Prenatal Pilates

By: proctor - January 31, 2008
It is sometimes overwhelming to sort through the advice women receive when they are pregnant. This especially includes exercise. Michelle Moss of Pregnancy Without Pounds (please click here for the website) wrote a simple newsletter today steering expectant moms in the right direction concerning Pilates and general rules-of-thumb to remember as you engage in physical activity during pregnancy. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (Click ACOG site to visit the ACOG site) site is a good reference as well as they stay up to date on what research finds is suitable during pregnancy. Above all, talk to you doctor and listen to your body. Some women run 6 miles a day until they deliver (only because they did that before they were pregnant) and some women are put on bed rest by their doctor and told not to life more than one pound. Be smart, be patient, and enjoy this miracle that is happening to you!

Gone are the days of pumping weights and burning mega calories.

These days, the workout of choice for some of the hottest celebrity moms is the ART of STRETCHING.

We see this today in the form of Yoga and Pilates which so many of you are already doing.

In fact, lately I've been receiving LOTS of emails asking if “it's OK to do Pilates during pregnancy?”

Personally, I don't have a lot of direct experience with Pilates, but based on my research and my personal training background - here's my opinion: For the most part, I'd say "yes" it is okay, BUT you must modify your workout so that you do NOT harm either you or your baby.

My best advice for you is to find a "Pilates for Pregnant Women" class. If that's not possible, make sure that your instructor is trained in pregnancy so he/she can show you HOW to modify your workout.

In general you want to be cautious of the following:

1. Be careful with the abdominal work. Too much can strain your abdominal muscles - and you don't want any abdominal splitting!

Overworking your abdominals can also cause back pain, especially if you're not doing it the right way - so make sure EVERYTHING is supervised. I'd be very cautious here.

2. Avoid lying on your back as much as possible ESPECIALLY if it makes you feel dizzy - this will compromise oxygen to your baby.

3. Make sure you always have something close by to grab on to if you need support. During pregnancy your balance and coordination are compromised, so unless you feel really comfortable, avoid any unsupported exercises.

4. Avoid any inverted exercises where your hips are higher than your chest, this will cause too much blood to rush to your head.

5. Avoid going up on your tip toes, this may cause cramping in your calves (something that is VERY painful during pregnancy - trust me, I had a couple of those excruciating leg cramps!)

What I LIKE about Pilates is that:

• It's controlled;
• It's supervised;
• You can modify your moves;
• It builds core strength;
• It's slow (so you can really listen to your body!);
• It teaches excellent breathing and concentration;
• It encourages excellent body awareness (very important for easy
labor!); and
• It's social - you get to talk to other (pregnant) women.

So have FUN doing Pilates, find a prenatal class or an instructor that’s trained in pregnancy modification, and make sure you listen to your body at all times - it's always your best guide. And of course, always get your doctor's okay before you begin!

About the Submitter


I have been an ACE certified personal trainer since 2000 who has trained over 3000 hours. I specialize in pre- and post-natal fitness, stretching, running, and weight loss. Yoga is also a passion for me and a way of life. I received my Yoga Alliance Teacher Certification in India and love to share the calmness, strength, and openness that yoga offers to people of all ages and abilities.

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