Pilates instructor, Kourtney McCullough, focusing on proper breathing techniques!
So, you’re pregnant! Now what? Maybe you’ve been planning this for a while, or maybe it came as a surprise. Regardless of how it happened, you now have the next nine months to make or break your post-pregnancy body while simultaneously creating the healthiest environment for your growing baby. No pressure.
The instant they discover they’re pregnant, many women are quick to climb right off the elliptical and onto the couch for what they assume will be a nine-month-long hiatus from physical activity. However, whether you’ve been previously active or not, finding out you’re expecting is (typically) no excuse to prop those feet up and begin using your already growing belly as a human tray table to hold a jar of pickles and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.
If you’re already an active person and you’re not experiencing complications, it’s typically safe to assume you can continue with your current fitness regimen along with a few simple modifications (of course, always consult your doctor first). If you’re not currently an active person, what better time is there to start than now? Trust me, your future self will thank you when you’re leaner, more energetic, and have fewer aches and pains than your pregnant self would be sans exercise. And so will your baby! Studies have shown that children exposed to exercise in utero are less likely to be overweight and therefore have a lower risk of developing diabetes. The health benefits to the baby are remarkable and endless. So, start saving up those bragging rights now ladies—when your child is shooting three pointers or crossing the finish line first, you can be right there to graciously accept a little bit of the credit for their success!
Exercise is not only a way to start connecting with your baby, but it’s a way for you to stay connected to your own body. There are so many changes happening in such a short amount of time that it’s easy to become overwhelmed. However, if you start taking control of your body now, it can prevent your pregnancy from taking control of you. Granted, there may be a few bumps along the road (no pun intended), but if you take it one day at a time and put in as much effort as you can, whenever you can, both your baby and your post-delivery self will thank you.
As a Pilates instructor, I know many pregnant women who have continued to attend weekly classes well into their third trimesters. Yes, they are still able to complete a full 55 minute Pilates session. Within weeks of delivery, the majority have their old bodies back. (Some arguably have an even better one than when they started!) It is possible. Your pregnancy is what you make it. Stretching and strengthening your body is not only going to make you look and feel better, but the coordination of the exercises will help to keep your mind sharp and prevent it from sinking into a nine month long brain fog. The mind/ body connection that Pilates stimulates is amazing! So, ladies, put down the Pirates Booty, pick up those 3-pound weights, and let’s get to work!
Kourtney McCullough is a Pilates instructor with Equinox in Los Angeles, CA. To discuss private sessions or for other general inquiries, you may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.