strong & serene
Relax and get into shape for labor with these safe prenatal Pilates moves.
4. Standing heel beat Stand straight with your right side to the back of a chair. Keep your right hand on the back of the chair, left hand on hip, abs drawn in, shoulders back and down, chin level. Turn your toes out and bring your left heel toward your right instep. Inhale and lift your left leg out to the side and point your toes slightly. Exhale, flex your left foot and touch your left heel to your right heel and pulse tiny “beats” for 1 minute, squeezing buttocks and inner thighs and breathing normally. Switch sides and repeat. Strengthens hips and thighs.
5. Shoulder stabilization Kneel on all fours with your knees under your hips and wrists under your shoulders. Draw your navel in toward your spine, keeping your neck in line with hips [A]. Inhale, then exhale as you slowly extend your right arm in front of you at shoulder height, abs drawn in [B]. Slowly lower and repeat with opposite arm. Continue sequence for 1 minute. Strengthens back extensors, shoulders and deep abdominal muscles and improves posture.
6. Leg circle From the all-fours position, lie on your right side, legs straight and slightly in front of your hips. Place a pillow lengthwise under the side of your belly and put your right elbow, forearm and palm on the floor. Place your left hand on the pillow in front of you, lift the right side of your torso away from the floor and draw your abs in. Tighten your pelvic-floor muscles, squeeze your buttocks, keep your hips aligned and still and gently flex your feet and lift your left leg to hip height. While breathing normally, “draw” 8 small circles in a clockwise direction, then 8 small circles in the opposite direction without moving your hips. Repeat sequence for 1 minute, then switch sides. Strengthens thighs, hips, buttocks and pelvic-floor muscles, giving you power for labor while promoting better balance.
7. Mermaid Sit on the floor with a large, firm pillow underneath your right buttock. Bend your knees, point them to the left and rest your legs on the floor, heels close to your left hip. Place your left hand on your left shin and your right hand on the floor near your right hip. Sit up straight and draw your abs in. Inhale, and as you exhale, lean your torso to the left and reach your right arm up and over to the left as you look down toward your left hand, keeping your neck in line with your spine. Hold for 1 minute, breathing normally, then change legs and switch sides. Promotes torso and hip flexibility, relieving low-back discomfort.