Pilates Through Your Pregnancy
September 03, 2018 at 1:43 PM
No matter when you join us, the Physios at Auckland Physiotherapy will ensure your Pregnancy Pilates program is tailored to the changes your body is going through each trimester. Below are some examples of what you can expect from our Pregnancy Pilates during the different trimesters (bearing in mind each person is slightly different and your programme will also take into account your usual level of exercise and any injuries).
1st trimester (0-12 weeks)
Start adjusting for the transformation ahead
At this stage, your body is working hard to make the placenta and the increase in hormones can cause the dreaded morning sickness and general tiredness. You may not feel up to doing too much but a good start is to come in for your assessment where you will be taught how to activate the deep abdominal and pelvic floor muscles that will be an integral part of the rest of your pregnancy. From the initial assessment, we can also pick up any muscle imbalances and start working on these areas early to help prevent back or pelvis pain later on.
Try this exercise at home to find where those deep abdominal muscles are:
Bent knee fall out
Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet planted in the ground. Gently place your hands over your abdomen. Inhale as you drop one knee to the side rolling onto the side of the foot, and then exhale as you return that knee to its original position. Then repeat the same motion on the other side. You should be able to feel your deep abdominal muscles move under your fingertips.
The goal of this exercise is to move the leg without moving the pelvis, so as you drop the leg to the side it is important to use the pelvic floor and lower abdominals. You want to imagine the thighbone rotating in the socket without moving the pelvis. Keep the range of motion as small as necessary. If your inner thighs are tight then you won’t be able to lower the leg very far before the inner thighs overpower the pelvic floor and lower abdominals.
2nd trimester (12-28 weeks)
Embrace the changes in your body
Most of you will now be over your nausea and have your energy back so this is a great time to really get into your Pregnancy Pilates. Your body will start changing now with an increase in breast size and most women feel they start ‘showing’ anywhere from 13-18 weeks. We can really work on your core strength during this phase, focusing on getting the lower deep abdominal muscles kicking in to support your low back and pelvis, place more emphasis on the pelvic floor and activating the gluteal muscles, in particular, is a great way to prepare for the postural changes as you gain weight.
3rd trimester (28-40 weeks)
Listen to your body and support it in its rapid growth phase
Exercises in this stage are specifically designed to support the body through the rapid growth it is going through. Most women gain between 10-15kg and the breast themselves can increase by 800g! Due to these changes, things can become a little more uncomfortable, particularly if you are still working behind a desk most of the day, so we tend to focus on spinal mobility, postural strength and more core and legs! As the baby starts to engage, it puts pressure on the pelvic floor, so we will continue to incorporate a ‘lift’ in all the appropriate exercises, remembering to be more aware of these muscles now to help get them back into shape easier after birth.
Michelle has completed specialised training in the area of Women’s Health physiotherapy including the treatment of incontinence and pelvic floor dysfunction. She is passionate about empowering women to take control and keep fit and healthy throughout pregnancy and beyond and finds this area extremely rewarding.