Pregnancy brings many changes to women’s bodies and raises the question, “Do I need to alter my exercise routine”? Well, there are definitely concerns to take into account when exercising while pregnant and a good fitness program can actually enhance quality of life during pregnancy and help you birth more easily. Here are some modifications you should consider making to your pre-natal workout.
Power of Low-impact Cardio Exercise
To stem blood loss during the birthing process a woman’s body prepares by increasing blood clotting capabilities of the cardio vascular system. As a result blood volume increases by as much as 50% and the mother’s heart can even become enlarged. So, while mothers-to-be should continue heart-healthy exercise as part of any pre-natal fitness program, weight gain dictates low-impact cardio exercises to avoid joint injuries. We recommend putting your running shoes aside and switching to Pilates for a total body workout, and also walking, once the snow melts of course! You’ll protect your heart and keep your body injury free in the process.
Carrying the baby, as well as holding the child and producing milk after the birth, takes its toll on good posture. In addition, ligament laxity, beginning some time around the second trimester, increases joint mobility causing muscles to tighten in compensation pulling the spine out of alignment. Any exercise to improve posture will reduce pain or discomfort and allow you to move more freely with your child, both before and after birth.
Pilates improves body alignment and keeps you flexible while building strength. The emphasis on core stability teaches you to balance the work of supporting your child with your back, abdominal, and pelvic floor muscles.
Abdominal Strength Of course, Pilates’ emphasis on abdominal strength in every exercise, will also prepare you for the challenge of birthing. This is especially good for anyone having a Cesarean section, which cuts through abdominal tissue and, at times, the muscles as well.
Pilates exercises also have a calming effect on the mother-to-be, making it easier to deal with emotional changes and sleeplessness. Pilates takes your mind off any worries as you must focus on abdominal engagement and integrate it with the movements and breathing.
Local resident Jessie Wong of Abpro Labs loves Pilates and says: "Pilates during my pregnancy helped me bring awareness to my body, kept me flexible, and strong; but, more importantly Pilates is gentle enough for the ever changing pregnancy body." Because Pilates exercises can be modified it's perfectly suited for specific needs.
During this special time in a woman’s life be sure to get the fitness program that is uniquely tailored to the pre-natal body!