a big focus during Pilates sessions.  While exercising, you will be advised to breathe into the sides of your ribcage instead of breathing into your stomach. This can encourage the  full use of your ribcage and intercostal muscles while letting your abdominal muscles focusing on its role – stabilizing your lower back.

4. Strengthen your pelvic floor

  • Your pelvic floor muscles are the support for your lower abdominal muscles and they are responsible for controlling your bladder and bowel. Pilates exercises can help strength these muscles as they can get weaken as they stretch in size in order to support the weight of the growing baby. Strengthening these muscles can help with particularly reducing incontinence (rushing to toilet) during pre-natal and post-partum stage.

5. Maintain weight

  • Pilates is a healthy and effective way to help expectant mothers to control weight gain during pregnancy, and to help maintain weight within the recommended weight range. Being overweight during pregnancy can increase risk of gestational diabetes, which can possibly lead to a more difficult delivery and some affect both your and baby’s health.

6. Speed up your post-partum recovery

  • Keeping yourself in a good shape and having appropriate muscle strength during the pre-natal period can assist you in getting back to your pre-pregnancy body as soon as possible after your delivery.