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Pilates and Pregnancy Tips

Posted on June 06 2013

We sat down today with the woman who saved my body after baby number 2 and asked her what some helpful moves would be to stay limber and toned during and after pregnancy. 

Here is what Sherry Abdi, owner of Firm & Fit Pilates had to say:  "If you are pregnant, exercising might not be your top priority however it can sure make things go smoother in the delivery room and can help significantly with postpartum depression!

Doing some light pilates moves, kegel exercises and pelvic floor exercises can really loosen up the joints, muscles and tendons in your hips making it easier for baby and mommy in the delivery room. 

Chest Opener

This exercise stretches out tight shoulders and opens the chest. (These muscles are usually tight through pregnancy due to the weight of the belly and the upper body compensating.)

  1. Sit crossed legged on the floor or a chair, (whatever is most comfortable.)
  2. Holding a rolled up towel in your hands, extend your arms in front of your chest with the towel taught, pulling your hands away from each other.
  3. On the exhale, take arms over head and continue past your ears until you comfortably feel the stretch in your chest and shoulders.
  4. Hold this position for four breath cycles, then bring your arms back to the start position on a exhale.
  5. Repeat 5 times.

Side Stretch

This exercise stretches out the side of the waist, obliques and lats.  This can really help take some pressure off of your lower back as well due to baby or weight gain.

  1. Start in the same position as the chest opener with the towel in your hands.
  2.  Exhale, reaching over to the side, placing your hand closest to the floor on the mat.
  3. Keeping the towel taught, pull your hands away from each other, increasing the stretch in the side of the torso.
  4.  Hold this position for four breath cycles. Return to starting position on an exhale, focusing on the obliques to bring you back to an erect position.

Spine Stretch

This exercise  stretches and strengthens the upper-back and activates your core muscles, decreasing back pain and helping correct your pregnancy posture.

  1.  Start on the floor, sitting up tall with your legs shoulder width apart, hands directly in front of you at chest height.
  2. Exhale, drawing in your abdominals and contracting the pelvic floor, moving the pelvis forward and the spine into a c-curve.
  3. Inhale, reaching forward, extending the spine, arms straight by the ears, pulling the shoulder blades down toward the hips.
  4. Exhale, going through the c-curve back to starting position.

Hip and Thigh Opener

This exercise  targets the core, hips and  thighs, essential for a stable spine to support the baby.

  1. Start lying on your side, ear resting on your bicep with both legs bent in front of you, keeping your abdominals engaged. Exhale and lift the top leg as high as you can maintain form, opening from the hip.
  2. It's important to concentrate on your core, keeping the hips as steady as you can through this exercise.

Repeat 10-25 times each side.

Here are some additional tips that Sherry gave us regarding where to focus your precious energy each trimester so that you get the most out of your workout.

First Trimester

FOCUS: CORE STRENGTH, BREATHING, STAMINA AND MUSCLE MEMORY
Focusing on moves that improve these areas will not only strengthen your entire core (abs, back, waist and pelvis)they will also support you like an internal corset, giving your body strength and resilience as your belly grows. 

Second Trimester
FOCUS: POSTURE, BREATHING, CORE STABILITY AND BALANCE
Focusing on moves that will improve these areas will keep your spine in a proper neutral upright position, protecting your back and neck as your belly and breasts grow. They also assist with balance and stability.

Third Trimester
FOCUS: FLEXIBILITY, BREATHING, JOINT MOBILITY AND LABOR PREP
Focusing on moves that improve these areas will strengthen the pelvic-floor muscles as you keep your pelvis, spine and hips mobile, relieving discomfort and preparing you for labor.

If you live in the Los Angeles area be sure to check Firm and Fit Pilates to schedule your free introduction class or visit them at www.FirmFitPilates.com for more information and class schedules. They post tons of yummy clean eating recipes and great workout tips!

Be sure to also check out our maternity active wear department for some style apparel to wear to your class!

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