If you’re debating whether or not to do Pilates during pregnancy, rest assured that prenatal (and postnatal!) Boom Pilates is a great idea, BUT there are some disclaimers we must share first. Pilates has amazing health benefits, and it’s a smart, low-impact way for expecting mothers to stay in shape throughout their pregnancy. However, it is important that our momma-to-bes have customized routines throughout all pregnancy stages. A customized Pilates routine is beneficial to a future mother and her baby for a variety of reasons. Not only can it help develop the muscles used during birth, but the fitness benefits (of strengthening and toning all the ancillary muscles) can also be experienced postpartum. As our female bodies change during pregnancy, Pilates can help us become reacquainted with our inner strength and have a greater understanding of the mind/body connection.
However, while Pilates can be super beneficial for both you and the baby, there are moves and sections of each repertoire that are better left for after pregnancy. For instance, routines that are over-strenuous, high-impact or face-down (prone) are typically discouraged. However, exercises such as deep core stabilizing, oblique strengthening and moves surrounding pelvic stability are usually welcomed to help prepare you for carrying the baby, and also for when it comes time to push.
Before considering prenatal Pilates, you must consult with your physician, and THEN, you and your instructor should have a chat about your personal goals/limitations, including which trimester you’re in and your previous experience with Pilates. If you are unfamiliar with Pilates, your instructor may recommend more foundational (essential) classes or private appointments. If you are familiar with Pilates, your instructor will likely make you aware of which class segments to skip or modify. And, as an extra precaution, at BPL, we require a note from your OBGYN to confirm your doctor’s approval to boom your heart out during pregnancy. But, having these things in mind, prenatal Pilates can do wonders for both you and your baby.
The rest is all about timing.
The first trimester is when you and your little bundle of joy are going through some big initial changes. While the baby is growing a heartbeat, your body is busy at work with fluctuating hormones. Though pregnancy experiences as a whole can be different for all women, fatigue is quite common for many during the first trimester. One of the ways to combat this is to stay active. If you are interested in prenatal Pilates and don’t have any previous experience, the best time to begin is during your first trimester. This is ideal for beginners who are unfamiliar with the routines and equipment and would prefer a group setting. Starting early will also give you and your instructor time to develop a fitness plan detailing how to Boom throughout your pregnancy.
The second trimester occurs from the 13th through the 27th week of pregnancy. Once you reach this stage, it’s typically recommended that you and your instructor move toward private classes. This will allow the instructor to provide extra care and attention, as well as a personalized routine. Be sure to seek out a nationally accredited Pilates Instructor for this second trimester (and on). You want to find a professional coach who studied anatomy and special populations with a fine-tooth comb, and this is often aligned with most national accredited Pilates Instructor training programs.
As your baby continues to grow strong during the second trimester, you might also find yourself with peculiar food cravings. This is your body’s way of getting the baby their necessary nutrients. During this stage, weight gain can be a concern for some women, and Pilates or staying active can help with that. Pilates during this stage will mostly involve stretching to avoid any unnecessary strain.
That brings us to the 28th week until conception: the third trimester. You’re almost there! We would not recommend taking on the sport of Pilates (or any other new sport) during this final stage of your pregnancy. At this point, balance can be difficult to hold, and it may prove difficult to learn new choreography, strengthen totally new muscle groups, or stretch your bod in new ways. However, we do recommend talking with your primary care physician about walking or other low-impact exercises in this stage of the game. Movement is key to helping make the delivery process as smooth as possible if your body (and baby) grant you able.
Now, finding inner core strength after giving birth can be notoriously tricky, but Pilates is ideal and totally here to help! As a matter of fact, postpartum Pilates is what inspired our founder Danyal Timmermann to establish the Boom Pilates brand. After giving birth to her son in 2013 by cesarean, Danyal desperately wished to uncover a way to successfully re-strengthen her core muscles, and BOOM,…that’s where her own Pilates journey first began.
Getting back into a fitness routine after giving birth is often difficult for new mothers, due in part to growing responsibilities, lack of sleep, and new family schedules. But if Pilates can enter a new momma’s postpartum world, it is totally worth it! Post-delivery, it’s no secret, our bodies change significantly, but the BPL provides a way to get reacquainted with ourselves mentally and appreciate our strong, human-making bodies. Working with a professional certified instructor one-on-one can ensure that you get a jump-start on strengthening weakened core muscles. Just make sure to check-in with your healthcare provider for the go-ahead to begin exercising again…you’re likely looking at 6-12 weeks post baby for this green-light.
By customizing routines to fit your unique body, posture and goals, Pilates can be a perfect way to find fitness pre/post delivery. With guidance from our talented and certified Pilates instructors here at BPL, you can improve core muscle strength (great for pushing) and back strength (for carrying the baby). Not to mention, Pilates classes provide a much-needed endorphin boost (see our killer playlists (link to music page)) and a feeling of positive body-love. We can’t wait to be a part of your motherhood journey and celebrate your exciting pregnancy with you.