If you’re currently pregnant or are now a Mum, you may know that one of the biggest issues during pregnancy can be pelvic instability, due to the major release of the hormone, relaxin. Relaxin loosens the ligaments in preparation for child birth and increases the amount of movement available in the joint between the tail bone (sacrum) and pelvis, causing the area to be somewhat unstable.
Here are the top 5 ways Pilates during pregnancy can help reduce that instability during and post pregnancy:
1. Improved pelvic and core stability: Improving your gluteus maximus strength and activation is a major part of preventing or managing pelvic instability. Often women can manage poor gluteus maximus strength prior to pregnancy because the pelvic girdle is relatively stable. However, the addition of relaxin and slightly more weight during pregnancy is usually the straw that breaks the camel’s back and can lead to pelvic pain. This pelvic pain is most common further on in pregnancy and after birth, when pelvic instability can persist if this area is not strengthened. Pilates can help you to improve your pelvic and core stability, hence reducing the severity of pelvic pain.
2. Greater ability to manage your pregnant body: Having better core stability, pelvic control and upper body strength means that you can generally manage better (physically) during the pregnancy. This means you can cope with the increased weight of the baby and fluid and the normal fatigue caused by the pregnancy. Women who start their Pilates program early in the pregnancy are mostly able to cope with exercise all the way up to childbirth.
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3. Faster recovery: Like any medical procedure, the stronger you are before childbirth, the easier it is to cope with the labour or a caesarean and the physical recovery can often be faster.
4. Better management of other medical related issues with pregnancy: Maintaining and improving muscle tone are major factors in the management of medical complications related to pregnancy such as gestational diabetes, increased fluid retention and load on the heart. Muscle tone is very important in maintaining the optimal amount of glucose receptors to manage your normal blood sugars, and in helping assist your heart in pumping the blood back towards your heart for normal blood fluid movement. By doing regular exercise, you’re muscle tone for overall good health.
RELATED: Top 3 Benefits of Group Exercise
5. Greater physical comfort long after pregnancy: We commonly see women struggling with pelvic instability long after pregnancy, especially after the birth of their second or third child. They are often told that it would go away after childbirth, but it can persist for years afterwards. This can be addressed at any time and involves strengthening your core stability and gluteus maximus muscles.
Adriane Ward is a Senior Exercise Physiologist and Assistant Staff Training Manager at MD Health Pilates. Adriane has a bachelor of Exercise Science and Human Movement, a Diploma in Exercise Rehabilitation, and Level 1 and 2 First Aid Certificates.
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