The Power of Pilates

Everything in this slideshow

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First Trimester

FOCUS: CORE Strengthening your abdominals and hip muscles will support your lower back as your belly grows. This move will keep your hip area mobile too.

1. Single Leg Circles

Lie flat with your knees bent and feet flat, placing your hands on your hipbones. Draw in your abs, then raise your right leg 90 degrees with your knee slightly bent [shown]. Keeping hips still, draw grapefruit-size circles with your right toe as you cross your leg to the left, down, to the right, and back to starting position. Repeat 5 times; change directions for another 5 reps. Switch legs and repeat the entire sequence.

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Second Trimester

FOCUS: UPPER BODY

As your breasts and belly grow, you're prone to neck and shoulder pain. The following moves help prevent or ease this by increasing upper-body strength and flexibility.

2a. Bow and Arrow

Sit on 2 firm pillows with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Squeeze another firm pillow between your knees. Hold your arms in front of you at chest height with palms down [2A]. Inhale, then as you exhale bend your left elbow, turn your torso in the same direction, and look over your shoulder [2B]. Straighten your left arm and reach behind you. Return to starting position, then switch to your right side. Repeat 3 times on each side.

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Second Trimester

FOCUS: UPPER BODY

As your breasts and belly grow, you're prone to neck and shoulder pain. The following moves help prevent or ease this by increasing upper-body strength and flexibility.


3a. Arm Openings </b>Lie on your left side with pillows under your head and belly for support. Bend your knees and extend your arms in front of your chest with palms together. Inhale and relax your head and shoulders [3A]. Exhale as you lift your right arm toward the ceiling, then reach behind you as you turn your head [3B]. Return to starting position; repeat 5 times. Switch sides for another 5 reps.

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Second Trimester

FOCUS: UPPER BODY

As your breasts and belly grow, you're prone to neck and shoulder pain. The following moves help prevent or ease this by increasing upper-body strength and flexibility.

2b. Bow and Arrow

Sit on 2 firm pillows with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Squeeze another firm pillow between your knees. Hold your arms in front of you at chest height with palms down [2A]. Inhale, then as you exhale bend your left elbow, turn your torso in the same direction, and look over your shoulder [2B]. Straighten your left arm and reach behind you. Return to starting position, then switch to your right side. Repeat 3 times on each side.

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Second Trimester

FOCUS: UPPER BODY

As your breasts and belly grow, you're prone to neck and shoulder pain. The following moves help prevent or ease this by increasing upper-body strength and flexibility.


3b. Arm Openings

Lie on your left side with pillows under your head and belly for support. Bend your knees and extend your arms in front of your chest with palms together. Inhale and relax your head and shoulders [3A]. Exhale as you lift your right arm toward the ceiling, then reach behind you as you turn your head [3B]. Return to starting position; repeat 5 times. Switch sides for another 5 reps.

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Third Trimester

FOCUS: BACK AND POSTURE

A burgeoning belly can cause backaches and slouching. These moves strengthen your entire back, shoulders and deep abdominal muscles for improved posture and stability to help prevent falls.

5. The Cat

Kneel on all fours with your wrists directly beneath your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Rest your hands on a towel for support. With your back in a neutral position (not arched), inhale deeply. Exhale and tuck your chin toward your chest as you round your spine and draw your tailbone under [shown]. Inhale and return to starting position; repeat 5 times.

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Third Trimester

FOCUS: BACK AND POSTURE

A burgeoning belly can cause backaches and slouching. These moves strengthen your entire back, shoulders and deep abdominal muscles for improved posture and stability to help prevent falls.

4a. Arm Circles against the wall Holding a 16-ounce water bottle in each hand, stand with your hips, back, shoulders and head against a wall. Bend your knees and place feet parallel to each other and slightly farther than hip-width apart. Arms are at your sides, and shoulders are pulled back and down. As you inhale, slowly lift your arms in front of you and toward the ceiling [4A]. Exhale and lower arms to shoulder height [4B]. Return to starting position and repeat 6 times.

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Third Trimester

FOCUS: BACK AND POSTURE

A burgeoning belly can cause backaches and slouching. These moves strengthen your entire back, shoulders and deep abdominal muscles for improved posture and stability to help prevent falls.

5. The Cat

Kneel on all fours with your wrists directly beneath your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Rest your hands on a towel for support. With your back in a neutral position (not arched), inhale deeply. Exhale and tuck your chin toward your chest as you round your spine and draw your tailbone under [shown]. Inhale and return to starting position; repeat 5 times.

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