How To Do Pilates During Pregnancy
How To Do Pilates During Pregnancy
Exercise during pregnancy is key to having a healthy pregnancy and quick recovery after giving birth. Gillian Greenwood demonstrates some tightening and toning Pilates moves to help mums-to-be stay in shape and prepare for this exciting event in their lives.
There are a lot of exercises you can do during your pregnancy. Just make sure that you use your pelvic floor gently, and your tummy muscles, so that you look after your lower back. We're going to do an exercise I call "Bottoms Up". We're going to get more flexible through the spine. We'll move each vertebra individually, helping you feel a little bit looser in your lower back.
Breathe in, and as you breathe out, find your pelvic floor a little, and just a tiny tilt through the pelvis, stay breathe in, and then relax your pelvis back down again to the floor.
Breathe in, breathe out, a little bit of pelvic floor, tilt your pelvis, and come up a tiny bit more. Breathe in, and slowly down, bone by bone. Make sure you don't lift your pelvis; you're tilting your pelvis.
Coming up a little bit higher, to your navel, everything below my navel is above the floor, everything from my navel upwards is on the floor, and slowly down, bone by bone, breathing out, send your knees away. Breathe in, just relax, breathe out, and down slowly. Think about sending your head away - that will help you to stay nice and still on the floor.
As you get bigger and bigger, you'll find that you can come up less. Don't force it, just come up as far as your chest can stay relaxed.
So, you're going to do five stages, and then five to the fifth stage, which is the highest stage that you're comfortable with, your chest relaxed. This should feel really comfortable.
For the next exercise, we can use a towel, it's just to tilt the pelvis a little, so your lower back is more towards the floor and your tailbone is just up, a little bit.
If you have an Overball, you can use one of these as well. So with the Overball placed underneath your sacrum, so that your pelvis is a little bit tilted, your lower back is more down and your tailbone is a little bit more up. Or you can wedge a towel under there; both work fine.
We're going to lift the feet up one at a time. Breathe in, tummy gently, pelvic floor, and as you breathe out, you peel your heel off. You think heavy with the opposite hip, and float your leg up.
Then you might need to bring that knee right in, to help your tummy muscles before you bring your second leg up. Tummy, pelvic floor, breathing out, heel, tip of toe, and float the leg right up to the ceiling.
We're then going to straighten one leg. Your back should feel very comfortable; if not, adjust the ball slightly. There will be a little gap underneath, and your back should be relaxed. Using your pelvic floor muscles gently, feeling the weight of the legs as they both go in opposite directions, and then using your pelvic floor muscles, draw the legs together, breathing out, breathing in.
You can do up to 12 of those if it's comfortable. Make sure that your knee is far enough to your chest so that your tummy isn't working so hard that it's starting to push out. The pelvic floor is drawing those little bones together. Afterwards, you can have a nice stretch, just gently, stretching the inner thighs or perhaps with the legs straight.
Ankle circles are really beneficial during pregnancy to help reduce swollen ankles.
These are my favorite exercises to give my pregnant ladies, to help them have a strong pelvic floor to be able to give birth, and to be able to repair afterwards.
Bringing the legs down carefully, hugging one knee, tummy, pelvic floor, breathe out, toes, heel, and floating the other leg down, toes and heel.
You might also like to look at the post-natal exercises in "A guide to getting back in shape after pregnancy", "How to strengthen your core", "How to improve flexibility" and "How to do Pilates for back pain". They're all useful exercises that you can use during your pre-natal period.