Forty Weeks of Fitness | With Chelsea
Pilates during Pregnancy
Pilates, invented by the late Joseph Pilates, is a great form of exercise to strengthen your pelvic muscles, increase shoulder stability, maintain correct posture, and improve balance during your pregnancy. Pilates movements are mostly performed in a prone (referred to as a plank), supine (lying on your back) or side-lying position. Pilates exercises offer you the opportunity to focus on "growing your spine" and correct postural misalignments.
The prone and supine positions lend themselves to strengthening the abdominals, lower back, legs and arms. As your pregnancy progresses, especially beyond the 20th week, you shouldn't lie flat on your back and may find it difficult to hold your body in a strong plank position due to the additional weight you are carrying. Many doctors prefer that you choose side-lying positions beyond this point while others will ask that you simply pay attention to your body and not to lie on your back if it causes any discomfort, difficulty breathing or numbness in your legs. Choose to work one-on-one with a certified Pilates instructor, join a class or purchase a DVD for home use. Pilates will also reinforce controlled deep breathing and Kegel exercises that aid in the birthing process and recovery.
- Speak to your doctor about your desire to stay active during your pregnancy and listen to his/her advice and recommendations.
- Wear appropriate shoes and clothing (layers work great to avoid overheating).
- Monitor your breathing rate and adjust your intensity accordingly.
- Take frequent water breaks to stay hydrated.
- Stop exercising immediately if you feel dizzy, faint or experience heart palpitations.
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