What’s the best pregnancy exercise? Pregnancy Pilates vs. Yoga…

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Did you ever wonder what THE best pregnancy exercise is?  Did you ever worry that your old go to exercise plan might not be safe or the most effective exercise to bust out when you’ve got a baby on board?  Well here’s the scoop on the 2 most popular pregnancy exercise classes that people practice in pregnancy.

It’s game on…

Pregnancy Pilates vs. Yoga

Pregnancy Pilates

So here’s the dirt…

  • it focuses on core abdominal strength
  • it’s fabulous for increasing pelvic floor strength
  • it gives you rockin’ posture
  • it is kind to your joints
  • it’s easy to do when carrying a few old injuries
  • it’s super safe in pregnancy
  • it prevents abdominal muscles separation in pregnancy
  • it’s the #1 recommended exercise after delivery

As a women’s health physio and Pilates studio owner, you might think me biased toward Pilates but I’ve gotta come clean and say “I really LOVE YOGA!”

But… (did you hear the BUT coming??)

BUT, during pregnancy the ligaments of the pelvis, spine (and the ENTIRE bod actually) are extra flexible.  This means that they can easily get overstretched and that means EEEK! permanently overstretched and sloppy ligaments and joints!  So if you have low back pain, sacroiliac joint pain or hip pain in pregnancy YOGA is definitely A NO GO ZONE for you.  You are at risk for injury and at risk for creating a pelvic instability which means pain and waddling and not a whole lot of fun in pregnancy.

Pilates on the other hand, does not stretch joints to end range of motion and Pilates focuses on strengthening muscles around the pelvis and lumbar spine to increase stability and decrease pain.  Niiiice! It also has the bonus effect of strengthening the pelvic floor as well as the deep core abdominal muscles.  So when you do Pilates in pregnancy you are not only strengthening up the sling of muscles around your baby belly and back, but you are also zhuzhing up your pelvic floor muscles as a bonus!  WIN WIN!!

Yoga for pregnancy

Yoga is beautiful for relaxation, diaphragmatic breathing, meditation and flexibility but it involves lots of sitting with legs crossed, exercisng in squatting and lunge positions which are actually activities that I ask patients to steer clear of during pregnancy, especially when they have a cranky pelvis.  These positions open the sacroiliac joints to their end range of motion and the hip joints into maximum external rotation.  During pregnancy wide squats, lunge positions and sitting cross-legged can cause excessive strain on the sacroiliac joints and make them HYPERmobile, OUCH!

TO YOGA OR NOT TO YOGA…

Bottom line, my physio advice is to save yoga for your postnatal exercise program and to use it only if you have a pain-free pelvis.  Listen to your body and if you feel fine doing yoga postnatally… a big YAY for you!

So how do you avoid injury during pregnancy?  Be ahead of the pack and follow these rules to stay healthy and pain free during your pregnancy.

Pelvic Precautions

Pretend that you are wearing a

TIGHT MINISKIRT at all times!!!

  • Sit down to put on and take off pants
  • Avoid kid lifting!!
  • Avoid long strides & careful hill walking
  • Avoid sitting cross legged on floor
  • Careful getting out of the car, keep knees together
  • Don’t squat with knees wide
  • Don’t take stairs 2 at a time (go up sideways as needed)
  • Knees together when rolling over in bed (or squeeze a pillow between knees)
  • Roll to your side first when getting into and out of bed
  • Don’t sleep in stride position, keep the knees together
  • When swimming avoid breaststroke kicking
  • Careful with sexual positions
  • Avoid wearing high heels
  • Careful vacuuming, or better yet, have your partner do it!!

If you are ready for a super safe and super effective pregnancy Pilates program Body Beyond Birth is the one.  It’s a physio recommended, physio designed and physio instructed Pregnancy Pilates program that you and your body will love, go to our home page to join our squad today!