- Can pregnant women practice Pilates?
- Benefits of Pilates for pregnant women
- Dangerous and safe movements
- How to Practice Pregnant Women
- What pregnant women should consider when practicing Pilates
- Pilates exercises for pregnant women: 1st trimester
- Features of Pilates in the 2-3 trimester
Pilates during pregnancy is the best solution for women who have decided not to reduce their physical activity while carrying their baby. The basic exercises of this type of Pilates are aimed at strengthening the muscles of the pelvic floor, abdomen, back, which is extremely important for the future mother. It is from these muscles depend on the balance of the body, good posture and strength. Such exercises can develop the muscles that support the back and pelvis as the load increases.
During pregnancy, they become deformed as the growing baby increases tension on the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles. In addition, the hormone relaxin acts as a “softener” of the rigid ligaments that connect the bones throughout the body. During this period, damage is inevitable if you overstretch the ligaments, which stretch more than usual. Pilates for pregnant women can help minimize the risks of negative effects of these processes.
Can pregnant women practice Pilates?
During the period of pregnancy, it is possible to practice Pilates both to women who previously trained in this system, and to those who, before the onset of pregnancy, had no idea what fitness is all about. Of course, if the gynecologist does not see any contraindications. It is important to understand that expectant mothers should not take part in general groups. It is necessary to attend specialized Pilates classes for pregnant women, as not all exercises can be performed during pregnancy.
It is better to train with a professional trainer in the gym on an individual program designed for the pregnant woman, taking into account her state of health, level of fitness, and duration of pregnancy. Provided the program is properly designed, Pilates for pregnant women is not only absolutely safe, but also useful. However, it is important to take into account that during the workout a woman should drink enough and take rest breaks.
Benefits of Pilates for pregnant women
The main purpose of Pilates classes is to strengthen important muscles that will help a woman expecting a baby to avoid problems with body functions that occur during pregnancy and after delivery. The benefit of Pilates classes during pregnancy is the opportunity to strengthen the muscles of the back, abdomen and pelvic floor with low-impact exercises. At this stage it will reduce the risk of the most common discomforts.
The benefits of this author’s program can also include:
- Improving circulation – will avoid the fluid retention in the legs and feet that occurs during this period;
- toning pelvic floor and abdominal muscles – exercises allow you to maintain good health even after childbirth, especially if you combine Pilates with Kegel exercises;
- gaining breathing control skills – important for the developing fetus, helps in the birthing process.
Dangerous and safe movements
Pilates in pregnancy has a number of limitations by trimester of pregnancy.
For example, in the early stages of pregnancy, back rolls are appropriate to relieve tension on the muscles of the lower back. After the 1st trimester, due to pressure on the abdomen, specialists do not recommend to perform exercises lying on the back, as it can lead to a feeling of dizziness because of great pressure on the vena cava.
In the 2nd trimester there are practically no restrictions, because this period is considered to be the most favorable for pregnancy.
In the 3rd trimester of pregnancy, future mothers should use a pillow, putting it under their hips or buttocks when exercising. You should not do exercises during the entire time you are carrying your baby:
- with excessive stretching because of the risk of injury;
- exercises performed on the abdomen;
- that require straining the abdominal muscles;
- that require holding your breath.
How to Practice Pregnant Women
Having made the decision to practice Pilates for pregnant women, attend regularly – 2-3 times a week to avoid stress on the body caused by exercising after a long break. However, the recommendation on the frequency of classes applies mostly to beginners. Those who attended classes before pregnancy can practice more often. The average duration of a workout is about half an hour. It starts with a warm-up with breathing exercises.
The main part includes exercises that are chosen and arranged in order by the trainer, taking into account all the individual features. He also helps them to perform correctly. The final part is aimed at relaxation and also includes breathing exercises, as in yoga. Important technique exercises, especially – breathing. Musical accompaniment – slow and relaxing, movements – smooth, with a concentration on the work of the muscles and their stretching.
What pregnant women should consider when practicing Pilates
When practicing Pilates for pregnant women, the woman must constantly keep her own well-being under control. It is important to monitor, even in a healthy 2 trimester, does not breathing becomes rapid, does not appear dizziness, a feeling of weakness. It is worth to start exercising not earlier than one hour after meals. Exercises in the supine position are completely excluded from the training program, even in the 1st trimester. To avoid the risk of hypothermia and subsequent colds, Pilates classes, as well as yoga, are recommended to be performed on a fir mat or gymnastic mat.
It is necessary to be careful when exercising for balance, when bringing the range of any movement to the limit. Do not try too hard even if you feel well, otherwise there will be more harm than good. The best posture for exercises in all trimesters is on your knees, leaning your hands on the floor.
Pilates during pregnancy is not without certain risks, despite the fact that it is one of the most recommended types of physical activity for women expecting a baby. Therefore, a pregnant woman should visit a doctor in advance, and exercises should be performed only under the guidance of a professional. Certain movements both in the early and in the 3rd trimester are forbidden, you can perform only those that the specialist will allow.
In certain cases, Pilates is not recommended for pregnant women. These include:
- The existing threat of miscarriage;
- Risk of placenta previa;
- Severe course of toxicosis;
- A history of miscarriages and premature births;
- Occasional bleeding;
- Diagnosis of polyhydramnios;
- presence of high blood pressure;
- diagnosed disorders of the cardiovascular system;
- cramping pain at the end of class.
Pilates exercises for pregnant women: 1st trimester
Exercises in the 1st trimester are carried out under the supervision of an instructor, so that the wrong load does not provoke a miscarriage. Pilates exercises for pregnant women can be as follows:
- Standing, legs slightly apart, arms along the body, take a chest deep breath until the ribs “spread”. Then breathe in rhythmically with your belly, pulling the spine up.
- Standing, tilt your head to the left and right, back and forth, rotate from right to left and back, making sure that your head is not thrown back.
- With arms straightened out to the sides, take a deep breath, “pulling” the body. Breathe out, lowering your arms.
- Standing on all fours, gently lift the right hand and the left leg at the same time, then the left hand and the right leg.
- In the same pose, do “cat” flexions.
- Sitting in the lotus pose or other comfortable pose, straighten the back, do right-left turns.
Features of Pilates in the 2-3 trimester
The most comfortable period for Pilates classes for pregnant women is the 2nd trimester. At this term, perform exercises from the complex for the 1st trimester with the addition of special movements that help the fetus to take the correct position in the uterus – the head presentation. For example, standing on all fours, resting on your knees and elbow joints, breathing deeply and evenly, stand in this position for 10-15 minutes.
You can roll the ball with your buttocks from side to side while sitting on a fitball with legs wide apart for 10-15 minutes. Strengthening the pelvic floor contributes to 10-minute exercise on the ball with tension
The pelvic floor can be strengthened by doing a 10-minute exercise on the ball, with the perineum tensing to its highest point and then slowly relaxing. If you have any discomfort, you should immediately stop the exercise and go to the doctor. The load is reduced in the 3rd trimester. Pilates classes for pregnant women are carried out if there are no contraindications.