Our expert says:
Pilates is a great form of exercise, however no two women's bodies are the same, and this is especially true during pregnancy. There are workouts that are quite appropriate for some people during pregnancy and not for others. During a normal, healthy pregnancy, moderate exercise is safe for the fetus. Exercise is also said to prevent varicose veins, hemorrhoids and low back pain - not to mention boosting self esteem. The guidelines stated by the American Council on Exercise are not as hard-and-fast as they used to be. However, research suggests that no new exercise routine should be started during your first trimester. As well, you should be careful of over-exerting the abdominal muscles. During the second trimester these muscles become stretched out, and some women experience diastasis recti (separation of the abdominal muscles). With reduced support for the back, you also run the risk of injuring the lower back. Further, because of the increased amounts of relaxin and progesterone released in the body during pregnancy, the ligaments surrounding the joints become lax, which leaves them loose and vulnerable. For this reason, you should be careful not to over-stretch. It is important, though, to continue strengthening and rebalancing the muscles around the joints - still trying to center the body as it goes through many postural changes due to pregnancy.
Today many guidelines for pregnancy indicate that once you reach the second trimester you should not exercise in a supine position (lying on your back) as you may be cutting off oxygen to the fetus even if you yourself are not feeling dizzy. In general, we teach that it is better to be safe and not take any chances. In the second trimester we still do some Matwork courses but we make sure that the upper torso is raised as it is when using the "Spine Supporter". We then alternate the inclined position with sitting, kneeling and standing exercises done on Mat, Reformer and Cadillac. A great piece of the equipment for pregnancy is the Stability Chair, because it facilitates so many exercises in an upright position. Of course, drinking lots of water is always important, and be sure not to over-exert yourself. The beauty of this type of work is that it can be individualized for anyone's ability.
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