Pregnancy is a wonderful and exciting time for most women. There is a living human being growing inside the mother and the accompanying changes to the mother’s body are interesting to say the least. In order to help protect both the unborn baby and the mother, certain precautions need to be taken especially while exercising. In addition, there are many things that the mother can do in order to minimize the stress on her body during the pregnancy and maximize her rebounding effect after the pregnancy. All of this needs to be taken into careful consideration by her Pilates instructor in order to best develop a Pilates workout that addresses her changing needs. By understanding why these changes are taking place, the instructor can then tailor the exercise modifications to her specific needs at each stage in her pregnancy. This article will discuss the why behind each of the pregnancy contraindications as well as specific areas of focus for maximum benefit both during pregnancy and postpartum.
Ideally mothers would get their bodies in shape with Pilates and a nutritionally sound diet before even conceiving the baby. There is much research out there that shows dramatically that these things affect the unborn baby’s health as well as the mother’s health. However, even if the mother did not regularly exercise the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend regular exercise with their physician’s approval. This is a change from their 2002 and earlier stance that women should not start any new exercise program once pregnant. This new stance allows Pilates instructors to train already pregnant clients although is still a good idea to get clearance from the mother’s doctor first.
Pilates has drawn attention from pregnant mothers because of it’s amazing ability to be tailored to each individuals needs as well as being very gentle on the body. It is ideal for pregnancy because of it’s gentleness on the body while reducing, if not eliminating, most unwanted side effects of the pregnancy including back pain, moodiness, poor posture, loss of muscle tone, poor sleep, edema, collapsing foot arches, and more. These and many other benefits draw pregnant clients to the studio where they are trained by instructors that understand the pregnancy contraindications and can work them safely. There are several contraindications that are very significant for the pregnant client including monitored range of motion, omitted intense leg adductor work, omitted prone exercises, omitted heavy abdominal work, omitted inversion exercises, omitted jumping/high impact activities, omitted supine exercises and limited hand weight bearing exercises.