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Pelvic Health: Can you do reformer pilates while pregnant?

By: Claire Mills, Physiotherapist and founder of Core LDN

First published: 28th April 2024

Pregnancy is a time of change, growth, and preparation. It's also a time when maintaining physical health becomes even more crucial. At Core LDN we are often asked the question: Can you do reformer Pilates while pregnant?

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How can Reformer Pilates support during Pregnancy?

Pregnancy brings about significant changes in a woman's body. These changes can affect balance, flexibility, and strength. Reformer Pilates, with its focus on core strength and flexibility, can be a beneficial practice during this transformative period.

What is Reformer Pilates?

Reformer Pilates is a type of Pilates performed on a reformer machine. Unlike mat Pilates, which relies on body weight for resistance, reformer Pilates uses the tension of the reformer's springs. This form of Pilates allows for a greater range of motion. It also provides the ability to adjust resistance levels. This makes it adaptable to various fitness levels and needs.

What are the benefits of Reformer Pilates for Pregnant Women?

Reformer Pilates offers numerous benefits for pregnant women. These benefits extend beyond physical health, impacting mental well-being as well

Improved Strength and Flexibility: Reformer Pilates exercises target various muscle groups, enhancing overall body strength. The exercises also promote flexibility, which can be beneficial during pregnancy and childbirth.

Back Pain Relief: Pregnancy often comes with back pain. The core strengthening aspect of reformer Pilates can help alleviate this discomfort.

Enhanced Pelvic Floor Health: Reformer Pilates exercises can strengthen the pelvic floor muscles working with the spring resistance. This is crucial during pregnancy and postpartum recovery.

Weight Management: Regular exercise, such as reformer Pilates, can help manage weight gain during pregnancy.

Stress Reduction: The mindful movement and breathing techniques in reformer Pilates can help reduce stress and improve mood.

Preparation for Childbirth: The strength, flexibility, and endurance gained from reformer Pilates can aid in preparing the body for the physical demands of childbirth.

What is the role of Pelvic Health Physiotherapy?

Before starting any new exercise regimen during pregnancy, it's crucial to consult with a healthcare professional. They can also guide you on how to safely engage in this exercise. This is particularly important if you have any pregnancy-related complications or health concerns.

A pelvic health physiotherapist can guide you on safe exercises. They can also teach you how to correctly engage your pelvic floor muscles. This is crucial in reformer Pilates, where core and pelvic floor engagement is a key focus.

Incorporating pelvic health physiotherapy into your prenatal care routine can enhance the benefits of reformer Pilates. It can also help prevent or manage common pregnancy-related issues like incontinence and pelvic pain.

Remember, a holistic approach to pregnancy health is always the best. At Core LDN we combine reformer Pilates with pelvic health physiotherapy to provide comprehensive support for your body during this transformative period.

Practicing Reformer Pilates safely during pregnancy

Practicing reformer Pilates during pregnancy can be safe and beneficial. However, it requires careful consideration and modifications. As your body changes, so should your exercise routine. It's important to listen to your body and avoid overexertion.

Certain positions and movements may need to be modified or avoided. For instance, exercises involving deep twists, flexion or hyperextension should be avoided.

Remember, safety should always be your top priority. It's crucial to work with a qualified prenatal Pilates instructor. They can guide you on the correct form and necessary modifications.

First Trimester Considerations

During the first trimester, you may still be able to perform many of the standard reformer Pilates exercises. However, it's important to listen to your body. If you feel dizzy or nauseous, it's best to stop and rest.

Avoid exercises that put too much pressure on your abdomen. Also, be mindful of your energy levels. Pregnancy can cause fatigue, so don't push yourself too hard.

Remember, the first trimester is a time of significant changes in your body. It's important to be gentle with yourself and prioritise your wellbeing.

Second Trimester Adjustments

As you enter the second trimester, your belly will start to grow. This means some exercises will need to be modified. For instance, exercises involving lying flat on your back should be avoided.

Instead, focus on exercises that strengthen your core and pelvic floor. These can help prepare your body for the later stages of pregnancy. Also, consider using Pilates equipment for support and balance.

Remember, it's important to maintain good posture during exercises. This can help prevent back pain and other discomforts.

Third Trimester Focus

In the third trimester, your focus should be on maintaining strength and flexibility. However, due to the increased belly size, more modifications will be necessary. Avoid exercises that strain your back or pelvic floor.

Breathing exercises can be particularly beneficial during this stage. They can help prepare you for labor and delivery. Also, gentle stretching can help alleviate common discomforts like lower back pain.

Remember, pregnancy is not the time to push your limits. It's okay to take it easy and modify exercises as needed. The goal is to maintain fitness, not to set new personal records.

How can Core LDN support your pregnancy?

If you have any concerns our Pregnancy MOT is the best place to start. Our experienced Pelvic Health Physiotherapists will give you an in depth assessment and diagnosis of any pelvic or pelvic floor related issues, empowering you with tools of self-management, teaching the key principles of health, exercise and well-being in relation to your pregnancy. Our pregnancy MOT is a thorough assessment bespoke to you and your pregnancy and advice on how to optimise your pelvic floor health and function in pregnancy.

If you have no concerns and are feeling good in your pregnancy then start with our Core LDN Intro. A Pilates 1:1 with a physiotherapist trained in pre natal exercise. The physiotherapist will gain a breif history, screen your posture and then through working you out on the reformer will go through the best way to optimise your fitness, strength and pelvic floor through the different stages of your pregnancy. This means we will not be training you blindly in classes and you will get the most from your Pilates with us.

We then offer specialist Core & Pelvic Floor Pilates Reformer and Mat Pilates classes and Mum & Baby class led by our expert CORE pelvic health physiotherapists.

Conclusion: Embracing Reformer Pilates for a Healthy Pregnancy

Reformer Pilates, with the guidance of a an expert in pre natal Pilates, is a safe and beneficial exercise during pregnancy. It can help maintain strength, flexibility, and overall health. Moreover, it can offer psychological benefits as a holistic approach to pregnancy wellness. So, consider incorporating reformer Pilates into your prenatal care routine. It can contribute to a healthier and happier pregnancy journey.

About Core LDN

Aimed at revolutionising the fitness and rehabilitation landscape, Core LDN firmly believe

that a one size fits all approach simply doesn't apply to wellness. At the heart of Core LDN's philosophy is a team of expert physiotherapists dedicated to treating and rehabilitating all injuries. Through a fusion of exercise rehabilitation in specialised CORE classes, clients can experience the benefits of Physiotherapy-led Pilates. Whether in recovery mode, navigating pre/postnatal stages, or striving towards specific fitness objectives, individuals can harness the power of personalised Pilates sessions.

To find out more about Core LDN, book a physiotherapy initial appointment or Core LDN Pilates intro visit


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