Yes – as a matter-of-fact it is one of the best forms of exercise you can do when pregnant. A Pilates program tailored to pregnant women targets the very muscles that are problem areas when pregnant, namely pelvic floor, back and stomach.
Having a strong pelvic floor helps support your bowels, bladder and uterus (and the growing baby in it). This helps reduce urine leakage many women experience when pregnant, especially in the last trimester.
By strengthening your upper and lower back muscles through Pilates, you can reduce back pain. With a growing amount of weight positioned in front, this can put an enormous amount of strain on the lower back.
Because pregnancy makes your tissues and ligaments more pliable, it is easier to suffer an injury. Strong stomach muscles helps contain and restrict the baby from shifting around as much when you move. It is this shifting of weight that can throw you off balance and end up with an injury (or worse yet, injuring your baby).
Strengthen these muscles, and not only will you have a good stable core to support your growing baby, but also improved posture, balance and strength for yourself.
A couple of added benefits of doing Pilates while pregnant are:
- It also helps you relax and control your breathing which will help you with labor.
- Because you are on your hands and knees for many of the movements, Pilates can help position the baby correctly for birth when nearing the end of your pregnancy.
When choosing a Pilates studio, be sure to ask if they have experience with pregnant women. Many studios have programs and certified instructors trained to help this very special group of women.
As far as when to start a Pilates program, you should be doing it now before you get pregnant as part of your regular exercise program. Then once you find out you are pregnant, switch over to a program for pregnant mothers.
The reason is if you have strong core muscles before getting pregnant, you'll have an easier time of maintaining these muscles once pregnant and an easier pregnancy all around. Starting a Pilates after getting pregnant is still beneficial; It's just it will take a little longer to get your muscles in shape than if you had been doing Pilates before getting pregnant.
Before starting any exercise program, be sure to check with your medical provider to ensure you are healthy enough. This is especially important if you are already pregnant and want to start doing Pilates.