Pilates Moves Safe For Pregnancy & Postpartum

When you hear about exercises that aren’t safe during and after pregnancy, you’ll often hear that anything that causes extra pressure on the abdomen is unsafe. Hearing, then, that Pilates can be adapted for pregnancy and the 4th trimester can be surprising. After all, one of the most popular moves of a Pilates workout, The 100 exercise, put a tremendous amount of pressure on your abdominal wall.  Pilates can be a wonderful exercise regimen for everyone, but especially for prenatal and postpartum mamas because it teaches and reinforces the importance of breathing along with core control and engagement which is so important for maintaining core and pelvic floor integrity and healing Diastasis Recti.  However, there are some classic Pilates moves that you should hold off on until your Diastasis Recti is corrected and you can properly engage your core and pelvic floor to create tension throughout your midsection without compensation.  Here are some tips to help you safely perform a Pilates program during pregnancy and after baby arrives:

  • Start with a certified instructor It seems almost uncouth to suggest going to an actual exercise class when there’s an entire industry devoted to bringing exercise and fitness right into people’s homes, but if there was ever a time when it’s not a good idea to try and just wing it, it’s during pregnancy. Go to a Pilates class, preferably one that focuses on pregnant women, to make sure that you understand what you’re doing before you try and replicate it at home.
  • Any movement that causes your stomach to bulge or protrude forward should not be It does not help heal diastasis recti, in fact, it often makes it worse. You should also NEVER feel any pain or additional separation while performing Pilates movements.
  • Some movements to avoid include:
    • forward flexion of the spine ( i.e. roll-ups, single/double leg stretches)
    • upper body rotation with reaching (i.e. saw)
    • extreme back extension/arching (i.e. swan dive)
    • upper body flexion with rotation (i.e. criss cross)
  • Focus instead on more gentle moves like hip rolls, clamshells, shoulder bridges, torpedoes, hip rolls, and modified side plank variations.

Like I mentioned earlier, Pilates is a can be a wonderful exercise potion for anyone, especially prenatal and postpartum mamas -when done properly! Full classical Pilates moves should be avoided until your Diastasis Recti is has closed decently well and you can generate tension in the core without struggling.  A good rule of thumb is to have been practicing Pilates for at least a year after giving birth to your baby and once your Diastasis has nicely healed before attempting more difficult moves.


If you want to explore a new exercise during pregnancy, whether it be lifting, Pilates, yoga, or anything else, check in with your medical professional first, and then get in touch with a personal trainer who knows how to help pregnant women stay strong and healthy. VixieMama is particularly targeted towards women who are pregnant, or who have had children. I can help you regain your strength, or find a level of comfort with your body that you never knew could exist. Feel free to contact me to talk about how to start your body on a journey towards a new level of fitness.

How did you modify Pilates to make it safe for your body during pregnancy?  Let me know!

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