When I first heard the suggestion from a fellow mum-to-be, I was a little startled. Surely exercise isn’t a good idea when you’re pregnant? But it turns out that light exercise, like Pilates, could be exactly what you need. Here’s how I started getting into Pregnancy Pilates, and how it turned out to be the best possible thing for my pregnancy.
Start by joining a studio
Going to a Pilates studio like Bend + Mend means you have all the support you need to get into the right movements. It can be tricky to try Pilates while your body is going through all of these changes, and you aren’t even familiar with it any more. That’s why I went with my friend to a Pilates session at a proper studio. They showed me everything I needed to know and helped me to be safe while practicing my movements. They also told me about some of the possible benefits that I could expect if I kept it up. My pelvic floor would be strengthened which is great for the pregnancy, and it helps you learn how to calm your focus and nerves which is great for delivery. I was sold!
Learn the ropes slowly
There’s no need to rush with Pilates. What I really loved about it was how it’s all done to your own level. You just have to put in the maximum effort you can do, and that doesn’t really change even when you get to more advanced exercises. You do the same things, but with simply more effort and strength due to the fact that you have developed your muscles. So why is this so great? Because you can take your time learning the exercises and your own routines. You don’t have to rush through it. Not having that pressure to learn quickly is a blessing when you already have so many thoughts and fears about the pregnancy running through your head.
Attend with a friend
Going with a friend definitely helped me to have fun and relax right from the start. It also meant that we could compare experiences and buddy up until we came to term! My friend had her baby first and she was happy to tell me all about how she used her Pilates training to try and breathe easier during the birth. That gave me a lot of strength when my own waters broke. If you don’t have friends who already attend, try finding a group which caters for pregnant women. This will help you to socialise and find a group who will be there with you along the way. The social benefits to Pilates are almost as good as the physical and mental ones.
Focus your exercises
There are lots of ways to stretch and strengthen every muscle in your body with Pilates. When you are pregnant, however, there are some areas you should focus on more. Your abdominals are a good start, and of course your pelvic muscles are a must. Working on your thighs with exercises like the side thigh press will also help to banish the dreaded cellulite, and will give you a bit of added strength for the delivery as well. You can also train your hips – they will need to go a lot wider than ever before during the birth, so make sure that you loosen them up and get them moving.
Childbirth was so much easier for me because of the Pregnancy Pilates journey I went on – and I’m still practicing Pilates with my friend today!