Should You Do Pilates During Pregnancy?

Should You Do Pilates During Pregnancy?

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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Interview with Kristin McGee, Celebrity Pilates and Yoga Trainer

Interview with Kristin McGee, Celebrity Pilates and Yoga Trainer

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. She is also a contributing editor at Health Magazine and just appeared on the cover of Health’s new bookazine on newsstands now.

Kristin currently teaches private Pilates and yoga sessions and also group fitness classes around New York City. She has worked with many celebrity clients including Steve Martin, Tina Fey, Bethenny Frankel and LeAnn Rimes Cibrian. She also teaches 10 of our Pilates Power Gym classes on The Fitness Channel.

A native of Idaho, Kristin studied acting in the early 1990s at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts where she was first introduced to yoga. She developed a passion for yoga and began working as a trainer in New York City. She later became certified as a Pilates instructor at the Kane School of Core Integration. In 2002, she released the first of four videos on yoga and Pilates for MTV.

Kristin took some time out of her busy schedule, which includes raising her 17-month-old son with her husband in NYC, to share her knowledge on the benefits of Pilates and yoga, and also give us tips on how to stay fit in the coming year.

Q: In your opinion as a fitness trainer, why is the Pilates method so important to the world of fitness?

Kristin McGee: Because of its focus on core strength, Pilates is by far one of the most useful methods in fitness. Our core is our foundation and we all need to learn how to lead from our center and support ourselves from our powerhouse. Then we can do anything in life and other fitness modalities.

Q: Is there any philosophy from Joseph Pilates that people overlook when they are practicing Pilates?

Kristin McGee: I think the concentration is often overlooked. I often see students just going through the movements without really being connected to the muscles they should be using. It’s so important to stay focused and concentrated. Pilates is a true mind/body movement and we need to use our focus and put our mind in our muscles when we move so we can get the most benefits.

Q: What would you say to someone who has never tried Pilates on why they should try it?

Kristin McGee: Pilates is a lifelong practice and one that keeps you centered, strong, flexible and healthy. It’s something you can do in any stage of life and it complements all other activities. I would say everyone should get acquainted with it and use any of the movements they can on a daily basis to live in their bodies in a way that feels amazing!

Q: Did Pilates help you during and after your pregnancy?

Kristin McGee: 100%! I used it to stay strong throughout my entire pregnancy and it helped me rehab my abs afterwards. The focus on internal core strength and pelvic floor strength made it the best exercise for me during and after my pregnancy. It also helped me stay flexible and pain free. I never had sciatica, back pain or any of the other common ailments that can come with pregnancy thanks to Pilates.

Q: What advantages can people get in using a Pilates reformer compared to doing Pilates on a mat?

Kristin McGee: I think the reformer adds extra resistance and can help strengthen and lengthen the muscles even further. It also helps as a tactile aid so people know truly where they need to be working from. The reformer also offers more and different exercises so it adds variety and keeps our muscles guessing.

Q: Why do you feel the Pilates Power Gym is a great form of stay-at-home fitness equipment?

Kristin McGee: It’s truly the best! It is compact and yet so similar to the original Pilates reformer. It’s easy to use and effective. I find it’s great for a newbie or an expert. It’s also very intuitive and helps people stay in correct alignment. It’s an affordable option for Pilates and it truly delivers results. Best of all it’s just FUN!

Q: How can a Pilates workout be combined with yoga for overall fitness?

Kristin McGee: I like how yoga aids in flexibility which allows Pilates practitioners to go deeper in to their practice and connect easier with their core (when your limbs are loose you can access your powerhouse easier). I also think yoga adds a lot of standing work that you won’t find as much of in Pilates so you can find your core when your practicing your balance standing. The two are very complementary to each other and I love them both.

Q: What are your top 3 favorite fitness tips? 

Kristin McGee:
1. Keep your abs engaged every time you’re working out
2. Any movement is better than none–even just 10 minutes a day is effective, so get moving!
3. Abs are made in the kitchen–what you eat is as important as how you move so combine healthy eating with Pilates and fitness and you’ll be a lean, mean fighting machine!

Q: What advice can you offer our Pilates fans to stay motivated to work out in 2015?

Kristin McGee: Don’t ever give up on fitness and healthy eating….your body is your only home and you need to keep it clean and fit. Think of how happy you are when you walk in to a clean home….you want that same feeling for your body. Pilates is all about keeping your house tidy and strong. The central area you live in the most is where you want to focus the most….so keep strengthening your core and you’ll have a house that’s built to last!

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