Here is our go-to guide for Pilates at our studio while pregnant. This post is a little longer than our normal posts, and we hope it’s helpful to expecting moms.
First, there is not a one size fits all approach to Pilates while pregnant. We’d love to tell you that there are 5 rules to follow and that you’d be all set if you did that, but it’s not true. Every woman and every pregnancy is different. Some women feel great the whole time and can pretty much do anything, others just don’t. You have to pay attention to your body and plan your workouts based on that.
Next, Pilates classes during pregnancy are great, but they are not for everyone. Classes are just that – classes. The instructor isn’t going to stop for you and she can’t offer a modification for every exercise. Some clients will feel better and more confident in private training during their pregnancies. Clients will any pregnancy related complications should almost certainly take private training. As a reminder, our classes are designed to be Pilates fitness classes.
Also, clients who have been with us for a while or who know Pilates tend to do just fine in class when they are expecting. They know they exercises, how they feel and what they need to change. It can be more difficult for clients who are new to our studio to take class.
Finally, pregnant clients will need to make their own modifications during class. We often recommend clients take a private or two so that they can learn what the modifications are for given exercises. We’ve done our best to include a list of what those modifications are below. (For clients who want to take class after privates, we’d suggest you start class with the trainer you saw in private training).
More on Pilates class modifications:
*Modifications needs kick in at different times: This has to do with bump size and how a women is feeling. Some women need very few modifications early in their pregnancies. At 12 weeks, there really aren’t a lot of modifications, at 30 weeks, there are.
*Belly: You can’t lay on your belly: When we do a prone exercise during class, the expecting client will need to modify the exercise by sitting instead of laying on the box. She can then do similar arm movements from that position.
*Back: Guidelines for pregnant women say you can’t lay on your back after a certain number of weeks. In practice, this rule really depends on how the women is feeling. Some women feel comfortable being on their back for a few minutes at a time. In class, we spend time on our backs so this is something each women needs to think about before class.
*Ab work: Once the bump pops, if you feel OK on your back, then can do the ab work but we recommend eliminating the upper body lift.
*Planking: Some guidelines say pregnant women should not plank. We would say planking is OK as long as the women knows she is strong enough to do so.
*Standing: Balance changes during pregnancy. Pregnant women need to be especially careful to use props (like the Cardio Tramp) for extra balance during standing work.
*Jumping: Once the bump really starts to pop, most clients take the jumping portion of exercise on their sides. They will ask the instructor how long the jump set is and then switch sides accordingly.
*Accessories: Accessories are a pregnant women’s best class buddy. Can’t be on your back? Grab the big giant ball and lean on it! Need a little extra support? Put the balance disc under you? Need a lift? Sit on the platform! Please note we do NOT use a C-Shaper as there is some ancillary evidence that it can contribute to abdominal separation.
We hope this is helpful!