Pilates to stay fit during pregnancy

by:  Bonnie Paine

Ah pregnancy, all the weird and wonderful things it does to your body. All things considered, I actually loved being pregnant and I found it relatively easy. I didn’t experience nausea, swelling, bloating, skin breakouts, food aversions, sore boobs etc. Don’t get me wrong, it was hard at times- especially the emotional rollercoaster I took a ride on every now and again. Oh, and the reflux… The old wives’ tale is true! I had a baby with a full head of hair. And I did suffer with lower back and pelvic pain. I was 7 weeks along when I started experiencing sharp pains in my sacroiliac joint (the small joint where your pelvis and sacrum meet). Ughhh it was agonising. I went to a physiotherapist and he told me that it had nothing to do with the pregnancy as my “centre of gravity would not yet be impacted” because the baby was only the size of a blueberry. Which turned out to be bull…. Well, untrue. The problem persisted and I was becoming more and more irritated. I decided to see a pregnancy specific physiotherapist. She informed me that, in fact, it was the pregnancy hormone (Relaxin) causing my ligaments to loosen in preparation for childbirth, therefore, causing the joint to inflame and move abnormally. It was nice to finally label the cause of the discomfort. Once I chose to tell people I was pregnant and through talking with friends and acquaintances who had, unexpectedly to me, experienced the similar issues, it became apparent how common musculoskeletal pain is during pregnancy Thankfully, I was able to aid the pain by using heat packs, taking Panadol, performing less physical activity, such as vacuuming (her words not mine, sorry Tim). It wasn’t enough to eradicate the problem but it sure helped. Tip: save yourself $179.95 and don’t bother buying the SRC Pregnancy Shorts. (In my opinion) they’re uncomfortable and the “gentle compression” doesn’t “promote pelvic stability”. Pop on an old pair of Spanx instead.
One of my biggest concerns was the potential of having to give up my beloved Pilates. I’m not a gym-goer or a runner, I rely on Pilates for my sanity, strength and exercise.
I hadn’t realised there were restrictions in physical activity (including Pilates) while being pregnant, yep, I was naïve. But the girls at The Studio were so helpful, understanding and informative. They tailored each class to suit my needs from the beginning, ensuring I wasn’t going to do any damage. I can’t say I felt as though I was missing out by not participating in those ab workouts! Luckily, I was able to continue Pilates right up until 31 weeks. And I possibly could’ve kept going, however, a pre-baby trip to Bali got in the way of that. I ended up having my labour induced at 38 weeks due to the ongoing discomfort. Funnily enough, the blasted pain (in my back) went away almost instantly after giving birth… (I won’t go into the other sorts of post-labour pains I was experiencing at this point), and we got to meet our healthy baby girl, Milla, a few weeks earlier than expected. Being the impatient person that I am, it was win-win situation. Relaxin stays in your body until up to four months after you finish breast feeding. So, for now I continue to be cautious when exercising and my husband continues to be the primary vacuum cleaner in our house (really trying to drag that out for as long as possible, obviously).

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