prenatal Pilates classes

Pregnancy Pilates increases core strength, prepares muscles for labor and helps you recover faster postpartum. It also strengthens the pelvic floor muscles, which are key to preventing postural changes and a weakening of the vaginal walls that can lead to back pain, urinary incontinence and low pelvic pain.

It is safe to continue with regular exercise throughout most of the first trimester, but it’s a good idea to find a Pilates instructor who specializes in prenatal classes. They can educate you on the modifications that are necessary to make in the first trimester and throughout all three trimesters of pregnancy, such as avoiding forward-flexion exercises (think crunches) that can cause diastasis recti, as well as use support props to ensure you don’t overstretch or overexert yourself.

In Prenatal Pilates East Sheen, instructors focus on increasing the strength of the transverse abdominis — the deep layer that corsets the waist. This is in contrast to “regular” Pilates, which tends to focus on strengthening the rectus abdominis — the muscle that’s more commonly associated with six-pack abs. This heightened attention to the corset of the core is especially important because it will help prevent the weakening of the abs that can be a side effect of pregnancy, and which can lead to low back pain, as well as the weakness in the core that can result in postural misalignment and abdominal pain.

How often should one attend prenatal Pilates classes?

During the second trimester, it’s still safe to continue with regular classes, but you should limit your exercises that require lying on your back to avoid pressure on the uterus and restricting blood flow to the baby. It’s also a good time to add more flexion to your workouts, such as the 4 point kneeling and seated spine stretch, to avoid stress on your lower back and encourage a greater range of motion in the hips.

Once you enter your third trimester, the extra weight of your baby starts to put pressure on the diaphragm, which can interfere with breathing. Pilates style breathing, which utilizes the intercostal muscles that line the ribcage, can help you breathe with this added pressure on your lungs.

After delivery, it’s a good idea to stick with your regular class routine for awhile, while you give your body time to recover from the intense workout of pregnancy and delivery. It’s also a great way to meet other moms and connect with other women going through the same experiences you are!

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