Fitness Expert Desi Bartlett Breaks Down The Importance Of Prenatal Fitness

This is your first pregnancy, congratulations! For someone who has based their entire career on fitness and movement how has it affected you?

I had to completely change my fitness regimen! It was quite humbling and very difficult at the onset because I had to let go of all of my sculpting and kickboxing classes. I’m almost 37 and although the doctor said I wasn't high risk, there were some complications during the first trimester and she advised me to take it easy. Because my yoga practice is so important to me I just jumped in even deeper into that.
I walk and do yoga and light weights, but that’s it.

Have you been creating your own yoga programs or working with other professionals?

Right before I got pregnant I created a program called Yoga 360, which is based on this round mat and moving in a circle. What’s been so great about that is with the pregnancy comes this feeling of fluidity. Moving in circles is really complimentary to your body while pregnant. You should be doing hip circles and things that will help in labor and delivery and also with carrying the baby later.

What kind of advice fitness advice would you have for someone who just got pregnant?

It will make your pregnancy much easier if you’re fit and strong. Prenatal yoga is the perfect place to start because it’s very gentle and it allows you to connect to your own body and to the baby. You do things like rocking and as your rocking back and forth you imagine that you’re rocking your baby. The standing series, although it’s a little bit challenging, it’s still gentle enough that anybody can do it.  The standing series helps to strengthen the pelvic floor so that your labor and delivery is a little bit easier. It’s like preparing for a big athletic event.

Is there anything that an expecting mother should absolutely avoid at all costs?

You should really make sure that after the first trimester you do not lie down on your stomach, nor should you be doing any deep twists. The maternal heart rate should stay under 14 heart beats per minute. Those are the biggies, but of course you should always listen to your body.

What are you plans for once you have the baby? Any fitness goals that you have set for yourself?

Well, during the course of the pregnancy I have gained 25lbs. You’re not supposed to go back to working out for at least four to six weeks after birth. I’m just trying to remember to go with the flow and that it will be okay and that weight will come off when it’s ready too. I’ll just do things that make me feel good and I’ll work with the schedule of the baby, because those things are what’s important. Not worrying about some numbers on a scale.

-Mariela Rosario