Exercise is one of the best things you can do for the health of you and your unborn child. But there’s a lot of misinformation regarding the safety of exercise during pregnancy. At Zero Gravity Fitness in Ocoee, FL, we’d like to talk about what makes prenatal pilates different and how it can benefit you.
What Makes Prenatal Pilates Different?
Prenatal pilates primarily differs from “traditional” pilates in that it focuses on the transverse abdominis. The transverse abdominis is the deep layer of muscles that support your entire core from back to front and around your sides. Essentially, these muscles corset your waist.
Prenatal Pilates is primarily about building and reinforcing the muscles supporting your core. Traditional pilates focuses on strengthening the muscles responsible for abdominal contraction. Pilates designed for pregnant women prepares them for labor and delivery by emphasizing the connection between mind and body and deep breathing.
What to Expect During the First Trimester
Most expecting mothers feel nauseous, fatigued, and lethargic during the first three months of pregnancy. However, this isn’t an excuse to sit in your recliner and eat peanut butter and pickle sandwiches. Rather, it is the perfect reason to practice prenatal pilates.
During your first trimester, there are no restrictions regarding your exercise routine. The biggest thing you have to worry about is listening to your body. Pilates during the first trimester is incredibly reinvigorating, and you may push yourself too far in excitement. Work on breathing and stability, choosing lighter tension for leg and arm work.
What to Expect During the Second Trimester
During your second trimester, you can expect to feel incredibly energetic, but it is okay if you sometimes only feel like you have “normal” energy levels. We all experience pregnancy differently. But you will definitely feel more energy than you had during your first trimester.
Specially designed pilates during this trimester will focus on seated, standing, and side-lying exercises. Most women feel uncomfortable exercising on their stomach at this point, and you should limit back exercises, particularly forward flexion. Such exercises may compress your aorta and inferior vena cava, causing dizziness.
What to Expect During the Third Semester
During the third trimester, most women start to feel anxious. First-time mothers, in particular, are worried about what the labor experience will be like and how well they will care for their first child. This is the best time for you to relax, breathe deeply, and perform pilates specifically designed to accommodate the shape of your body.
Pilates during your third trimester will primarily focus on standing exercises with a fairly wide, turned-out stance to accommodate your larger belly. Moreover, it will incorporate chest and back stretching to ease back pain caused by breasts that seem to never stop growing.
What to Expect After Delivery
Caring for a baby is an often overwhelming experience. Particularly if you’re struggling to sleep at night, taking care of yourself is more important now than ever. After all, how can you care for your little one if you can’t care for yourself, first? There will be days you feel like you can’t tear yourself away from your infant to exercise.
However, we strongly encourage our clients to participate in weekly postnatal pilates sessions. These sessions focus on common postpartum issues, like shoulder tension and extreme lower back pain. The deep breathing implemented in these sessions will ground you, energize you, and provide you with a clear head so you can take better care of your child.
What Other Benefits Are Provided By Pilates?
Learn How to Listen to Your Body
We seem to be born with the innate ability to listen to our bodies. Children never push themselves to the point of injury when they are playing. It isn’t until they get older and feel the need to compete that they injure themselves during physical activity. Pilates during pregnancy teaches you how to release your competitive attitude and listen to your body.
If you feel particularly nauseous lying on your back during the first month of pregnancy, don’t do it. If you feel fine lying on your stomach when you are seven months pregnant, that’s okay, too. We all experience pregnancy differently. Don’t push yourself when you feel fatigued and try to not let yourself feel thirsty. Connecting with your intuition will improve your quality of life drastically.
Strengthen Your Mind and Body
A major component of pilates during pregnancy is deep breathing. Deep breathing grounds and centers you, allowing you to think more rationally than you ever have, even with the flood of hormones rushing through your body. This breathing technique can be used at any time and will help you through any emotional time you’re having.
Moreover, pilates during pregnancy helps you learn how to balance throughout your daily life as you feel off-kilter due to your growing, changing body. It strengthens supporting muscles to prevent or ease pain, and the breathing techniques make delivery easier.
Learn More Today
Would you like to learn more about prenatal pilates? If so, we can help. To learn more, contact us today at Zero Gravity Fitness in Ocoee, FL to schedule your initial consultation. For your safety and comfort, we focus on low-impact exercises and omit exercises that will reduce blood flow to your fetus.
We will walk you through exercises that are safe for you and your baby, regardless of your current stage of pregnancy. When your little one is born, we can help you with postnatal pilates, too!