Today we will talk about an issue that still generates many doubts among Pilates instructors and even among pregnant women themselves – pregnancy pilates.
Yes, even future mommies can practice this great form of exercise that can benefit you and your bun in the oven. This kind of activity, just like every exercise, can come with consequences and side effects. It’s crucial to have an instructor who specializes in handling pregnant women. Pilates during pregnancy can have many benefits and functions.
Many doctors believe that the primary function of Pilates in pregnancy is to lengthen. And we don’t even need to affirm that they are very wrong with that concept.
This article will explain how we can work on stretching in Pilates classes during pregnancy and how pilates will affect your life during pregnancy.
Adapting the Pregnancy Pilates Class
We know very well that during Pilates classes in pregnancy, we will work on both mobility and stability of the spine and pelvis, strengthening the upper and lower limbs and abdomen.
We do not forget above all to prioritize the principles of Pilates and the alignments. And not to lose the habit of highlighting for you … the simplicity of the exercises, looking for the movement’s quality.
When we say that we need to do classes adapted to each pregnant woman’s physical condition, it does not mean stretching or light exercises, mainly for sedentary women. We suggest that we have to think of suitable and beneficial objectives and activities for each student.
Physical Activity During Pregnancy
Pregnancy Pilates classes require a certain amount of physical activity. Physical activities during pregnancy are very beneficial and cause different influences on the mother’s body.
Exercise reduces and prevents low back pain due to postural correction in women. It will also contribute to the adaptation of the new posture, thus improving the pregnant woman’s mobility during physical activities and daily work.
With the regular practice of physical exercises, the pregnancy period will have several benefits such as:
Cardiovascular Stress Reduction – Heart Rate Reduction
Greater Circulating Blood Volume
Greater Oxygenation Capacity
Lower Blood Pressure
Prevention of Thrombosis and Varicose Veins
Reducing the Risk of Diabetes in Pregnancy
Decrease in edema
The advantages of physical activity during pregnancy also benefit the emotional aspects, promoting more self-confidence, increased self-esteem, and the feeling of well-being.
Stretching in Pilates in Pregnancy
Stretching is a crucial factor when it comes to starting any physical activity. It helps the body prepare for any sudden or slow movements during the exercise routine. No instructor will let you perform any exercise without a stretching exercise before a class starts.
Returning to the care with stretching, we have already spoken in other matters about the effects of relaxation from the beginning of pregnancy. The concentration of this hormone in the joints of pregnant women will leave them quite unstable. Pregnancy Pilates can be great but should be conducted with care.
For this reason, when choosing the stretches to be performed, it is crucial to consider the motor profile before pregnancy, the postural evaluation, the physical conditioning, and the most suitable positioning.
It would be ideal for this pregnant woman to be her student before she thought about creating a life. This way, she would know her limitations or alterations before pregnancy, facilitating her choice of the appropriate exercises.
For example, if that student were already flexible before, there would be no problem doing some more advanced stretching, safely and without risk of falls.
We are not forgetting some common pathologies such as public and sacroiliitis, which in some cases, can worsen the picture, in the case of insisting on stretching.
We must be careful with the pelvis’s misalignment during the execution of the movement.
Mainly due to pelvic instability, which makes compensations, which can decrease the effectiveness of the stretch and increase the chances of injury.
In other words, we will encourage the maintenance of the alignment of the neutral pelvis throughout the execution of the movement.
Often, the students want to do greater amplitude, and for that, they end up not caring about the alignment. Therefore, it is up to the instructor to underline the importance of increasing flexibility.
Most pilates instructors use different positions to lengthen, mainly lower limbs, kneeling, standing, sitting, or supine.
We recommend the kneeling positions, and they manage to work the mobility of the hip well and increase the flexibility of all muscles involved in the pelvis.
Let’s now think about how to fit the stretches in each trimester of pregnancy. In other words, we have to think about the real benefits of these exercises throughout each trimester of pregnancy, each one with its particularity.
As we mentioned above, we need to think about how to work in the different phases of pregnancy.
In the first trimester, it will not always be a phase in which we will be dealing with pregnant women. Because it is a healthy practice among doctors, as a form of protection, to limit physical activity until completing 12 weeks.
However, we will still have the possibility of having a pregnant student from the first term. And even though the biomechanical alterations so obvious have not yet appeared, we will have the presence of the pregnancy hormones acting on that student’s body.
The hormones that make this organism have to adapt with all those alterations that initially seem to be harmless can bring some disorders throughout the trimesters.
We will also have to consider when choosing exercises that some women have common symptoms in this phase.
For example, dizziness and indisposition, therefore we must choose positions that do not worsen these symptoms, such as kneeling, sitting, or standing stretches. Pregnancy pilates comes with some consequences. Thus, an instructor is needed for supervision.
In that term, the stretching is part of the warm-up and the end of the class.
We advise you to go from two to three, at the beginning and the same number at the end of the class. If the student is willing, we can explore the prone position, but carefully, due to the breasts’ sensitivity.
The second trimester is the time of disposition. Normally, the dizziness and indisposition are over, they are more adapted, physically and psychologically with the pregnancy.
We must take advantage of the stabilizing exercises to work a lot and fit the stretches, always remembering the care with the great amplitudes.
From the middle to the end of that trimester, around 24 weeks, we must avoid the supine position without elevation for a long time, due to the compression of the vena cava.
But we can use seated, kneeling, or standing positions, or even the positioning wedge for trunk lift.
In the latter, we were able to perform the stretches with the lower limbs elevated, which is extremely beneficial in that phase, since it is common around the third trimester that they begin to complain of swelling in the lower limbs.
And in the final stretch of this execise routine, with intense transformations, mainly from 33/34 weeks, stretching will be the emphasis of the classes.
You perceived that we are going to use these exercises throughout pregnancy, but it is at this time that they will be widely used.
But we must not neglect the work of stabilization and strengthening of upper and lower limbs. They will be very important to keep this pregnant woman healthy and without major discomfort.
We will prepare that body for delivery, even if that female student opts for a cesarean delivery. You will benefit from these stretches to keep your body flexible and pain free.
We will choose stretching exercises for the hamstrings, adductors, abductors, piriformis, gluteus, quadriceps, psoas, pectorals and trunk lateral chain.
We should not stretch the anterior chain of the trunk, which is already quite relaxed.
And thinking about assisting normal delivery, use a lot of unilateral exercises that work as a sieve to facilitate the fitting of the baby, and squatting, as long as the students do not feel discomfort in that position.
Have we offered you enough information? Have we convinced you to start practicing pilates during pregnancy?
Pregnancy pilates is not for every mommy to be. That’s why, before you make a decision to start practicing pilates you need to consult your doctor to evaluate if your body is ready for that kind of physical activity.
Exercise can do amazing things to your body and overall health for you and the baby. During pregnancy your body will go through so many transformations and might need a little boost from your side to give it a hand in functioning perfectly.