What is the pilates method?
The Pilates method is a type of exercise that aims to strengthen the body, especially the core muscles. It can be performed by both beginners and experts, and is suitable for all ages.
Like yoga, Pilates consists of a series of movements and positions, but its focus is on the core, including the abdominal, back and pelvic floor muscles.
How can Pilates help you during pregnancy?
Strengthening your pelvic floor and core is often recommended during pregnancy. A stronger stomach can relieve back pain as the baby grows, and stronger pelvic muscles can reduce your chances of experiencing urinary incontinence after pregnancy.
Better core strengthening can also improve your balance, which can be affected as your belly grows.
Finally, the Pilates method involves the practice of controlled breathing techniques, which are important during childbirth.
Pilates during pregnancy strengthens the pelvic floor muscles.
How can I prepare for Pilates?
It is important to find the right Pilates instructor, as well as making sure you are physically prepared.
Finding the right instructor
There is no legal requirement to register as a Pilates teacher, so be sure to check the instructor’s experience. Some will have completed a level 3 qualification in Mat or mat pilates.
As well as having a qualified instructor, it is important to attend a class that is right for you. Most Pilates classes are likely to go too fast, so look specifically for prenatal Pilates classes. If you cannot find these types of classes, it is good to ask the pilates instructor if it is possible to adapt these types of exercises.
You can prepare for Pilates by doing pelvic floor exercises on your own. You can strengthen your stomach by resting on your hands and knees, with your hands behind your shoulders and your knees behind your hips. Then, contract your stomach and lift your back towards the ceiling, doing the posture about 10 times. Slowly return to your original position and repeat the exercise 10 times.
Alternatives to the Pilates method
There are many types of exercises that are beneficial during pregnancy. The key is not to do exercises that may be too strenuous, or that are too advanced for what you are used to. Appropriate exercises are swimming, yoga, walking or running. Exercises to avoid are those with a risk of falling, such as horseback riding, ice hockey or skiing.