So you’re pregnant. Yay! Congratulations. How are you feeling?
Nauseous? Overwhelmed? Excited? Relieved?
It’s a time of your life when there are so many expectations on you and of how it will feel to be pregnant but when it actually happens, and your body is invaded by a beautiful, yet essentially parasitic baby who is draining all your resources, it can leave you feeling, well, confused.
This is where someone like me steps in. A fitness professional with a passion for all things women’s health, which basically means I care about you being as comfortable and happy as possible during your pregnancy. I also care about ensuring your experience of labour and birth is the best it can be for you and perhaps most importantly, I care about you, as a woman, recovering after birth and getting back to being you!
Yes, ostensibly I’m a Pilates teacher, but given my experience of now 100’s of different pregnancies (I hasten to add just one of my own but 100’s of women I’ve seen through classes and one to one training), my second and third jobs of health writer and mummy, and my growing networks of fellow health professionals I can call on for advice, I like to think of myself as a one stop shop.
So, back to Pilates, if you’ve never done it before you might be puzzled as to why it’s so damned good for those in the pudding club.
Here are just a few reasons based on my experience and the experiences of my beautiful bumps and ladies!
MAKING YOU MORE COMFORTABLE DURING PREGNANCY
- Pilates is a gentle, mat based class (although can be adapted to use swiss balls etc), and as such is very controlled form of exercise. Perfect for mums-to-be who want to do something positive for their bodies, without risk of injury.
- When you’re in a class, you’re not exercising alone, so if anything does happen, there are experts on hand to support you.
- Pilates specifically focuses on muscles in the trunk and pelvic floor, which can all help mum’s body to support a growing baby.
- During classes we focus on exercises to relieve common aches and pains, like back ache or pelvic pain. Many women, after trying a class, find the relief so great that they sign up for two a week!
LABOUR AND BIRTH
- Pilates focuses on breathing and relaxation, some of the techniques we use can be used during labour to help you relax, thereby enabling you to cope with pain better (or just take in gas and air without feeling sick)!
- We incorporate exercises that encourage optimal baby positioning for birth and you can do these at home too. We’ve had quite a few stubborn breach babies go head down after class!
- We also do gentle pelvis mobility exercises which are essential for easing baby’s head out of that very small space!
- A strong and healthy pelvic floor is better equipped to both stretch and push during birth. In my classes we don’t just squeeze, we all understand how to train and engage our pelvic floor muscles. Did you know they go virtually all the way up to your cervix!
POST NATAL RECOVERY
- Whilst Pilates won’t strip belly fat, healthy abdominal muscles do make your waist appear smaller. I’ve lost count of the number of women who have received compliments after doing Pilates because they appear slimmer, even when they’ve not lost any weight!
- Getting your abdominals and pelvic floor strong again post delivery will ensure you can go back to all your favourite activities without fear of incontinence or prolapse and without risking distended abdominals.
So what would you do in my ante natal Pilates classes? Here’s my take on things: Pilates for Pregnancy