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Pilates in the Second Trimester

 

In the second trimester expecting mothers usually start to have more energy and feel like they can and want to do normal things again and sometimes even more. Nausea and the need for many naps may subside making it more comfortable to perform regular exercise. Pilates is a great way to continue maintaining strength and stability throughout the pregnancy. Exercises can focus on building more overall strength, postural muscle endurance, and keeping the abdominal muscles active and strong.

1. Seated On the Physio Ball- Knee Fold Sequences

This is an excellent way to develop both pelvic stability, postural endurance and coordination. First begin by practicing lifting one heel at a time off of the floor, alternating, while keeping the pelvis from shifting or the hip from hiking. Once stable, try alternating knee folds, by picking up one leg at a time off of the floor with the knee bent. To continue to challenge add a leg extension once the leg is lifted and/or combine these movements with arm raises overhead.

2. Kneeling Hundreds

This is an excellent exercise to challenge the postural muscles while working on abdominal engagement. Kneel on the floor with upper body upright, arms down at the side, palms facing behind. Without moving the torso, inhale pulsing your arms back for 5 counts, and then exhale pulsing for 5 counts. Repeat this for a total of 100 counts. With each exhale focus on drawing the navel back towards the spine to stabilize the pelvis. 

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3. Standing Balances 

Balance exercises become very important as the baby grows. Your center of gravity will continue to change. Practicing standing one leg balances will help to keep your proprioception and postural muscles adapting along with the changes. Begin by standing with your weight on one foot, keeping the toes of the other foot on the floor. Exhale lifting that leg off the floor, bending the knee, keeping the leg to the front of the body. You can challenge yourself by bringing the knee higher, adding arms, raising up onto your toes for the standing leg, or even rotating the lifted knee outward with arms overhead. Just don’t forget to work both sides!

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4. Squats with a Physio Ball behind the Back

This is an excellent modified squat exercise during pregnancy. Beyond helping to increase pelvic floor strength and stabilize the back and pelvis by strengthening the glutes, using the ball behind the back, also aids in postural muscle training. Feeling the spine remain in contact with the ball, provides proprioceptive assistance, which enable you to engage both the abdominal muscles deeper and recruit the spinal muscles in a healthy alignment during the movement. Again, do not squat when the baby is in a not optimal position or you feel pain when squatting! 

5. Upper Body Work On the Physio Ball

Doing these exercises while seated on a physio ball will help to challenge both the abdominals and focus, while increasing upper body strength and postural endurance. Using Thera bands and free weights to strengthen the shoulders and upper body, will help to keep an open posture and chest. Exercises such as biceps curls, internal and external rotation of the shoulders and deltoid flies are excellent examples to keep the upper body strong. Combing these exercises with knee folds or knee folds with leg extension are a great way to work both coordination and balance!

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6. Don’t Forget Your Pelvic Tilts and Kegels

These exercises can and should be done throughout the entire pregnancy as both a moment to work on breath and pelvic alignment.  Keeping these muscles healthy and strong can help to decrease incontinence during and after pregnancy, along with keep up the endurance of these highly needed muscles during birth and recovery. The exercise position changes as the baby gets bigger. After the first trimester, laying on the back can cause dizziness. This varies with each mother to be. The tilts can performed on the back or seated in a chair to accommodate each individual. Upper body work, exercises in quadruped, and side lying leg exercises are good to keep in the mix too!

Don’t forget to always talk to your doctor about your individual pregnancy to determine any medical concerns and/or issues to consider when exercising! Remember when in doubt ask about the safety of an exercise first. Your body will be constantly changing, muscles will be stretching to accommodate the growth of the baby, and your balance will start to change. Positions and exercises can always be modified to accommodate individual needs!!!