Prenatal Pilates: How to Safely do Pilates While Pregnant

by | May 23, 2019 | Training

Pilates is a great low-impact exercise you can safely do while you are pregnant.

Most Pilates moves are already gentle enough on the body for pregnancy, but it’s important that you don’t overdo it.

We’ve rounded up 7 of our best tips for doing prenatal pilates.


Prenatal Pilates: Why do Pilates when pregnant?

Pilates is a great exercise that focuses on strengthening your core, which is beneficial for pregnant women.

Pelvic floor exercises are also an important part of prenatal Pilates.

Stronger, more toned abs, back, and pelvic floor will actually be help support a more comfortable pregnancy and delivery.

Pro Tip: Pilates is also a great exercise for new moms to help them get their figures back after the baby is born!

Pilates has everything you need to keep you in shape throughout every trimester of your pregnancy.

Not only will it keep you strong and flexible (which is great for delivery), but it can also help ease your pregnancy pains and discomfort.

Benefits of Prenatal Pilates:

Most Pilates exercises can be modified as your body and abilities change.

Although Pilates involves performing a series of controlled movements, it can be enjoyed throughout your pregnancy because you can modify the moves to accommodate your growing belly or any pain or limitations you may have.

There are six key principles of Pilates:

  • Centering
  • Concentration
  • Control
  • Precision
  • Breath
  • Flow

Working with these principles will not only enhance your workout experience, especially during pregnancy, but they also offer benefits for delivery and following birth.

Pilates boosts flexibility and balance, and prevents back pain by strengthening your pelvic floor and core muscles, which support your spine (and belly!).


7 Tips for Doing Pilates When Pregnant:

Tell Your Instructor:

Before starting your Pilates exercise you should give the instructor a heads up, especially if you aren’t showing yet.

This way, they will understand your unique needs during the routine.

They can also give you extra tips or alternatives for some of the moves to have a more comfortable experience while pregnant.

So many incredible changes happen to your body in each trimester of your pregnancy. Instructors understand the challenges and can help you with prenatal Pilates moves so you can stay fit and feel comfortable at every stage of your pregnancy.


Modify Exercises:

There are certain moves you should avoid during your pregnancy to ensure the safety and health of you and your baby (and to keep you comfortable).

Your instructor should be able to help you with the specifics, but as a rule of thumb we have a few tips for modifying Pilates exercises for pregnancy.

When doing Pilates while pregnant you should avoid moves that require you to crunch or compress, or put too much pressure on your abs.

This can cause something called diastasis (see #7).

You should also avoid moves that require lying on your back, since this can interrupt your baby’s blood supply, and make you super uncomfortable.

Your instructor can help you find a way to modify them.and do five to 10 reps of each move.


Pro Tip: Make sure you warm-up for your exercise too! Try starting with a 20-minute walk. Instead of doing all the reps the instructor does, you might want to stick with five to 10 reps of each move.


Don’t Fall:

As your belly grows during pregnancy, your center of gravity shifts forward, which greatly affects your balance.

Be careful and cautious as you perform balancing exercises, moves that require equipment, and as you get up and down from your mat on the floor.


Keep It Comfortable:

Your ligaments and joints get much looser and more flexible when you are pregnant, which makes it easier to hurt yourself or overstretch during exercise.

Don’t do any moves to that make you feel uncomfortable or put pressure on your joints, as that would just add to the pregnancy pain.

Pro Tip: Work on control, core strength, pelvis and lower back stability, arm exercises etc. instead of some of the extreme stretches.


Stay Hydrated:

You should be staying hydrated during any type of workout or exercise.

Always keep a bottle of water handy and remember to take regular sips when you need to.

It’s also important to drink plenty of water before and after Pilates in order to make sure your body is working properly, thus avoiding dehydration and lack of oxygen to your organs and your baby as you’re breaking a sweat.

Pro Tip: It is recommended that pregnant women drink at least 10-12 cups of water per day, and another 3-4 glasses when exercising.


Listen to Your Body:

Listen to your body!

If a move feels uncomfortable or undoable for you, don’t do it!

You are doing Pilates while pregnant to maintain your’s and your baby’s health, so don’t overdo it.

Monitor your energy levels and make sure you aren’t breathing too hard or are experiencing fatigue etc.



Because Pilates focuses so heavily on core strength, it is possible to overtrain your abs and cause them to separate, which is something called diastasis.

If you do have diastasis, you will want to work with your instructor to modify exercises or put your Pilates on hold until your baby is born.

You should also have it looked at by your doctor so they can make sure the diastasis isn’t worsening before delivery and that you are using your muscles properly.

Remember to listen to your body, take it easy, and enjoy your pregnancy Pilates exercise.

Pilates exercises engage your core muscles, pelvic floor, hips and spine, which are great for helping you develop muscle strength that will not only help in delivery, but also in recovery.

Although Pilates is one of the safest workouts you can do when you’re expecting, be sure to always check with your doctor before you begin a Pilates class or any other workout or exercise program.

While pilates is a fantastic exercise that you can safely do while pregnant always make sure to put your health and your baby’s safety first.

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