How Barre, Pilates & Yoga Work For Your Pregnancy
Staying fit during pregnancy can seem like a challenge – you feel tired with minimal energy, but staying active can benefit you both before and after birth. Workouts such as yoga, Barre and even Pilates can be safe to do during your pregnancy – as long as your doctor approves, there are modifications for all exercises. The benefits of remaining active during your pregnancy are vast for your health, baby’s health, your labor and delivery, and postpartum recovery.
Yoga: be careful not to overstretch
Yoga is a great low-impact workout for your pregnancy. It can help lower your blood pressure, reduce stress and stabilize your moods as well as strengthen and stretch your body. Yoga can keep you moving and help manage your weight during pregnancy. Through light stretching and modified postures, yoga can benefit your pregnancy through labor and delivery by safely opening the hips. Postures such as Downward Dog has been proven to assist baby into the optimal birthing position of head down. Women who do yoga throughout their pregnancies can feel less pain during labor and are more comfortable post birth during their recovery.
Let your instructor know you are pregnant and advise on any areas of trouble you may have. Drink plenty of water before, during and after class to keep your body hydrated. Try to avoid any postures on your back, especially past the second trimester and avoid heated yoga classes altogether. Avoid any twisting postures, backbends or abdominal work – as your growing belly cannot contort. It is imperative you avoid over stretching during yoga while prenatal – your body has extra hormones coursing throughout to aid in opening your body for labor and those hormones can make your ligaments much more stretchy. You may feel like you can get into a pose deeper but never push yourself beyond your pre-pregnancy limits.
Barre: watch the weights
Barre is another great low-impact workout, which packs a punch; you can incorporate into your pregnancy fitness routine. Barre classes can help boost your energy levels as well as strengthen all the muscles in your body. You can do Barre classes all the way up to the end of your pregnancy. Work with your instructor on any modifications throughout your pregnancy to get the most benefits from your workout – again you want to avoid twisting, working your abdominal muscles, and anything laying on your back. But our skilled instructors can guide you through safe modifications.
The cardio benefits of Barre during pregnancy are not only essential for keeping your weight gain under control but it’s also a great way to strengthen you and your baby’s heart. However, remember to listen to your body and watch your heart rate doesn’t get too high. If you don’t have a heart rate monitor a good rule of thumb for pregnancy heart rate is to always feel like you are able to carry a conversation while working out.
Barre is a great workout for a growing belly and the center of gravity changes that occur during pregnancy – situate yourself towards the back of class so that you’re always near the Barre for stability during balancing exercises! Another thing to watch for is the weights you use during class. Stick to 2lb-3lb weights, especially when lifting over your head and never push yourself. Pregnancy exercise is a time to maintain or even back off your intensity not a time to make gains.
Pilates: mind your abs
Pilates is also a nice way to stay active safely during your pregnancy. One of the benefits of Pilates is that it can help develop your pelvic floor muscles essential for the delivery and recovery process by stabilizing your muscles and strengthening your pelvic bowl. Pilates during pregnancy can also help speed up recovery time post delivery.
Be sure to consult with your Pilates instructor prior to class and let him or her know you are pregnant. Remember any exercise can be modified to help accommodate your pregnancy into a safe workout. Don’t over do it and listen to your body throughout your workout, being mindful of how it feels.
Although much of Pilates is core stability work, you can always modify exercises to be gentle on your separating core. One of the ways we modify Pilates work for pregnant clients is by using a ball under the lower back – this helps alleviate lower back pain and allows you to do most, if not all, exercises ordinarily done on the back. It’s important to be kind on your abs during pregnancy, working them out enough to aid in supporting your belly but not compromising their stretched out state.
Staying active during your pregnancy doesn’t have to be a challenge. Yoga, Barre and Pilates all offer low-impact yet highly effective exercises that can help prepare your body and mind for birth. As well as help with bothersome pregnancy symptoms such as lower back pain, swelling and edema, and joint pain. And maintain an exercise regime during pregnancy will keep your weight gain more balanced and ensure your postpartum recovery is quicker. However, always be sure to consult with your doctor prior to any exercise during your pregnancy and keep your instructors up to date on how you feel. Making fitness a priority during your pregnancy doesn’t have to be a drag. With yoga, Barre and Pilates you can stay active and healthy throughout your pregnancy in a fun and safe way!