Wondering if you should start or keep doing Pure Barre during your pregnancy? This is one of a million questions you may be asking yourself while expecting. Each woman must answer this one for herself, but my experience doing Pure Barre through the majority of my pregnancy was awesome and a total game changer.
Before we get to the pregnancy part, though, you should know I’m a long time Pure Barre lover. My schedule included regularly taking 3 or 4 classes per week prior to getting pregnant. I was in relatively good shape overall, and didn’t have any known health concerns.
When I found out I was pregnant, I asked for my doctor’s advice about continuing Pure Barre. She said since I had already been regularly taking classes, that I should keep doing it and just listen to my body.
This was baby number 3 for me, and I was considered higher risk due to my “advanced maternal age” (i.e. over 35). Otherwise had no other high risk or complicating factors.
Pure Barre During Pregnancy
I took Pure Barre classes through 36 weeks of the 41 weeks of my pregnancy. It was certainly more difficult than usual, and I did have to make certain modifications during class. But I also felt so much better during this pregnancy, despite being quite a bit older than with the first two.
A few things that were different being pregnant and doing Pure Barre vs. not being pregnant:
1. I couldn’t breathe as easily and was often trying to catch my breath. This was a surprise to me. I only took Pure Barre Classic while pregnant (no Empower or Reform), which is not cardio intensive at all.
2. I had to be careful about standing up quickly. After stretching or doing any floor moves, I had to very slowly stand up or I would see spots and feel light headed.
3. I had to modify certain moves, including when laying on my belly or twisting. See more on modifications below.
4. I was sweatier and had to drink more water during class. I was focused on staying hydrated, as that seems to make everything easier, and luckily I was more thirsty during class.
5. My balance was terrible! After about 20 weeks, I really had to be careful about keeping my balance. Apparently your center of gravity shifts forward when pregnant. This meant I had to work hard to keep my balance when on my toes or when standing on one leg.
There are certain modifications you should make during Pure Barre classes while pregnant. Your teacher will let you know what to do differently, but Pure Barre has also done short YouTube videos giving you all the info. Check out the playlist below.
It is so important to protect your body when pregnant, and I found that the teachers were quick to correct me when I had bad form or should modify a move. They ensured I didn’t have any injuries or other issues during class.
Despite the difficulties, the results were incredible.
Keep in mind this was my third pregnancy and I was 38 years old. My full time executive level job kept me on my toes, and I was running around from building to building all day to attend meetings. I also had two kids with many activities to attend and an active life.
It was a tough 9 months, but I kept up with my family and had a good time doing it. It was my most physically capable pregnancy by far. I didn’t have a lot of control over the pace of my life at that point, but I know Pure Barre really helped me keep up.
I stopped taking Pure Barre classes at 36 weeks pregnant. My stomach muscles seemed to be starting to separate and I didn’t want to do any damage. I was also exhausted at that point I wanted to sleep and rest. However, there were other Pure Barre regulars who let me know they had taken classes until just days before delivering a baby.
When delivering my baby, a nurse, and one of the doctors commented on my abdominal strength. I pushed the baby out in record time, although it might just be that it was the 3rd child.
Pure Bare helped me stay in amazing shape (for a pregnant person) and let me keep up with my crew.
A Case Study (On Myself)
First Two Pregnancies
Age: 29 and 31.
Working out: I was in pretty good shape going into these two pregnancies. However, I quickly declined physically and was mostly just walking to try to stay in shape. Near the late middle and end of my pregnancies I was not doing much of anything.
Status: I was tired all the time and went to be early each night. I had the most swollen ankles you can imagine and had difficulty even walking around the neighborhood with my husband because my legs felt so heavy.
During both of these pregnancies I had to ask my employer and co-workers to make accommodations for me. I quit traveling (even by car), quit leaving the building I worked in for meetings, and had to slow my pace of work down quite a bit.
The security team at work even offered me a handicap parking space so I didn’t have to walk so far to get into the building. I stubbornly declined the spot and continued to walk into work at a snail’s pace every day.
I had to actively push for over two hours with the first baby and actually yelled at the nurse that “I am not an athlete” when she wouldn’t give me a long enough break. Note: I later apologized for my bad behavior, and she was incredibly kind and gracious.
To sum it all up, while there were some great things about these pregnancies, including the wonderful babies that came at the end, I did have a lot of physical difficulties in the last half of each.
Third Pregnancy (the Pure Barre Pregnancy)
Working out: as previously mentioned I did Pure Barre 2-3 times per week for the first 36 weeks. I also did quite a bit of walking.
Status: I was tired some of the time, but my level of exhaustion felt different than the first two. I took a trip to Disney World with both of my kids and my husband, walking through the park for 5 days with no issue. This was a major accomplishment in my eyes.
I continued to run around for work meetings, although at a slower pace than normal. By some miracle, I didn’t feel the heaviness in my legs and I also did not have significant swelling with this pregnancy.
I was also able to keep up relatively well with my two older kids, going to soccer games, track meets, dance classes, and more.
Of course, I took things much easier in general while pregnant, but Pure Barre helped with strength and stamina. My energy level was so much higher!
I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight by about 8 weeks after delivery, and I was back in Pure Barre classes at 7 weeks after delivery. It took me quite a while longer to feel and look normal – probably closer to 8 or 9 months.
The sleep deprivation, hormone swings, and and stress of life with a baby were as real as ever. But I gained my strength back slowly and enjoyed an hour break from it all during each Pure Barre class. I also got to see neighbors and other familiar faces in class. They helped me feel less isolated during those early months with a baby.
I’ve written before about the positive Pure Barre environment, but during and after pregnancy it was 10x as supportive. I hardly went to a class where someone in the class didn’t tell me I was doing great, I looked great, or I was inspiring them to work harder. The amount of love and support I felt, especially when I felt enormous and unmotivated, helped me to keep going.
What to do?
If you are considering Pure Barre, I recommend you try it. If you are currently pregnant, ask your doctor (of course), but I found it to be an effective way to stay in shape, helped with a smoothe delivery, and helped me get back in shape after baby.
Pregnancy is really a time to listen to your body and do what feels right to you. It is a time to rest more, reflect more, and soak in every moment while your baby is growing inside you.
While I loved Pure Barre during my last pregnancy, I know everyone will not enjoy it. You may be more comfortable walking, doing yoga or trying a less intense exercise. Regardless, I hope this was helpful and wish you a safe and enjoyable 9 months with baby!