What is the difference between Pilates and Pregnancy Pilates?
All Pilates focus on the whole body with a great emphasis the core muscles. Most pilates classes work on strengthening and toning the whole body, and most people attend pilates with the intention of a physical workout that helps tone and strengthen the whole body.
During a regular pilates class you will usually work up a sweat, feel the muscles burning and general muscle pain and the muscles may be sore the next day.
Whereas pregnancy pilates classes focus on strengthening muscles that may be weakened during pregnancy such as neck, arms shoulders, upper back, pelvic floor and lower abdominal muscles (tranverse abdominus) and work towards stretching muscles that may be too tight and causing pain.
Pregnancy pilates switches the focus to the pelvic floor and lower abdominals rather than a physical workout.
During pregnancy pilates we want to reduce postural changes and problems that develop during pregnancy.
All movements are slow and controlled with an emphasis placed more on technique, correct posture, and correct activation of all the stabilising muscles.
Pregnancy Pilates helps to reduce pain as much as possible compared to a physical workout.
A strong pelvic floor makes birthing harder, is this true?
There is a common misconception that strong pelvic floor muscles make birthing more difficult – this is not the case.
Pelvic floor muscles surround our internal organs in the pelvic region such as our bladder, bowel and uterus. If we keep these muscles strong this can often reduce the chances of prolapse, incontinence and pain. You may have heard of pelvic floor muscle training, especially after birth, but if we keep the pelvic floor muscles strong and understand how to correctly activate these muscles throughout pregnancy this can help reduce problem during and after birth.
Your pilates instructor should be able to guide you on how to correctly activate your pelvic floor.
Why am I more flexible during pregnancy?
Pregnant woman produce in greater amounts a hormone called relaxin. It is released throughout pregnancy and assists by helping mothers’ muscles, joints, and ligament to relax and stretch creating room for baby to grow. This increase in relaxin hormone can lead to pain as ligaments and joints usual position may change. The hormone is concentrated around the pelvis region too. So that is a reason why you may notice you may be a bit more flexible and or sore in certain muscles or joints.
My 5 top tips you can do daily to help reduce pain associated with pregnancy.
1. Activate your pelvic floor, especially when lifting things and during exercises.
2. Relax your shoulders, bring shoulders down and away from your ears and draw your shoulder blades together on your back.
3. Get up and move often. Keep your body moving at least once every hour such as light stretching or a walk.
4. Keep the spine long, bring the chin slightly towards chest and keep spine straight when in a sitting and standing position.
5. Stretch daily (your pilates instructor can assist you by showing you appropriate stretches to do during pregnancy).
WATCH: For a better understanding of how pilates can assist you in your pregnancy and after birth, have a listen to my Facebook live with @beingbetterbalanced