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Prenatal Pilates for an Easy Pregnancy

Pilates is a great way to breeze through your pregnancy as it is known to focus on the core muscles and will help you train to make the body strong, better your balance and make you more flexible.

Advantages of Pilates

Pilates include the right control of deep breathing and relaxation which is beneficial for the body. These are the two things that are important for healthy results. Pilates focuses on the abdominal area and pelvic floor muscles along with back and hip muscles.

It helps in strengthening the back and pelvis while supporting it, thus benefiting posture and balance.

When we talk about pregnancy, a lot of women prefer practicing Pilates for pre and post pregnancy exercises, as all the muscles used help to make the body more flexible resulting in a more comfortable delivery. It also helps in maintaining the body shape which is of primary concern to most women.

Pilates during Pregnancy

We wondered if it was advisable to learn Pilates as a first timer when pregnant?

Well, Pilates requires guidance. For someone who's never done it before, a pre-natal class or an instructor to guide you through the same would be a good start.

It's crucial to know the basics.

There are a lot of CDs available in the market but help during pregnancy is a must. It is extremely easy to overdo any form of exercise, but during pregnancy you want to make sure you don't overdo it and be comfortable at your own pace and position.

Signs that you need to slow down are - dizziness, feeling faint, nausea, racing heart, shortness of breath, uterine contractions, bleeding or leaking fluid and headache.

Does it affect the baby?

Pilates helps strengthen your body. If the expectant mother is in good shape, she will have an easy delivery. Pilates is just a step in making the process easier and healthier. It has no direct impact on the foetus.

Till When Can I Practice it:

Pilates can be continued through your pregnancy with certain changes in the regime. In the first trimester, the focus is solely on the core and stamina as the body is going through major changes.

Abs, back, waist and pelvis will be of prime area of focus as they adapt to the changes and the growing belly.

In the Second trimester, the focus will move to balancing your body. Due to the increase in belly and breast size it helps support the neck, back and spine.

In the third trimester, Pilates helps in preparing for labour as it focuses on your pelvic strength.

Concerns:

One of the major concerns is to not overstretch. Women during their pregnancy face hormonal changes that promote flexibility in the joints and muscles.

The main aim is to achieve as much as you can without disturbing your body and baby. In certain cases like "diastatis" you may want to consult a doctor or modify the workout after consulting an instructor.

During the second trimester it is important that you stop doing the exercises that require you to lie flat on the ground or with your legs above your head as that obstructs blood flow to the child. Focusing on precise movement and breathing will enhance your workout and also connect you to the changes in your body as well as your baby.

Pilates is good for expecting mothers because it helps cope with the extra strain due to the additional weight of the child. It also strengthens muscles and joints taking care of pregnancy-related pain. Towards the end of your pregnancy, it may also help to get your baby into the right position for birth.

Twin Pregnancy:

Exercising when you're expecting is a good thing. When expecting twins, Pilates can be adopted, but you must consult a doctor as your weight and size will be more compared to someone carrying just one child. Exercises that require major back and stomach movement aren't advisable.

Some Do's and Don'ts:
Do's -
  • A 10-minute warm up before the workout
  • Giving utmost importance to posture
  • Devote a certain time to it everyday
  • Concentrate on breathing
  • Consult a doctor before you begin
Don'ts -
  • Do not overdo it
  • Don't do it on an empty stomach. Hydrate yourself.
  • If an exercise hurts, stop doing it. Pilates should not create pain or stress in any way.
  • Avoid exercises that require you to raise both feet in the air at once, since the weight of your legs may put too much pressure on your spine. Instead, alternate, lifting one leg at a time.
  • Towards the end of your pregancy, your body loosens up for delivery. Do make sure to not tear any ligaments and you will require close supervision.

Shalini Bhargava is an internationally recognized Performance-Enhancement coach, Group exercise instructor, Personal trainer, and Speaker, who motivates, educates and inspires people worldwide. She is the founder and creator of JG'S Fitness Centre in Mumbai, where her wonderful team focuses on Aerobics, The Masala Bhangra Workout, Zumba ,Power Yoga, Spinning, Stott Pilates, Bootcamps, Circuit and Interval training, Personal training, Sports performance training, Nutrition, Physical therapy, and Chiropractic to help transform the bodies, minds and spirits of a broad clientele.

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Ms. Madhuri Dixit Nene :

Shalini is truly an excellent trainer. She is the perfect combination of tough and soft, She is skilled, thoughtful, sensible, and a pleasure to work with and talk to. She knows just how and when to encourage and when to push, and when to take a step back. Owing to her combination of diverse training methods, individualized exercise programs challenging yet achievable goal setting, a simple to follow diet plan and personal efforts, I am stronger and more flexible, I have better balance and endurance and most importantly, working out has become fun.

Dr. Shri Ram Nene :

Knowledgeable, Competent, Professional and Dedicated are what I would say for Shalini. She is quick in understanding individual goals and hence forth providing advice and varied programs. She uses a holistic approach, incorporating flexibility, strength, posture, balance, endurance along with promoting a healthy eating regime. She is encouraging without being “soft” and a great motivator. Most importantly – she ensures that the moves are done correctly and reinforces how it will benefit . Her professionalism, extensive knowledge and enthusiastic commitment to her work and ultimately her clients, provides the perfect scenario for success and sets foundations for a new healthier lifestyle! Highly recommendable!!!

Dr Dimple Shah :

I joined JG`s gym for ante-natal exercise and probably this was one of the best decision during pregnancy. Anupa, my trainer, exactly knows the regime a pregnant woman needs to follow. Her exercises kept me fresh through the day and my fitness improved post joining the class. She is very attentive and motivated me on days I felt tardy. Her flexibility with timing allowed me to go to gym when I was in comfortable doing exercise - this is a serious plus during pregnancy. Thanks a lot Anupa!

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JGs is a fantastic gym and work out centre.It`s is not only clean and hygienic , it`s ambience is very inducive for a good workout. The trainers are friendly and very motivating. In addition , there are a variety of group workouts which make it all the more interesting and I`m never bored working out. It`s been 3 years and am still going strong. I have not only attained my desired weight but I have also become physically stronger , energetic and well toned. This has really boosted my self confidence especially when I have to dress up.

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Director Asian Cancer InstituteProf. Surgical Oncology Lilavati & Bombay Hospital, Mumbai

JGS is heaven on earth for all fitness lowers and motivates those who desire to do so. This Centre and its management provides such an unbelievable environment which gives so much positive energy & makes you addicted to stay there longer.

It has meaningful, wonderful, newer equipment and above all class very professional, helpful trainers who guide you to do targeted, correct energizing newer exercise regime which no gym that I have visited in India and abroad provides.

I have myself got absolutely fit increasing my lean weight, shedding my flab which I never achieved in previous stints at other places, this in spite of my spending limited time here due to my busy professional schedules, this improved fitness has allowed me to concentrate more on my longer surgeries without getting tired.

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10 years and still going strong! My journey has been of a person who prior to 2006 did anything besides exercise to lose weight, to a person who wants to exercise everyday to kickstart a healthier day, for a healthier life. My sister in law, Reshma pushed me to join (thanks to a free 1-month trial coupon) and the JGs team members ensured that it becomes a part of my life. All the trainers are superb at JGs but my major experience has been with Anupa, Shalini, Sangeeta and Vijendra. Shalini has ensured that her dedication to fitness has rubbed off on all her team members. Each one of them is as dedicated and as strict as her in ensuring that we are regular and give our best while exercising. I always share with my family and friends that I just need to reach the gym, after that the trainers ensure I give my best. JGs has also been hugely instrumental in transforming my son, Nihar, from a chubby kid to a 20 year old with 6 pack abs. Thanks Shalini and team JGs, super job, well done, keep it up.

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