If you are pregnant, there are so many changes that happen to your body that may seem completely out of your control. Whether it’s strange food cravings, weight gain, hormonal fluctuations, or any other new experience, your excitement at the arrival of your new child may often mix with feelings of confusion, and even helplessness, as you navigate the many months leading up to birth.

However, there is one thing that doesn’t have to be out of your control: your physical fitness. It’s true! Even though pregnancy may limit what you can do, there are still many ways for an L.A. mother-to-be to stay healthy and fit in preparation for the big day. One of the best ways to maintain good health during pregnancy is to incorporate Pilates into your regular routine.

The following information will discuss how Pilates can help expecting mothers in both pre- and post-pregnancy. First, though, let’s list some important factors to keep in mind about exercising during this time period.

Factors to Keep in Mind

Before you begin a Pilates regimen, it’s vital to review the following considerations:

  • What should my limits of exertion be? If you were a health fanatic before you became pregnant, then you may be tempted to “push yourself” as hard as you can during workout sessions. However, pregnancy is not the time to overdo it. You need to set reasonable boundaries for yourself before you even think of getting on that Pilates mat.
  • Could any of these exercises create an impact on my belly? It’s vital that you avoid any exercises that have the potential to inflict prenatal damage on your child. These would definitely include exercises where forceful impact on the belly (whether deliberately or by accident) is a possibility.
  • Would these exercises cause me to overextend any of my joints? During pregnancy, your body produces hormones to loosen your joints in preparation for birth. Since these joints are not as rigid and strong during pregnancy, the risk of injury from over-extension becomes that much higher.
  • Has my doctor given me the go-ahead? Always, always consult with your doctor or medical provider before beginning your Pilates regimen. Your doctor will likely be able to provide you with practical guidance specific to your current health status and stage of pregnancy.

And besides all of these above-mentioned factors, don’t forget to hydrate plentifully and regularly as you are working out!

Benefits of Pilates During Pregnancy

Women around the world have found that there are several wonderful health benefits that come from using Pilates during pregnancy. In fact, Pilates methods have actually helped many women prepare for a smoother prenatal period and an easier delivery.

Some of the pregnancy-related benefits associated with Pilates exercises include:

  • Increased core strength to support the extra weight of the pregnancy. Pilates exercises are “core-centric,” and are therefore an excellent way to bolster support for your back, hips, and spine as you gain weight during the pregnancy.
  • Enhanced posture. As your belly grows, it is all too easy for your back, neck, spine and shoulders to shift out of alignment, resulting in poor posture and back pain. A Pilates regimen can help you to build strong back muscles, which in turn will help you to keep a proper posture and reduce or eliminate back pain. It can also help your shoulders to stay in their proper position, instead of developing a more stressful, “rounded” attitude.
  • Strong pelvic muscles. The pelvic floor is a collection of interconnected tissues and muscles that support the perineum and pelvis. During labor, strong pelvic floor muscles are able to contract and release on demand, thus easing the delivery process. Pilates can help to ensure that these pelvic floor muscles are in peak condition both during and after pregnancy.
  • Healthy feet. Fallen arches can be one potential side effect of pregnancy. Pilates exercises are unique in their focus on building strength in the foot and ankle muscles, and can prove to be very helpful in preventing this troubling symptom of carrying around additional weight for so many months.
  • Enhanced circulation. Pilates exercises also bolster circulation throughout the body, which is especially important during pregnancy, since your heart is pumping a volume of blood sufficient to keep two persons alive.

Benefits of Pilates After Pregnancy

After you’ve experienced the joy of welcoming your newborn into the world, sooner or later you’ll need to focus on your own body again in order to stay healthy, and give your best as a mother. Pilates is a great fit for after-pregnancy fitness as well, for the following reasons:

  • Pilates helps draw your abdominals back together. After months of being stretched further and further apart, Pilates exercises can help your abdominal muscles to progressively return to their normal strength.
  • Pilates assists in pelvic support. During pregnancy, hormones activated your pelvis so that it would stretch and relax on demand. Pilates will help your hip muscles to give enhanced support to your pelvis going forward.
  • Pilates builds strength in your upper back and chest. After you’ve delivered your child, you’ll still to need to use your muscles to carry your baby. You’ll likely have to nurse your baby as well. Pilates can help prevent you from getting tired and falling prey to poor posture.
  • Pilates promotes core strength in the right way. The Pilates approach to strength-building for the abs, back, and hips focuses on slow, yet precise improvements, which is perfect for after-pregnancy training.

The Premier Pilates Studio in L.A.

If you are looking for a Pilates studio in Westwood that caters to pregnant women, then look no further than Sheppard Method Pilates. Our instructors provide a personalized evaluation for each new student, and will work with you to ensure that your workout routine is safe and comfortable for you. We offer both group classes as well as private/semi-private Pilates instruction.

We are the premier Pilates studio in L.A., and want to help you stay healthy throughout your pregnancy, and afterward. If you’d like to learn more about how Pilates can help expecting mothers, reach out to us at Sheppard Method Pilates today.