Trisha - posted on 09/19/2010 ( no moms have responded yet )
Exercise, specifically "core work", (i.e., Pilates) when initiated prior to entry into one's 2nd trimester hugely impacts the fiber structure of the abdominal muscles; the transversus abdominals in particular as they lay laterally across the abdomen, directly over the womb and flatten when contracted.
Pilates provides deep engagement resulting in a 'muscle girdle' of sorts circumventing the mid trunk to include the waist and low back. Pilates can reduce back and low abdominal strain associated with pregnancy as well as strengthen the pelvic floor.
A personal client of ours who had religiously practiced Pilates during pregnancy unexpectedly found herself undergoing a C-section, she was proud to inform us that her attending physician was alarmingly impressed with the density of her underlying ab fibers. The fibers actually appeared tightly knit.
Those women who practice Pilates while pregnant not only have a more productive experience during labor & delivery, they have a far easier time restoring their abs postpartum.
So, YES! Such core work really DOES work! Just make sure your attending Pilates practitioner is fully certified in both Apparatus and Mat and has an understanding of the physiological impacts of pregnancy.