Pilates during Pregnancy

Pilates during Pregnancy


Pregnant? Congratulations! You may have noticed there’s an excess of information about pregnancy and Pilates out there, so in combination, ‘Pregnancy Pilates’ can be pretty overwhelming.

In short, exercise during pregnancy is great! It’s great for you and it’s great for your baby. Though keeping active can be easier said than done, especially with all the symptoms women can experience at different stages. Here are some tips to help you continue your Pilates through each stage of pregnancy.

First Trimester:

Although you may not be showing yet you will most likely be feeling the changes on the inside. Pilates is all about creating a balanced body so it’s an ideal way to safely condition your ever- changing body throughout pregnancy.


  • Let your teacher know as soon as you can, because although you may not have to modify anything at this stage, the hormones start to have an effect on your body early on. This can change how your body manages exercises.

  • Be more present during your sessions. Focus on how you are moving and what you are feeling.

  • Modify your resistance as required. Your instructor will help you out here, but as a guideline you may want more support for stability exercises and slightly lighter weights for your arms and legs if needed.

  • Focus on the foundations of Pilates like stability, mobility and breath work

Second Trimester:

By now your body will be getting used to the new pregnancy hormones and you will also hopefully be feeling more energised! There are some more things to consider now that your pregnancy is further along, but Pilates exercises can always be modified.


  • Positions that make you feel uncomfortable. Some people find lying on their belly is too uncomfortable because there’s a baby in there! Just let your instructor know how you are feeling and we can modify exercises to make them more comfortable.

  • Heavy flexion (ie. crunches). Pilates loves a good sit up or roll through but pregnancy is not the best time to practice it. Too much of a (usually) good thing can cause a strain on your tummy muscles because of the excess pressure. A lot of people start to see and feel the “coning” and this is something we want to avoid.

  • Single leg work if you’re experiencing Sacro-Iliac Joint (SIJ) pain as it can create too much instability in the pelvis.

  • Rotations with heavy weights. The rotational movement places unequal force on the body and can be hard to do safely. Instead, try lightening the resistance and focus on your deep core muscles. 


  • Arm strength, especially the upper back and shoulders. A newborn may not be very heavy but holding them all day can cause fatigue. Now is the time to prepare!

  • Leg work to help you support the growing weight of your baby and your changing posture

  • Glutes work to help support the lower back and hip stability

  • Continue to work on the foundations of Pilates including gentle pelvic floor work

Third Trimester:

Almost there now! This stage is all about preparing your body and mind for birth. Your joints may feel more unstable and some people experience SIJ and lower back pain as your hormones continue to loosen ligaments in preparation for birth. You may also get the return of the dreaded fatigue.


  • Pushing yourself too hard. It’s ok to let your body relax and release, providing it with the support it needs without judgement.

  • Doing exercises where you are lying flat on your back for long period of time. In this position sometime the baby squishes things it shouldn’t and come womens can feel dizzy . Using a wedge to prop you up at an angle is the best modification here, and at the same time, feels a bit luxurious.


  • Gently stretch tired, sore muscles.

  • Keep moving, even a little bit every day will make a big difference.

  • Practice using your breath to help you engage and release pelvic floor muscles.

  • Continue to train your upper back, shoulders, arms, legs and glutes as close to your due date as comfortable.

With Pilates, and some guidance from a qualified instructor, your body will be fighting fit ready for birth and beyond!

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