Healthy Mamas: Prenatal Pilates at 32 Weeks (Part 4)

Hellooooo THIRD trimester….and all of the aches and pains that can accompany it!  I am 32 weeks pregnant and am definitely feeling the weight gain and changes going on in my body, but again, Pilates has saved me.  It allows me to continue to move, stretch, work and breathe which are all so important for the mind, body and soul anytime, but especially right now!

32 weeks Quad Stretch

Here are a few changes that one might experience in the third trimester:

  • increased ligament laxity as the body prepares for birth
  • pain accompanying increased laxity!
  • heaviness in the front of the body causing strain and tightness in the upper and lower back
  • difficulty finding a comfortable position
  • fatigue due to changes in sleep as well as increased strain on the body
  • swelling
  • pelvic floor weakening
  • digestive issues and shortness of breath due to increase pressure and decreased space for organs such as the diaphragm, stomach and intestines, due to the ever growing uterus!

Again, the Pilates system is amazing for this stage of pregnancy.  The equipment and springs support the body and provide opportunities for movements that aren’t possible in many other forms of exercise or everyday life!

Click on the red links to view the videos and use the “back” button on your browser to return to the post.  Z only made a couple appearances this time.  Enjoy the soothing sounds of the springs in a quiet studio!

Spinal movement is important for a healthy spine and it just feels SO GOOD!  Cat with the Push Thru Bar is a supportive way to get flexion and extension of the spine while also opening the shoulders and upper back.  I modified it slightly to add more lumbar spine flexion by allowing the hips to sit back toward the heals.  Kneeling Mermaid with the Push Thru Bar is a great side body opener.  It creates more space for the ribs and lungs to allow for improved breathing!  Knee Stretches on the reformer incorporates this increased spinal mobility into a more dynamic exercise, using and supporting the openness in the lungs.  The breath supports the movement and the movement supports the breath!

Tricep Press on the low chair promotes decompression of the spine as well as shoulder and chest opening.  Side Arm Series on the reformer is a challenging set of four exercises (I just showed one of each) that I love doing to improve my upper body strength. It also requires hip opening and core control to be able to stay stable on the moving carriage.

The Ped-o-pull, an often forgotten about piece of equipment, was originally developed by Mr. Pilates for a client who was an Opera singer.  The exercises promote chest opening and increased lung capacity.  It is great for pregnant mamas because the exercises are done in standing and as in most Pilates movement, they promote flexibility AND strength! Another exercise that also shows a powerful combination of flexibility and strength is the Plie Press on Paddle Back on the low chair.  This one makes me feel strong and confident in my changing body!

Two other pieces of often underutilized Pilates equipment are the Foot Corrector and the Ladder Barrel.  The feet are so important in balance and support of the whole body and they certainly take a beating during pregnancy!  The foot corrector is a great way to build strength and support from the bottom UP!  Ballet Stretches on the ladder barrel are a stable supported place to get an amazing stretch through all parts of the legs and hips. The hip muscles have to work extra hard to support the increased weight of the upper body while keeping everything together as the ligaments get more relaxed.  It is important to have strong, open hips toward the end of pregnancy to prepare for the birth process.

See you in a couple of weeks!

~Mischa

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