Reformer Pilates Modifications during Pregnancy

Aug 1, 2023 | Physio, Pilates

We tailor our reformer pilates classes to suit everyone attending. We have therefore developed a reformer pilates modification guideline to accomodate you throughout your pregnancy.

1st Trimester

If you’re a regular ONFORM client we are happy for you to continue your regular class attendance in your first trimester. This can include Foundation, Form, Core or Atheltic Flow classes if they feel good for you. If you are new to us we would recommend starting at and staying in Foundation. It’s great if you can tell us as soon as your are comfortable sharing your news, as we have a few modifications that can keep you more comfortable:

  • Lying on your stomach: As your bump starts growing this becomes uncomfortable. Instead you’ll have an option to sit on a box or kneel instead.
  • To regress heavy core based exercises towards the end of your 1st trimester: Try to elimante curl ups or progressive core options offered in class. There are other ways to work your abdominals.
  • If any exercises induce lower back, pelvic or hip pain, do let us know as their are options we can offer you, such as more supportive springs, a position change and reducing your range of motion.

2nd Trimester

Exercise modifications are required from the 2nd trimester for a variety of reasons. Most important reason being to accomodate the growing bump. We recommend both new and existing clients continue with Foundation or Prenatal classes so we can make the moficiations that are needed. We find that women in their 2nd Trimester are more intuitive as to what feels good for them. However, we do have additional recommendations for attending classes in your 2nd Trimester:

  • Attend Foundation Classes only.
  • You’ll use a pregnancy wedge when lying down. This will lift you up at an incline. We won’t keep you on your back for a long time, so we’ll limit this to 2-3 exercises at a time.
  • We’ll reduce core loading by giving you options to try that may feel better in your body, and we’ll choose supportive springs when moving on the carriage.
  • We’ll eliminate end range holds, and pulses as these can effect your blood pressure or may place strain on your joints. Instead we’ll encourage you to move in a fuller range of motion.
  • We’ll advise you to reduce your stretches if they bring on discomfort.
  • And of course, we’ll avoid any exercises that pose a fall risk on the machine.

3rd Trimester

We recommend that both new and existing clients continue with Foundation or Prenatal classes as this allows for easier modification. Women in their 3rd Trimester naturally slow down and are more intuitive as to what feels good for them. In addition to the modifications set out for the 2nd Trimester we have the following recommendations to add for the final weeks of pregnancy:

  • You’ll Perform exercises in a stable position and use props like the box, pole or footbar to support your balance and movement.
  • We’ll reduce the lever of long leg movements if hip/pelvic/lower back pain or discomfort is experienced.
  • We’ll reduce your core exercises to doing pelvic tilts or single limb extentions. But don’t worry, there is still plenty of challenge for your lower and upper body.

When to stop group exercise classes

It is recommended that singleton pregnancies stop group classes 1-2 weeks before their due date and multiple pregnancies stop group classes 4-6 weeks before their due date or on LMC’s advice.

Normal deliveries will likely stop classes sooner than planned C-sections as C-sections have a scheduled operation date a couple of weeks before the natural due date.

A Prenatal 1-1

At ONFORM we recommend a 30 min 1-1 session with a trained Pilates instructor or Physio at the start of your 2nd Trimester. We’ll go over the appropriate exercise modifications required in a Reformer Pilates class. We’ll also be able to help you find options that support how your individual body is feeling. An easy reference exercise modification sheet will be provided on completion of the 1-1 session.

Take a look at our class availability here to learn more about we offer.