It’s almost as if Pilates was made for pregnancy. The thing is, pregnancy and childbearing can do a number on the body, especially the muscles that support the pelvic floor. The weight and strain of carrying a growing baby plus the hormonal changes that happen during pregnancy can weaken the pelvic floor muscles. This is important once you understand a bit more about the anatomy of this area:
The Pelvic Floor
Our pelvic floor is a “sling” of muscles at the base of our core, a bit like a small muscle hammock, that runs between the pubic bone in the front and the tailbone at the back. In women, these muscles support the bladder, bowel and uterus (womb). The urethra, anus, and vagina all pass through the pelvic floor muscles. The pelvic floor muscles normally wrap quite firmly around these passages to help keep them shut, which helps to control bladder and bowel function and assists with sexual function (pleasure). When you contract the pelvic floor muscles, they lift the internal organs of the pelvis and tighten the openings of the vagina, anus and urethra. Relaxing the pelvic floor allows passage of urine and feces, and is important during childbirth to allow the baby to emerge.
Still with me? Bottom line: these muscles are important for controlling our restroom activities, keeping our organs where they should be, and for better pleasure during sex.
Pregnancy can weaken the pelvic floor muscles, which may lead to:
- Incontinence (leakage) during and/or after pregnancy
- A reduction in sexual sensation
- Lower back pain
- Hip pain
Sound like fun? I don’t think so!
Fortunately, Pilates works wonders for your pelvic floor. The whole aim of Pilates is to make your body (and especially your core) strong, flexible, and balanced. Keeping your pelvic floor strong during pregnancy can:
- Reduce your risk of urine leakage before/after pregnancy
- Speed your recovery after childbirth
- Reduce your risk of prolapse (when the pelvic muscles start to “lapse” or bulge into the vagina)
- Improve sexual sensation
While we have pregnant clients in our small group classes, many of our pregnant clients find our private sessions are perfect for them: you get the studio all to yourself, and you and your instructor can focus just that bit more on the pelvic floor. In a private session we can completely customise your workout to work around--and with--your pregnancy.
There’s never been a better time to do Pilates with us-- especially while you are pregnant! Don’t feel comfortable coming into the studio? We offer virtual classes as well.