Mom-to-Be Stays Fit Despite the Pandemic

Sofia Pitrone discovered the benefits of prenatal yoga in 2015 when she was pregnant with her first son and living in Virginia. The focus on developing hip and pelvic floor strength proved to be very helpful not only during pregnancy, but her delivery and postpartum recovery as well.

When she found out she was pregnant with her second son late in 2016, the Pitrones had just relocated to the Dallas area. Wanting to stay fit in a way that would be healthy for her pregnancy, Sofia again sought out prenatal classes and found them through Texas Health Dallas.

Sofia Pitrone practicing yoga.

“When we moved here, I knew I wanted to find something similar to what I had in Virginia,” she says. “I knew I wanted prenatal-specific classes and not just classes that were ‘pregnancy safe’. I have found that in prenatal classes the focus is on muscle groups that really help you with what you are dealing with during pregnancy. Also, you’re doing it with other moms-to-be. There is nothing like community as a mom.”

Fast forward to 2020 and Pitrone’s husband was called to New York City in March as part of an immediate response unit in the Marine Reserves to assist the city as it became ground-zero for the COVID-19 crisis. The week prior, Pitrone found out she was expecting the couple’s third son. She chose to head to South Carolina with the boys to be with her parents. “My first trimester was a bit rough, especially having to deal with the stress of the pandemic, so it was very helpful for me to be with family,” she admits.

Although being with family was a godsend, Pitrone began to miss the fitness routine she had relied on during her previous two pregnancies. She reached out to Jessica Ladd Lefterova, the certified prenatal yoga instructor she had had in the past, and was pleased to learn Texas Health Dallas had moved many of its childbirth-related classes to virtual formats. In addition to prenatal fitness, Texas Health Dallas offers Prepared Childbirth, Baby Care Basics, Breastfeeding and other virtual classes during which expectant moms get to interact with a certified Texas Health childbirth instructor. Pitrone was able to attend the virtual Pregnancy Yoga class and still feel a sense of community even though she was miles away from Dallas.

Now back home in North Texas, Pitrone continues to keep up with her fitness routine as her November delivery date draws near. “What I like most about Jessica’s yoga class is how focused it is on the participants and our needs. Every exercise and pose is targeted to help us build strength and flexibility in ways that benefit pregnancy and delivery. She asks us if we are experiencing pain or discomfort, and tailors the class to our needs. It is also a moment of peace and self-focus. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt stressed or frustrated before class, and then left feeling refreshed and centered. I do miss meeting in person — it was my little night out. It’s a bit more hectic trying to find a quiet space in my house with my husband and two boys, but it is still wonderful.”

Pitrone practicing a modified prenatal yoga pose.

Something else Pitrone says she enjoys about the class is that the first 15 to 30 minutes of each session is spent getting to know the other participants. It’s a chance for everyone to share how far along they are, what the sex of their baby is (if known) and, most importantly, how they are feeling.

“This is so great because many aches and pains during pregnancy are fairly common, and it allows Jessica to tailor the class based on the feedback. Moms can also chime in with advice if they have experienced something similar and have tips on how to deal. There is something about doing a workout class with a bunch of other pregnant ladies that makes you feel strong and supported.

I began experiencing pelvic pain a bit sooner than with my last son. I also have a short torso, so I have started feeling pretty crowded. Jessica will lead us through many lengthening poses and stretches that really help me create more space for baby and to breathe. The importance of having classes specifically tailored to pregnant women is huge, and I don’t think enough places realize that. It’s not the same to do a regular workout class and modify certain moves. Having a talented and educated individual like Jessica on hand, who really understands the struggles pregnant women experience and ways to help, is priceless. I am so grateful the hospital offers these prenatal fitness classes and that I can take advantage of them, pandemic or not,” Pitrone adds.

To find a class to help you prepare for baby, visit Women and Infant Services.

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