Pilates During Pregnancy and Beyond – Your Questions Answered

Pregnant Woman doing Pilates on the Caddillac
by Jo Behrens With love in the air, the new year’s hangover and more time on our hands, many couples are knowingly, or unknowingly about to start a family. If you’re pregnant, there are many ways you can support your journey through Pilates.   The Studio HQ has helped hundreds of women keep fit throughout their pregnancy and beyond. Here are the answers to 9 of the most common questions we get asked by new and expecting mums on a daily basis.   
  1. Is it safe to exercise during pregnancy?

Yes, in most cases it is safe to exercise during pregnancy. As per the Australian Physical Activity Guidelines, pregnant women without contraindications should aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise, or a combination of both per week. No research to date has identified a ‘safe’ upper-limit to exercise intensity.  However, The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (RANZCOG) recommend that women should be advised that there is no evidence that regular exercise during an uncomplicated pregnancy is detrimental to the woman or fetus. For further advice from RANZCOG check out their recommendations here.  
  1. Are there any benefits to exercising while pregnant?

Regular exercise has many benefits for healthy women such as maintaining physical fitness, preventing weight gain and releasing feel-good endorphins to help reduce symptoms of depression. If you’re contraindication free, it’s ideal to stay working in your regular routine. 
Pregnant woman doing yoga
Regular gentle exercise such as Yoga and Pilates has many benefits during pregnancy.
  1. Is Pilates considered a safe form of exercise for pregnant women? 

Yes, but not necessarily beyond 60 mins due to thermoregulation controlling body temperature and avoiding overheating) and previous or current levels of fitness of the woman. For previously inactive women or those who are overweight – shorter periods may be necessary to start with before building up to a 30-minute session for example. 
  1. How long into my pregnancy can I do Pilates? 

You can safely do Pilates or any regular exercise right through the third trimester. Often fatigue and thermoregulation slow things down later in the pregnancy when you get tired and movements become a lot more laboured. There are some specific exercises that can assist and others to avoid, which is why it’s important to have a tailored programme and session coordinated by a trained and qualified professional. 
Pregnant Women Doing Pilates on the Reformer
Pilates is considered a safe form of exercise during pregnancy, especially under the guidance of a trained and qualified professional.
  1. Do I need to drink more water? I’m feeling more dehydrated when I exercise than normal. 

Yes. Dehydration is more common during pregnancy as the body requires additional water. Pregnancy places intense demands on the body, and other factors such as morning sickness can also lead to increased risk of dehydration. When exercising it’s important to drink more water than you might normally, even if it’s the same regular exercise routine. So make sure you fill your water bottle up and keep it handy while you’re working out.  
  1. How much focus do I need to place on pelvic floor exercises? 

Everybody is different so we recommend checking in with a pelvic health physiotherapist, like Jaclyn Thurley from The Pelvic Studio, to ascertain early on in pregnancy if you’re activating your pelvic floor, or more commonly you have an overactive pelvic floor. This can help determine the degree in which to focus on pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy and beyond. 
Private Pilates during Pregnancy at the Studio Hobart
Private Pilates sessions during pregnancy ensure the workout is tailored to your personal needs.
  1. How soon after birth can I get back to the Studio? 

Once you’ve seen your obstetrician and have medical clearance to return to exercise (usually at the 6-week check post-birth) you can return to The Studio. More commonly the 8 week mark is when most women return to regular exercise. The Studio runs Mums & Bubs Mat Pilates classes to specifically target lower abdominals, pelvic floor activation, pelvic stability as well as stretches to open up through the upper body and counteract the strain of feeding and carrying baby. As a bonus, you can bring your bub! It’s a gentle way to get back to routine in a safe and nurturing environment. Everybody is different, and if you are contraindication free and have medical clearance it’s what we recommend before entering back into general group class environments.    
  1. What can I do if I’ve had diastasis recti or abdominal separation – can I still exercise? 

Yes, you can still come back and exercise as per your obstetrician’s recommendations. There are specific deep abdominal strengthening exercises that can assist and build strength and support. We always work with health professional recommendations – such as physiotherapists or obstetricians, and can tailor a Private workout to address separation or work in a more general sense in our Mums & Bubs group Mat Pilates class. 
Mother and Child Doing Pilates
Mums and Bubs Pilates is a great way to ease back into exercise after pregnancy and meet other new mums.
  1. I don’t really want to leave the house, is it really true exercise creates endorphins and can actually help make me feel good again? 

Yes, it’s important to make time for yourself and provide an opportunity to move your body and create those feel-good endorphins for your own health as well as that of your baby. Mums and Bubs Pilates is a perfect way to connect with mums who may be experiencing the same feelings and to work out in a safe and nurturing environment.    The Studio can help you through your pregnancy journey from conception, to prenatal Pilates, delivery and a faster recovery with postnatal Pilates. Add on Mums and Bubs classes for when you’re ready to get back to it after your six-week check.  

Want to know more about Pilates during pregnancy?

Book a free consult with one of our Diploma qualified instructors to discuss your unique needs and let us help you keep moving during your pregnancy and beyond!

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