Barre classes have become all the rage lately, with barre studios pretty much popping up along Starbucks all across the nation. As a childhood ballet-dropout myself, I took the phenomenon as a welcomed change from my adult ballet classes, and continued barre throughout my two pregnancies. But, can you do barre while pregnant? It can be an excellent way for pregnant women to stay active, but modifications may be necessary.
According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), the first rule is if you were physically active before you were pregnant, it is likely safe to remain active during low-risk pregnancies. More than likely, your doctor will recommend that you remain active, as long as you are comfortable and not in pain.
Dr. Daniel Shapiro, OB-GYN with Prelude Fertility, says to Romper that "patients and physicians both regularly voice concern about working out in pregnancy, but the (relatively scant) data on the subject suggests that regular exercise is generally a good thing for women who wish to become pregnant, who are already pregnant, or who are postpartum."
As the APA noted, regular, low-impact exercise during pregnancy can help reduce aches and pains, increase energy, and improve your mood. It also keeps your body fit and ready for labor.
So, if you practiced barre regularly prior to your pregnancy, it is most likely safe that you continue through your pregnancy, if given an OK by your doctor. Some studios, like The Bar Method, ask that you bring a note from your doctor saying that it is safe for you to participate in stretching and strengthening classes.
Shapiro mentions, "there are no specific exercises that are considered dangerous in pregnancy, and cardio workouts that increase heart rate for extended periods of time do not seem to cause any consistent problems for mom or fetus."
But, even when given the OK, there are some modifications you'd want to make in order to keep you and your baby safe. As Shapiro noted, "as a general rule, a couch potato shouldn’t aspire to become a marathoner while pregnant, but someone already trained can certainly continue their workout regimen after pregnancy occurs."
According to Fit Pregnancy, barre classes specifically, can be a wonderful, low-impact way to strengthen and elongate your muscles. But, it's recommended that you refrain from leaps, turns, and jumps after the first trimester. As your belly grows, your equilibrium and center of gravity shifts, Fit Pregnancy noted, which can make falls more likely. Slow tempo exercises at the center and at the barre should be safe, however.
Always listen to your body though. If anything feels straining, uncomfortable, or painful, take a break. Remain in constant communication with your instructor, who can help suggest modifications and remind you of restrictions, and always be sure to run everything past your doctor first.