Pregnant Yoga and Prenatal Pilates

Staying active during pregnancy has a number of benefits for both mom and baby. Exercise during pregnancy can help fight fatigue, improve your sleep, and potentially make labor a bit easier. It also helps out your soon-to-be born baby; infants born to moms who exercised during pregnancy often come in at healthier weights and are less stressed by labor. [1]

However, not all exercise is created equal when it comes to pregnancy. High risk exercise that carries a likelihood of falling such as horse back riding as well as contact sports like softball, volleyball, etc should be avoided [1]. Thankfully, there are a number of options available tailored specifically to expecting moms including prenatal yoga and prenatal Pilates.

Pregnant Yoga

Pregnant women can expect to reap a number of benefits from a prenatal yoga class. Some of the best immediate benefits relieve common symptoms associated with early pregnancy: poor sleep quality, stress, back pain, nausea, and more. Plus, yoga classes for pregnant women have the added benefit of not requiring previous experience [2].

While many doctors do not suggest starting new workout regimens that are vastly different from your standard routine, pregnant yoga classes are geared specifically toward expecting moms’ needs. Just bear in mind prenatal yoga and regular yoga are very different from each other. Pregnant yoga does not involve any exercises or stretches that require you to be on your back or belly. Even so, be sure to consult with your physician to rule out any potential problems or risks.

Pregnant Yoga Classes

Now that you know the benefits of of taking a prenatal yoga class, you may be wondering what to expect from a prenatal yoga class. First and foremost, expect a focus on breathing. This can help you manage the shortness of breath that is typical during pregnancy as well as contractions during labor.

There will also be some stretching involved to gently move different parts of your body. This allows you put your muscles through their full range of motion releasing tension without injuring yourself. There will also be some posture work to improve strength and flexibility. Posture work has the added bonus of improving balance, which you will need more and more of as the months progress. Lastly, there will be a cool down period to help your muscles relax. [2]

Prenatal Pilates

Like yoga, prenatal Pilates carries a number of benefits. However, the largest difference between the two is that Pilates focuses much more on core strength. Having a toned pelvic core and abdominal muscles can provide more support and comfort during pregnancy. Prenatal Pilates is also easy to modify as your body and range of motion changes through pregnancy.

As with any new exercise routine, be sure to check with your doctor first. If you’ve never done Pilates before, be sure to take a prenatal Pilates class instead of trying to modify a regular class. Also, listen to your body as you exercise: take breaks when needed, avoid overheating, and drink plenty of water.

Sources

  1. http://www.webmd.com/baby/exercise-during-pregnancy
  2. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/prenatal-yoga/art-20047193