Some women really suffer with their backs in pregnancy, especially in the later months, and so being a mum of two I am so happy Pilates is something I love but also needed during both of my pregnancies.
What happens during pregnancy?
As you would expect, there are postural changes that happen. As your baby grows, lower backs can become more arched with the weight of the baby, which puts pressure on our low back and also puts our hamstrings under constant tension and hip flexors at the front of our body are also affected and feel more tight than normal.
Ligaments attach bone to bone and their role is to help keep our joints together and functioning well. When Pregnant, hormones such as relaxin cause the pelvic ligaments to loosen to allow the pelvis to open slightly when you give birth. Sometimes the Pelvis loosens and our ligaments become more loose and less able to hold our bones in place as our body is getting ready to give birth.
This is why ladies can suffer with SPD (Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction) The symphysis Pubis is the bone at the front of the pelvis held together with Ligaments. There are other fixed joints at each side of the bottom of the spine (Sacro iliac joints) forming the heart shaped pelvic bones. The symph and also sacrum function very closely together which is why if you have sacro iliac joint pain you may want to also look at the pubis as well.
So hormones and the ligaments create natural changes during pregnancy in preparation for birth but can also create discomfort and pain if not managed correctly. The good news is we can manage this with Chiropractic/Physio/Osteo care coupled with pregnancy pilates.
During Pregnancy we also get changes in blood pressure, tiredness, cramping in our muscles as the baby is getting everything they need from us. Hence, if we don’t eat properly, rest and drink plenty of water, we feel the consequences of this. I certainly have.
Take good care of you
The good news though is by eating well and drinking plenty of water, taking the supplements needed and resting where you can and listening to your body, after that first trimester, being pregnant can feel, and be a really lovely experience. I totally appreciate that getting rest is not always easy, I found it hard working as a Pilates teacher and personal trainer with my schedule with my first baby. I could rest when I had a chance between clients, which was a salvation. For the second baby it was much harder!
I am sure many of you have the same experience. However to help me, I got regular massages during pregnancy as I found my hips always felt achey with the amount of walking I did with the pram to clients and classes. I booked facials that involved massages, as if you can’t pamper yourself when pregnant when can you? especially when you know what lies ahead with the sleepless nights. The happy hormones and getting out every day got me through, but that’s another blog post 😉
Pregnancy Pilates Classes can help you in many ways during your Pregnancy:
Mobilising your back with the exercises we provide that are specific to pregnancy and safe, is one way pilates will help ease and prevent back pain. We use many positions such as side lying, 4point kneeling & standing to do the exercises safely.
Pelvic Stability is essential in helping prevent Symph pubis pain and also pelvic girdle pain. Also, in helping reduce the chances of sacro–iliac dysfunction that can happen during Pregnancy. The more stable we are by strengthening our muscles around the hips and pelvic area the more supported and in line our joints can stay. It’s when due to loose ligaments that our alignment can be affected, inflammation can occur, and in this instance help of a professional Chiropractor/ Osteopath/physio is recommended. Pilates will help you in conjunction with the medical practitioners. Its always helpful mentally as well to have exercises you can use that relieves pain or simply helps you feel and stay strong. We do exercises for Stability side lying as we cannot lie on our backs during pregnancy from 16 weeks and also obviously we will not lie on our fronts. If you have any SPD I recommend doing exercises on both feet if standing. Keep legs together if doing any lift and lower of legs. Avoid any exercises such as lunges if you have SPD as you don’t want to put weight with legs separated causing bad alignment or pulling or burning in the pelvis. Generally we know straight away if we have this condition and simply stop any movements that might make it worse, as suggested above.
It is really important to strengthen your glutes and legs anyway to prevent back pain but especially during pregnancy. We do work on squats to strengthen the legs and glutes as well as side lying exercises. It is totally fine to do lunges if you do not have SPD. Ladies always love doing the leg work as it is the one area they can feel they are working hard on and also keeping fit and healthy. We also need to strengthen our upper backs for posture and obliques and shoulder stability muscles. All these will help with reducing back pain, and staying strong fit and healthy during pregnancy.
Relaxation and Breathing:
It is relaxing when doing Pilates as you focus on your whole body. Your posture alignment co ordination and you have to concentration. You can’t think of anything else during the class so ladies feel very relaxed after class with improved awareness of their posture. This can only help us support our backs and pelvis during pregnancy. We also do birth preparation breathing and pelvic floor release work so you are fully ready for your birth and have some tools to use to help you stay calm in your mind and relaxed in your body, as this is what we need during labour.
This is just going over a few areas of how Pilates can help but I am happy to chat to you just pick up the phone! During our pregnancy pilates classes you will feel strong healthy and also hopefully reduce any possible back and pelvic pain. Please come & join us.
Ladies join our classes any time from 12 weeks into their pregnancy. But of course we always advise you check with your Dr first to make sure that you are safe to exercise.
Please see below a few daily exercises to do during pregnancy