I am excited to share about my experience with Pure Barre during pregnancy. As always, this is my experience and you should consult your doctor if you are pregnant before beginning a new workout routine.
Why Pure Barre?
Barre has been a part of my fitness routine for the last decade. It is the one workout that can truly last through all of life’s seasons. I live in Fairfield County, Connecticut, and there are barre studios everywhere. Finding the best one can be overwhelming. It took me awhile, but Pure Barre Westport is definitely it. About two years ago, I took my first class at Pure Barre Westport and immediately fell in love. The clientele at the studio is a mix of mostly women of all ages and walks of life. I love that! To be surrounded by strong women spanning several decades is empowering. The instructors are truly top-notch, too. They are encouraging, motivating, and facilitate kick-your-butt workouts every time.
My First Trimester at Pure Barre
Finding myself pregnant after infertility and a miscarriage was an emotional rollercoaster. In the beginning, working out felt somewhere between nerve-wrecking and just straight-up terrifying. My doctors helped me figure out a fitness plan that would work for my pregnancy. I decided my weekly fitness goal would be daily walks, three Peloton rides, and two Pure Barre classes. This was a change from my usual four days at CrossFit and a day at the barre.
When I told Jess, the studio manager at Pure Barre Westport that I was pregnant again, she emailed me a manual of information with suggested modifications. I found this resource to be incredibly helpful. I also read a few posts by My Life Well Loved, a blogger, mom, and Pure Barre instructor from Alabama.
My biggest challenge during the first trimester was not throwing up during class! My rule of thumb became this: So long as I was able to eat and stay hydrated, I was getting myself to the barre. I was lucky that I almost always felt better once I started to move. Adding an electrolyte powder to my water helped me stay hydrated and cut down on the nausea during class. I also wore a FitBit to track my heart-rate. I aired on the side of caution and immediately decided to modify my ab work by always leaving one leg on the ground for support. Other than that, I was still able to do everything in class during the first trimester.
My Second Trimester at Pure Barre
Near the beginning of my second trimester, I had to take three weeks off from working out after undergoing an amniocentesis. To be honest, this is when I wanted to completely throw the towel in on Pure Barre and all exercise. If it wasn’t for the incredible community at Pure Barre Westport, that is exactly what I would have done.
When I returned around 17 weeks, I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to participate in the work-out in the way I used to. I immediately ditched the band for most exercises as I found it put added pressure on my abs. This is also when I started to modify all push-ups and planks on my knees.
During the next few weeks, I really found a true understanding of what it meant to “listen” to my body. I noticed that I would start to feel more round ligament pain during ab-work. Sometimes I decided to modify at the barre instead of being on my knees. I would show up a few minutes early to class, and the teachers were always happy to talk me through modifications beforehand. I found that this left me feeling empowered and capable of getting through the workout.
At 25 weeks, I was sidelined again with another complication- a cervical insufficiency and preterm contractions. Just a day before I found myself receiving this scary diagnosis, I was at the barre and feeling fantastic. It’s funny how life works out. My doctors put me on modified bedrest to last until I was closer to term. I asked if I could go back to Pure Barre if I made it to 36 weeks. My doctor laughed and said, “If you make it to 36 weeks, it’ll be unbelievable! So, sure. You can go to barre.” I spent the next 11 weeks between the hospital, our couch, and a million doctor’s appointments. Complete rest was what my body needed.
My Third Trimester at Pure Barre
In late January, I made it to 36 weeks! While I remained on limited activity orders, my doctors encouraged me to start moving again in preparation for labor. I refer to this time as “living the dream.” I was not permitted to return to work and encouraged to continue spending a chunk of my day resting. At 36 weeks, I added light walking, yoga, and Pure Barre back into my routine.
My first class back was nothing short of humbling. I was 30 pounds heavier and not used to moving much. It felt so good to move, but my body no longer felt like my own. That was, until I started doing all of barre’s familiar movements. I told myself I would simply try my best during class, and that is exactly what I did. Class consisted of lots of breaks, watching my heart-rate closely, and sometimes even leaving during the last section of ab-work. I modified every movement at the barre- push-ups, planks, etc. Again, the Pure Barre Westport teachers encouraged me and made me feel welcome. They helped me navigate class positively and safely. I delivered our son at 37&6, and it was such a huge accomplishment to make it back if only for a short time.
What I’ve Learned
I’m proud to say that I continued with Pure Barre while I was pregnant. I ended up being induced 24 hours after my last Pure Barre class. When the nurse whipped out the squat barre to assist me in pushing during labor, I joked that I felt like I was at Pure Barre. My body always feels better when I incorporate movement into the day. Having to take 11 weeks off from any type of movement taught me the strength and value of resting. It helped me get over my fear of “falling- off- the- wagon” postpartum. I look forward to giving my body however many weeks- or months- of rest I need during the postpartum period. I do not intend on returning to Pure Barre until I am cleared by my doctor and evaluated by a pelvic floor physical therapist. There is no doubt in my mind that I will find myself back at the barre this spring once my body is ready. I’m sure it will be a whole new level of humbling. I’m forever grateful to have found a workout that has truly carried me through several of life’s seasons.