During pregnancy, the abdominals and their connective tissue are designed to stretch and expand, which is a process that is natural and necessary to accommodate the growing uterus and baby. With your body going through numerous physical changes, your workout and fitness goals need to look very different!
Here are some important tips to consider while exercising during your pregnancy:
1. One of the main goals of your workout during pregnancy should be to maintain strong and supportive abdominals without putting too much stress on them.
Strong abs will support your posture, including lower back and pelvis, and will ultimately assist in childbirth. Your body is changing, and your priorities and lifestyle are going to be changing too. Your pilates workout is an opportunity to reflect these changes while you transition.
2. Starting at your second trimester, you should avoid all exercises involving flexion from a supine position.
A good example of flexion is a standard sit-up or "crunch". This movement can worsen diastasis recti, the separation of the rectus abdmoninus muscle at the linea alba. Although this is a common condition, we want to protect and heal the abdominals so that you can regain your pre-baby shape as soon as possible!
3. Be aware of changes in balance!
Your balance is going to continually change throughout your pregnancy, and it is something to be aware of to protect yourself and your baby. The dimensions and weight of your growing uterus influence the musculoskeletal structure of your body. Be kind to your changing body, and adapt as necessary.
4. Have fun!
Let this be an enjoyable time for you. Your pilates workout is an opportunity to let go of all your stress and anxiety, and to just focus on the movement at hand. By investing into your body, you are ultimately investing into your child as well. It is important to take time to care for yourself so that you can be the best mother you can be!
Taking pilates during pregnancy (if cleared by your doctor) can be incredibly beneficial when when it is done correctly. I would suggest doing your research and hiring a nationally certified pilates instructor to coach you through it. As always, be kind to yourself and have fun!
Written by Meaghan Biggio Hampton, Certified Pilates Instructor and perinatal specialist. Read more about Meaghan here.