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...Pilates for Pregnancy…
Women are generally encouraged to continue exercising at a mild to moderate level during their pregnancy, as long as it is uncomplicated. Using Pilates as system of exercise during pregnancy is very useful in helping to maintain your strength, flexibility, tone and improve upon your posture. However, like other special health conditions, exercise should be with the permission, and if necessary the special instructions of your physician.
Pregnancy changes your physiological response to exercise. The exercise program will need to be constantly modified to allow for the mother’s hormonal and body changes, and maximum safety to the mother and fetus.
Whilst there is no evidence that exercise during pregnancy can result in an easier or shorter labour, there are definite advantages to exercising during pregnancy such as:
- Less maternal weight gain
- Reduced backaches, constipation, bloating and swelling
- Increases your energy
- Promotes muscle tone, strength and endurance
- Can improve sleep patterns
- Improves posture
- Increased fitness may help you to cope with labour
- Improved body awareness can promote natural birth
- Helpful in recovery post-birth
- Relaxation and breathing control
…changes in your body…
Pregnancy causes many changes in your body. Some of these changes will affect your ability to exercise. Areas that need particular care are the joints, balance/stability, and your heart rate.
The hormones produced during pregnancy cause the ligaments that support your joints to become relaxed. This makes the joints more mobile and more at risk of injury. Avoid jerky, bouncy, or high-impact motions that can increase your risk of injury.
Remember that during pregnancy you are carrying extra weight—as much as 12-15 kilos at the end of pregnancy. The extra weight in the front of your body shifts your center of gravity and places stress on joints and muscles, especially those in the pelvis and lower back. This can make you less stable, cause back pain, and make you more likely to lose your balance and fall, especially in later pregnancy.
The extra weight you are carrying will make your body work harder than before you were pregnant. Exercise increases the flow of oxygen and blood to the muscles being worked and away from other parts of your body. So, it's important not to overdo it.
Try to exercise moderately so you don't get tired quickly. If you are able to talk normally while exercising, your heart rate is at an acceptable level.
Pregnancy is not the time to begin a new exercise program, other than mild and basic exercises. If, however, you are fit and healthy, with no health problems, and have a medical clearance, we are happy to assess you for your suitability to take classes. You are the best person to judge what is helpful to your body, and what is not.
Before beginning your exercise program, talk with your Midwife or Specialist to make sure you do not have any obstetric or health condition that would limit your activity. Your Lead Maternity Carer (LMC) can offer advice about what type of exercise routine is best for you. If they have questions about Pilates please have them contact the studio. Clients with no pre-natal care will not be accepted for Pilates during pregnancy.
When you exercise, follow these general guidelines for a safe and healthy exercise
- Avoid brisk exercise in hot, humid weather or when you have a fever;
- Wear comfortable clothing that will help you to remain cool;
- Wear a bra that fits well and gives lots of support to help protect your breasts;
- Drink plenty of water to help keep you from overheating and dehydrating;
- Make sure you consume the daily extra calories you need during pregnancy.
While you exercise, pay attention to your body. Do not exercise to the point that you are exhausted. Be aware of the warning signs (below) that you may be overdoing it. If you notice any of these symptoms, stop exercising and call your LMC.
Stop exercising and call your doctor if you get any of these symptoms:
Headache, Dizziness or feeling faint
Increased shortness of breath
Calf pain or swelling
Decreased fetal movement
Fluid leaking from the vagina
If you are fit and healthy you are the best person to judge what is helpful to your body, and what is not.
- We ask that you advise us immediately if any position or exercise makes you uncomfortable. Only you can tell what is comfortable for your body. For example, some people are very comfortable lying on their back, but for others this can be uncomfortable. If it feels uncomfortable, don’t do it!
- If you feel sore or uncomfortable after any session, please ensure you tell your instructor so we can work out the best exercise prescription for you.
- We recommend that you bring a water bottle and a light snack along to your session.
There are some situations where Pilates may not be suitable for you and your baby during this important time. In these cases, we look forward to perhaps being able to work with you on a post-natal basis.
Movementor Pilates reserves the right to recommend the appropriate class for you, also to refuse admittance to mat classes. For some pregnant woman, there will become a time later in your pregnancy when mat classes will not be suitable for your body.
Women with one of the following conditions will probably be advised by their LMC not to exercise during pregnancy: Risk factors for preterm labor, Vaginal bleeding, Premature rupture of membranes, History of three or more spontaneous miscarriages, Severe hypertension, Pulmonary embolism or Thrombophlebitis, Women under High Risk Pregnancy team.
…after the baby is born…
Having a baby and taking care of a newborn is hard work. It will take a while to regain your strength after the strain of pregnancy and childbirth. Taking care of yourself physically and allowing your body time to recover is important.
Postpartum women can usually resume exercising 4-6 weeks after delivery. Light exercise should not increase bleeding. If in doubt, obtain a medical clearance.
If you had a cesarean delivery, difficult childbirth, or complications, your recovery time may be longer. Check with your LMC before starting or resuming an exercise program.
Lactating women should pay special attention to adequate fluid and caloric intake and wear a well fitting, supportive bra when exercising. Intensity of exercise should remain low to prevent accumulation of lactic acid in the milk and mastitis from overtiredness.
Walking is a good way to get back into exercising. Brisk walks several times a week will prepare you for more strenuous exercise when you feel up to it. Walking has the added advantage of getting both you and the baby out of the house for exercise and fresh air.
We recommend that, if possible, you do not bring your newborn to any private Pilates sessions, this will allow you a little time out and space to concentrate on your body.