I know I’ve been a bit M.I.A. lately, but I have some BIG news…
So there’s no little ginger on the way just yet, but I get to work with Mommies-to-be all the time. I had a special request last week for some core exercises that are suitable for all the pregnant Pilates peeps out there. May I preface this post by saying, I think I could write a book when it comes to this subject, so maybe this will be the first of many posts on Pilates during pregnancy. I thought I’d start with one of the most common questions when it comes to exercise during pregnancy, “should I still work my core?”
The answer is: YES! Core work will absolutely change throughout pregnancy, but it’s important not to avoid it all together. Here’s where it get’s a little complicated, because most of us think of sit-ups when it comes to core. Should pregnant women be doing sit-ups? NO! Should they be strengthening their abdominal wall, and pelvic floor? YES!
Especially as your pregnancy progresses sit-ups will not only become more difficult, but they will become less productive. The linea alba (think the line down the middle of six-pack abs) will increasingly widen, and can even separate. Sit-ups will only encourage the linea alba to separate, making it harder to get that flat belly back postpartum!
Here are 3 great core exercises that are safe and effective during pregnancy:
1. Single Arm Reach
Line yourself up on all fours with wrists under shoulders, and knees under hips. Imagine hugging your baby belly up toward the spine so that you are not dipping too much in your low back.
Press opposite hand and knee down into the mat, as you reach the other arm out to the side. This helps maintain oblique strength, major support muscles for the body.
I know we don’t typically think about squats as a core exercise, but squats are actually great for strengthening the pelvic floor! Take a wide stance, squat down feeling your weight heavy into your heels, and as you stand think about having to pee and holding it in…it’s crude, but one of the easiest ways to access pelvic floor. As you squat again try and relax the pelvic floor without peeing your pants of course! Later in pregnancy you may want to hold onto a chair or something sturdy for extra balance.
3. Side Bridge on The Knees
The key with this exercise is to stay propped up tall on your supporting arm. This encourages obliques, and serratus muscles around your underarms to work. These muscles are great support to the shoulders and neck, and reduce tension brought on by the extra weight going on in the frontal region. Your opposite hand can support your baby bump!
Like I said above, this may be the first of many posts about pre-natal Pilates, because there’s just so much you can do. By choosing the right exercises while you’re pregnant you stand to have an easier delivery, and an easier time getting back into shape post-baby!
Always talk to a doctor about exercising during pregnancy.