Yes, in those with previous Pilates training. The expectant mother should always consult with her primary care provider before beginning a new exercise program. Postpartum training in Pilates is a wonderful way to tighten up the pelvic floor and abdominals.
During pregnancy the body releases the hormones relaxin and progesterone which loosen the pelvis and all other joints in preparation for childbirth. This joint laxity increases the potential for joint and muscular injury. Pilates strengthens the muscles that support the joints, and by increasing the muscle tone and endurance, it can help counter the stresses in pregnancy. Most women find that practicing Pilates results in fewer incidences of backache, shortness of breath, constipation, varicose veins, fatigue, and morning sickness.
It is best to take a "restorative" approach to Pilates during pregnancy. This slow, flowing style has a calming effect on your nervous system as it helps you to develop good breath control, carry your pregnancy more comfortably and strengthen your body for a smoother delivery and a faster return to your prepregnancy body shape.
In the first trimester, we will continue with the uniform development of your whole body, while being careful to keep your core temperature and heart rate at a safe level. In the second trimester, we will modify your workout slightly by eliminating any prone positions (lying on stomach), and exercises that are executed with just one leg, as this could harm the pelvic structures. We will encourage you to do as many of the abdominal exercises as you are able at this stage, and will continue to modify the exercises as your balance and range of motion in forward bends begins to change. In the third trimester, we will replace some of the more difficult abdominal exercises and those that put you at risk of falling with more upper body work. This will prepare you for some of the physical challenges of having a newborn.
Taking this calm, balanced approach to exercise with its focused concentration, breath work and attention to detail is good for both mother and child. They will share in the benefits gained from increased circulation of oxygen rich blood, the regulation of hormones, and the rhythmic, flowing movements that help to calm and center us mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Please inform your Pilates instructor and your primary care provider immediately if you experience any of the following danger signs at any time during pregnancy: persistent severe headaches, dizziness, visual disturbances, elevated pulse or blood pressure after exercise, chest pain, excessive fatigue, persistent contractions, any sign of bloody discharge, sudden swelling of ankles, hands and face, or unexplained abdominal pain. Beginning a Pilates regime is not recommended in women who have no prior Pilates training.
"Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness" - Joseph Pilates