A session with pregnancy in mind.

Personal, Pilates

It was a very interesting session today. The pregnancy is now at the five months mark so there are a few things that start becoming off limits and others that are a bit more challenging.

On the flip side, you get more awareness and can connect to some parts of your body better than before – like the deep core or, to use the Anatomy Trains lines, the Deep Front Line.

The movements focused on what’s most present at the moment. There’s some tightness in my lower back (the dimples of Venus or the SacroIliac ligament) and an intermittent pain in my right knee.
There’s also the desire to trust my pelvic floor and its friends. I’ll need them to really provide a safe and cosy base for my baby. Later on, they will enable him to come into this world as naturally as possible. In short, the belly needs to provide a nice comfy trampoline that can open up and give space when the baby is ready.
With this in mind, we worked on some simple exercises and adjusted the focus.
pilates, pregnancy, session, pregnant, exercises
On the Mat: Back press
A classic and simple exercise.
The focus was to get the feeling that there’s a hammock between the knees and the rib cage / T12. The pelvis is just hanging there, the abs are enjoying a nice cup of tea and the tail bone is heavy and out of the way.
Of course, the arms had to come in and play its role. I am finding it harder and harder to find any exercises where they can just take a break. In this case, they provide support so that the chest can expand and the collar bones stay free. It’s really liberating, once you get the gist of it.
Ped-i-Pull: Arm Series
It might not seem super relevant but actually, it is.  The idea here was to get those arms moving without being stuck.
The chest can remain stable,  there’s no need to force your abs or your spine.
Once all that is working, the pelvis can let go for a moment.
First holding on to the poles of the Caddilac and then free standing. Two main lines of action here:
  1. keeping the knees steady, on top of the second toe and with the tibia staying perpendicular to the floor
  2. spreading those sit bones apart as you lower yourself and return back up. You might feel like your butt is poking out or that it is now bigger than the grand canyon. I understand. But that’s surprisingly not the case. The pelvic floor doesn’t need to hold, tense up or force anything. It’s quite spectacular once after you tried it several times. The body finds a way to follow the requirements: ask it nicely and you shall get it, even if not immediately.
In the meantime, a nice image came to mind. It was to allow the pelvic floor to be a nice trampoline, elastic and not pressing anything. The image is to create a smile with the pelvic crest on both sides as the corners. It’s quite a nice picture because it’s positive and it ends up making me smile as well.
Sumo Squats
Then a very similar exercise but with the feet much wider apart – this is really a preparation for birth.
In my case, it was more demanding to spread the sit bones apart but it provided a great sense of stability once achieved
The one issue for me is that I can’t really squat that far down without lifting my heels – so, either I lift the heels, don’t go down as much (good luck staying there for long…) or my weight is too far back and I need to hold on to something in front of me to keep my behind off the ground.
A work in progress.
Sexy Moves
Not sure if this exercise has a name but it was fun to imagine it as a sexy move.
  • One leg is standing and providing support. If needed you can bend the knee to have some extra spring during the movement.
  • The other leg has one foot on a slippery surface (towel, blanket, sheet of paper…) and you start moving it away from your other leg by spreading it away. Just a bit in the beginning.
  • And then you pull the leg with an inward movement, bringing it closer to the other leg again, while sliding the foot on the floor. The trick here is to do this without moving the support leg sideways or pulling from that hip to bring the other leg back.
You want to use only the inner part of your leg to bring your body up while coming back to the initial position. One of the aims is to make sure that both knees are steady. This allows for the knee of the leg being pulled should aim at being aligned with the second toe.
This exercise was marvellous for the knee. It helped to loosen up the outer part of the knee that was too tight and engaging the inner part of the knee and thigh. They were not supporting walking too well, putting too much strain on the knee. No wonder it was starting to hurt.
On the Wunda Chair: Press Down
These were the final exercises and they were great to further connect:
  • the Deep Front line by activating the arches in my historically flat feet
  • the inner thighs
  • and Psoas.
Eventually, my pelvis was smiling, my diaphragm was not holding on and I was fully supported on one foot and leg. The other leg was pushing the paddle down while I was standing. It’s a powerful exercise.
It took several attempts before I was able to do this movement. I had to keep the sit bones wide and letting the hip bone rotate and move without going out of its socket.

This was a winning sequence of exercises. All the initial pains were gone! Also, I felt that my whole body can work together to bounce around and take care of my baby.

How awesome is that?