wellness insights

Prenatal Exercise – Q&A With Sarah Doran

We caught up with one of our lovely instructors, Sarah Doran, to talk about prenatal exercise. Sarah is expecting, so she had some great notes to share with us on the matter. Below is our Q&A:

Align: Can you describe what exercising is like during pregnancy?

Sarah: Exercising during pregnancy has been a journey that I’ve had to figure out on my own as I go. I was pretty disappointed early on at the available workouts for pregnant women, especially those like myself who already have a vigorous workout routine. It seemed like the common approach to pregnancy is light exercise with little impact. Though everyone emphasizes the importance of exercise, there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of specific exercises that feel good, especially after 16 weeks.

Align: What does your personal practice look like?

For the first 14 weeks of my pregnancy (aka the first trimester) I changed very little of my routine- I did HIIT exercises, Barre moves, all of the normal pilates exercises, and yoga. Around weeks 15-16, I felt my stomach start to grow for the first time and stopped with most Pilates exercises that involved sitting up including c-curve and any upper thoracic spine curling.

In the place of those exercises, I added more outer hip, hamstring, glute, pectoral and bicep exercises. Now at 28 weeks, I’ve eliminated any sort of jumping exercises and now focus on more strength based moves like lunges, lateral lunges and squats. I try to add moving elements to these exercises like a walk-squat or reverse lunge and some 10-15 pound dumbbells so that I am still breaking a sweat. I have kept the weight that I lift the same as before I was pregnant except for any exercises that  use a heavy amount of core muscles.

Align: What surprised you the most about working out while pregnant?

The biggest surprise to me in pregnancy has been what work out elements I am most drawn to from my classes. Before getting pregnant I would have thought Fusion or Roll would be the classes best suited for pregnancy (especially because most pregnancy resources recommend Pilates) but since 16 weeks I have found the exercises in Ignite I can mostly do with the exception of the jumping cardio exercises which I modify. This leaves me feeling like I have gotten the benefits a full workout rather than feeling like I have to sit on the sidelines for the majority of the class.

Align: For the readers who are unfamiliar with our classes, can you help us decipher between Align Fusion, Align Ignite and Align Roll?

Sarah: Align Fusion is a class that opens with barre inspired exercises and ends with a half hour of pilates inspired mat work. Align Ignite is a cardio heavy class that also involves weights, lifting and lots of movement. Align Roll is part myofascial foam rolling and part restorative yoga.

To see what she is talking about, check out Sarah’s Form in Focus series that offers pre & post natal modifications here.

You can click here to book your next class at Align Brooklyn.

Published January 21, 2020