Healthy Mamas: Prenatal Pilates at 25 Weeks (Part 3)

I am BACK and a little bigger than I was in the last set of videos!  I am now 25 weeks pregnant with Baby Girl Decker and am feeling good (for the most part!).   I am still loving my time in the studio- both teaching AND doing Pilates.  I have been taking private lessons (with some awesome IOBT teachers!), which has been amazing.  It is so great to see all of the things I still CAN do with my growing and changing body!

Hanging Down 25wks

During the second trimester:

  • lying prone (on the belly) is difficult/impossible
  • lying supine (on the back) becomes limited (some doctors will say to avoid it completely- I tend to listen to my body and just change positions when I feel uncomfortable)
  • the joints get more lax (thanks to the hormone, relaxin) making the body less stable
  • the center of gravity is changing every week making balance more challenging
  • weight gain, mainly on the front of the body, puts extra stress on all of the muscles and joints, specifically in the pelvis and back
  • certain movements become more difficult to perform due to all of these limitations

This is QUITE the list of changes and challenges that happen during pregnancy…and it is definitely NOT a complete list!  But the Pilates system and especially the equipment can often provide answers on how to manage many of these changes during exercise.  The versatility of the Pilates system (you can sit, stand, kneel, lie or hang) and the support of the springs allow for complete and varied workouts to be possible!

Click on the red links to view the videos and use the “back” button on your browser to return to the post. Oh… and enjoy the cameos and commentary by my 2 year old.  This wasn’t exactly a “professional” video shoot!

As I mentioned in my last post, strong hips are so important for the pregnant mama.  Since mat and classical reformer footwork are quickly eliminated, Side Lying Footwork on the reformer is an excellent option.  Thanks Samantha Chase for teaching this to me in my last lesson! And as long as your balance is feeling on par, Side Splits are another great option for strengthening the hips.

Opening the chest and strengthening the upper body (in preparation for lots of baby carrying!) are also priorities. Seated Chest Expansion on the reformer, Russian Squats on the Cadillac, and Standing Arm Springs on the Cadillac are great options for attaining both of these goals.

Spinal extension is such a luxury at this point because it is so challenging to find it in everyday life! Swan 1 on Barrel feels amazing and is one of the few places to do swan at this point in the pregnancy. Hanging Down on the Cadillac is one of my favorite exercises, although it does get a bit more challenging each week!

Side bending is another motion that just feels great.  Opening up the sides and the ribs allows for more space for the lungs and organs…all of which get more compressed as the baby grows! I love all of the “Mermaids” on the Low Chair and Cadillac.  Here is Seated Mermaid on the Low Chair.

The Core Align® is a newer piece of equipment designed by a Pilates instructor and Physical Therapist.  It is great during pregnancy because many of the exercises are done in standing. Statue on Wheels is a deceptively challenging exercise that works all of the stabilizing muscles of the spine and core.

And just for fun, Z wanted to do some Pilates with me at the end of our session, so here is Seated Pumping on the Low Chair…with a toddler!



Contact the studio if you are interested in setting up a Pilates session  919-361-0104

Healthy Eating: 10 Spice Vegetable Soup

Guest post by Lorien Armour:


I just made my first soup EVER and it’s delicious!  I used Oh She Glows’ 10-spice vegetable soup recipe as a guide, but made some substitutions and left out a couple spices because I didn’t have them (and forgot them at the market–oops).  I think the best substitution I did was the using a Japanese sweet potato–it really added a nice sweetness in contrast to the cayenne pepper seasoning.  Also, the cashew “milk” adds a nice creaminess to the veggie broth/tomato base.  And it freezes well!  I can’t wait to make this and other soups all Fall and Winter!

Check out Lorien’s full bio and class schedule on our website!

So much more than an equipment class – Guest post by an IOBT client

Sometimes in the midst of the chaos of everyday life, it is easy to forget WHY we do what we do.  This weekend I was reminded of my “why”…

Here is an email from one of our regular clients who has found Pilates to be an integral part of his workout routine and life in general.  His enthusiasm is contagious.  Enjoy this guest post as this client shares his experience of Pilates.

“Recently, I secured my usual spot in a Saturday morning equipment class.  But something was different about this Saturday from the time I walked through the IOBT front door.  There seemed to be more than the normal good feeling and upbeat atmosphere of people enjoying the experience of improving their health.  You may know or recognize the vibe I am talking about.  I always feel like something changes in me when I pass through the front door at IOBT.  You know you are in a special place.

Upon arriving, I encountered a friend who introduced me to her friend who is training for a 100 mile run (26 hours).  Seriously, a 100 mile run!  Exercising for 26 hours!!  How’s that for morning motivation?  They came excited to stretch.   As I moved from the reception area to the claim my equipment, the previous hours classes were ending.  People were transitioning, cleaning equipment, discussing, sharing, hugs were being exchanged, but most all the people seemed curiously pleased with the past hour’s accomplishment and subsequent result.  I noticed the look on their faces more today.  They had a look about them that said the last hour improved their health and their day.  I was happy for them and now even more ready for my class.  I was ready for the same experience, just in my own way.  The usual Saturday studio buzz was at a heighten level for me this day and I was embracing it even before class got going.  If someone could run for 26 hours, I could work hard for 55 minutes.

I kept to my morning routine of stretching and foam rolling prior to leaving the house even doing one extra roll down just to be sure I was warmed up.  So we got started; and it was as if a perfect storm came together.  My mind was in the right place and my ears were ready to “really” listen to the instruction and my body was ready too.  Something new and different was going on this Saturday in this class.  We were mixing it up and going out of order some and my body was reacting.  It was connecting my mind to the instruction and things were happening – good things.  The idea of using the core to push through or push up reached a new level and took on a meaning.  Every twist, crunch and stretch seemed to engaged a new muscle or tendon that had been resting for days, weeks, months, maybe even years.  Hamstrings and glutes were active, stressed, and reacting in ways they had not before.  My spine was lengthening more and bending further than it had before.  I was feeding off my classmates in new ways.  My facial expressions were telling the story.  I was finding great joy in what might have seemed like painful expressions.  It was more an expression of “where did that come from” or ‘wow does that feel good.”  This is why I love Pilates so much.  It changes you on a class by class basis. There is always more, always another level.   If your mind and ears are ready, your body will react in ways that are remarkable.  I didn’t want it to end.  I wanted another hour.  I wanted the instructor to suggest another move.  No such luck.  Our time was up and I had to be content with looking forward to my next class.

As I left the studio the benefits of the past hours work lingered on most of the day.  Fibers were twitching and muscles were making connections in ways that gave me a an added bounce in my step throughout the day.  I had better posture.  I was more focused, more mindful.  I felt stronger, healthier.  Sleep that night was more sound and restful.  Do you know the feelings?  It was as if my body was saying – “I like it when you take me to that place (IOBT).”  This was my Pilates moment.  I hope you find your moments and experience the joy of this fantastic Pilates lifestyle and special studio called IOBT.”

This is why I practice and teach Pilates and I am so grateful to have an impact on the health and happiness of my clients.  It also makes me appreciate all of the passionate, knowledgeable, and highly qualified practitioners I have the privilege of working with everyday.  Thank you all for being my WHY...~Mischa