Antenatal Pilates

Pilates is a non-impact form of exercise which has become known for its beneficial effects on the spine and joints, helping to address back problems primarily through the strengthening of our core abdominal muscles. The role of these muscles is to stabilise our pelvis and lower spine, and when they are working correctly lower back pain is much less likely to occur.

Pilates is perfect during pregnancy, as the core abdominal muscles support the growing bump and help prevent the back from being pulled into a deep arch – which can lead to lower back ache. The pelvic floor muscles are also part of the ‘core’, and these are the muscles that are not only used to push the baby out during labour, but are also used as something of a trampoline by the baby whilst you are pregnant! It’s therefore important to keep them strong and supple.

As well as preventing back or joint problems, Pilates during pregnancy can provide you with an enjoyable and varied workout which will also focus on arms, shoulders, legs, bottom and thighs. Exercises are performed standing, sitting, on all fours and lying down (unless you are in your third trimester).

At Core Pilates class sizes are kept small – with a maximum of 6 in the antenatal classes. Any injuries or conditions are taken into account, and private sessions are recommended before joining a class so that any conditions can be discussed in confidence, your posture can be checked and you can be taught how to stabilise correctly.

The antenatal classes focus on exercises which: tone the abdominals and teach you to find your ‘neutral’ spine alignment (the healthiest position for the spine); stretch the lower back; strengthen the upper back, which is often pulled into a more rounded shape as your body changes; strengthen the gluteal muscles which help support the pelvis; stretch the calves, thighs and hamstrings; relax the shoulders; and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, teaching you also how to ‘let go’ of these muscles, ready for the birth. All exercises are performed with a focus on breathing, which brings relaxation.

In summary, Pilates during pregnancy will:

  • Support your lower back – and your bump!
  • Strengthen the abdominal and pelvic floor muscles
  • Improve your posture
  • Help with relaxation and breathing
  • Help to regain a flatter tummy after giving birth