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By now you are probably aware that no two women's bodies respond the same way to pregnancy. Some workouts will be suitable for some women during pregnancy and not for others. Researchers have found that during a normal, healthy pregnancy, moderate exercise will not harm the fetus. Exercise is also said to prevent some of the problems associated with pregnancy, which include varicose veins, hemorrhoids and low back pain. However, a woman's body goes through dramatic changes during pregnancy. As such, your Pilates program must be adapted and modified as your pregnancy progresses.
For example, during the first trimester, Pilates sessions may need to be adjusted around your fatigue levels. As your pregnancy progresses, the demand on your superficial abdominal muscles will need to decrease. During the second trimester, these muscles have a tendency to become overstretched. This can sometimes results in what is called a diastasis recti, which is a separation of the abdominal muscles. Since a diastasis recti can reduce abdominal support, there is a greater risk of injuring the lower back.
Furthermore, because of the secretion of relaxin, a hormone that is prolific during pregnancy, the ligaments which surround the joints may become lax, thereby leaving them loose and susceptible to injury. For this reason, you need to be careful not to overstretch. However, it is important to continue strengthening and rebalancing the muscles around the joint. This will support he body as it goes through the pregnancy-related postural changes and prevent the injuries associated with hyper-flexibility.
Today many guidelines for pregnancy suggest that after approximately the 16th week of gestation, the client should avoid lying on her back. This is due to the fact that the maternal blood supply and subsequently the fetal blood supply may be adversely affected in this position. However, by using the spine supporter as well as various modified positions on the reformer and Cadillac, you will be able to safely continue with your Pilates program.
In general, this is great information, but there is one error- the diastasis recti happens in 95% of women- there is nothing that can be done to prevent it, and it happens because the rectus abdominus (the six pack muscle) does not stretch over top of the growing fetus. It splits down the middle to allow the baby to grow.