It’s a common question that I get almost weekly- “Is Pilates beneficial when you are pregnant?” Or, I often hear “Can I do Pilates when I am pregnant.” Having never been pregnant myself I reached out to some amazing instructors who have been pregnant and all did Pilates during their pregnancies.
There are some great benefits to continuing your Pilates practice when you are pregnant as long as you can. Your practice will continue to change as your body changes during your pregnancy. But, it’s not recommended that you begin a Pilates practice when you are pregnant. So, yes, always consult your doctor before doing Pilates while pregnant. But, if you have never done Pilates and you are pregnant it’s recommended you wait until after your baby is born.
When you are pregnant it is ok to continue to do what you were already doing prior to the pregnancy. To maintain strength and stamina. But, it’s not the best time to add anything new to your workout regimen.
And now for the advice of some incredible instructors who all did Pilates while pregnant:
“I’ve been a Pilates teacher and physical therapist for 18 years and have seen countless women during their pregnancies. I can tell you from a clinical perspective and from the research that exercise is extremely important during pregnancy. It has been shown to help with mental and physical health, as well as the ability to lose weight after giving birth. With specific guidance and permission from the woman’s doctor, exercise can be extremely beneficial during pregnancy!
That is my experience as a teacher and PT. Having two babies myself and doing Pilates throughout both pregnancies, I can say without a doubt that my Pilates practice helped in ways I never could have predicted.
Pilates helped me to stabilize my extremely dysfunctional SI joints during my second pregnancy. It allowed me to stretch in ways that didn’t irritate loose muscles and joints. It taught me correct breathing patterns, which I used through a combined 60 hours of labor. It allowed me to stay in touch with my body, which was changing literally before my eyes during my pregnancies!
More than anything, it gave me a place to connect to my body and the life growing inside of me. It made me focus only on myself, my mat and the miracle happening in my body. Pregnancy can be a confusing and crazy time, and having the few moments a week to connect to the present and to myself through Pilates was a true gift.”
Addendum – As always, check with your doctor before doing any kind of exercise during pregnancy!
Jessica Valant of Jessica Valant Pilates
“I went through nine months of pregnancy with NO back pain. Although I had a very long labor experience, I had a lot of strength to go through it, and enough strength to push my baby out without any interference. Natural birth rocks”
“Doing Pilates during pregnancy is a gift you give yourself. With each workout, you’re given a time and place to appreciate your body, what it’s doing for you, and who is growing inside of it. Pilates provides a space of breath, intention and mind-body connection, which is an important place to visit when preparing for childbirth and motherhood.
When pregnant, your body needs to move differently to accommodate the needs of your growing baby. For this reason, you may move more slowly, perhaps with less control and precision than usual. You may find yourself needing some assistance with certain positions, which is where the pilates equipment is extremely beneficial. The pilates apparatus makes certain movements accessible to the body that would otherwise be inaccessible. This is the case for many special populations and pregnant women are no exception. In addition to helping you to get in and out of the proper position safely, the equipment provides resistance to work with which is helpful as you’re getting used to moving around in your ever-changing body.
Lastly, Pilates during pregnancy will help to keep your body strong and flexible so that after you deliver your baby, you are able to recover more quickly and do all the mom duties without throwing your back out! Personally, the most beneficial part of prenatal pilates has been the benefits it gave me in the days and weeks after delivering. I had to have a c-section because my baby girl was breech, and having that foundation core strength as well as upper and low body strength really helped in my post-op recovery. I am sure that without the Pilates work I had completed, I would have had a much longer, more difficult recovery.”
The truth is Pregnancy is a truly special time in every woman’s life and every single pregnancy is unique. I have had clients who have been able to do things in one pregnancy that she could not do in her second one. If you have already been doing Pilates you will be able to feel the differences in your body and your instructor and you can make adjustments as it’s time.
Pilates like any workout can be a great thing to do to maintain the strength you have as you go through the beautiful changes during your pregnancy. If you are not doing Pilates yet and thinking you will want to when you become pregnant then head on over to your local studio and begin training now!