Warning - this post contains a pregnant woman 'bridging'!
After a story that I posted the other day on Instagram, I had some queries about whether Bridging was OK to do when pregnant, and I thought I better follow it up with my thoughts on pregnancy Pilates in general via a blog post, so here goes! (In reality I've been awake since 4:30am, so thought I better do something useful with my time....)
I have done pre and post natal training with three different schools, two Pilates specific, and one relating to fitness generally. Whilst there were a lot of similar ‘headlines’ within each course content, there were also lots of differences in the advice given, which to me indicates that a ‘one size fits all’ approach to exercise (whether pregnant or not) does not exist. With this in mind, I want to clarify that what I show on Instagram I would not necessarily teach to a client (see the photo above!).
I currently only teach pregnancy Pilates in a private setting, so I am able to adapt to how my client feels that day, and we have a constant dialogue so I can tailor everything to their needs whilst always referring to my past experience with clients, and the training that I have taken. Things I am constantly asking myself/my client are:
1. Are they new to Pilates/exercise?
2. Do they have preexisiting injuries, or has something happened since I last saw them?
3. Are they in pain anywhere?
4. Are they comfortable in that position? If not, how can we adjust it?
5. Is this their first pregnancy? If not, what kind of pregnancy experience did they have previously, and how did they give birth?
6. What is their state of mind that day? Are they anxious about anything?
The list goes on.... but this is the wonderful luxury of teaching in a private setting.
If I was to teach a pre or post natal group class, which we do offer at our studio, my approach is much more by the ‘rule book’, in the hope that it suits and is accessible to everyone. Sticking to what I have learnt in my training reassures me that what I am teaching is safe and beneficial even though I can’t ask each participant their views on every exercise I am selecting for them. Of course I ask general questions, and enquire about injuries before starting the class, but if I started to ask each woman in the room micro specific questions like; “Do you feel ok bridging?”, “How do you feel lying on your back?”, “Does anything hurt if you lift one leg up?” etc, etc, we’d never get moving at all!
Experiencing pregancy myself has been the biggest education for me, and as I am often reminded, I am sure I will learn lots, and lots, and lots, and lots (you get it) more lessons along the way, which I am very much looking forward to, and grateful for.
Whilst I am practising, I ask myself 3 things:
1. How does this movement feel?
2. What does my training say about this kind of movement?
3. What is the advice from the NHS? https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pregnancy-exercise/
This has been my approach to pregnancy generally (so far). I don’t have any apps, I don’t know what fruit my baby looks like, and I don’t Google anything. I try to just 'let it happen', and if I have any worries I only check the NHS website (and if I am really concerned I am very lucky that I have a father-in-law who knows his stuff too!)
In summary, my thoughts are; get trained up, and if you are new to teaching pre or post natal exercise or if you are teaching a group class, stick to your training by the book. If you can work individually with clients, work with their specific needs, and better still get advice from any medical practitioners they see.
One last thing; don’t blindly copy what you see on Instagram, my account very much included!!!! I am showing my personal experience only, which is going to be totally different from yours, or anyone that you teach. Use your knowledge, and make your own mind up. And, sorry, I never answered that question about Bridging......