Why prenatal yoga is beneficial for the aches and pains of pregnancy.
Hilaria Baldwin is much more than just Alec Baldwin's very pregnant wife. The Extra lifestyle correspondent is a dynamo unto herself, who at age 25 co-founded Yoga Vida, a yoga studio with two New York City locations, where she once made ends meet by teaching 36 classes a week!
Baldwin, now 29, was teaching three classes a week all the way into the beginning of her third trimester, but now, she's finally slowing down — a little — as she prepares to give birth to her baby girl. When she's not busy shooting her prenatal yoga DVD, that is.
She may be taking a break from teaching, but Hilaria still "teaches herself" yoga every day — and her efforts have paid off. She was such a hot mama-to-be on the red carpet at Cannes last month that her A-list husband couldn't resist swooping her up in his arms, baby bump and all. What's her secret? The fit and friendly Mrs. Baldwin was happy to open up to us about her favorite prenatal yoga moves, "husband massages," food aversions, plans for a natural childbirth and what Alec brought her to eat in the middle of the night.
FitPregnancy.com: Congratulations on your pregnancy! You're due in August, right? Which trimester was the hardest so far?
Baldwin: I'm due the end of August. Obviously I can complain about things, but I've had a very easy pregnancy. The first three months I was sick as a dog like everyone else — I didn't throw up, I just felt nauseous. People say that means the baby's healthy … even if that's not true, I just kept that in mind — that's what got me through the first three months.
Q: Are there any prenatal yoga moves you particularly love and why?
A: Ones that I recommend and enjoy myself are hip openers. My doctor has told me that I'll have an easy delivery because I'm so flexible and my hips are very open. (Hilaria is a fan of ankle to knee pose.)
For lower back pain, I do exercises to support the abs that are safe. I love the cat/cow pose. Kegels (contracting and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles) can really support that pelvic floor, which will make your delivery easier.
Yoga is great for circulation, for learning to breathe through the aches and pains of pregnancy, and for calming yourself when you're having some sort of test that you're nervous about. Going back to yoga breathing has been wonderful for me to keep my stress level low, since stress can be detrimental to pregnancy. Of course, husband massages are key to happiness as well!
Q: Are there any moves you instruct your pregnant students to avoid?
A: Avoid deep twisting, although open twists are fine … the idea with twisting is you shouldn't wring your uterus out — a deep wringing twisting action isn't good for the baby. Always tell your instructor you're pregnant even if you're in your first trimester. The most important thing is just to listen to your body.
Q: Do you still work out every day?
A: I do some exercise every day. I go to NYC's Physique 57 (for classes) nearly every day unless I'm working or tired. I walk a lot, and early on [in my pregnancy] I went jogging — I'm a runner. I teach myself yoga every day, and I'm hoping to start swimming, which is supposed to be incredible when you're pregnant. You feel weightless, or so I've heard.
Q: What is your pregnancy diet like? Do you have any cravings or indulgences?
A: No cravings or indulgences, which has pluses and minuses. The pluses are I'm eating really well — I haven't had extreme weight gain at all. I've gained weight — my doctor is happy with where I am.
In the beginning, I wanted pineapple, but it wasn't, "I need pineapple now." It's more what feels good going down. I've found that I've had more aversions to food. I could eat a whole plate of kale before; now, no. I really like miso soup — I ordered it the other night, took one sip and was like, "Get it away from me right now." The other night was the first time I asked Alec to get me food in the middle of the night. I couldn't eat a lot of dinner and at 2 a.m. I said, "I need to eat, now." He brought melon and almonds … his choice.
Q: Is Alec gaining "sympathy weight" along with you?
A: He's losing weight — this is the one time when he is losing weight and I am gaining — hopefully the one time! He's still pretty happy he has food around the house that we don't normally have, like heartier grains … I'm trying to eat more now that I'm pregnant.
Q: Are you planning a natural childbirth?
A: Right now, I want to do it naturally. That's not to say there's something wrong with the epidural, but that's the way I was raised — I'm a pretty natural person. But if it does get to the point where I am screaming for the epidural, I have no problems with that. We'll see where it goes.
Q: You looked so glamorous on the red carpet at Cannes last month. Do you still feel sexy?
A: Your body is going to change, you are going to get bigger, your belly button may pop, you may get a linea nigra, you may get cellulite and stretch marks, but you're creating life. Nothing is more beautiful than creating life. I try to wear form-fitting things because I don't want to hide my baby. Yeah, my belly is a lot bigger than it used to be, but I'm proud of it and proud of the little person inside it. I feel sexy — absolutely — I've never had these curves before in my life!