Lately I’ve been receiving lots of emails asking if it’s okay to do Pilates during pregnancy. Personally, I don’t have a lot of direct experience with Pilates, but based on my research and my personal training background, here’s my opinion:
For the most part, I’d say yes it is okay, but you must modify your workout so that you do not harm either you or your baby.
My best advice for you is to find a “Pilates for Pregnant Women” class. If that’s not possible, make sure that your instructor is trained in pregnancy so he/she can show you how to modify your workout. What to be cautious of …
In general, you want to:
1. Be careful with the abdominal work! Too much can strain your abdominal muscles and you don’t want any abdominal splitting!
Overworking your abdominals can also cause back pain, especially if you’re not doing it the right way so make sure everything is supervised. I’d be very cautious here!
2. Avoid lying on your back as much as possible especially if it makes you feel dizzy. This will compromise oxygen to your baby.
3. Make sure you always have something close by to grab on to if you need support. During pregnancy, your balance and coordination are compromised, so unless you feel really comfortable, avoid any unsupported exercises.
4. Avoid any inverted exercises where your hips are higher than your chest, this will cause too much blood to rush to your head.
5. Avoid going up on your tiptoes, this may cause cramping in your calves (something that is very painful during pregnancy—trust me, I had a couple of those excruciating leg cramps!)
What I like about Pilates is:
- It’s controlled
- It’s supervised
- You can modify your moves
- It builds core strength
- It’s slow (so you can really listen to your body)
- It teaches excellent breathing and concentration
- It encourages excellent body awareness (very important for easy labor)
- It’s social—you get to talk to other (pregnant) women.
So have fun doing Pilates, find a prenatal class, and make sure you listen to your body at all times—it’s always your best guide. And of course, make sure you get your doctor’s okay before you begin!