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Pregnancy Pilates Workout: Top 3 Exercises to Stay Fit and Healthy (For You and the Baby)

After you've had your baby and settled in, the last thing you want to think about is losing all of the baby weight. You want to spend time with your new family and take things easy. Pregnancy is no walk in the park! Getting a kick start on your fitness routine before the baby comes can prevent the baby weight from piling on, and it can also keep you and your baby healthy as can be while you're still sharing a body. Read on for some tips.
Many fitness experts even suggest that Pilates is extremely beneficial to the health of mum and baby.
Pregnancy Pilates Workout
1. Gentle Ab Maintenance

During pregnancy, your abs have to put up with a lot. They’re stretching to cover your growing belly, and because of this, they can weaken. Having weakened abdominal muscles puts a far greater burden on your spine and your pelvis. This can lead to difficult labour and increased pain during contractions. Working your abs will keep your skeleton and muscles working together to promote a stronger, healthier mum.

Sit on the centre of your mat. You want to use your pelvis as your centre of gravity, with all of your weight positioned above it. Your shoulders should form a straight line with your pelvis, and your back should be straight. Take in a deep breath, straight to your belly. As you inhale, your belly button should move closer to your spine. Hold the breath for about ten seconds and exhale.

This is called a transversus abdominis exercise, and it’s safe and effective for mothers to-be when this gentle workout is done from the seated position.

2. Simple Arm and Core Workout

Your arms are fairly safe to work out during pregnancy, especially if you’re lifting small amounts of weight from a seated position. Light core workouts are just fine until the end of the second trimester, at which point your doctor will be able to tell you what your limits are for legitimate core workouts. Low intensity Pilates rowing is a great way to get in a manageable workout.

Sit on your mat with your legs in front of you. Your feet should be together, and your knees should be straight. With your Pilates rowing exerciser in hand, slide the foot grips onto your feet. Place them around your arches to prevent your feet from slipping out. Hold onto the handle with one hand on either side. You can either hold it with your palms facing downwards or inwards.

With your shoulders back, start to lean backwards. Look towards your toes as you do this. This will help you keep the proper form as you row. As you go back, pull the handle towards the centre of your chest as far as you comfortably can. As you’re bending back, begin to pull the handle closer to your pelvis. Then, return to starting position and repeat for a few reps. Start with low reps, and build up with future workouts. 3. Full Upper Body Stretch

This move is commonly referred to as the mermaid. It’s perfect for mothers to-be, particularly because it doesn’t include any movements that involve laying down flat or putting pressure on the front of the abdomen. Some pregnant women love this move because it encourages their baby to change positions. If the little one’s making you uncomfortable, this exercise may help the baby find a new spot.

Sit on the mat with your right leg bent behind you, and your left leg bent in the same direction. One heel should be near your glutes, and the other heel should be toward your pelvis. Place your left hand on the mat, and with a slight bend in your elbow, cradle the area near your bellybutton with your right hand. As you inhale, you want to stretch and curve. Lift your left hand off the mat, and hoist it above your head. Tilt your whole body towards your right leg, and hold the pose. During your next inhale, lower your arm and balance yourself on your leg hand, raising yourself onto your knees. Hoist your cradled hand as high as you can, reaching up to the sky. Exhale, repeat, and switch sides.

Remember that if you’re ever unsure about which exercises are safe for you and your baby, you can always talk to your physiotherapist. Some pregnancies require different precautionary measures, and it never hurts to err on the side of caution. If you work or live in the Sydney CBD and need more specific advice, contact the physiotherapists at Bend + Mend, who are experts in looking after women both during and after their pregnancies.

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Any facts, figures or references stated here are made by the author & don't reflect the endorsement of iU at all times unless otherwise drafted by official staff at iU. This article was first published here on 13th August 2016.
James Norwick
James Norwick is a contributing writer at Inspiration Unlimited eMagazine.

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