What to Expect… in a Fuse Pilates Prenatal Class

Fuse teacher, doula, and mom Randi Moore took time out of her (very) busy schedule to give us an overview of what to expect in Push Prep – one of our most hardcore classes – designed just for moms-to-be. And stay tuned for a mat version, debuting in December!

Push Prep is one of my favorite classes to teach, and not just because I’m kind of goo-goo over anything pregnancy and birth related. I love teaching the class because I love seeing our students (both regulars and newbies) transition (via body, mind, and spirit) into motherhood. It’s beautiful.

Meet Sam - one of our Push Prep "graduates"

Fuse Push Prep, a DC Pilates class, is designed not just to keep our students in shape throughout their pregnancies, but to support those changing, growing, hard-working bodies, and ultimately, equip students with the strength, stamina, and flexibility needed for one of the most challenging things the body ever does – labor and childbirth.

So what’s different in a Fuse Push Prep class? You’ll notice a few distinctions from our general Reformer and Circuit classes. For one, students past 20 weeks of pregnancy will use the jumpboard (the great multitasker) as a slant board to keep them propped up and not flat on their backs during the beginning of the workout so as not to restrict blood flow.

Second, there is the conspicuous lack of the much-beloved “ab attack” request. With the uterus located behind the abdominal muscles, as that fabulous baby bump grows, the abs will have to stretch to accomodate. To make sure this happens safely, and to keep the pelvic floor happy, we opt out of exercises that include flexion or that put a lot of pressure on the rectus abdominis (a.k.a. – the washboard muscles). Instead we focus on the pelvic floor and gently working the many other abdominal muscles that are still fair-game during pregnancy.

Although pregnancy can make students feel like Elasti-Girl, I’m sorry to say it’s probably temporary. To prepare the pelvis for birth, the pregnant body secretes a hormone called Relaxin which can increase flexibility. While being more flexible is usually great, in this case it can also mean more instability. For this reason we’re careful about how much range and weight we use, particular when working with the hips and pelvis.

So then, what do we do? Oh… there is still plenty, and Fuse is bringing it to Pilates DC. There really isn’t any part of the body that is completely off-limits – with appropriate modifications, we can still target pretty much anything (except the rectus, but we’ve already covered that). Examples? Well, we can start with the glutes which do the really important work of providing stability to the changing pelvis.

Then there’s arms. 7lb baby + 20lbs of equipment (strollers, playpens, diaper bags, etc.) = a whole lot of lifting. Let’s get those those arms ready for parenthood.

And abs. Just because we’re not trying to feel that ab burn, doesn’t mean we’re no longer hard core. Core muscles are super important for providing stability and support for the growing belly and changing body. Gentle ab work, especially exercises that focus on the transverse abs, are a must to keep the lower back healthy and happy during pregnancy and for maintaining the tone and strength that assists with post-baby recovery.

Shoulders, back, inner and outer thighs, calves, hips, quads,  – pretty much everything else is also fair game. But never fear, we alway take a little time out to work on things that “just feel good” – particularly for the lower back and hips that are taking the brunt of the burden.

Babymaking is hard work (all 40 weeks of it)…but we’re here to keep you hardcore. Plus (and we’re totally impartial here), Fuse has helped some of its students make the cutest babies we have ever seen. We’re not exactly sure why that is, but it is a fact!

Once side by side in Push Prep class, Brighton and Liza's kids now play together! Adorableness overload!

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