By Amber Greviskes
From Jennifer Aniston to Cameron Diaz, celebrities credit Pilates — which increases strength, flexibility, posture, and mental awareness — with their svelte figures; but Pilates can be a wonderful way to prepare for birth.
“When you're pregnant, it's vital to stimulate your circulation daily because the body is busy growing the placenta, providing nutrients to the baby, and experiencing hormonal changes,” said Alisa Wyatt, founder of Pilatesology who is based in Los Angeles. “A Pilates workout is one of the best ways to get that full body circulation going, particularly around your vital organs where you need it most.”
We asked experts, who are certified to teach pre- and post-natal Pilates, to provide additional insights for why Pilates may be one of the best forms of exercises for pregnant women.
- Works your pelvic floor muscles. The biggest benefit of pre-natal Pilates is that you work the deepest core and pelvic floor muscles that support your baby. This is incredibly important for preventing back pain and sciatica while also helping with a quicker delivery, said Lauren Maniscalco, owner of Coastal Body Studio in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. Forces you to focus on the mind-body connection. You need to focus on the details like breathing and proper positioning to properly execute each Pilates exercise otherwise they won’t work. “This attention to detail will also help during the delivery process and allows you and your medical team to have more enhanced communication to assist in the delivery,” Maniscalco said.
- Helps you recover more quickly. Many clients report that after birth, they’re able to recover more quickly because of their Pilates practice. It’s easier for them to pick up the baby, they're not as fatigued, and hormonal shifts don't throw them off emotionally, said Jennifer McCamish, the owner of Dancers Shape in Austin. They can also fit into their clothes again more quickly.
- Keeps your weight in check. If your pre-pregnancy weight was in the healthy range for your height, you should gain between 25 and 35 pounds in pregnancy. Women who gain too little weight are more likely to have a baby with a low birth weight. Those who gain too much are likely to have a large baby or premature baby. Moms are also likely to have health conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure, which can cause problems during pregnancy.
Remember that your physician should approve your Pilates routine and other exercises before you begin. You should also choose a pre- and post-natal certified Pilates professional who has experience working with pregnant clients.
- Alisa Wyatt via Shannah Henderson
- Jennifer McCamish via Meghan Athnos
- Lauren Maniscalco, Owner, Coastal Body Studio