Congratulations! We're very excited for you as you embark on this new stage of your life!!
The good news is that you don't need to do a lot to modify your exercise program during the first trimester (unless your doctor advises otherwise for medical reasons).
You may need to reduce the duration or intensity of sessions if you feel fatigued or nauseous. When in doubt, listen to your body. If something feels good, continue to do it but, if you start to feel sick or unpleasant, ease off.
If you've been doing Power Plate lessons at our studio, switch to something else instead. Power Plate isn't necessarily problematic during pregnancy but it's safety hasn't yet been researched so we prefer to err on the side of caution and avoid it.
Other than that, you can continue to work out as usual for your first trimester. Exercising during this stage of pregnancy is good for you and has also been shown to boost growth of your baby and placenta. It's a win-win!
Changes to your exercise routine will need to be made as you progress into your second & third trimesters.
We recommend private or semi-private studio Pilates lessons only from the start of your 2nd trimester. Please read "Can I attend group Pilates classes during pregnancy?" for more information.
Pregnancy Pilates is a fantastic workout to do during pregnancy. However, standard Pilates (unmodified for pregnancy) in the 2nd & 3rd trimester can actually be dangerous to you and your baby.
Group Pilates classes are designed for the non-pregnant body & include a lot of abdominal work. You're ok to participate in these classes during your 1st trimester but, from the 2nd trimester on, the level of abdominal work in these classes can put you at risk of diastasis (abdominal muscle separation) and will really mess with your abs after baby!
In addition, many traditional Pilates exercises are performed lying flat on your back. When you exercise in this position during the 2nd & 3rd trimester of pregnancy, the weight of your uterus puts pressure on the major blood vessels in your abdomen & interferes with blood flow to your baby. Exercising while flat on your back during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of miscarriage and adverse birth outcomes. Please don't allow anyone to teach exercises to you in this position once you're 16 weeks pregnant or more!
Some Pilates instructors say they can modify the exercises in a general group Pilates class to make them suitable for pregnancy. However, this is actually very hard to do without extensive specialist training and experience. At our studio we've rehabbed many post-natal clients with diastasis because they were given inappropriate exercises in a group class setting during pregnancy.
Your safety is our priority. For this reason we don't allow pregnant clients to participate in group Pilates mat or reformer classes from the second trimester on. However, we do strongly encourage participation in private and semi-private studio lessons where you can work with a program specifically designed for you and your body throughout pregnancy. This will have massive benefits for both you and your baby!
Barre is a dance based conditioning workout. Since most of the class is performed standing (rather than lying on your back) & without intense abdominal loading, barre can be attended throughout pregnancy and restarted roughly 12 weeks after delivery. Barre workouts are an excellent way to maintain cardiovascular fitness during pregnancy.
Please let your barre instructor know if you're pregnant or have recently had a baby so they can provide appropriate modifications for you in the core section of class. All of our barre instructors are Barre 2.0 qualified and have extensive training in safely modifying barre workouts for pregnancy.
You can return to private or semi-private studio Pilates lessons 6 weeks after delivery.
For group Pilates classes, Power Plate & barre lessons, we recommend waiting 12 weeks after delivery.
These same recommendations apply whether you've had a vaginal delivery or delivery by caesarian section. However, if you have any complications affecting your post-natal recovery, check with your doctor or ask at the studio for more specific advice.