Pregnant Pauses Helps Moms-to-Be Stay Mobile

11/20/2011 at 05:00 PM ET
Courtesy Pregnant Pauses

As a longtime studier and practitioner of the Feldenkrais Method of movement, Alan Questel came to realize that pregnant women would best benefit from his teachings. “They were really the ideal population to interact with about this, in that they’re carrying a new life in them and they’re at a time when their bodes are changing radically, from week to week to week,” he tells PEOPLE.

Thus, Questel created Pregnant Pauses, a video series in which he instructs expectant mothers how to master movement as they move through the different stages of pregnancy via repetitions of movement termed “pauses.”

“I was looking at very concrete ways that could help pregnant women learn to do everyday efficient things, like getting in and out of a chair, rolling over, reaching for things, carrying something,” he says. “How to help alleviate the pain that comes to them in different stages of pregnancy, how to improve their breathing, how they can have more energy.”

The program’s DVDs feature Questel demonstrating six different pauses, both by himself and with the aid of a pregnant woman so viewers can mimic the movements at home. He also provides a brief background on each movement, and the theory behind its usefulness.

“What they’ll be physically doing are very, very small, gentle movements,” he says. “They do them in a way that I direct their attention to different parts of themselves. When someone is starting to roll, I can help orient them towards the relationship with the floor, towards more what they’re doing in the center, towards what they’re doing in the arms and legs. Pauses are structured in such a way that they result in a completely different form of moving that’s much more easy, much more effective, and much more efficient.”

“It’s about thinking about your muscles differently,” adds Elizabeth Robinson, a colleague of Questel’s who is in her third trimester. “There’s something that happens when you think about engaging specific muscles, and firing them in a certain way that makes that movement more successful and less painful.”

In addition, Pregnant Pauses can also be utilized as a companion activity to prenatal workouts.

“You’re not going to be working up a sweat doing the pauses,” says Robinson. “But it complements those traditional exercises because it’s really focused on helping you figure out how your nervous system connects and on creating a relationship between your skeletal and muscular system. Once you have that knowledge, you’ll able to do any other workout more effectively.”

And unlike traditional exercise, Questel says women can use Pregnant Pauses as sparingly or as religiously as they see fit.

“Some women do it once a day; some will do it once, twice, maybe three times a week,” he says. “I recommend to do it when they’re feeling less comfortable in their body.”

Kiran Hefa

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Showing 27 comments

Sara on

Are you kidding? Women have been popping out children since the dawn of time, they don’t need a (man) to teach them how to get out of bed.

cannat on

I’m sure Alan Questel knows from his many pregnancies just how hard movement can be.

MariBee on

Rather than rejecting this out-of-hand, this is something to obtain on loan from your local public library.

That way you can evaluate it without any monetary risk.

Shannon on

I don’t get it.

MariBee on

Well my point in suggesting the local public library was so that you could evaluate this without investing any money.

I’m neither endorsing, nor rejecting this. However, remember that Lamaze during labor was initially rejected by the majority of women as being useless.

Lisa on

I wholeheartedly endorse this product…and Alan! The awareness you will gain will not only help you feel better but also feel more in control of your body…maybe even enjoy it.

Michelle Turner on

I’ve had a lesson from Allan – he’s wonderful. This is a great way to enjoy your body while your pregnant.

MSM on

Alan Questel is a wonderfully gifted teacher of movement awareness. His ability to translate his 30 years of dedicated mind/body training is joyfully expressed in this work. I recommend this series to expectant mothers who come to my Physical Therapy practice in San Francisco with back pain as a self help tool….I trust Alan’s work and know him to be both intelligent and instructive….and my patients agree!

divamover on

As I understand the Feldenkrais Method, it is largely about improving one’s ability to function while dealing with constraints. The dynamic process of a pregnancy involves many constraints on comfortable movement!
People from all walks of life, and with a wide range of movement difficulties, find that their overall level of functioning in their everyday movements can improve when they learn to move in new ways from a skilled Feldenkrais teacher.

I doubt very much that Mr. Questel imposes his idea of “the right way” for all pregnant women to move. The heart of the Feldenkrais Method is in helping people to sense and learn their own best way of moving. This DVD series, while specifically beneficial for anyone with a rapidly changing body, will no doubt also contain principles of efficient, coordinated, pleasurable movement that are beneficial for anyone.

Angel on

I am a Feldenkrais® Practitioner and often have pregnant clients come my way. I’ve referred Pregnant Pauses and its been reported to me that doing Alan’s lessons makes pregnancy so much easier. They sleep better, breath deeper, move easier.

Less pain, less stress and more energy to enjoy your baby, even before he and she is born.

Alan Questel has created something that is not anywhere in the market.

Angel Di Benedetto

Jeanne on

I love these lessons! So gentle and easy to do. And I feel so much better when I do them. I think Alan is great!

Ellen on

My daughter-in-law recently gave birth. She got these videos as a gift and loved them.

Deborah Lotus on

If you are seven months along and your center of gravity has dropped and you are waddling like a duck, you would welcome the Feldenkrais approach! what does gender have to do with it? Movement is universal…many studies have shown a pregnant mother’s discomfort and anxiety is felt by the baby, can transmit itself to the baby in terms of short breath, poor circulation, irregular heartbeat, can even cause damage to the fetus…Feldenkrais coaching can help all these reflective responses so both mom and baby can remain comfortable….I’m just sayin’ don’t reject out of hand something of proven worth to pregnant mom’s–we need all the help we can get!

Jeff Martin on

Hey, my wife used this at her second pregnancy, this method backed up by Lamaze was a life saver, not just for her, but me as well, future dads? I say GET IT!!!!!!!!

Rich Goldsand on

I have known Alan for years. His application of the FELDENKRAIS METHOD for pregnant ladies is superb.
As a father of 2 and assisting my wife through childbirth this is a wonderful addition to that cause.
Cheers to Alan

Bob on

We used many of these lessons during my wife’s pregnancy with our son and it helped her breath better, lie in bed more comfortably and get a good night’s sleep. We did the DVD’s together which helped me understand some of the challenges she was having just being able to the simple things she is used to doing, especially toward the end of her pregnancy. I was more aware of how I could help her and sensitive to her needs which helped bring us closer together. We’ve since shared the lessons with our friends who are pregnant and they are finding them to be very useful as well.

Luz on

Being pregnant is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about who we are and what is most important to us. How we choose to deal with this life change is up to us but wouldn’t it be nice to make the experience more enjoyable? More valuable? Why would any woman NOT want to make the most of it. It’s such a rare opportunity, 9 months out of a whole lifetime. I have studied under Alan, and trust him and the Feldenkrais Method completely.

Lauren on

I started doing Feldenkrais with Alan almost 30 years ago, when he was just beginning his practice. Doing Awareness Through Movement and Functional Integration during both my pregnancies was great. I had easy pregnancies and deliveries, remaining physically active and comfortable throughout. Alan has been present at several births, including both of mine. He understands movement and describes ways to use the body with ease in clear and easy to follow language. With Pregnant Pauses Alan has integrated his 30 years of Feldenkrais knowledge with what he has learned from observing and working with pregnant women, and has created a series of lessons that every pregnant woman now has the opportunity to benefit from. Highly recommend!

Fariya on

Great Article! This is thinking out of the box and a really useful approach for making pregnancy more comfortable!

margaret ann zern on

I am a Feldenkrais practitioner and I purchased Alan’s Pregnant Pauses for my daughters. Both of my daughters practiced Awareness Through Movement lessons during their preganancies and found them very helpful with movement as well as a general sense of well being. I would recommend Pregnant Pauses to pregnant mothers for their well being and that of their babies.

Bridget Palmer on

The Feldenkrais Method is really helpful. It’s a little hard to understand without trying it, but I would really encourage any curious pregnant woman to try the exercises because they will undoubtedly make your muscles and nervous system better organized. Better neuro-muscular organization can be helpful in the process of adapting to walking, sitting, etc. with a growing belly, giving birth, and returning to optimal functioning after delivery.

Shannon on

Fake testimonials much?

Mia on

Great article – This DVD helped me TREMENDOUSLY while pregnant. I was so uncomfortable & in pain that no MD or PT could help me with – until I started doing the DVD. My pregnant friends and I did the DVD together – it was great – better than the many prenatal yoga classes I had taken that inevitably hurt me more than helped. I also ended up getting some private lessons with a Feldenkrais practitioner while pregnant that was incredible – best prenatal “massage” ever. I couldn’t believe it – I was a new woman. I found the DVDs really helpful for after the birth which was especially difficulty – really good for postpartum and C-section recovery. I loved it so much I take Feldenkrais classes as a part of my normal routine – I feel better than I did before pregnancy and I am even a much better dancer.

Laila on

Alan is my teacher in Malmö, Sweden. He is really the best, and I have got a lot of lessons by a lot of teachers. Don´t hesitate, go for it, you won´t regret it.

Tahnee Woolf on

This stuff is great. I suffered back pain for years and Feldenkrais helped me completely recover. The moves in this method are gentle and easy to follow. I’ve heard some of Alan’s other CDs, and I can tell you that he understands the body and he is a really clear teacher. So I’m sure this DVD set will be really helpful for pregnant women. I’ll definitely be buying this when I’m pregnant, as I don’t want to have all those aches and pains that most pregnant women have to suffer with…

Thanks for creating it, Alan!

Barbara Abramson on

To the skeptics: The evidence is on the DVDs themselves. The women doing the lessons tell you about the benefits they experienced from learning how to move with awareness and coordination of the whole self. We often don’t even realize how much unnecessary effort, tension and discomfort we are creating until we discover a more efficient way for ourselves. Pregnant Pauses provides systematic guidance for making that self-discovery.

You will see also that Alan Questel is a compassionate man and skillful teacher.

I now teach Feldenkrais Method® and only wish I had known about it during my two pregnancies!

Geace mark on

When I was pregnant, my back ached for at least 2 months. It was almost unbelievably bad. Since then, I’ve had Feldenkrais sessions that were very effective at calming chronic pain in a couple of different parts of my body. I only wish I could have had the benefit of these exercises when I needed them most.