Pregnancy Physiotherapy


“Physical activity during the nine months of pregnancy is no longer just a recommended behaviour,” says Dr. Jennifer Blake, CEO of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, “it is a specific prescription to reduce the complications of pregnancy, and to optimize the health of the mother and her baby.”

Research shows the benefits of exercise include fewer newborn complications, a reduced number of Caesarean sections or instrumental deliveries, and fewer incidences of urinary incontinence, excessive weight gain, and depression.

The Canadian Guideline for Physical Activity throughout Pregnancy (2018) specifies the following health benefits for pregnancy:

(1) fewer newborn complications (i.e., large for gestational age); and (2) maternal health benefits (i.e., decreased risk of preeclampsia, gestational hypertension, gestational diabetes, Caesarean section, instrumental delivery, urinary incontinence, excessive gestational weight gain, and depression; improved blood glucose; decreased total gestational weight gain; and decreased severity of depressive symptoms and lumbopelvic pain).

You can read the full guideline here on the many benefits of exercise and pregnancy.

Screening for Pregnancy Physio at Pilates4Physio

We use the ParmedX screen to determine if you are safe for exercise. It is a great screening tool to educate you about safe exercise and also to ensure it is safe to exercise.

We are able to provide pre and post-pregnancy physiotherapy with Pilates.
The primary focus is exercise-based, using the classic Pilates equipment. Some of the benefits are preventing lower back or pelvic pain, maintaining strength while your body adapts to the changes, and having someone guide you through safe exercise. We can also provide you with guidance on your cardio exercise and how to do this safely. Pregnancy physiotherapy is about providing you with evidence-based advice on exercise.

Cardio Programs at Pilates4Physio

We provide advice and screening for cardio exercise. We can guide you on how to monitor your heart rate and level of exertion. We will also provide advice on what type of cardio you should do and how to modify it as you progress through your pregnancy. Most cardio you can do outdoors, in a pool, or on a treadmill. You should check with your specialist about running and when you should stop in the pregnancy.

Pelvis and Lower Back Programs

The pelvis and lower back can be painful in pregnancy. The laxity of ligaments and additional weight can stress the sacroiliac joints and lumbar vertebrae and discs. We guide you through mobility and strengthening programs and give you a home program to manage these issues. Pregnancy physio involves using the classic Pilates equipment. After four months, exercises should not be performed lying on your back. The pilates equipment allows us to modify these to side-lying, all fours, sitting, and standing work.

Pain Management

If you have pain in some of your joints, we can treat this with a combination of gentle exercise and manual therapy. Pain science shows that we can turn off pain with light movement and resistance. See our page on how we manage pain. The reformer and Pilates chair allow you to strengthen and stabilize your lower back and pelvis without over-loading painful joints. Taping the lower back and sacroiliac joints can reduce pain. Massage can be included in manual therapy as well.

a pregnant woman doing pilates


Can I start a physio program if I have never exercised before?

Yes, you can. We just suggest that you get the clearance from your GP or specialist first. Most individuals will benefit from exercise, even if they haven’t been a regular in the past.

Is exercise safe for my baby?

Yes, it is. There are some medical and pregnancy-related contraindications not to exercise. You should get clearance from your GP or specialist first. Exercise is not generally harmful to the baby or you, outside of these medical issues.

I don’t usually do cardio. Can I start when I am pregnant?

Yes, most of the time it is fine. Certain pregnancy complications may prohibit you from doing cardio exercise. We can screen you and advise if a referral to your specialist is necessary.