Preparing for birth doesn't have to be complicated. But shouldn't be left for the week of your due date either.
There are simple ways to prepare your body for birth and doing prenatal Pilates is one of them.
Here I list the birth benefits of prenatal Pilates and why I continued doing Pilates through my entire pregnancy.
- Brings your awareness to your core
- Aids stamina
- Improves your pelvic mobility
- Enhances your concentration
- Focuses your control through breath
- Assist in relaxing the pelvic floor
BRINGS AWARENESS TO YOUR CORE
Your core is made up of multiple muscle groups that support your trunk and back. Two of these is the respiratory diaphragm and pelvic diaphragm.
These two diaphragms aid in birth by expanding and contracting or relaxing in the pelvic floors case.
When you are able to tune into the movement of these muscles you're able to follow the natural flow of pressure between them which can aid the uterine contracts pushing baby down.
No matter if you have a short labor or long labor you need stamina to birth. Labor contractions can be intense and tiring. Building your stamina will help your body last longer if needed, reducing the risk of medicalization.
IMPROVES YOUR PELVIC MOBILITY
The great thing about Pilates is, it's not only about creating stability throughout the body, but the flexibility of the tissue as well.
When you stabilize your trunk and pelvis this allows your hips and shoulders move more freely and find positions with more ease.
This can be paramount during birth to use gravity assist positions, finding postures to assist baby into optimal position, or using different movements to ease pain.
Plus a strong muscle means a flexible muscle, that will rebound and heal at a faster pace. And your pelvis goes through a large change during vaginal birth in a short amount of time.
ENHANCES YOUR CONCENTRATION
One of the principles of Pilates is concentration.
Always keep your mind wholly concentrated on the purpose of the exercises as you perform them.
Controlling our thoughts and actions can be challenging in the best of times. During birth when you may be distracted, stressed, uncomfortable, in pain, our thoughts can become erratic and limit our ability to concentrate on the task at hand.
By training your concentration prior to birth through movement patterns in Pilates you are preparing for concentrating on your actions during birth.
FOCUSES YOUR CONTROL THROUGH BREATH
Breathing is the first act of life.
We can use it just to stay alive or we can use it to focus on coping with pain, helping control our movements, improve relaxation.
All of these are needed during birth.
Practicing different forms of breathing from fast, quick breathes to slow deep moans teach you how your body responds. Then you can use this knowledge consciously or subconsciously during birth during strong contractions to bring your focus off the pain, to bring a much needed relaxation in between contractions or assist with movement patterns that aid in baby's position or ease pain.
ASSIST IN RELAXING THE PELVIC FLOOR
The pelvic floor is part of the core musculature that is trained during Pilates. When taught properly the pelvic floor is strengthened, but more importantly learns how relax.
A strong, supple pelvic floor will be able to relax with more ease. Thus lending itself nicely to opening and creating more space for baby to descend.
If you've never tried Pilates, pregnancy can be a great time to start. The safest way to do this is by getting one-on-one instruction by a prenatal Pilates specialist (wink, wink)!!!