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WHOA BABY! An Interview With Elissa

If you've been coming to Elissa's classes lately you may have noticed her beautiful expanding belly! We can confirm she is definitely pregnant and expecting a baby with her husband in May! We chatted with Elissa about how she's been feeling, what it's like to teach while carrying a human, how to exercise safely at the barre while pregnant and more.

How far along are you now?

28 weeks, just starting my third trimester. Baby is due May 23rd.

How have you been feeling?

I have been feeling pretty good throughout the entire pregnancy. Just tired! But I don’t think that is going to change for the next 18 years.

What were your 1st and 2nd trimesters like? How is your 3rd trimester going so far?

I must admit, I have been pretty lucky so far with my pregnancy. I had very little-to-no nausea my first trimester. I was just constantly hungry! The hunger has not changed much throughout the pregnancy! I just find myself being able to eat less at each meal, which has me snacking a lot throughout the day.  I did experience the increased urination and did have to get up every night during my first trimester to use the bathroom, but that has settled down during my second trimester. Now that I am entering my third trimester I assume I will be up nightly using the bathroom again. I also didn't experience the emotional mood swings that can happen during pregnancy. I don’t hate my hubby (yet lol) and I didn’t have any emotional crying experiences. Which means I also didn’t put too much stock behind “baby brain”. But entering my third trimester, baby brain has hit full force! It’s a real thing, I swear! I am sure a few of our members and staff will experience my baby brain moments.

Any cravings or aversions to certain foods?

I had no severe food aversions during my first trimester. Since I didn’t have any food aversions I also didn’t really experience any weird cravings. No pickles and ice cream for me. I might have a little more of a sweet tooth, but I don’t keep a lot of sweets in the house so when the “cravings” hit, I am way too lazy to go out and buy something most times. I did find an angel food cake in my cupboard one night and decided to bake that at 9 PM when I was feeling something sweet. I had to put it outside in the winter so it would cool quickly so I could eat it before midnight.

Do you know if you’re having a boy or a girl?

Nope, we are keeping it a surprise. Team Green!

Do you have any names picked out? Since we don’t know the gender we have too many names picked out. We have a big list of names that we keep adding to, but don’t seem to be able to narrow down. We are getting closer to a girl's name but every time we revisit the boys list we scratch them all out and start again. Hopefully we can pick a name soon!

What do you love about being pregnant? What do you dislike?

I must admit that even though I have had a very positive experience during this pregnancy I can’t say that I have “loved” being pregnant. I am extremely grateful and blessed for being able to experience a healthy pregnancy! But it is hard to experience all the changes your body has to go through. Whether you are experiencing the pregnancy symptoms that are constantly changing week to week or the physical changes happening to your body. Sometimes it’s the silly changes that can be annoying like growing hair in places you never grew hair before. My hubby found a 1 inch hair growing on my back….. haha. Bring on the tweezers! The hardest thing I find about being pregnant is learning about your physical limitations, which keep changing as you get farther along. I took for granted that I could run up a flight of stairs or carry 10 heavy shopping bags in from the car, because I didn’t want to do a second trip. Now walking across a room causes me to be out of breath and I have to be conscious of things I maybe shouldn’t be doing as much or pushing as hard. I have to continually learn what my body can handle and not to overdo it. Each week is a new learning curve. Oh, and I miss having margaritas!

How long do you plan on teaching until, before your baby is born?

Fingers crossed, I hope to teach for a long as I can until my due date. I still feel good while teaching my classes, so hopefully I can keep it up. I plan to start cutting back on my schedule a bit towards the end of March and April so I am not teaching as many classes.

Do you have a birth plan? My plan is to go in open minded. I don’t want to make a set plan and then be disappointed if my birth experience doesn’t go according to my plan. I will be as prepared as possible, but hope to just go with the flow.

Is Barre safe to do during pregnancy?

With the consent from your doctor I think barre class is a great type of exercise while pregnant! With only some slight modifications you can continue barre through most of your pregnancy. Since we have been getting so many questions lately and since we have so many pregnant mamas-to-be in our classes we are hosting a Pre-Natal Workshop on Saturday March 17 at 11 AM at our Whitemud Crossing location. Come chat about exercise modifications you can do in class and get a sweat on at the same time, as we run you through a class!

Any advice to moms-to-be or new moms re: exercising at the barre? The biggest thing is: listen to your body. What may feel okay before you got pregnant will not feel the same while pregnant or after baby. Sometimes even day-to-day might not feel the same depending on how baby is positioned. It is important to stay active while pregnant and post pregnancy but it is unrealistic to be at the same level you were before you got pregnant. Growing or recovering from baby takes a lot of energy and we need to respect our bodies. Doing modifications and taking breaks when needed are good for us! We don’t need to be doing high impact to work our cardiovascular system and we don’t need to be doing ab exercises that burn to keep us toned. Core exercises are extremely important during and after baby (notice how I said core and not ab exercises) but it's more about maintaining a strong core for function vs. looking good. It is important to work the entire core, focusing on the deeper transverse abdominals, pelvic floor, obliques, back muscles and even the glutes. These help keep our core stable and can reduce pregnancy pains. We need to do core exercises that promote stability and strength but we don’t need to be aggressive with the exercises we choose or do them until they “burn”.  There are many great core exercises that can be done while pregnant that may not feel extremely difficult but are very good exercises for function and support. Don’t be scared to ask the instructor for modifications. Or don’t feel self-conscious if the exercise does not feel right for you and you choose to do a different exercise. Do what feels best for you! 

What has it been like teaching while pregnant? Have you had to slow down in class?

I have enjoyed teaching while pregnant. It’s a great excuse to keep me active! I find I may be doing a little more hands-on correcting them and demonstrating but I have always been “handsy” in class so I don’t think it has changed too much. I keep checking with clients to make sure they are getting a good workout in, and some have told me that I have gotten even meaner with my classes during my pregnancy, haha. I guess since I maybe can’t work as hard, I make sure they do! The hardest part of teaching is doing the cardio sections, I get out of breath so quickly. But luckily I just demonstrate the low impact options and continue to make the rest of the class work harder.

Are you planning on taking a bit of a break before and after the baby?

My plan is to take a small break after baby arrives. Since I am due in May I plan to take the summer off and just enjoy my baby. After that, I will see how I feel. I may start teaching a class or two a week or maybe I will just be a participant for a while. We'll see!

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