Pre Natal Pilates

Pre Natal Pilates

As with any workout you do while pregnant, clearance from your doctor is of upmost importance. In general, it is advised that you do not start a new fitness routine during pregnancy. I had been practicing and teaching Pilates well before becoming pregnant, so with clearance from my OBGYN, I continued my routine with the appropriate tweaks and adjustments to accommodate my growing belly and ever-changing body.

Having practiced Pilates at an advanced level, I was sure continuing my workouts while pregnant would be a breeze. Reality check. The exhaustion and nausea of the first trimester hit me, and I quickly realized that acceptance would play a major role in my overall health during pregnancy. Almost overnight, I was in a stranger's body. Within the first 6-8 weeks, my hips and ribcage were two inches wider, my breasts were ginormous, and I couldn't even walk up the stairs to my Pilates studio without huffing and puffing. Just lifting my head off the ground to do the Hundred (the very first exercise in a Pilates mat class) was a major accomplishment. I had to let go of any ideas of what I thought my prenatal fitness routine would look like and accept that I could no longer perform at the level I was accustomed to. It took some adjustment to become attuned to this new body and train completely differently. 


"...I quickly realized that acceptance would play a major role in my overall health during pregnancy..." 

 Well, I managed to lift up my head for this photo of the Hundred, but I had to keep my knees at tabletop. Ugh. Lengthening my legs out to even a high diagonal put way too much pressure on my abdominal wall. Anytime you put pressure on your abdominal wall, you run the risk of increasing the width of your diastasis recti, the separation of muscles that occurs during pregnancy to accommodate for baby. While it's super tempting to do your ab work while pregnant, and even after you've been cleared for workouts post delivery, you'll want to hold off on those crunches. You can actually cause more abdominal separation and could make it harder to ever have abs again. Acceptance and patience, my friends. 

Well, I managed to lift up my head for this photo of the Hundred, but I had to keep my knees at tabletop. Ugh. Lengthening my legs out to even a high diagonal put way too much pressure on my abdominal wall. Anytime you put pressure on your abdominal wall, you run the risk of increasing the width of your diastasis recti, the separation of muscles that occurs during pregnancy to accommodate for baby. While it's super tempting to do your ab work while pregnant, and even after you've been cleared for workouts post delivery, you'll want to hold off on those crunches. You can actually cause more abdominal separation and could make it harder to ever have abs again. Acceptance and patience, my friends. 

 Pilates equipment saved my butt (literally and figuratively) during pregnancy. The resistance from the springs helped since it was hard to use my own body weight to fight gravity. Here I am doing leg circles on the reformer. This is a great exercise in general, but particularly for strengthening hip and pelvic stability -- two things that are very hard to maintain as your body shapeshifts for a whole nine months. 

Pilates equipment saved my butt (literally and figuratively) during pregnancy. The resistance from the springs helped since it was hard to use my own body weight to fight gravity. Here I am doing leg circles on the reformer. This is a great exercise in general, but particularly for strengthening hip and pelvic stability -- two things that are very hard to maintain as your body shapeshifts for a whole nine months. 

The most important advice I can give you regarding Prenatal fitness is to listen to your body. 

This is not the time to push yourself past your limit. You are officially responsible for another human being, and your wishes and desires now come second. Putting this into practice now will help reduce the sheer shock of caring for a little one once he or she (or they!) arrives. 

Movement is important, so if all you can manage is a walk around the block, or breathing exercises while you are pregnant, just keep it moving. You've got quadruple the amount of blood volume and extra fluid that needs to swish around in there. If you can keep up your workouts during pregnancy, it should make it easier to jump back in after delivery. Don't expect to see a huge spike in endurance, strength, or stamina right away. Acceptance and patience will play a big role in the safety and efficacy of your workouts. You'll be very thankful to me and to yourself if you ease back into your workouts. Pushing too hard could result in injury, setting you back even further. 

This may not be the advice you were hoping to hear, but I firmly believe in safe, effective workouts. Remember the big picture here. Your goals should include being your best and healthiest self to be the best mom you can be. Looking good and feeling good has just as much to do with your mind as it does with your body.

 

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