How prenatal pilates can benefit mums-to-be

Here's why prenatal pilates is about more than just exercising.

Fitness classes for expecting mums can be a wonderful social experience – as well as giving you a safe and supportive way to help keep your body strong and healthy. To find out more about prenatal pilates classes, we headed down to Melbourne’s One Hot Yoga and Pilates.

Eliza Miller, instructor at One Hot Yoga and Pilates

What do you enjoy about instructing prenatal pilates classes? 

Exercising when pregnant doesn’t have to be just about the exercise. I enjoy getting to know each of the mums-to-be during this exciting yet hesitant time. We are often some of the first to know they are expecting and it can be quite a nervous and apprehensive period between finding out and telling the rest of the world. I like being part of this safe, nurturing and caring environment.

What considerations do you need to make, compared to regular classes?

Participating in exercise while pregnant – in the absence of medical or obstetric complications and in a correct, safe and supportive environment – is perfectly acceptable for pregnant women. Pregnant women are encouraged to accumulate 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity exercise on most, if not all, days of the week.

There are several considerations that must be taken into account when a pregnant woman decides to participate in one of our pilates classes. As an instructor, it is my role to ensure the room is set at an appropriate temperature and is not too warm, as this may increase the risk of fainting or collapsing during the class. I always encourage lots of drink breaks between exercises and remind participants to take a break if they need one.

“Exercising when pregnant doesn’t have to be just about the exercise. I enjoy getting to know each of the mums-to-be during this exciting yet hesitant time.”

If my clients have not participated in much exercise prior to becoming pregnant, I recommend attending our slower mat class for at least three weeks prior to joining reformer classes, and to gain medical clearance and discuss their plans with their OB/GYN.

In reformer classes, clients are on a reduced spring load with the focus on performing each exercise with correct form and technique, building to high repetition over a heavier load.

After the first trimester, unless medical clearance has been given, classes are programmed to avoid excessive time on the back. Exercises where there is a high risk of falling or losing one’s balance on the reformer are never included in prenatal classes.

Each class also starts and finishes with a slightly longer warm up and cool down, ensuring muscles are ready for exercises and heart rates have returned to resting prior to finishing.

Annie Clark, student at One Hot Yoga and Pilates

Why did you decide to try prenatal pilates?

I wanted to get involved in an active routine that would help strengthen me throughout my pregnancy, without being high impact on my body.

I knew about the strain pregnancy puts on your pelvic floor and wanted to get in a good physical routine of activating these muscles to help me through my pregnancy and after childbirth.

Choosing the right location for me was extremely important as I wanted instructors with a great knowledge of the human body and how to get the best benefits through exercise. During my two-week trial I found every instructor was able to adjust my technique to target areas better, push me when I needed to progress exercises and adapt them when I needed alterations.

“Regularly attending the classes, I feel a significant change in my posture and strength, and of course that positive feeling you get from having a good workout.”

Had you participated in pilates previously?

My background is as a physiotherapist and I completed my clinical pilates training a few years ago, then started to incorporate it into my treatment plans for clients. I love that it is easy to target specific muscles while activating your core through pilates.

How has it made a difference to how you feel?

Regularly attending the classes, I feel a significant change in my posture and strength, and of course that positive feeling you get from having a good workout.

I have noticed that I have been getting puffed a lot quicker than I did a month ago as my body and hormones are changing all the time. I like the fact that my instructors are always helpful and they know me, so I can rest and take it easy when my body needs to.

Beyond the exercise, what other benefits have the classes given you?

It has been a fantastic environment for me to meet other mums-to-be who are at different stages in their pregnancies. Seeing some of the other women at later stages feeling fit is awesome encouragement for me as I want to be as active as I can throughout my pregnancy.

To find out more about One Hot Yoga and Pilates’ prenatal memberships, head to onehotyoga.com.au 

Learn more about healthy pregnancy.

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