Why Pilates Is A Safe & Fun Exercise Option During Pregnancy

There are a number of benefits associated with exercise during and after pregnancy. Today’s article discusses these benefits and why Clinical Pilates is a safe and fun option.

Why exercise?

Recent Sports Medicine Australian Guidelines highlighted the importance of being active while pregnant. Being physically active during pregnancy has a number of benefits. These include:

  • Improved muscular strength and endurance.
  • Improved cardiovascular and physical fitness.
  • Decreased risk of pregnancy related complications, such as pregnancy induced hypertension and gestational diabetes.
  • Reduced back pain.
  • Reduced pelvic pain.
  • Reduced fatigue, stress, anxiety and depression.
  • Assisting with the prevention of excessive weight gain.
  • Decreased delivery complications.
  • Prevention and management of incontinence.
  • Significantly reduced labour times.
  • Reduced risk of pre-term labour.
  • Faster postnatal recovery.

Who can exercise?

If you were physically active before falling pregnant you can continue to exercise safely (unless your doctor says otherwise), but if you have any concerns it‘s important you consult your GP first. If you didn’t exercise before, the current recommendation is that you can begin doing so as long as you are healthy.

It is not recommended that you try a new type of exercise during the first trimester. Once you’re into the second trimester however, it is usually safe to start a new mode of exercise following advice from a health professional.

Trained health professionals can give advice on the type of exercise that is best, both during your pregnancy and after your baby is born. As your baby grows throughout the pregnancy they can also modify exercises for you. So once you have discussed exercising with your doctor, come see a Physiotherapist or Exercise Physiologist to help get you started!

Considerations and contraindications:

Things to consider if you are planning on exercising while pregnant:

  • If you weren’t active prior to your pregnancy, and you’re starting a new exercise, it is recommenced you check with you GP and/or midwife first.
  • Check in with your GP if you have previously experienced any of the following:
    • Previous premature birth.
    • Mild/moderate cardiovascular or respiratory disorder.
    • Twin pregnancy after 28
    • BMI > 30.
    • Intrauterine growth restriction during current pregnancy.

What is recommended?

Sports Medicine Australia recommends that previously inactive women should participate in low intensity exercise, and work towards achieving 150 minutes (accumulative) per week. Low intensity exercise includes walking, swimming and gentle, health professional guided exercise. For women who exercised leading up to their pregnancy, moderate intensity exercise is appropriate. Walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, resistance training, hydrotherapy, pelvic floor exercises and pregnancy-specific guided classes are recommended.

Postpartum it is important you check with your GP that you are safe to start exercising again. This is generally around the six week mark. A gradual return to activity is recommended.

Please check with your GP or midwife at your next appointment that you are safe to commence exercising.

Clinical Pilates:

Did you know that, for most women, Pilates is a safe way to exercise during the Ante/Post Natal period? During the antenatal/postnatal period a number of musculoskeletal issues can occur, and Pilates is one way to prevent these. For most it is an enjoyable way to exercise, that is also safe for the baby.

The benefits of Clinical Pilates during and after pregnancy include:

  • Prevention/treatment of pelvic pain.
  • Prevention/treatment of low back pain.
  • Improved pelvic stability.
  • Improved posture.
  • Increase movement efficiency.
  • Maintenance of flexibility.
  • Relaxation.
  • Preparation for labour.
  • Improve pelvic floor awareness.

And most importantly it is fun!

If you are interested in Clinical Pilates, Physiotas runs classes at our Devonport, Ulverstone and Shearwater clinics. If you call the clinic closest to you we can book you an initial assessment with one of our Physiotherapists.

About the Author:

Renae is a Physiotherapist at Physiotas.

Renae is a Physiotherapist and Clinical Pilates Instructor who works at our Devonport and Ulverstone clinics, and who has additional training in antenatal/postnatal Pilates. You can contact Renae at either location for more information on how Clinical Pilates can benefit you.