Each woman approaches childbirth in a unique way. Together, we will explore which techniques will make your pregnancy and labor as comfortable as possible.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends daily, low impact exercise for all healthy pregnant women. It’s been shown that expectant mothers who exercise have shorter labors, easier deliveries, and greater self-esteem. Pilates, Yoga, and GYROTONIC® are fantastic, non-impact ways of improving overall strength and stability, something that pregnant women lose as their hormones surge and their muscles and joints become hyper mobile.
Pilates focuses on the core which includes the pelvic floor. In a study conducted in Norway, women with pelvic floor training had a lower rate of prolonged second stage labor and experienced less urinary incontinence. Since the pelvic floor muscles form a sling or hammock across the opening of the pelvis, they are responsible for keeping the pelvic organs (bladder, uterus, rectum) in place and functioning correctly. Their strength becomes particularly important during pregnancy when the added weight of the fetus can cause these organs to prolapse or slip through the hammock.
Pilates is not only a great way to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, but it’s also highly adaptable which makes it ideal for pregnancy, a time when women’s bodies are literally changing daily. As the fetus grows, a mother’s center of gravity shifts forward, often throwing her back into a state of lumbar lordosis. This lordosis or curve in the lower back compresses the vertebrae and as the surrounding muscles struggle to compensate, they’re thrown into a state of imbalance which results in pain.
Like Pilates, GYROTONIC® is a great method for strengthening the core muscles of the pelvic floor, abdominals and back, but while Pilates tends to focus on linear movements. GYROTONIC® is very three dimensional and the exercises are often performed seated. Its circular movements are noted for increasing flexibility, overall body strength and mobility.
GYROTONIC® is also nonimpact, but there is a cardiovascular element to these exercises. This makes it an ideal choice for pregnant women. The increase in blood circulation helps prevent swollen legs and varicose veins, energizes the body to combat fatigue, and helps to relieve the constipation that’s often associated with pregnancy. GYROTONIC® is also taught one on one so that the instructor trained in prenatal GYROTONIC® can adjust the exercises to not only fit each individual mother, but each stage of her evolving pregnancy.
Much like other types of childbirth preparation classes, prenatal yoga is a multifaceted approach to exercise that encourages, stretching, strengthening and focused breathing. Research suggests that prenatal yoga is safe and offers countless benefits for both moms-to-be and their babies. Our specialized yoga therapists work one-to-one with women through their entire journey of pregnancy. With each trimester of pregnancy come many changes in the body. Prenatal yoga is specifically formulated to meet the physical demands and challenges pregnancy can bring.
An expectant mother’s abs will stretch over 50% of their original length during pregnancy. It’s therefore imperative that they stay strong. Abdominal training in prenatal exercise focuses on the transversus or deepest layer of the abdominals. A strong transversus supports the growing uterus, decreases pressure on the lower back and pelvic floor, helps control the size of diastasis recti that usually occurs around 20 weeks, and assists the mother in regaining her pre-baby body postpartum. Also, many mothers express worry about “pushing.” Since the transversus is the muscle that aids with pushing, pre-natal exercise can help make a mother feel more confident in her abilities thus reducing anxiety.
Research suggests that prenatal exercise is safe and offers countless benefits for both moms-to-be and their babies. benefits include, but are not limited to:
- Improved sleep
- Reduced stress and anxiety
- Increased strength, flexibility and endurance of muscles needed for childbirth
- Decreased lower back pain, nausea, carpel tunnel syndrome, headaches and shortness of breath
- Decreased risk of preterm labor, pregnancy-induced hypertension, and intrauterine growth restriction