“Keeping active during pregnancy has a myriad of benefits for both mom and baby,” says Deanna Cordo, owner of YogaBarre Wellness and mother of two. Regular exercise, including taking a barre class, during pregnancy may help mom experience an easier labor and delivery, more energy, fewer of the typical pregnancy aches and pains, better immunity, and a better bounce-back postpartum. Potential benefits for baby include a healthier heart and brain, as well as a tendency toward a healthier lifestyle and even (future) athleticism. Who would have thought, right? But it makes sense when you really think about it. We, as parents, have an opportunity to role model so many of the good life habits we want our kiddos to pick up—why would staying in shape be any different?
Deanna says the benefits of a barre class during pregnancy, or any other regular exercise, don’t stop once baby arrives on the scene. She says it’s important for mom to get some “me time,” and to rebuild her strength. Working out on a regular basis has proven to boost energy levels, promote better sleep, and can even help improve your post-pregnancy mood and hormones. “When mommy is feeling good, she can be in a better place for her family. No one benefits from mommy burn out,” Deanna says. “Taking the time to recharge yourself is just as important as all the things we do for everyone else, so you should feel good about making the decision to recommit to all the healthy things you love!”
Speaking of love, we’ve all been hearing a lot about “barre” classes. What does a typical barre workout entail, and what are the benefits?
There are several different kinds of barre classes out there, but they are pretty similar in nature. Deanna teaches the bootybarre method. And just to be clear, it’s definitely not as risqué as it sounds. Although when the music really gets going, you may want to shake your booty! (We did.) Turns out, this only intensifies the burn. ; ) Deanna describes the barre class as a fusion of pilates, dance, and yoga. Class is high energy, yet low-impact and is performed to upbeat music. Class starts with a warm-up, followed by a targeted arm workout, and then everyone heads to the barre. The ballet barre, that is.
Benefits of participating in a barre class during pregnancy include:
- increased flexibility
- better balance
- improved posture
- muscular strength
- cardiovascular endurance
- simultaneous targeting of major body groups
- weight loss
- reduction of cellulite
- stronger bones
- an increased mind/body connection and awareness
Burn calories, while actually having fun? Hashtag, yes please. And the best part? You don’t have to have any former dance experience. But you will need to have permission from your doctor . .
So is barre a good fit for pregnant and new moms?
It is imperative that you discuss your health and wellness regimen with your own physician. Deanna points out that not only is every woman different, but each pregnancy she has can be entirely different as well. Most healthcare providers will advise not beginning any new activities during pregnancy, “so if you’ve never been to the barre before, it may be best to wait,” she says.
“The workout itself is low impact (if there’s any impact at all), and can be modified during all stages of pregnancy to keep your body healthy, strong, and flexible for the road ahead. Many women do barre during pregnancy and after, including me!” Deanna says. “It’s important to listen to your body. Breathe, don’t push it, and stay well hydrated. Pay attention to the muscle groups you are using. The muscles of the legs, upper back, abdominals, and pelvis can all be areas that need assistance before, during, and after pregnancy.”
Doing the right kind of ab work can help to keep your belly strong enough for the weight it is carrying, and soft enough for baby to have room to grow, she says. And don’t forget your kegels! “Kegels can help keep the pelvic floor toned as baby gets bigger, may make delivery easier, and can help with urinary stress incontinence.”
Deanna points out that, as with any exercise regimen, the more committed you are the faster you will see results. And if you add in a healthy diet and lifestyle, you will likely notice results even faster. Of course, individual results will vary. “I personally lost my last 15 pounds that were stuck like glue, and I don’t even know how many dress sizes within six months of getting back to the barre,” Deanna says. “And I didn’t even change my diet! Although let’s be honest, I probably could have!” We hear you, sister. SIGN US UP!