I speak to an expert to find out the benefits of pilates before, and after you have a baby…
Move over yoga. Reformer pregnancy pilates is having a bit of a moment. And I for one, am loving it. I try and go once and week and love the small class size, and the fact that I don’t have to worry about whether the positions I’m doing is okay to do for the baby. At Auckland’s Kcore Pilates studio they know it all and have me strengthening my body is the best, and safest, possible way. I asked instructor Rosa Strati what makes it such a great form of exercise pre/post pregnancy and here’s what she had to say…
1.STRENGTHENING FOR LABOUR
Pregnancy, labour and birth can be physically demanding so it’s important to stay strong throughout your pregnancy to prepare. “Pilates is a great way to prepare for this challenge,” says Rosa. “In general, pregnancy may not be the time to smash any new fitness goals or try something radically new. It is a time for supporting and celebrating the changes that happen while your body works hard to grow a whole new human! Women often comment that their upper body gets stronger throughout their pregnancy as we work to prepare them for all the holding and lifting they will do when baby arrives.”
2. REDUCE ANY ACHES AND PAINS
With your body undergoing so many changes throughout pregnancy it’s normal to get a few niggly aches and pains. While massage, can help alleviate the issue, pilates will strengthen and stretch the body in all the right places. And in effect, should help to reduce any aches that might pop up. And the proof? “We have a lot of mums doing pilates with us for the first time through a second or third pregnancy and they often comment on how much better their bodies (especially areas such as lower backs) feel this time around, comparatively,” says Rosa.
3. BOOST YOUR ENERGY LEVELS: Pilates works to improve circulation and like any exercise will boost your energy levels, preparing you for labour. “Plus, exercise releases those great endorphins we all love! Happy mama=happy baby!” she says.
4. FUTURE-PROOF YOUR BODY: Pilates is well known for its benefits which include improving core strength, muscle tone, flexibility, balance and posture. But it can also prepare you mentally for childbirth. “Labour can be a long and physical process. Maintaining your fitness leading up to birth means your body may have more stamina through these challenges and you are able to spend more time focusing on other helpful things such as breath.”