Staying healthy during pregnancy can be a challenge. When your cravings are less-than-healthy, you're on the receiving end of unsolicited advice, and your changing body makes even simple tasks cumbersome, it's difficult to know what's OK and what isn't. If you're a die-hard yoga and pilates fans, it's normal (not to mention beneficial) to ask your pregnant self if you need to modify your workouts while pregnant, So, is reformer pilates safe for pregnant women? Turns out, like almost everything related to pregnancy and parenthood, it depends.
In terms of training simulators, a reformer is great way to strengthen muscles and train your body without putting added pressure or stress on your spine. Pregnancy Magazine notes that reformer pilates isn't all that different from traditional pilates. In fact, the only substantial change is that the reformer allows for more stretching. The biggest risks in using a reformer during pregnancy, according to the same magazine, would be overstraining and performing exercises where you're meant to be face down or flat on your back. An expectant mother should also take into account which trimester she's in, and be careful not to overdo her workouts, essentially putting unnecessary strain on her already hard-working body.
Fit Pregnancy advises pregnant women to take special care when using a reformer. You shouldn't increase resistance past what you've been used to before pregnancy. If you want to continue to elongate those muscles, and because coordinating your breathing along with the exercises is beneficial to your health, you can continue reformer pilates as long as you take a few precautions. According to Fit Pregnancy, as a pregnant woman you have to be more cautious as to how you contort your body, and how much pressure you might be putting on any part of it. In other words, workout modifications are your friend.
IDEA Health and Fitness Association cites that there are three benefits to using a pilates reformer, saying it "increases postural awareness while strengthening the periphery." That means it can strengthen the muscles that affect your center of gravity. The association goes on to say a reformer offers closed-kinetic chain exercises, which contribute to a safe workout while still offering a full, controlled range of motion. Lastly, a reformer is a way to do pilates pregnant, but comfortably, with its variety of positional options.
When deciding what exercises you can do safely while pregnant, it seems the use of a reformer might be beneficial as long as you're listening to your body and following the advice of an instructor. Where pilates is generally used to get in, or stay in shape in a mindful way, pregnancy pilates — with the use of a reformer — is meant to prepare the body for a safe and healthy delivery.