Author: Clare Marie Trono
Hello Super Mamas & Papas! Well, if you’ve found your way to this blog then you’re already on the right path in your quest for knowledge and resources to support you on your parenting journey!
Whether you are trying to conceive, already in bloom or already have your little bundle of joy in your arms I’m sure that I don’t have to emphasise the importance of being fit and healthy to lead a happy life!
By this I don’t only mean your body but your emotional and mental well being as well.
So lets get real for a moment – when I say fit and healthy, it’s not about being super skinny with a six pack, hitting the gym 6 days a week, power protein bar in hand, I mean something a bit more realistic like doing an activity that you enjoy 1 to 2 times a week, to get your body moving. This could include anything from Pilates and yoga to zumba, cross fit or just dancing around the house in your pyjamas cleaning – there are no rules! By setting more realistic goals for yourself you are more likely to achieve the results you want. This is even more apparent for your body and mind during pregnancy!
For many women, once the morning sickness and fatigue has passed or at least, is on it’s way out after the first trimester, is the time when lots of mothers are looking to get their bodies moving and prepare their bodies and minds for birth and recovery.
So, I often get asked what is the best exercise to do whilst pregnant?
The answer is pretty simple, anything that makes you feel good! Pregnancy is such a sacred moment in your life why waste time and energy on anything that doesn’t make you feel good? Your medical practitioner will probably have already advised you that you can continue with your current activities until you feel that its time to stop, providing that you are experiencing a healthy pregnancy and your activities are not extreme sports or anything where there is high risk of injury. The general rule is that you can continue with your current exercise regime until you feel that you would prefer to do something more specifically designed for your evolving body during your pregnancy.
I am sure that it is no surprise to you that the healthier and fitter you are during your pregnancy the better it will be for both you and your baby during and afterwards. I think that a balance of some low impact cardio activity such as swimming or walking with Pilates is the perfect combination of exercises during pregnancy and for postnatal recovery.
Pilates is a movement methodology developed by Joseph Pilates at the turn of the 20th Century. Pilates is a sequence of moves that focus on core strength, mobilising the spine, strengthening muscles and maintaining flexibility.
Pilates is a great method and one of the best exercises for you to practice during your pregnancy, after birth and beyond. It comes highly recommended by midwives and medical practitioners. This is because Pilates is a low impact activity which works with your body and calms the mind. But don’t be fooled, just because it’s low impact doesn’t mean that we don’t work! We work but in a safe, effective and efficient way!
Pilates exercises are completely adaptable to suit you at each stage of your pregnancy and you can come to class right up until you give birth (if you want!). I have a lot of ladies who attend the Super Mama pregnancy pilates class right up until the birth. But like I said there are no rules, and the most important thing is that you listen to your body and do what you feel is best for you and your baby.
There are many benefits to exercising throughout your pregnancy which extend to after your beautiful little baby has entered the world. These include:
Benefits of Pilates during pregnancy and beyond:
• improved circulation
• maintenance of fitness levels
• improved posture and prevention of back pain
• faster post-natal recovery
• preparing the body for delivery
• enhance a sense of well-being
• improved self image and self confidence
• help to decrease stress and anxiety
• Mood enhancing
Lots of women choose pilates as it is such an adaptable method so that you can continue to strengthen, keep muscle tone without any negative impact on the pregnant body.As we are also working on connecting the body with the mind through breath, breathing with each movement we are also training the mind and body for the birth. To stay connected, trust and go with the flow. I believe that everyone should be empowered with the knowledge so that you can trust your body – your body is absolutely amazing, all we need to do is listen and trust!
Pilates also addresses the postural changes during pregnancy, balancing and strengthening muscles to reduce back pain, elevate discomfort and maintain mobility throughout the pregnancy.
We also work with balance, checking in with your body, bringing awareness and understanding so that you can have a happy and healthy pregnancy.
It’s normal to feel tired, it’s normal to have a crazy hormone emotional day, everything is
acceptable. For most ladies her in Luxembourg, especially if you are expats, we don’t always have our close friends and family near us and this can be a bit tough. Especially as everything is increased by at least 100% when pregnant. But you are not alone! Everyone has rubbish days so try and make sure that you’re investing a small amount of time in yourself.
Most women are only pregnant once, twice or maybe three times therefore I really emphasise the importance of everything you choose to do during your pregnancy is about doing the things that make you, your mind, your body and therefore your beautiful bump feel good.
For me, my pregnancy pilates classes are also about providing an environment where mums can socialise, share ideas and knowledge, ask the questions and share their experiences. It’s important to have fun and relax. There is a misconception that Pilates needs to be so serious and dull, but it’s actually great fun and those moments when you
can see your body getting stronger and your mind getting calmer are the most rewarding. I hope to create an environment where you can just let go and concentrate on flowing with your body and breath for an hour.
I always say to the lovely Super Mamas that attend my classes, that if you don’t remember
anything from the classes, just try and remember these three things during your labour (and life):
1) trust your body – it’s amazing, intelligent and often has all the answers
2) gravity is your friend – let your body take you into the best birthing position for you
3) Breathe, breathe and breathe some more – bringing clarity and calm
And most of all stay positive – YOU CAN TOTALLY DO THIS!!!
Try this simple breathing exercise:
We all have days, even without being parents, where life is challenging and you need a little mini-motivator in your ear lovingly shouting: You can do this!!! So when times get a little rough around the edges just remember that: You ROCK!
Giving birth does not have to be something to fear. There are ways you can prepare yourself, mentally and physically. Such preparation will help you to have a positive and fulfilling experience.
It’s also really important to ensure that whoever you go to for treatments e.g. reflexology, chiropractic, massage, Pilates, Yoga or fitness are specifically trained in how to work with Pre and post natal ladies. Please never be afraid to ask the consultant or practitioner about their qualifications and even ask to see our certificates if you are unsure.
There is a misconception that Pilates is gentle, which it can be but we also really work the body too. This time in your life is such a sacred moment and each interaction you have with a practitioner whether is is a fitness instructor, masseur, reflexologist, Physio, each session should make you feel good!
It’s an honour to share this journey with you, so please follow your intuition and don’t be afraid to ask the “Are you qualified for teaching pregnancy/post natal question”.
WE LOVE TO TALK ABOUT IT and would never be offended!!
So I hope to see you on the mat soon for some Pilates!
This article is dedicated to my lovely friend Ria, her partner Erik and their new baby boy Alexander, as i received the news of his birth just as I finished writing this article!
Go Super Mama & Super Papa!
Clare has been practicing pilates since the age of 17. She set up her own business, Clare Marie Pilates & Wellness when she moved to Luxembourg in 2012. Clare Marie holds a specialist Level 3 Pre & Post Pregnancy qualification which has empowered her with the knowledge to design suitable classes for pregnant ladies and new mothers. Pre & Post Pregnancy Pilates classes with Clare Marie are designed and adapted for you at each stage of pregnancy and
after birth. With a wealth of experience, training and dedication to the field Clare
focuses on inspiring and empowering others with the knowledge to live happier
and healthier lives. For further information please visit www.claremariepilates.com