There are so many physical and mental benefits to practicing Pilates, but should a women be doing Pilates during pregnancy? What are the advantages of doing Pilates while pregnant, and is it safe?
We asked Kristin McGee, a certified Pilates instructor and a new mom to Timothy (born in 2013), to give us some expert advice about doing Pilates during pregnancy.
Q: Is doing Pilates during pregnancy safe?
Kristin McGee: YES! It can be, especially if you check with your doctor and do seated work and leg work and abdominal work with modifications.
Q: Can you start doing Pilates during pregnancy if you’ve never done it before?
Kristin McGee: It’s best to have had some background first, but you can start with simple movements and a trained instructor. Pilates is excellent for strengthening the pelvic floor and transverse abdominals and can help with labor and delivery and postnatal recovery.
Q: Did you use the Pilates Power Gym during your pregnancy?
Kristin McGee: YES!!! The entire time.
Q: Since Pilates is so focused on ‘core work’ how will that affect my ‘core’ during pregnancy?
Kristin McGee: It will help strengthen your deep core muscles that help support your back and your baby. It will also tone the pelvic floor muscles which is great for delivery and recovery.
Q: What are the advantages when you are pregnant to do Pilates on a reformer compared to a mat?
Kristin McGee: You can do more leg and arm work and more seated work (if lying down bothers you during pregnancy) and you have the assistance of the machine to help you in certain positions.
Q: What adjustments should I make to the Pilates Power Gym exercises while I’m pregnant?
Kristin McGee: For some women, after the first trimester lying on the back becomes problematic if you feel faint or light headed (vena cava pressure), so you would have to lie sideways, sit up right for exercises or do the standing scooter work and kneeling planks etc.
Q: Which exercises on the Pilates Power Gym are best for me to do during the various trimesters?
Kristin McGee: You can do almost everything you have in the past as long as you listen to your body. In the first trimester, focus on leg work and everything you can do while lying down on your back. In the second trimester, work your arms in an upright position, and in the third trimester, elevate the machine so you can do squats and elevated footwork.
Q: How long should my workouts be on the Pilates Power Gym?
Kristin McGee: As long as you want and feel good about doing; but I used to go 20-30 minutes when pregnant.
Q: Are there any exercises one should avoid?
Kristin McGee: No deep crunches (or lying on back if you feel short of breath) and always check with your doctor first and also just listen to your body!
Q: Can Pilates help with labor and delivery?
Kristin McGee: 100%
Q: Any advice on using the Pilates Power Gym after I’ve had my baby? How soon can I start using it again?
Kristin McGee: I started using mine again within 3 weeks, but check with your physician. If you’ve had a C-section you may need to wait 6 weeks before starting up again. Also again use your own judgment and do what feels good when you’re ready, your body will tell you.
Q: Any tips on losing baby fat?
Kristin McGee: I nursed, I walked a lot pushing Timothy in his stroller, I used my Pilates Power Gym and ate a well rounded healthy diet with fresh vegetables, lean proteins, wholesome carbs and little daily treats like dark chocolate!
For the past five years, Pilates and yoga instructor Kristin McGee, has shared her fitness expertise with HSN viewers as our on-air Pilates Power Gym spokesperson. Kristin teaches 10 of our Pilates Power Gym classes on The Fitness Channel. She is also a contributing editor at Health Magazine and a brand ambassador for C9 Champion at Target.
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