Pilates and Pregnancy Part One
Preparing for Pregnancy
There are three stages to pregnancy; your First, Second and Third Trimesters. In the same way, I believe there are also three key stages to exercising for the mother to be. Stage 1 is preparing for pregnancy, Stage 2 is during pregnancy and Stage 3 is post pregnancy, after the baby is born. And so to help out mums-to-be, I've written a series of three blogs, in which I will be outlining the key things to think about in each stage.
I have often been approached by new clients who have just found out they are pregnant and decide that this is the time they want to get fit. Now I totally get it, getting pregnant brings a new awareness of your physical health, as well as an added motivation with a due date on the horizon - but here’s the thing; if a woman has been inactive physically prior to pregnancy, this is not the time to start any sort of dynamic exercise regime. If you are already pregnant, you need to take care of yourself and be mindful of your limitations - check out the next blog post - Pilates and Pregnancy Part Two!
What I would recommend to every woman considering having a baby is to ideally start that new exercise routine now, before you plan on getting pregnant.
Pregnancy is both a major physical and emotional event in your life, probably the biggest, and life changes permanently after childbirth. Pregnancy itself is a marathon with many stages, and it puts your body through a lot. Think about it this way, imagine you have just volunteered to run a marathon, would you really turn up on the day having done no training or preparation whatsoever? And then expect to run 26 miles in terrible weather, with the wrong clothing, no chance of a rest and get over the finish line in one piece? Of course not! You’d prepare because you’re smart, you know you have a tough challenge ahead and you want to be as ready as you can be!
So how do you prepare? To begin with, the standard advice is to start eating the right foods, read up on pregnancy and childbirth, cut down on alcohol, stop smoking if you do smoke, and - this is where I can help - begin a regular exercise routine to get your fitness to its peak before you conceive.
Getting yourself fit before conceiving is of great benefit as your body will be better able to cope with all the demands pregnancy makes on you physically, as well as emotionally. Pilates is an ideal exercise to take up in preparation for pregnancy and beyond. It teaches you teaches mind/body awareness, deep breathing and how to engage the core muscles (including the pelvic floor) which become very important in supporting baby, and your back as baby grows. Pilates is low impact on the joints - making it very safe.
Before pregnancy, Pilates can be practiced in a challenging and dynamic form to get fitness levels up, as well as strengthening the key areas: back, abdominals, shoulders, hips, legs and arms. Learning the technique without the pressure of time means that when you do fall pregnant, you will have all the confidence and control of your body to adapt to the changes you need to make - in both your exercise routine and lifestyle - to accommodate your changing condition. So my key point here is prepare, prepare, prepare! Do so now and you will reap the benefits later.
Check back tomorrow to find out more about Pilates during Pregnancy!