Pregnancy has a profound effect on many of the physical systems in our body. An increase in relaxin will soften and loosen the ligaments of our pelvis and spine to adapt to the growth of our baby. Posturally, we compensate for this by altering our centre of gravity and spinal alignment. As a result, our abdominal muscles stretch, our deep spinal muscles shorten and our pelvic floor weakens. Our all-important gluteal muscles are inhibited, often leading to a waddling-type gait. These changes in the lower spine give rise to compensatory changes further up in the cervical and thoracic spine.
The goal of any exercise in pregnancy is to maintain good fitness without trying to reach peak fitness levels or train for athletic competition. Exercise in pregnancy creates a more positive subjective pregnancy experience and feeling of well-being, as well as improved body image. Other benefits of exercise in pregnancy include increased cardiovascular and muscular fitness, improved circulation leading to reduced varicosities and swelling of the extremities; it also improves sleep and reduces fatigue; There are also benefits to our mental health by reducing anxiety and depression. There is some evidence that exercise in pregnancy decreases the risk of developing gestational diabetes. (RCOG 2015, ACOG 2015). According to recent research, women with pregnancy-related low back and pelvic girdle pain may benefit from a 10-week programme of supervised functional progressive core exercise. (Belogolovsky I et al, 2015) Pregnancy Pilates is an example of such a progressive programme.
Pregnancy Pilates is a safe, low impact form of exercise in pregnancy. It improves postural awareness, strengthens key spinal and pelvic stabilising muscles such as the deep abdominals and spinal muscles, pelvic floor, and gluteals. It also improves flexibility, balance and movement efficiency. It can reduce pain experienced around the pelvic girdle and lower back. It improves circulation, breathing control and helps with relaxation. It is safe for almost every pregnant woman as the exercise is adapted according to your specific stage of pregnancy.
Pregnancy Pilates Classes are held at Strive Clinic Galway on Wednesdays at 6.30pm. These classes are delivered by Debbie Fallows, Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist in Pelvic Rehabilitation. Spaces are limited so booking is essential - call 091 393 180 to secure your place.
If you would like an individual consultation with Debbie for any pregnancy related problem, such as low back and pelvic girdle pain, rib pain, carpal tunnel syndrome and pelvic floor dysfunction, you can make an appointment by calling reception on 091 393 180.