Pilates in pregnancy. Interview with the teacher Federica Varone

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Pilates in pregnancy

Practicing sports during pregnancy helps not only the body to deal with the changes that will occur during the nine months, but also the mind to overcome fears, stress and the effects of hormonal processes. But what activity can be practiced in such an important period in a woman's life? They are recommended sports with not too intense training such as walking, swimming with proper attention, low impact aerobic exercises, yoga and pilates. 

We interviewed Federica Varone, head of the Ica-do Pila-Dance & Mind school of pilates and dance in Rozzano, to find out more about the benefits of Pilates pregnant.

Read also: Why do sports during pregnancy
  • How was this discipline born?

The Pilates Method (also called simply Pilates) is a training system developed in the early 900s by Joseph Pilates. He, drawing inspiration from ancient oriental disciplines, such as Yoga (India) and Do-In (Japan) and deepening the study of human and animal anatomy, creates a training program aimed at rehabilitating war veterans hospitalized. From there Joseph becomes very famous and public: Return to Life through and subsequently Contrology and Your Health: A Corrective System of Exercising That Revolutionizes the Entire Field of Physical Education. “The important thing is not what you are doing, but how you are doing what you are doing” JHPilates used to say. The mind of those who perform this type of exercise is directed towards the body, focused on what is happening as it happens: it is thus possible to understand exactly what the mind orders the body and learn to perceive exactly how the body is moving. In this way you will get a muscle strengthening not an end in itself, but with the specific intent of developing strength, control and fluidity of those who perform it. In particular, in our studio we are all certified in covatech method, this branch of pilates, developed by Anna Maria Cova (physiotherapist and creator of the aforementioned brand) takes into account and contains all the most recent discoveries both in the rehabilitation and scientific field and in training.

  • What are the benefits of pilates in pregnancy?

During pregnancy, the woman's body undergoes multiple changes both at a structural and physiological level. The body is transformed to host a new life within it and it is of fundamental importance to accompany it during this transformation. Furthermore, let's not forget the humoral aspect due to hormonal changes. Taking care of yourself in this period of life is necessary to guarantee the physical and mental well-being of yourself and the child.

- goals of pilates in pregnancy I'm:

  • dissolve e strengthen the back muscles, subjected to particular tensions due to the displacement of the center of gravity and weight increase
  • learn to control tension and relaxation of the perineum with breathing
  • reactivate the waste circulation (venous and lymphatic), in order to prevent the typical swelling of the limbs
  • strengthen the abdominal muscles
  • realign posture
  • learn relaxation techniques that will contribute to the physical and mental well-being of the mother during and after childbirth
  • maintain contact with your body and train perception, thanks to meditation and dance therapy techniques.
  • When can Pilates be started during pregnancy and up to what month?

Those who already attended Pilates courses before pregnancy or those who already played sports can continue training after receiving the consent of the gynecologist and have reported it to the teacher, who will pay due attention. For those who decide to devote time in this circumstance, and perhaps had been stopped for some time, they will have to wait until the end of the third month of gestation and in any case seek the advice of the gynecologist.

  • Are there any contraindications or special precautions?

Are there any exercises to avoid during pregnancy? Contraindications no, unless there are particular problems. Precautions yes. You have to pay amuch more precise attention to the abdominal wall and the muscles of the perineum. The relationship of tension and relaxation must be equal. An overly toned but poorly controlled perineum, therefore unable to relax, could make childbirth more difficult.

  • Exercises performed while prone are to be avoided which are easily replaced with standing or sitting postures, as well as postures that involve excessive lifting of the legs and pelvis or pressure on the belly.
  • Finally, it is not recommended to over-stimulate the sole of the foot.
  • Is pilates also useful for losing weight or regaining shape after childbirth?

This is a question that always makes me smile a lot, and that I get asked very often. The answer is no, Unfortunately, despite the fact that we now hear conflicting opinions and theories on the subject, my answer is this. At a physiological level, in order to "burn" excess fat, there is a need to activate a metabolic chain, which I will not dwell on, but which is activated on average when the beats are around 120 / minute. And what's more, a very bad news that always leaves you speechless: the fat reserve begins to be involved starting from the 21st minute of activity. Pilates training does not involve an aerobic phase so protracted in such time as to activate this physiological process. Having said that, let's move on to the good news.

Pilates working on elasticity, tone and posture has the great advantage of modifying the body. From the very first lessons there is first the sensation and then the visual proof that i muscles are more compact and more toned. We add to this that the techniques of development of body perception, relaxation and mindfull ness allow to learn to listen to the body and its needs, therefore you learn, for example, a control nervous hunger. Over the years of work, I have noticed that those who begin to take care of themselves by undertaking a training path like this, in which they are educated to respect the body and perception, spontaneously begin to pay more attention to what they eat. The fact remains that I cannot fail to say that a jog, a swim or long walks are the basis of weight control.

  • Is it a discipline also suitable for children?

There is a course dedicated to the mother-child couple. It is a course born from a game with an assistant of mine a few years ago which was then deepened and perfected in these 5 years of work. What happens is something magic, the child in contact with the mother interacts with her by lending itself to the execution of the exercises. Thanks to the techniques of dance therapy in addition to regaining confidence with the body, one also learns to know and be known by the newborn by establishing a deep contact with him. It is possible to start the mother and child pilates program starting from the third month e always with the consent of the referring doctors.

  • Tell us briefly how a Pilates lesson works

The Pilates lesson opens with a contact with your body and mobilization and relaxation exercises, then continues with the positioning and strengthening thanks to the use of tools and machines. Finally, mindfulness-style relaxation that allows you to be present in the here and now.

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