Pilates exercises bring benefits such as improving body awareness, strengthening muscles and helping to prevent and combat urinary incontinence, which is common late in pregnancy. In addition, these exercises increase the amount of oxygen that reaches the baby and help make it calmer.
These exercises can start from the second trimester of pregnancy, however, some care should be taken during exercise because some may unbalance, favoring a fall or increasing intra-abdominal pressure. Those who are not in the habit of practicing Pilates should prefer Pilates Matwork, because they are simpler and more controlled exercises performed on the ground with the help of balls or elastics.
1. Perineal contraction
Lying on the belly up, with arms along the body or gently positioned on top of the belly and bent legs or on top of a Pilates ball, hold the neutral position, leaving room for a pea on the back and the shoulder blades well positioned on the floor with the shoulders far from the ears and imagining that there are 2 headlights on your hips that need to be pointed up.
From this position you should inhale and when you release the air, contract the muscles of the pelvic floor, as if you wanted to suck a pea with the vagina. This contraction should be maintained while breathing in and letting out the air slowly. Do this contraction 10 times in a row, keeping your breath and position correct.
2. Straight leg lift
Lying down on your belly, bend one leg and lift the other while stretched. Do 5 lifting with each leg while contracting the pelvic muscles, making slow and well controlled movements, without raising the hip of the floor in no time.
Lying belly up, raise the hip of the floor. Do 5 lifting while contracting pelvic muscles.
4. Creepy cat
In the four-way position, try to pull your chin against your chest as you bring your hip forward and stretch your back. Do 5 reps while contracting pelvic muscles.
5. Salute to the sun
Get on your knees and then sit on your heels, stretch your arms forward and tilt your body, until you feel the stretching of your back muscles. Stay in this position for at least 20 seconds.
6. Stretching of legs
Stay in the position for at least 20 seconds. Do the same exercise with both legs.
Especially during pregnancy, Pilates exercises should be performed with maximum concentration, slowness and precision of movements. Tightening the pelvic floor muscles while performing the exercises is imperative because they improve blood supply and improve tone by fighting the loss of urine.
Does pilates help you lose weight?
Pilates in pregnancy does not have a high caloric expenditure and so the pregnant woman should not lose much weight with it, but it can help maintain fitness and avoid excessive weight gain during pregnancy.
Pilates exercises in pregnancy can be guided by a physiotherapist or physical education professional as long as both are Pilates instructors.