Pregnancy and Pilates is AH-MAZING!
It’s summer in Chicago and things are getting HOT! Especially for an almost 7 month pregnant lady! How do I cool off? I go to LightSpace (usually crank the AC!) and calm my body down by practicing my Pilates and centering.
When I was newly pregnant, it was really confusing what I could do and what I couldn’t do physically – even as a Pilate’s instructor! But luckily I had a wealth of knowledge at my disposal…the internet and all the instructors at LightSpace Chicago and other instructors I work with in the Chicago-land area. All of these resources helped me to find which Pilates exercises I could include into my regular movement routines, and which ones I should avoid until after my baby arrives.
Here are two of my favorite Pilates movements at the moment – keeping in mind that as my baby grows I might have to adjust or modify:
Kneeling Arms on the reformer using a super light spring – the movements included in this group of exercises help me to focus on my center/Dan Tien (due to the light spring) while also improving my core and arm strength. Plus, it doesn’t aggravate tension in my neck and shoulders that has developed as my center of gravity (aka baby belly) changes. Of course, if my knees are acting up or I’m just tired, I will sit cross-legged on the reformer to modify.
Side-lying leg in strap with a foot either in the strap or on the footbar; gotta work on those glutes and keep ‘em lifted! Plus increased glute strength helps alleviate the growing tension in my lower back due to that baby belly again 🙂
In addition, I also have been working on strengthening my Psoas (really deep core muscle) while performing all of these exercises. I have found that using a foam wedge or the Pilates arc help so much, since it’s getting uncomfortable to lay on my back for long periods of time. The Psoas is important because it will not only help me maintain good posture, but it I concentrate on activating this muscle in preparation for labor!
Another great exercise is merely balancing on our SPRI disc, as you see me doing in the picture above. As my baby belly grows out (!) it forces my lower back to arch excessively, and then my neck gets out of whack in response. So, I find that balancing on this unstable surface forces me to elongate my spine from head to tail, thus relieving compression between the vertebrae. A cool side effect is that it also gives me more room for my baby, and believe it or not, makes me look less pregnant. Who would have thought?!