Pilates embodies a holistic approach to wellness. Pilates breathing with a clear focus on connecting the movement to the breath is extremely centering and grounding.
Pilates teaches you to listen to your body.
Through centering and grounding you become more connected to your body. Such a wonderful opportunity to reflect and go into yourself and really listen to your intuition. If you feel nauseous lying on your back, then don’t do it. If you’re feeling fatigued, don’t push yourself. It is important to listen to your body and modify accordingly. It is also okay that there are some exercises you will be avoiding while pregnant, but there are also a lot that you can still do.
You are probably not showing much on the outside at this stage but you will be feeling changes on the inside. Take it back to Pilates Fundamentals, focusing on breathing and stabilization.
We also find new ways to work our spine in extension other than laying *prone (*on our bellies) we can do this in a seated position, quadruped and even standing position.
Bye bye ‘crunches. Not a movement we teach in Pilates anyway. However as you move forward in your pregnancy we avoid forward flexion UNDER LOAD. I tend to prefer teaching this right from when a client tells me they are expecting. So as we can set the body up for success from the onset. Forward flexion movements under load can lead to diastasis recti, where your abdominals the *rectus abdominus separate (*specifically your linea alba the fascial line connecting your *RA down the front of the abdominals better) However. You can still move the spine in flexion in a seated position, up until you have something in the way, then you may prefer quadruped movements like cat or standing movement to achieve flexion of the spine like a half roll down. Twisting or rotation is a functional movement for everyone. We can achieve this in a side laying supported position, seated or standing.
We want to learn to connect to the deepest *support abdominals (*transverse muscles) deepest back support muscles (multifidi), our side muscles (oblique’s) and the top and bottom of our centre, better known as the Diaphragm muscle and the Pelvic Floor, and the best way is with breath. These muscles will aid in supporting your posture and in alleviating back pain. Another important factor that we teach is to learn to relax the the Pelvic floor, not just about strength. The pelvic floor muscles should be supple enough to allow for stretching during the birthing process. Most exercise routines stress the strengthening of the pelvic floor, however, it is just as important to teach the pelvic floor muscles to relax. Bring awareness to the pelvic floor muscles through breath.
Although your energy levels may be back up, your body is starting to do some other stuff. Your center of balance is changing, your pelvis is rotating in an anterior position to help accommodate for that extra person at the front of your body therefore increasing your lumbar curve, your chest might be more forward, your shoulders may be a little more rounded especially closer to trimester 3. This is when you need to start making modifications to your movement practice to find stability and balance work to support your joints.
Modify working in a supine position (*flat on your back). Instead, use pillows and supports to be comfortable with the chest slightly above the pelvis or modify with side-lying positions or even, quadruped , seated or standing positions. *When you lie flat on your back during the second trimester without support, the uterus compresses the inferior vena cava and the aorta, restricting blood flow to the baby and may make your feel dizzy.
Give yourself more permission to relax. Focus on your breathing work and finding relaxation during your movement. As everything in the front is growing forward down to gravity you may be finding your posture tending to more roundedness through the shoulders and upper back. Look towards some more postural muscle strengthening work.
Standing against a wall doing some goal post or snow angel movements while trying to maintain a gentle contact with the back of the pelvis, ribcage shoulders and head on the wall. Give the chest and back some extra TLC. Seated extension and shoulder work, quadruped scapula retraction and protraction. There are so many ways to open the chest. Be mindful of the pelvic position here; As there will already be a tendency to anterior rotation of the pelvis, as we look to open the chest and extend the thoracic spine we need to maintain a gentle reach down of the pelvis so as not to exaggerate that lumbar curve but rather find lift and length in your spine.
Don't Ignore Belly Button Pain. It may signal a hernia, and Pilates cannot assist with this. Get it checked out by your GP.
Joint Pain Pilates can help with joint pain as movement helps promote circulation of the lymphatic system with aids in the removal of toxins helping to reduce inflammation or aches and pains. It also exercises those deep support muscles around the joints.
Pubic Symphysis Pain this occurs where the joint at the front of the pelvis becomes relaxed, allowing instability in the joint. Your gynacologist or Pelvic Health Physiotherapist may be able to offer certain braces to aid this. Unfortunately you won’t feel complete relief until you give birth.