Pilates is famous for being a great form of exercise during pregnancy. Not only does it keep you in shape during pregnancy, but it can keep traditional aches and pains associated with pregnancy at bay. Through Pilates, you can stay strong and fit throughout your pregnancy. Pilates can help you stay connected to your changing body and improve posture. Also it can help get your pregnancy figure back quickly after delivery.
Always speak to your doctor first before commencing or starting Pilates. We all experience pregnancy differently, some woman feel fine throughout their first trimester and are able to continue their Pilates workouts, other feels fatigues; having morning sickness, back discomfort or other symptoms.
In your first trimester you still want to work your abdominals to keep your strength up. If you find that the chest lifts/crunches are not comfortable because you are experiencing back pain or have lower hip or abdominal ligament pain the day after, don't do it.
Sitting on a stability ball is another way of working the abs.
Make sure you have:
- Water breaks
- Use bathroom when necessary
- Ventilation and cool area to exercise in
- Don't push through workout
- Don't be hard on yourself
After your session, drink water and have a snack to keep energy levels up. Pay attention to how you feel later that day and especially the next day. If you have any pain or are exhausted, inform your instructor.
After your first trimester the Pilates workout should change significantly. The changes should include:
- No rounding of the spine
- No lifting the head off the floor
- Focus on strengthening the transverse abdominals and the oblique's
- Don't spend a long time on your back (puts the full weight of the uterus on the spin and the inferior vena cava)
- Avoid inversions
- When in doubt leave it out! (Any discomfort around your belly or pelvis stop and communicate to your instructor)
- Extreme balances on equipment not ideal you could fall off.
During the course of pregnancy, the abdominal muscles will stretch over 50 percent of their original length. Strengthening the abdominal muscles is critical during pregnancy to help support the growing uterus, decrease lumbar compression and reduce pelvic pressure. Woman who practice safe abdominal strengthening during pregnancy have less back pain, less pelvic pain, better mobility, easier deliveries and faster recoveries.
During pregnancy a hormone is present, called relaxin, which helps to increase laxity of all the muscles, joints, ligament and joint capsules. The purpose of this hormone is to increase mobility of the tissues so that the body is able to accommodate the rapid fetal growth and prepare the body for delivery. The abdominal muscles are most directly affected by the growing fetus and have the ability to stretch significantly as the fetus grows.
Two important things during pregnancy are your own physical health and mental well being. Exercising as much as possible is your goal. But remember what may be possible now is likely less than usual. Try to do what you can when you can. Don't give up exercise completely, you will regret it. Listen to your body, work with your instructor, figure out what feels best and go for it!