The founder of Speir Pilates, who has worked with stars like Shay Mitchell and Camilla Belle, tells PEOPLE she created her 12-video program for all aspects of pregnancy.
“It’s a combination of what I knew the body needed, and what felt really good,” says Speir, who developed and filmed the series while she was pregnant with her first child. “Your body changes day to day. It changes every week. So having one workout from start to finish didn’t really make sense for me. I wanted to do a series that wasn’t just one workout; it was broken down by trimester.”
In one of the videos (below), she describes how the moves, which can all be done at home, are perfect for the third trimester.
“When you’re in your third trimester, you’re not doing planking,” she says. “You’re not going up and down. It’s hard to move. You have all this weight in the front pulling your body forward, so your back is so tight. And it’s hard to stretch it out, because you’ve got this big baby in the front. So we do this flowing, crescent, warrior-pose-type series, where your arms are reaching back, you’re stretching out your upper back, you’re flowing to get the whole body warmed up.”Speir also focuses on deep squats and how beneficial they can be for pregnant women.
“It felt so good, and it stretches out your hips. When you lower down, your pelvic floor opens, and when you stand back up, it activates, so you’re actually preparing your body for the pushing in labor in that moment. It’s all super-controlled,” she says.
Later in the workout, Speir walks women through standing moves to work calves and quads with the assist of a chair.
“The stronger your butt is, your hips and the base of your body, it helps support your back, because you’ve got all this weight in the front,” she says.
The last routine in the series is an oblique workout.
“When I teach women, they’re like, ‘Can I work my core?’ And there’s a lot of questions about how to safely strengthen your abs, and one of the biggest things is the obliques that wrap around the sides and corset our waist,” she says. “But those are what helps push during labor so ignoring your core is not necessarily the path you want to go down.”
While the moves are pretty basic, Speir says you always want to consult with your doctor. “If you’re a special case or high-risk, you want to clear anything with them. But these are very controlled movements.”
If exercising isn’t your top priority during pregnancy, Speir says that’s okay, but performing workouts will help with the delivery.
“I think you should work out as much as you can, but I also think that you should give yourself the compassion to know that it’s going to be different while you’re pregnant,” she says.