Can you do Pilates when you are pregnant? As an active mom of two young boys who also happens to be a Pilates instructor I can tell you with absolute certainty that you can and should do Pilates while you are pregnant.***  

I’m going to let you in on a little secret….I didn’t do Pilates with my first pregnancy.  I didn’t do anything, to be honest.  I was very active before I got pregnant.  I was trail running 12-15 miles a week and doing Pilates 2+ times a week.  I was so scared that I would do something to harm my baby that I basically found out I was pregnant; sat my butt on the couch and proceeded to watch hours of TLC, Food Network and HGTV for nine months.  Guess what else?  I felt horrible! 

With my second pregnancy, I knew more about my body and how amazing it adapts to change during pregnancy.  I not only did Pilates 3+ days a week but I was walking (didn’t love running while pregnant…there wasn’t a supportive enough sports bra available on the market) and chasing after a very active 4-year-old.  And guess what? I felt great right up until the end.  I literally was shagging tennis balls for my son and husband the day I gave birth.  

I tell you all this not to pat myself on the back but to show you that I have experienced pregnancy both with and without Pilates and can tell you absolutely that Pilates makes pregnancy better.  

I believe in Prenatal Pilates so much that I became a Pre and Post-natal Pilates Specialist from The Center for Women’s Fitness.  Pregnancy can be such an exciting time, but it also can be overwhelming and a little scary.  My pre-natal Pilates program priorities the safety and wellbeing of the pregnant woman first and foremost.  Because every woman is different and every pregnancy is different, I will design a program that is uniquely suited to your particular needs and goals. 

This program will change and adapt throughout your pregnancy, but the overarching theme will focus on maintaining and even increasing strength (that tiny baby weighs a lot more than you think) and stamina; posture and ease of movement; as well as relaxation and release work.  

The ultimate goal is a safe and as painless as possible (I can do a lot of things, but sorry labor and delivery are no joke there is going to be some pain) pregnancy and delivery.       

A well rounded pre-natal Pilates session will focus on:

Breathing and release techniques: breathing and relaxation are so important during pregnancy and delivery.  They help you to manage stress and also pain. 

Preventing and Easing Pain: hormonal changes, weight gain, and joint instability can cause a lot of pain and discomfort during pregnancy.  Pre-natal Pilates works to both strengthen and release your muscles to minimize discomfort and overcome pain.  

Posture: as your baby grows, the change in your center of gravity causes your pelvis to rotate forward creating an exaggerated curve in your low back. This change in the curvature of the spine also causes the upper back to rotate forward.  All of these changes while normal and necessary can cause considerable pain and discomfort.  We will work on supporting these changes with strength and mobility exercises to better manage pain and discomfort.        

Upper body strength: carrying a baby (and all the paraphernalia) not to mention feeding and regular care of an infant can put a lot of stress on the upper body which can lead to pain and poor posture.  I love to focus on upper body strengthening in the prenatal period to develop greater muscle endurance and strength need in the post-natal period.

If you a pregnant woman in the Springfield, Virginia or greater Northern Virginia area Contact me today to schedule your first pre-natal Pilates session so I can help you through one of the most exciting times of your life.

Check back next week when I will talk about the essentials of an excellent post-natal Pilates program and how Pilates can help you regain your strength and endurance safely and effectively…..

***No two pregnancies are the same.  While Pilates is safe and effective for most pregnant women, it is essential to talk with your doctor before starting any exercise program to ensure that the circumstances of your pregnancy do not warrant greater caution.