Victoria Lambayan, Owner
I had a baby boy not so long ago and I know how challenging it can be to stay in shape while you are pregnant and after your little one has arrived. But you can do it and Pilates is a great way to stay connected to your changing body, improve your posture and keep you toned and free of pregnancy aches and pains. It is also a great way to prepare for delivery. Exercise can be intimidating when your pregnant, as safety is top priority. Pilates is a great exercise routine for anyone, and has specific benefits for pregnancy. I had great success with it, and want to make sure that at our studio, Mighty Pilates, Prenatal and Postnatal Pilates classes continue to be on our schedule. Our trainers understand what exercises are safe to do how to modify exercises for each stage of pregnancy and post delivery.
Women's bodies go through dramatic changes while pregnant. During the first trimester your hormones are rapidly changing and many women feel fatigued during these first three months. If you have been practicing Pilates prior to being pregnant, it is appropriate to stay in regular classes, but just be aware of what your body is telling you - so slow down or modify if necessary. You may feel fatigued at the beginning, but increasing your oxygen and blood flow through the body can often give you a boost of energy to make it through the day.
The second trimester usually begins to become easier for many pregnant women. With energy levels back to normal, this is a great time to move. It is usually in this trimester that you see your "bump." Your abdominal muscles will stretch up to 50 percent of their original length. Strengthening the "hidden" abdominal muscles, the transversus abdominus (TVA) and the internal and external obliques help to support the growing uterus, decrease lumbar compression and reduce pelvic pressure. We do just that in Pilates, focus on those deep postural muscles in the body - those muscles that support your belly are also the same muscles you will use to push! At this point in time, only Prenatal and Postnatal Pilates classes or private sessions are appropriate for you. They will move at a different pace, be modified for your changing body and you will constantly be reminded to breathe....something that's easy to forget when your pregnant! We even have semi-privates and can partner you up with another mom-to-be to work with your schedule.
During the third trimester you're probably feeling pretty uncomfortable. I know I was. Your uterus is right up under your ribs and large! As you become heavier and more restricted in your movements and breath, it is even more important for you to practice Pilates. I exercised right up (and past) my delivery date, trying to get my little baby to introduce himself to us! I am so glad I did - working out really helped me keep my stamina during my labor and delivery. We ask our clients to check in with their doctors to make sure exercise is still appropriate for them - every pregnancy is unique. When the time arrives and you go into labor, all the breathing techniques and abdominal and pelvic floor work from your Prenatal Pilates routines will assist you with a hopefully calm and easy delivery.
So now your Mighty little wonder has arrived! Most doctors recommend about 6 weeks if you had a complication-free delivery. Postnatal Pilates will not only help you get back into shape, but will also strengthen your body to return to your normal levels of activity. Repeatedly lifting, nursing and carrying a baby can cause injury if your muscles are weak. I had to "re-find" my abdominals and pelvic floor and wasn't ready to jump straight back into a tough Mighty class so I did a few weeks of Prenatal and Postnatal classes and some private sessions to help work out the kinks. I was pleasantly surprised how even after a few classes I was feeling strong again and was quickly back to my normal workouts.
What about Diastasis Recti? This condition is very common in pregnancy. Sometimes during pregnancy, the abdominal wall separates as the uterus grows. This condition will normally resolve itself during the six weeks following your birth. That is not always the case. If you are not quite ready for regular curl-ups, your instructors can help you to modify if you want to go back to regular classes. I had Diastasis Recti, and had to do a lot of "zipping and hollowing out" but eventually, it all came back together. Pun intended.
Pilates pregnancy exercise can result in a more comfortable pregnancy and easier delivery. Continuing Pilates after birth is helpful in reducing the stress of being a new mother and keeps the body strong - especially important for carrying precious cargo. For many of our clients, a visit to Mighty is their "me" time and really makes being a mom more fun. It was really fun to come back and see the moms I had been practicing with - we can share our stories and our countless iPhone pictures. I encourage you to ask your doctor if Pilates is right for you and then contact us to learn more about our Prenatal Pilates and Postnatal Pilates classes.
Congratulations on this exciting time of life - I have loved it!
Learn more about our pre and post-natal pilates classes, and see our introductory video, by visiting our Pilates Classes page