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Prenatal Pilates and Barre

Originally published
10/1/17 8:04

With the approval of your doctor, continuing your Pilates and Barre practices throughout your pregnancy can be a wonderful way to maintain your fitness level and energy throughout all three trimesters.

Benefits of Pilates and Barre during pregnancy:

  • Pilates strengthens your core muscles, which equips your body to better cope with the strains caused by the weight of your growing baby.
  • It can reduce back pain, by exercising the deepest core muscles that stabilize your back and pelvis.
  • Pilates exercises can also help strengthen your pelvic floor, which will help to support your bowel, bladder and uterus (womb) as your baby grows and moves down.
  • Helps improve your balance. As your body weight shifts and your hormones change, your balance can be thrown off. Pilates and Barre exercises can help you stabilize your core which helps with balance.
  • It teaches you to relax and control your breathing, which is important for pregnancy and labor.
  • Pilates can also assist with maintaining a healthy weight throughout your pregnancy.
  • Regular exercise and the endorphins if produces can help you increase your positive body image and overall outlook.

First Trimester Precautions:

  • Always check with your healthcare provider before doing any type of exercise while pregnant.
  • Slow down your movements. Always feel free to move at your own pace and limit your range of motion. Listen to your body for guidance.
  • Don’t stretch any joint to its full range of motion, especially in an unsupported position. The hormone relaxin will loosen ligaments during pregnancy so it is essential to be careful during exercises with deep stretching or a large range of motion.
  • Be patient with balance exercises. As the weight shifts in your body and your hormones begin to change, you may find exercises that require balance more difficult (use barre for support).

Second Trimester Precautions:

  • Focus on contracting your transverse abdominals and pelvic floor muscles. You should be able to pull your belly button towards the mat while performing an exercise. If you cannot, limit the range of motion until you can do so.
  • Avoid lowering legs to the point where your lower back lifts off the mat (especially during single leg stretch, scissors, lower lift, and criss cross).
  • Limit your range of motion during twisting exercises. For example, saw and criss cross.
  • Trade exercises that require you to lie on your belly for exercises on all fours such as spine stretch and cat.
  • Once you are into your second trimester, you will want to utilize props to keep your upper body elevated so you are not lying flat on your back. We have blankets that you can use to support your shoulders and head. You can also feel free to bring in your own pillow if that makes your more comfortable.
  • Separate the knees to make room for the belly on exercises where your knees are coming in towards your chest.
  • When in doubt, leave it out. Feel free to rest as much as you’d like throughout class or choose an exercise you are more comfortable with if the class is doing an exercise that is no longer comfortable for you and your baby.
  • Towards the middle to end of your second trimester, Barre classes may be more comfortable for you since less time is spent lying down on your back.

Third Trimester Precautions:

  • Keep in mind all precautions we mentioned for the second trimester.
  • Add an additional blanket to create more of an incline behind your back.
  • Decrease your range of motion to make room for your growing baby.
  • Consider focusing more on barre classes where you spend the majority of the class standing. If lying on your back is completely uncomfortable, you are always welcome to attend the first 45 minutes of barre class and then leave once we head to the mat for core work. You will still get plenty of core work during the standing portion of barre.

Hopefully, these tips will help you have a healthy and happy pregnancy.

Disclaimer: We do not have prenatal specific classes; our instructors are not certified to teach prenatal group exercise classes. Please check with your doctor before doing any vigorous exercise while pregnant.

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