The Pilates Pregnancy

The Pilates Pregnancy: Maintaining Strength, Flexibility, and Your Figure

Mari Winsor
Perseus Publishing (2001), 208 pages
Approximately $14

Pilates is an excellent exercise program for increasing your flexibility, strengthening your core, toning strong lean muscles, and reshaping your entire body - but some people wonder if it is alright during pregnancy? Well Mari Winsor of the Winsor Pilates fame says yes. She claims that Pilates is an excellent way to increase comfort and reduce stress during pregnancy - and it is completely safe.

Doctors also agree that Pilates is quite beneficial to pregnant women. It keeps blood circulating throughout your body including the abdominal areas which is important for the health of your baby. Women who regularly participate in Pilates exercise programs during pregnancy will also experience easier deliveries and will recover quicker.

Mari Winsor starts the book off by explaining the basic fundamental principles of Pilates and how these techniques and concepts can be applied to the pregnant body. The rest of the book is divided into three different sections - a workout for the first, second, and third trimesters of pregnancy. Each section then contains between 22 and 39 different exercises. There is even a section in the book devoted to post-delivery well-being.

The exercises are all clearly defined and explained, and she describes each movement in stages - The “prep” stage shows how to prepare for the exercise by getting into correct position, the “ready” stage includes a description of the technique and what to be careful of, and the “action” stage contains the easy-to-follow steps for performing the exercise. Each exercise is also fully illustrated - the book contains over 100 black and white photographs.

The Pilates Pregnancy is targeted towards women who have had some experience with Pilates and are either at an intermediate or advanced fitness level. Beginners may not be able to fully understand the concepts behind the book. However, the exercises are very gentle on the body and can be done during any stage of the pregnancy.

Through strengthening the body's “powerhouse” and abdominal muscles, the mother is able to efficiently recover from pregnancy and to quickly regain her pre-pregnancy figure and waistline. Mari Winsor worked closely with well-known gynecologist and obstetrician Dr. Uzzi Reiss to develop the first mat-based Pilates routine for pregnant women.

NOTE: Most of the exercises are to be performed lying on the back, which is contrary to some schools of thought on the subject of exercise and pregnancy. Some women find this position uncomfortable, especially into the second and third trimesters, and would prefer to exercise standing or lying on their sides while pregnant. Another thing to be aware of is that there doesn't seem to be a lot of modifications of the exercises as you advance through the trimesters.

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