The popularity of certain exercise routines often rises and falls, and at their zenith many things are often claimed for them by enthusiasts or even professionals that are actually not always quite true. Or sometime may be fine for some people but not for others. Pilates is one such exercise regime that is enjoying quite a bit of popularity, but is it wise for everyone to do it?
Certainly it is said to be good for increasing your core strength, for muscle flexibility and balance. However, if you are pregnant most professionals with any sense will agree that even with this popular and gentle way of exercising certain precautions should be taken. To that end, here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when it comes to Pilates and pregnancy.
* Pregnant women should always ask their doctor or healthcare provider before undertaking any exercise regime, especially if they are not very fit to start with, or have any medical problems. If the doctor does not agree that doing Pilates will be good for you then it is important to abide by their decision. You won’t always be pregnant and can start after the baby is born. You may see other pregnant women in the Pilates group, but this does not mean that you can do it against your doctor’s wishes. Each person and pregnancy is different and you could easily have problems that the other women do not have.
* If you get the go-ahead, you need to start off by gently stretching those muscles. Happily, you will find that your body has actually become more flexible as this is a natural process in pregnancy to help a woman give birth. So you are really aiding Mother Nature in what she intends for your body at this time. Doing Pilates in pregnancy can be a good thing for many women. They will become even more limber and this can only help the birth process – and the recovery afterwards.
* Pilates exercise really focus on all the muscles that are most used during labor. The lower back, abdominals and pelvic floor muscles are all toned and strengthened through doing Pilates exercises. That is why it is considered by many to be the ideal way to exercise for many pregnant women.
* However, it is really best to get specific instruction, especially if you have not done Pilates before. Not all Pilates classes are aimed at pregnant women, so find one that is especially for women who are pregnant. This can be an actual class or a DVD or even an internet clip.
* Breathing is especially important during labor, so working on your breathing during a Pilates class can only be helpful. The correct breathing techniques can help you keep calm during labor and will also help with the labor. The breathing exercises you learn through Pilates will help your labor progress more successfully while you remain in charge and comfortable.
* However, although Pilates can certainly help you it is important not to stretch too hard. You should never stretch to the point of pain as this can really do more harm than good. Remember that your joints are loosening naturally.
* Never exercise to the point where you cannot speak in a normal tone for panting. If you pant or gasp when speaking you have become winded and this is not good for you or for your baby.
* If you have done Pilates exercises before becoming pregnant you might think that doing the same ones will be a cinch. This is not so, simply because your center of gravity will not be the same. You have more weight at the front, remember? This means that you should concentrate on exercises that require a precise balance and take care when attempting the others. In fact, it could be wise to leave them until after the baby is born.
* Remember that when you do Pilates in pregnancy you moves will not feel the same, nor will they look the same. Your body is different, so this is only to be expected and you should not worry about it. Mother Nature is taking care of your body and changing it to fit with your pregnancy. This is normal and should not cause frustration or negativity. Pregnancy is beautiful in itself; and with the help of Pilates before and after your baby’s birth you will soon return to your natural shape, even if you feel that your body is not doing exactly what you want it to just now.