One of the things we love most about barre is that it is a workout made for most seasons of life, one of them being pregnancy. Just as it’s important to exercise pre-pregnancy, it’s just as important to exercise prenatal, but only if it is done correctly. In honor of Mother's Day on Sunday, we’ve decided to whip up some modifications—as demonstrated by our co-founder Kirby— to help protect you, and most importantly, your baby.
Disclaimer for all of the preggos: it is very important–now more than ever– to listen to your body, take breaks as needed, and refer to your doctor on any exercise.
To protect your baby from the very get-go, avoid twisting from your shoulders and crunching your abs in the first song, and instead twist minimally with arms extended and open. This protects your baby from becoming strained in the womb. Also, get ready to hear words you thought you would never hear: steer away from planks (is this considered another blessing that comes along with pregnancy?), both in full-extension and on your elbows, as both may cause strain on your belly. Instead, take any moves done in plank to a knee. Downward facing dog is doable, but just make sure that your stance is wide enough to account for the baby. When in doubt, you are also welcome to come into reverse plank, as demonstrated here, with your hands beneath your shoulders and your shoulders are shrugged down.
For the standing leg portion of class, make sure that your stance is wide enough to accommodate your baby bump as you are moving around. One of the only positions to be wary of in the standing leg portion is foldover. We recommend stacking your forearms on top of the barre, elbows beneath shoulders, and then hinging forward from your waist. From here, tap your foot behind you, and without arching your back, bring your foot up a few inches and down. You can follow along with the instructor’s foldover series in this modified position, or continue to tap down and up.
Abs are the trickiest thing to do while pregnant, and also one with which you should be most cautious. Crunches should be avoided so you don’t cause too much pressure on your baby. On that note, it’s a good idea to focus on limiting your range of motion if you are doing anything that is remotely related to a crunch position in abs. When in doubt, stick to moves that work your obliques (think candlesticks, coming to your side and tapping your hip down and up), toe taps with a ball under your lower back, and bridges, as the lovely Kirby demonstrates here.
Instead of laying flat on your belly, come onto your hands and knees with your knees beneath your hips and your hands beneath your shoulders. Lift your right hand and your left leg off of the ground, making a straight line from your fingers to your toes, and replace on the floor.
Just as you are not to lay on your belly, you are not to lay on your back (for too long at least) as well. Anything that can be done on your side, such as side leg lifts, clamshells, oblique work, and so forth, should be safe for you and your baby. If you happen to be on your back, never (never!) sit straight up from that position–always roll over to your side, and slowly sit up. The name of the game is to not draw any strain from your stomach.