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Pregnancy Pilates

Holding it all together- let’s talk about pilates exercise in pregnancy

Holding it all together- let’s talk about pilates exercise in pregnancy

With the number of changes that happen to a woman’s body during pregnancy at Balance Physio we recommend and use pilates as our preferred exercise. We have seen a number of women through their pregnancies recently, with some coming in right up to 40 weeks.

There are so many benefits to doing gentle exercise before and after pregnancy. Pilates is a great form of controlled exercise that can be done throughout all 3 trimesters. Not only does it help strengthen the deep abdominal and pelvic floor muscles, but doing these gentle exercises will also help to control breathing, strengthen arms and legs, improve posture, maintain healthy body weight as well as aid in recovery after delivery.

You probably don’t want to think about pain during pregnancy, but your body will release a hormone called relaxin quite early to help soften the ligaments and allow the pelvis to stretch during delivery. This may cause stretching and pain through the low back, pelvis and hips. Pilates can help improve and maintain muscle strength to help support your joints and reduce pain.

Personally all I felt like in the first 12 weeks was sleeping, eating carbs and trying not to vomit! Honestly exercise was the last thing I felt like. However, gentle exercise like pilates can actually be beneficial in boosting energy levels and curbing some of the nausea. During this stage it is important to listen to your body and avoid raising your heart rate and body temperature too much.

Once your body starts to deal with the new situation, energy levels often start to return by the second trimester and this is a good opportunity to do a little more. At this stage there are certain exercises that should be avoided. These include:

  1. Lying on your tummy
  2. Lying on your back for a prolonged time. This may cause dizziness or nausea in the mother and reduced oxygen to the baby. This is because in this position the baby can place pressure on the inferior vena cava (a main blood vessel of the heart)
  3. Inner thigh work. As your ligaments and joints become more lax, this can cause the pubic bone to become unstable. Any excess work on the groin muscles can cause further separation of the pelvis.
  4. One sided exercises
  5. Overstretching
  6. Abdominal crunches


At all stages of your pregnancy make sure that you stay hydrated, stop if you have any pain, dizziness, chest pain or bleeding. Every pregnancy is different so listen to your body.

As bubs continues to rapidly grow and change, so does your body. Postural changes become more apparent in the third trimester with a more pronounced curvature through the low back (we call this lordosis). Breathing can also become more difficult as your lungs have less room to expand. You may also notice more pressure on the pelvic floor muscles as baby lowers into position for delivery. During this time you need to continue to avoid the positions I have mentioned for the second trimester.

After your baby arrives you can come back to pilates as soon as your doctor or midwife thinks you are ready. We can build on the strong foundations that you have made to get your body strong and to prepare you for caring for a baby!

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Pregnancy Pilates

Pregnancy Pilates

All of our exercise is planned with each individual in mind, but please bear in mind that this general advice applies only to uncomplicated pregnancies. If you are experiencing pain or have a more complicated pregnancy we can work with your obstetric professional to devise an appropriate plan for you.