Should I do Pilates during pregnancy is a common question that we are often asked as physiotherapists. New and exciting research is showing the beneficial effects of exercise during pregnancy not only for you, but for your developing baby too. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynocologists recommends 30-90 minutes of exercise during a healthy pregnancy, on most or all days of the week at a moderate intensity, of approximately 50%-75% of maximum age-predicted heart rate.
Benefits of exercise during pregnancy to the fetus include:
Lower fetal resting heart rate
Improved ability of the fetus to survive outside of the uterus
Increased amniotic fluid levels (the fluid which surrounds and nurtures the growing fetus)
Improved ability of the fetus to contract and dilate it’s blood vessels, allowing optimal regulation of blood pressure to provide adequate blood to its tissues
Benefits of exercise during pregnancy to the infant include:
Lower birth weights have been found in children whose mothers exercise during pregnancy
Increased gestational ages of newborns whose mothers exercised during pregnancy compared to those that did not
Infants whose mothers had exercised during pregnancy were leaner at 5 years, which indicates that children with exercising mothers maintain a lower body mass index than children with non-exercising mothers
APGAR scores of newborns (quick summary of the health of the newborn after birth) from exercising pregnant mothers, have been found to be higher
Long-term neurodevelopment benefits for the infant due to the effects of exercise of the pregnant mother remain unclear, however researchers believe research in this area could show promising results.
Pilates is a great form of exercise pre and ante natal to prevent diastistis recti (splitting of the abdominal wall), to improve your pelvic floor control, as well as increasing over-all strength and aerobic conditioning. Pilates involves a flowing series of exercises at a moderate intensity, modified by Physiotherapists to give you specific and appropriate exercises to build strength, to prevent injury, to improve posture and muscular control. This all fits perfectly into the American College of Obstetrics & Gynocologists guidelines for exercise during pregnancy. So if the health benefits of exercise during pregnancy aren’t enough to get you up and moving, you now have the motivation of your baby and improving his/her health to get you active during pregnancy. See our timetable for class times or give us a call on 9976 3540 for further information.
Prather, H., Spitznagle, T., & Hunt, D. (2012). Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy, American Academy of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, (4) 845-850.