Pilates for Pregnancy: Top 9 Exercises to Start Now

Many women firmly believe that the best form of exercise during and after pregnancy is pilates. Pilates for pregnancy is a great way to build core strength, which not only prevents backaches and keeps your posture straight, but is also very helpful during labor and delivery. Discuss with your instructor if a prenatal class is available, or inform them about the pregnancy so they can tailor your workout accordingly. Also remember to get clearance from your doctor before you start.

Pilates for pregnancy

Is It Safe to Do Pilates During Pregnancy?

If you get an all clear from your doctor, pilates is the most suitable form of low impact workout which can be followed throughout the pregnancy. Pilates is basically a series of repeated controlled movements, and you can modify these according to your tolerance. The whole routine improves breathing, flexibility, posture and also provides strength to the abdominal and pelvic floor muscles.

How to Do Pilates During Pregnancy

1. Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercise

Pelvic floorIt is absolutely essential to have strong pelvic floor muscles to avoid any complications during and after delivery. You can do these exercises anywhere, any time. To start, just think that you are stopping yourself from passing urine and wind. You will soon recognize which muscles to squeeze. Squeeze them and hold for ten seconds and keep on breathing normally. You can repeat it for ten to fifteen times.

2. Deep Tummy Strengthening

Deep Tummy strengthningThis is one of the best moves of pilates for pregnancy. Just lie down on your side and bend your knees slightly. Take a deep breath, and when you slowly breathe out, try to lower your tummy towards your spine. You can do the pelvic floor exercise simultaneously, hold on for ten seconds and relax. This can be repeated for ten to fifteen times.

3. Pelivic Tilts

Pelvic tiltThese can do wonders for your lower back and pelvis. To do it correctly, lie down on your back with your knees bent and place a comfortable pillow under your head and shoulders. Breathe in and slowly breathe out, while you are breathing out, press your lower back down using your abdominal muscles. While doing so gently tilt your pelvis upwards. Hold for five to ten seconds then repeat again.

4. The Cat Stretch

This extremely effective stretch will strengthen your back muscles. You need to go on all fours, keep your hands beneath the shoulders and your knees beneath the hips. Relax your abdominal muscles and gently breathe in. While you breathe out, slowly arch your back upwards like a cat and bend your head down. Take another breath and gently come back to the starting position. It can be repeated five to ten times.

5. Upper Back Stretch

This stretch is another great exercise of pilates for pregnancy. To start you need to sit and cross your legs, then place your hands behind your head and gently breathe in. While you breathe out, extend your back and look towards the ceiling while drawing in your tummy. Take another breath, squeeze your shoulders, and gently resume the starting position. Repeat it ten times.

6. The Sword

It is very good to improve your balance and strengthen your back and legs. Stand with your feet apart and turned outwards. Keep your knees bend and move the right hand towards the left knee and keep watching it, then sweep it upwards to your right, imagine that you are taking a sword out of its cover and keep looking at your hand. Repeat with the left hand.

7. Thigh Stretch

Thigh StretchPlace a towel or mat under your knees while you kneel with a straight back and keep the feet apart. Lean back while you take a breath and squeeze your butt muscles, raise your arms till they are parallel to the floor with palms facing down. While breathing out, bring your arms down and resume the upright starting position.

8. Wag the Tail

Wag the tailFor increased flexibility and stability of back and abdominal muscles you can perform it. To start, get on all fours, suck in the tummy, lift one knee and make circular moves with it. Repeat three or four times and then switch to the other knee.

9. Sword Arm

You have to kneel with the left knee and the same hand on the floor. Keep the right leg extended, with the right foot and hand on the floor. Now breathe in move the right hand upwards while watching it. Breathe out and bring it back, keep watching it. Repeat the same with the left hand.

Precautions for Doing Pilates During Pregnancy

You had better discuss with your doctor before starting Pilates for pregnancy. Choose an experienced trainer who knows how to adapt the moves for your specific needs. Do keep these things in mind.

  • Avoid any exercise which involves lying flat after first trimester. This can put pressure on your blood vessels and can lead to a decreased blood supply to the heart which is harmful for the baby and you.
  • Beyond the first trimester, try not to curl forward because this posture may seperate your abdominal muscles.
  • Keep yourself well hydrated and avoid doing any exercise in hot and humid conditions.
  • Pregnancy can make you fatigued. Do not exhaust yourself and stop before you feel too tired.
  • Immediately stop if you feel uncomfortable or have any pain.
  • Do not do any exercise which requires you to lie back and lift both legs up. It can do more harm than good. You can lift them alternatively.
  • Pregnancy makes your joints lax. They become more flexible and unstable. Avoid over stretching them and be careful about the posture. Always keep the correct alignment for every exercise.
  • With a growing tummy, it is hard to keep the balance. Try to be extra careful if you are using a balance ball.
  • Never exercise on an empty stomach or immediately after having a meal. There must be 1-2 hours' gap between the meal and the exercise.
  •  To reduce discomfort during the exercise, wear loose and comfortable clothes.