Pilates Exercises for a Pregnant Woman

Pilates, a method of exercise involving slow, controlled movements developed by Joseph Pilates, is an effective way to keep fit while pregnant. The slower-paced stretching of Pilates is agreeable for pregnant women, and can be done at any level of pregnancy. When practicing Pilates while pregnant, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee reminds you to go slowly, to remind your instructor that you are pregnant and to avoid any positions that cause you to lie flat on your back, potentially limiting the blood supply to both you and your baby.

Standing Cat Back

While pregnant, your lower back withstands enormous pressure from carrying the sudden weight on your front. Because of this, many pregnant women complain of a sore back, especially through the last months of pregnancy. The standing cat back can help stretch your aching lower back muscles. Standing with your legs hip-width apart, lower your body into a squat position and round out your back like a cat. Hold the stretch for a count of three and release, repeating as many times as is necessary.

Saw

The saw movement can help strengthen your core without having to lie on the floor for traditional crunches. Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you and spread a little wider than your hips. From this position, stretch your arms out to either side. Bring your left hand to touch your right toe; don’t worry if you can’t reach. Just twist your torso with the movement, and come back to your starting position. The repeat, trying to touch your right hand to your left toe.

Banana

The banana helps to tone your abs, back and chest muscles, notes BabyCenter.com. Lie on one side, with your top arm on the floor to support you and your bottom arm stretched past your head and elongated. Your bottom leg should be on the floor with your upper leg slightly elevated. With one fluid movement, take a deep breath and stretch your bottom hand up while raising your top leg and body simultaneously to create a “banana” shape with your body. The lowest point on your body should be your hip and lower leg supporting your weight, with the rest of the body raised from the floor. Hold for a count of three before releasing slowly. Concentrate on slow, controlled movements in fewer repetitions.

Spine Twist

Another exercise to help soothe your aching back muscles, this one targets both the upper and lower spine. Utilize an exercise ball and sit on it, drawing in your rib cage to stabilize your core. Hold your arms out to either side, and slowly twist to the left so that your right arm is pointing straight in front of your body. Feel the stretch in your spine before releasing and repeating on the other side.

Modified Plank

The plank is a standard Pilates exercise, but it can be too difficult and painful to perform while pregnant. Maintain the benefits of this extraordinary exercise by performing a modified plank. Kneel on the floor and walk your hands out until they are level with your shoulders. Allow your body’s weight to be supported on your knees and hands and take a deep breath. Hold the position for five seconds before dropping into a slow push-up and coming back to start.

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