Most low impact types of exercise are great and perfectly safe for you and your baby during pregnancy. When experimenting with different types, look for those that:
- Gently elevate your heart rate
- Keep you supple
- Help to prepare your muscles for labour and birth
- Won't require you to push your body too hard
- Help you to manage weight gain
- Won’t make you overheat
- You enjoy!
Pregnancy yoga and pilates are great for strengthening and toning your body and muscles. However, it’s important to learn from and be guided by a registered, qualified teacher who specialises in teaching pregnant women.
What is pilates?
Pilates is based on very similar principles to yoga. It is a low impact exercise that trains your body to be strong and supportive. Through a series of targeted movements and positions, pilates will improve your core strength, flexibility and muscle strength – all great areas to work on while you are pregnant.
It is also very useful for improving muscle tone. If you have back pain or any other bone or muscle related discomfort, pilates can really help to ease these types of pregnancy symptoms.
Where can I go to do pregnancy pilates?
Pilates classes are mostly run in private studios or gyms, often by physiotherapists, who have specialised training in how the body works. Always make sure to let the class instructor know that you are pregnant and how far along you are in your pregnancy. Attending a specialised pregnancy pilates class is a great idea if a local studio offers one. Pregnancy pilates classes can be a great way to meet other mums to be.
If you can’t get to a pilates class or there isn’t a studio close to you, consider investing in a pregnancy pilates DVD. You can easily follow a DVD and reap all the benefits from your living room.
Benefits of pregnancy pilates
Pregnancy pilates can offer you a number of physical and mental benefits. It is a gentle, low impact exercise that:
- Is unlikely to cause any trauma
- Helps you maintain and improve your pelvic floor muscles
- Tones and conditions your core muscles
- Helps to improve your posture
- Reduces your risk of muscle strain injuries
- Helps you to prepare for labour, specifically through the focused breathing techniques
- Improves your overall body strength and awareness
- Helps to reduce your stress and anxiety levels, which is good for your unborn baby
- Promotes increased oxygenation to your baby
What to be careful of in pregnancy pilates
Some pilates equipment may be unsafe to use during pregnancy as it can cause you to overstretch. Some of the positions, especially those lying on your stomach, your back, or balancing on one leg, are not suitable for mid-pregnancy and beyond. There is a potential for muscle strain and injury.
If the class you attend isn’t a specialised pregnancy pilates class, ask your instructor to design a workout for you which has been modified for pregnancy.
Some pregnant women experience urinary leakage during exercise. Speak with your maternity care provider if this is a problem for you. It might be necessary for you to modify the range of exercise you’re doing.
Try pregnancy pilates
It’s a great idea to at least give a pregnancy pilates session a go. If you’ve never considered this as an exercise alternative before, now is the time. Both pilates and yoga are ideal for pregnant women and can help you to be the healthiest, happiest and strongest version of yourself during your pregnancy.
Remember to have fun and if you don’t see or feel results in the first few weeks, don’t give up.
Have more questions on pregnancy? Join a support group (if you have not done so!). Motherhood represents a completely new phase in your life, so you want to find a community of new mothers who can journey together with you. Pregnancy tips, parenting tips, free diaper samples and exclusive diaper offers shared on the Huggies Club platform can ensure you are best prepared for your newborn child too.
Last Published* August, 2023
*Please note that the published date may not be the same as the date that the content was created and that information above may have changed since.