Pregnancy is a time where a woman's body goes through major physiological, emotional and anatomical changes. The added weight, hormonal changes, fluid retention and ligament laxity can make even the fittest woman aware that she is no longer in her "normal" non-pregnant body.
Certain exercises during pregnancy can help the mother-to-be cope with her bodily changes and minimize any significant discomfort she may be experiencing. According to Lindsay Fella-Berry, owner and Pilates instructor at the Perfect Pilates Studio in Westfield, Indiana, there are three major factors that need to be addressed to make a prenatal exercise program complete:
- Good posture
- Abdominal strengthening
- Pelvic floor strengthening
"Pilates is an ideal method of training for a pregnant woman, being that these major factors are integral in the method," says Fella-Berry. "In addition, it is advised in Pilates to emphasize breath, focus, and awareness."
During the first trimester, Fella-Berry focuses on establishing a routine that will see the expectant mother through the rest of the pregnancy. Exercises will specifically work to correct positioning of the spine, strengthen abdominal muscles, stabilize the pelvis, and become well-acquainted with the pelvic floor muscles.
"This is a time when you want to start becoming aware of your body and its strengths and weaknesses, and Pilates will help you to do this while enabling you to prepare your body for labor," Fella-Berry says. "During this trimester, you want to establish a routine that will both strengthen, stretch, and prepare your mind for the changes to come within."
Lindsay Fella-Berry also answers a few questions about Pilates for pregnancy:
Q: Is it safe to start pilates while I'm pregnant?
A: Absolutely you can do pilates - even if you've never tried it prior to pregnancy. Although, it is ideal to start Pilates in the 1st Trimester, it can be started at any stage and still be completely safe.