Pregnancy and Exercise
There’s no doubt that giving birth is hard work (huge understatement, right!). So ensuring you have at least a moderate level of fitness is going to serve you well when it’s time to push.
The biggest challenge you will face when looking for an exercise class now you’re pregnant (or planning), is finding one that will accommodate your changing needs. It’s important that you’re challenged but more importantly, that you and your baby are safe. It’s essential your instructor can adequately guide you during your pregnancy, so you feel confident you’re in good hands.
Exercise during pregnancy will take on a new meaning for you too. It’s less about staying in shape and more about preparation for the future stages of your pregnancy, giving birth and also life after the delivery. It’s quite a lot to consider from one exercise class!
Some consideration include:
- How best to support your changing posture
- What exercises you need to adapt or exclude altogether?
- The risks and how best to manage them?
- Avoiding loading of joints as you grow
- Avoiding over-exertion
- Growing with your baby, making room
- The benefits of circulation and relaxation
- Adjusting to your ever changing energy level
It’s generally accepted that exercise is safe during your pregnancy, however this article is not intended as medical guidance. Therefore you should seek advice and clearance from your specialist prior to starting any new exercise regime. Even if you’ve done Pilates before, a specialist will ensure your particular circumstances are considered.
There is now evidence emerging that pelvic floor disorders can be reduced with the ‘training’ of the pelvic floor muscles prior to giving birth. This is related to the reduction in labour itself due to better control over breathing and muscle relaxation. With such a strong focus on the core muscles and breathing technique, Pilates is a clear choice for pregnancy. Pilates is often described as ‘mindful movement’ because unlike other forms of fast-paced exercise that are more cardio-based, for example, the majority of the Pilates repertoire involves slow and deliberate movements. Perfect, as this is exactly what you need at this time.
Before Pregnancy & Giving Birth
Why not start early? We suggest you dive into Pilates with us well before you even look to fall pregnant. The benefits are just as clear at this stage as they are once you conceive. You will have already reached a good fitness level and muscle strength, whilst helping manage your pre-pregnancy weight and taking control of your breathing.
There is a long list of reasons why we suggest Pilates during your pregnancy. Beyond all the clear physical benefits, one that should not be overlooked is the importance of relaxation. Take the time to develop a deeper sense of connection with your changing body and growing baby. It’s easy to distracted with life, even when you’re expecting, so now more than ever we encourage you to make time for yourself.
Of particular importance is the art of breathing, ensuring you are (quite literally) getting the most out of every breath. Efficiency is the key here, it’s important to learn about good breathing technique that will ensure good blood oxygenation. Equally as important, is how to get all the breathing associated muscles working for you for the big push!
Simply staying active during your pregnancy is hugely beneficial. One of the most challenging aspects of pregnancy is riding the waves of anxiety you will likely experience. It can be a bumpy ride, and the natural boost you will receive from your Pilates class, not to mention the sense of connectedness you will experience from a class of other mums-to-be, will be invaluable.
Your class will help strengthening your shoulders and thoracic spine for carrying your baby around but also for when your posture changes with breastfeeding/ bottle feeding your baby. Your lumbar spine will need the support during pregnancy for that growing belly as you become less reliant on your abdominal muscles. This will also help avoid any sciatica pain and pelvic discomfort throughout and after your pregnancy. Glute strengthening is the super important here to help keep your hips strong but supple at the same time.
After Giving Birth
Now that you have your amazing new baby, you’ll certainly have your hands full. But the hard work doesn’t stop now, you’re going to need strong muscles (especially those in your core) to handle your new baby, muscles which will need some re-conditioning. NOTE: It’s essential to gain clearance from your specialist again at this stage to ensure you’re ready to start exercising again. Timing will vary depending on your particular birth. Anyone who experienced complications is encouraged to see a specialists in maternity recovery.
Our Pregnancy Classes
At Reform Studios we now offer pregnancy specific classes in our clinical space (max 6). Here, you can either enrol directly or via our studio’s very own Exercise Physiologist. Enrolling directly would be best suited to those who’s baby is not their first, and anyone with no complications. We would, however, encourage all pregnancy classes participants to first see our Exercise Physiologist as this allows you to not only claim your classes on your Private Health Insurance, but you will then receive a tailored Exercise Plan for your class. With a maximum of just 6 in your class, you will have all the attention you need from your class instructor, who will be our Exercise Physiologist.
If you would like know more about our clinical services, or pregnancy specific classes, please get in touch, we would love to hear from you!