As a proud Hanger 66 student, I wanted to share with you all my experience of poling while pregnant and the challenges that have come with it both physically and mentally.
I had dreamt of poling while pregnant but every woman is different and I didn’t know if this would be a reality for me. Luckily, I’ve had a great pregnancy and I was cleared by both doctors and physiotherapists to train while pregnant. That was my first port of call and recommend getting that clearance to anyone before proceeding as both yours and baby’s health comes first.
I’m currently 31 weeks along and still doing what I can and feel comfortable with. It is less and less each week but while I can pole I most definitely will.
The tiredness I encountered in my first trimester made it so hard to hide my pregnancy (plus the fact you really want to tell everyone), so training for the Hanger 66 open night and 1st birthday last October, while in my first trimester, was so draining but I was determined not to let my doubles partner Joana or Hanger down, the show had to go on! Plus I thought so many incredible women achieve so much while pregnant, surely I could do this! Luckily it was a success – a really proud moment and one of our favourite routines together.
The journey since then has been one of making sure that I’m feeling comfortable with what I’m doing on and off the pole. I’ve taken up Pilates and yoga classes where I could to keep active in different ways as I feel my body still wants to move but not necessarily on a pole every day. I go into this later but people – poling is seriously hard and pregnancy has made me realise this!
The instructors at Hanger 66 have been amazing in supporting me – ensuring that I’m safe in everything I do and my core is engaged correctly. Pilates has been great for this and will be something to return to after baby is born to help activate and retrain my core again. If any move doesn’t feel right, then I’m given a different variation to take the stress off my belly. I also don’t train as hard in class and allow myself more breaks as I find myself out of breath from basic pole movements.
Physically it’s been amazing to see my belly grow and I’m in love with it now it’s bigger but it’s also astounding what you can do one week and lose the next. Balancing in certain positions I used to find second nature is now such a hard task and even climbing the pole is an effort but I adjust and do easier combos. I now laugh at the difference a week makes and it’s crazy to realise that even a pole sit is hard as my belly is in the way!
At 28 weeks and the progressing through my pregnancy
The above has also made me appreciate how amazing we are as polers and how much we accomplish without giving ourselves the proper credit. There is always a nemesis move or something we prefer not to do, our ‘other’ side is messier/scarier/occasionally non-existent etc but now with finding the basics so hard, I really need to shout about how fit and strong we are! Yes there is always an amazing poler we dream of being but look at how far you’ve come and don’t beat yourself up. The normal person would be challenged just hanging off the pole with one leg so those splits, hangs and drops you do on the pole are so incredible and need to be celebrated! Try not to compare yourself to others in the class and be happy your body is able to get stronger and improve over the months.
Going hand and hand with that has been the mental challenge for me too. The year leading up to falling pregnant was one of my proudest in terms of pole achievements. Hanger and the incredible instructors had really pushed me to attempt things I didn’t dream I could do which increased my passion and how many nights a week I was training and I’d spent 2017 competing for the first time with my doubles partner Joana Senn. We loved working together and seeing our improvements (and what didn’t work) in each performance. Pole was my priority in life and I now had to cut back and realise that for some period of time I had to shift my priorities and I did feel a little lost. This was a hard adjustment but as my baby has been growing it’s also made me realise that while I have to shift down a gear and stop for a while after pregnancy, I’ll definitely be back as I love my pole family and the sport too much to ever give it up. I don’t know if I’ll have the time to devote to competing again and I hope I do but I’m taking it as it comes and seeing what my body, baby and time will allow. Either way you’ll still see me at hanger!!
My biggest lessons learnt:
- Your body is strong, incredible and improves with consistency. Love it and be proud of what you achieve
- You don’t need to be the best at what you do – just realise how far you’ve come in your pole journey and celebrate it
- Your mental game is strong too. As polers we hurt ourselves, have body callouses, bruises and possibly tears and heartbreak when we can’t get moves yet we come back week after week. Lots of people give up but we all have a passion for this crazy sport and keep pushing ourselves
- I love my hanger 66 family. Everyone has been so supportive while I’ve been pregnant and it has made this so much easier for me. The Instructors always have my back ensuring I participate at a level comfortable for me and all my fellow polers have been so encouraging too which I thank you all for endlessly. It really is a great place to train no matter what level you’re at
- Hopefully I’ll have a baby poler who can do the things I can’t haha! Why wouldn’t I want the energy and support of hanger to extend to my family if and when they’re ready
If you can pole while pregnant just listen to your body, attend other classes off the pole if that’s more comfortable for you and just enjoy the time for yourself before baby arrives. I have no idea what it will be like post pregnancy but I think I’m in for the biggest shock of my life…in a good way 😊