Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Article # 285. Is Pilates Safe During Pregnancy?

Is Pilates Safe During Pregnancy?



It’s no secret that exercise is healthy for pregnant women — it lifts your spirits, provides an energy boost, and helps you get the healthy amount of sleep that you and your baby need. But as a pregnancy progresses, the list of physical activities to avoid gets longer, and it’s often unclear what exercise you can do without endangering yourself or your baby. Here’s the good news: As long as you get the OK from your doctor and listen to what your body is telling you, Pilates is generally safe during pregnancy. Here are some quick tips for moms to be who want to hit the Pilates mat:
Pilates exercises pregnant women can do:
1. Planks and side planks. These movements will help you keep strong abdominal muscles and pose no great risk to the safety of you or your baby.
2. Standing Pilates footwork and arm weights. These moves will help your muscles stay strong without putting unnecessary strain on your body.
3. Pilates exercises performed on your hands or knees. These exercises help relieve strain in the back or pelvis, which many women experience during pregnancy.
Pilates exercises pregnant women shouldn’t do:
1. Positions that involve lying on your back. These supine positions put major pressure on the vena cava, lessening the blood flow to your brain or uterus. Avoid them after the first trimester.

2. Extreme stretches. Even if you’re feeling good at the time, stay clear of the Pilates movements that really push you to the limit of your range of motion. Pregnant women run a much higher risk for strains and sprains, thanks to relaxin, a hormone that kicks in to help with labor but also makes muscles less elastic.

3. Balance exercises. Your center of gravity changes as your baby grows, making it difficult to perform Pilates movements that require you to stand on one leg or shift your weight rapidly.
Most experts agree that Pilates is a great exercise routine for people with physical limitations. Still, be sure to contact your physician before performing Pilates to make sure that the movements will be safe for you at your stage of pregnancy. And even after your doctor has given you the go-ahead, pay attention to the signals your body is sending you during your Pilates workout! Drink plenty of water, end your workout immediately if you feel dizzy, take as many breaks as you need, and talk to your instructor if you feel discomfort!

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