There’s kind of a tension surrounding the discussion of exercise and pregnancy, have you experienced it? While there is cause for concern with some women, most can continue their regular exercise routines until labor day with some modification and care. Isn’t that fabulous news? Talk to your provider and bring in permission to begin a prenatal routine, and you’re well on your way to a healthy and energetic pregnancy (it can be done!).
If you’re planning to become pregnant, or already there, the benefits you will gain from a dedicated Pilates practice to prepare for and throughout pregnancy are many. Your body will be rocked by pregnancy; it is wonderful, delightful, and hard work! Even if mum’s the word for a while at the beginning, please always tell your Pilates instructor as soon as you find out the exciting news. We take great care to plan your sessions accordingly through each trimester, but also on each individual day.
Your first trimester won’t change much, unless you’re suffering serious morning sickness or fatigue. But by about week 16-19 we start to transition into true prenatal Pilates, staying off of the back and finding other creative ways to get the whole body working. The second trimester most women find exhilarating; bellies round and energy is back. We’ll focus on abdominal and back strength to support the growing baby, lateral breath work that targets breath into the ribs and the back, and we’ll work to alleviate aches and pains that begin to crop up (as well as find ways to keep them at bay). Safe range of motion and safe levels of resistance ares key as the hormones in the body relax the joints. By the third trimester, movement becomes slower, and aches and pains can become truly bothersome, breathing is much more difficult the last few weeks, and the body can tire very easily. Your sessions will focus on breath, finding room in the lungs, stretching, and giving movement to the body. The last few weeks are very dedicated to your self-care.
I practiced Pilates diligently throughout my third pregnancy, and it was one of my favorite seasons of life to date. I felt fabulous (minus that darn sciatic nerve at the end)! I practiced until the day baby girl showed up. I could even see abdominal definition on the sides of my belly until the day I gave birth. I used stretching and breath work from my Pilates sessions all through labor, and it made an enormous difference on my stamina and confidence in giving birth.
Stay tuned for Part Two in this series, Pilates and the Postnatal Body.