Pilates Exercises for Pregnancy

Prenatal pilates classBy Amber Greviskes

Doing Pilates during pregnancy can strengthen your tummy and pelvic floor muscles. It’ll reduce back pain, improve balance, and foster relaxation. As with all exercise, it’s important to get your doctor’s okay before participating. You should also make sure your instructor has a certification in pre- and post-natal Pilates who can let you know which moves you should modify as your pregnancy progress.

“Pre-natal Pilates is a wonderful way to prepare for the birth,” said Alisa Wyatt of Pilatesology. “There's nothing better for your baby than you keeping your body fresh and clean on the inside, which is exactly what Pilates does.”

To get you started, Lauren Maniscalco of Coastal Body Studio in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, put together this routine.

The hundred

Lie on your back with two to three firm pillows behind your upper back and shoulders. Plant your feet in parallel on the ground, hip-width distance apart. Arms should be engaged with your fingers reaching toward your feet. Inhale for five seconds while vigorously pumping your arms. Exhale for five seconds. Repeat for 100 seconds.

Single leg stretch, single straight leg stretch, and lower lifts

  • Lying in the same position, complete the single-leg stretch. Extend both legs out in front of you at 45 degrees. Pull your right knee into your chest with your right hand on your right ankle and your left hand on your right knee. Switch to pull the other leg in. Repeat eight times on each side. Be sure to keep your head up.
  • Remain in the same position for the single straight leg stretch. Send both legs to 90 degrees. Grab both hands on the right calf or ankle and double pull the leg toward you. Then, switch to the left side and double pull that leg toward you. Complete eight sets.
  • In the same position, place your hands under your sacrum to support your lower back. Extend your legs up to 90 degrees and lower them to where your back can still support you. Then, return to the original position. Repeat five times.  

The side-lying series

Lying on your side with your legs in a checkmark position, lift your top leg to hip height. Kick the leg, which should be slightly turned out, forward and back 10 times. Next, lift the same leg up and down 10 times. At the end of that series, draw 10 small circles in each direction. When you have finished the series on one side, move onto the other side.

Arm workout with weights

Holding two- to three-pound weights, extend your arms out, in line with your shoulders. Draw baby circles with palms facing up. Complete 10 circles in each direction. Repeat the exercise with palms facing down, forward, and back for a total of 80 circles.


Sources:

  1. Alisa Wyatt via Shannah Henderson
  2. Lauren Maniscalco. 
Coastal Body Studio LLC