#WSSC15th: Prenatal Pilates
As most of you know, I attended several sessions at the World Spinning and Sports Conditioning Conference here in Miami recently. I’ve already discussed the Running from Scratch session that I loved, but today I have one just as great. Some of you may not find this the most entertaining, but I was like a kid in a candy store learning about this stuff–
Connie Borho, a Pilates instructor in Bradenton, Florida, led the session. She had a ton of information, some of it I already knew, some of it I didn’t, and she had really good anecdotes to go with her teachings.
We went through the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ set guidelines for prenatal exercise. We discussed absolute and relative contraindications, breaking down each one.
She then began discussing the general physiological changes in pregnancy, the various hormonal changes, etc. We learned about each trimester, and the key theme throughout all three? DRINK WATER!
The leading cause of premature labor is dehydration. That kicked me into a new campaign of making sure each of my clients is really thinking about hydrating all day, every day!
Then we really got into the nitty gritty–learning about diastasis recti, talking about the pelvic floor, etc. I won’t detail all the specifics, but it opened my eyes to new info. Pilates really adds a new perspective to pregnancy fitness, and it really focused on proper alignment which I appreciated.
One particularly interesting fact: many cases of diastasis recti are a result of tight abdominals. Tight abs?! As in, those of fit people?! I asked her if fit people saw diastasis recti more frequently, and in her history, that is absolutely correct. She stressed that as the uterus grows, the abdominals must also expand to accommodate. If the abs are tight and inflexible, they often will drop off to the side, resulting in diastasis recti.
Her answer to this issue? Stretch your abs vertically before you get pregnant to prime your body for the upcoming changes! How? Extension work, cobra stretches, anything along those lines.
The final key takeaway that she spoke about was the idea of Kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor. She said that when performing Kegels, you shouldn’t be just contracting and releasing–you should think of your contraction as an elevator, squeezing lightly for the first floor, tighter for the second floor, and so on up to the penthouse. Once you reach the penthouse, slowlyyyyy release with control down to the ground floor.
She also suggested learning how to totally release your pelvic floor. Why? So that when the time of labor and delivery comes, you have full control–when you need the push you’ll have it, and when you need to let go and let gravity take over, you’ll know how to release as well.
As you can see, I really enjoyed the session. We ended up going over the time period with questions and general conversation, and I didn’t want to have to move on to my next session!
Let me know if you have any questions or want to take a conversation offline. It’s my passion and I love to chat about it!
Disclosure: I was provided a complimentary pass to attend the World Spinning and Sports Conditioning Conference. All opinions are my own.