5 Prenatal Pilates Myths Debunked
Pilates, with herds of celebrity followers and daunting looking equipment is the source of much mythology, but don’t let misinformation stop you from hitting the mat or Reformer when you’re pregnant.
Here’s what to really expect in a Pilates workout when you are expecting.
MYTH 1: Pilates can induce a miscarriage
Babies are protected in a mother’s womb with cushioning from fluid, the uterine lining, mums’ organs and muscles, so it’s highly unlikely that a low-impact form of exercise like Pilates could cause a miscarriage. Even though society can make a pregnant woman feel quite fragile, her structural core is robust, as obviously they are built for birth. With extra strength and conditioning of the core, this will ease pain and the duration of labour. Unless your doctor has told you specifically not to exercise because of another health issue, exercising during the early stages of pregnancy is in fact, very good for you.
MYTH 2: Pregnant women shouldn’t do Pilates unless they’ve tried it before pregnancy
Pilates is easy to modify to accommodate a pregnant woman’s body. Fundamentally, a Pilates workout is about building and maintaining core strength in a safe and effective way. your instructor will guide you through the method correctly. The key is to have realistic expectations—your prenatal Pilates workout will look a bit different from a your regular practice or exercise.
MYTH 3: The only benefit of prenatal Pilates is to help mamas get back into shape after birth
Maternal exercise has been shown to positively affect the baby’s brain growth and development. Staying in shape (especially in the core, back and hips) also helps the mum maintain good posture whilst carrying the extra weight, and prepare for the actual labour and childbirth. Last but not least, exercise makes you feel better in your body and improves your mood— it is important to maintain a positive mental attitude when you are pregnant, thanks to those wild hormones that can send you up and down like a yo-yo!
MYTH 4: Pregnant women shouldn’t do any core work
Completely false! How do you think a woman pushes the baby out during childbirth? Women’s bodies are powerhouses built for birth, but childbirth still requires building up core strength, hip strength and an understanding of how to push from your abdominal muscles in order to bring the baby out naturally. It’s beneficial for prenatal women to work on stabilisation for the entire core and pelvic area as the hormone relaxin loosens up your ligaments and joints making you more prone to injury. Prenatal Pilates trained instructors will modify abdominal exercises by propping with a bolster or changing body position to support during the practice.
MYTH 5: Healthy, active mums can carry on as usual with their regular Pilates practice
Not true! As fit as you may feel you are, your Pilates workout is going to look a bit different when you are pregnant because many positions will not feel as good as you go further along in your pregnancy. Other factors to take into consideration as you adapt your practice are the dreaded water retention and surges of hormones circulating through your body. Pregnancy-related water retention works your heart more so you tire more easily, and you may find yourself needing to do more stretching in preparation of childbirth.