Prenatal Pilates at Breathe Pilates, Singapore

An expectant mother in Asia will often hear the elderly instructing her not to carry heavy things, but to sit and rest, to be careful of this and that. Thus, mothers tend to “victimise” themselves and start to behave as if they are sick. On the contrary, I believe mothers should balance rest with exercise.

Pre-Natal Exercises

Exercising helps mothers to prepare for childbirth, reduce the risk of gestational diabetes, improve emotional well-being and strengthen bodies for care-giving, which can be taxing with the carrying of babies. Exercise can also help to alleviate pregnancy symptoms, such as back pain, constipation, and bloating. If you do not usually do sport, you might want to consider:

  • Walking for 30 minutes everyday. Wear comfortable shoes and walk in a pace that’s not breathless.
  • Swimming. I heard of pre-natal classes for non-swimmers as well.
  • Pilates. Most studios only accept clients after the first trimester.

Before I got pregnant, I went for ActiveSG pilates classes and like how it strengthens the core. And so for my first pregnancy, I was contemplating on taking up pre-natal Pilates classes. Since ActiveSG and community centers don’t provide such classes, I look into private schools. The comparatively higher prices made me hesitant.

During my first pregnancy, we were living in a condominium and hence, I decided to just swim frequently and not sign up for the Pilates classes. Generally, swimming gave me the usual endorphins release, which helps me to get through pregnancy feeling good. I also think it made my childbirth easier than usual, albeit still painful.

About Pilates

However during my baby’s first year, I still suffered from backaches and a condition similar to mother’s wrist. I blame it on my weak core and thus over-reliance on my back and arms/wrists. So this time round, I decided to look into Pilates again. Yoga is never a consideration for me because of its religious roots and it being more of a flexibility and relaxation exercise and that’s not what I am looking for.

I wanted an exercise that builds a stronger core, gives a better posture, and tones the body. That’s Pilates. For one, I’ve heard many testimonies of how Pilates help to ease off back pains.

According to my private instructor, mat Pilates is more difficult than Pilates Reformer (“reformer”), because without equipment, it has much lesser support for the person doing the sets. It may seem easier on mat, but most people do it the wrong way and thus hurting themselves or over-exerting other muscles. If mat Pilates is done the right way, one will realise it takes much more skill/muscle to get into position. Moreover, reformer is more targeted to problematic areas, while mat is more holistic.

Breathe Pilates

Breathe Pilates was founded in 2011 and is a MERRITHEW™ Licensed Training Center. Other than pilates, they also offer physiotherapy, GYROTONIC® method, ZEN-GA™ and TRX as part of their rehabilitative and fitness programs. I chose Breathe Pilates because of its reputation and it being convenient for me. It has a branch and pre-natal class timing that fits my schedule.

With four branches located at Novena, Parkway Centre, Galaxis (Fusionpolis) and Raffles Quay, working mothers can easily drop by during lunch or before/after work. Booking of session is easily made online, with a confirmation email sent upon booking and another one day prior to class. Class schedule is also available online for easy reference.

Breathe Pilates requires private sessions for those without prior experience in Pilates Reformer. With only mat Pilates experience, I signed up for their new clients package (valid for 3 months): 3 Private and 5 Group Sessions for S$555*. Refer to the price menu or photo below for the prices of all their packages: private, group and hybrid sessions.

Private Session Experience

“The studio is small.” That was the first thought when I first stepped into Breathe Pilates. Then, Alicia, my private instructor brought me to another studio. That’s when I realised Breathe Pilates have 3 to 4 separate studios on the same level. Cosy spaces even if classes are fully packed.


In the beginning of my first lesson, Alicia gave me a brief introduction of Pilates. She also gave me a quick overview of the reformer equipment, highlighting certain parts of it. Even though she picked the essentials to share and left out certain technical aspects of Pilates, it still felt like information overload. Good to know though.

She then taught me the breathing technique used in Pilates, and also Kegel exercises that is useful for expectant ladies. I’ve learned these before, so it was more like a refresher for me.

What got interesting was when I stood in front of the mirror. Alicia tapped on the different parts of my body and assessed my posture. My problem areas are my shoulders and back curve. These with my weak core is why I over-exert my arms/hands and back, leading to aches and pains. Furthermore, I did butt exercises in my third private lesson, and came to know of those weak butt muscles and how my thighs have been doing more work than necessary.


I never understood why people would engage private instructors. But after my private sessions with Alicia, I would say go for private lessons if your wallet allows for it. Otherwise, have a mix, alternate between private and group sessions to be more economical.

I like how in private session, the instructor can have the time to assess my condition and tailor exercises to target my problem areas. A customised prescription of exercises usually done in repetitive sets on the equipment. These would not be possible in group lessons. But it’s still more economical to go for group sessions, better than nothing.

Group Session Experience

Group session is a good place to meet other fellow mothers. However, with the high flexibility of the classes at Breathe Pilates, you don’t always meet the same mothers for every session. Still who knows, you might be able to connect with one or two that have the same schedule as you.

The pre-natal classes at Breathe Pilates are also kept small, maximum of four in a class. That means more attention of the instructor will be on you. And with a small class, more time was spent on exercises than the waiting for the teacher to correct postures. That is, there was less disruption to class coming from the different pace of the students. I suspect that the “mandatory” private lessons did help most students to understand the basics and not slow down the group sessions.


Because of my scheduling, I have gone under three different instructors for the group sessions, one being Alicia. Each has her own teaching style. I still like Alicia the best, because I started off this journey with her style. That aside, she takes more effort to correct our individual postures during the group sessions. Generally, the instructors are friendly.

The sets vary from session to session and hence don’t worry about getting bored about doing the same exercises all the time. Pilates can be a deceiving exercise. The slow pace of Pilates with its controlled motions made me feel that I was not working as hard as let’s say, a sweaty kickboxing session. However, after six sessions, I still feel the muscle aches the next day. Forgotten muscles worked out without me knowing.

One downside about reformer is that I wouldn’t be able to practice most of what I have learnt at home. But the instructors did introduce certain exercises with the use of flex band and stability ball, and without the use of the reformer equipment. Perhaps I will start on these first.

After every group session, all students are given a spray and cloth to wipe all the surfaces that have been used. Other than having all students wear socks, this is another plus point for keeping the equipment hygienic.


Compared to a private session, I think group session is ironically more intensive. Perhaps because the class was not tailored to my beginner’s pace and there was less “spoon-feeding”. The sets were one after another, and so I got to keep moving. Also, there’s a peer pressure to nail the workouts right as you see fellow mothers ace-ing them.

I stand by my previous verdict, that is to have a mix of private and group sessions. It’s also a good workout to just go for all group sessions and save some money for the baby fund.

Book a Class. Win a Class.

Love what you have been reading? Book your class now at Or follow them on Facebook and Instagram (@breathepilatessg) for ongoing events and promotions.

Remember I said that beginners need to take private sessions before the group ones? From November 2019, Breathe Pilates is introducing fundamental sessions for beginners who prefer group to private. The class will be kept to a maximum of five people.

Learn the basic principles of Pilates and about the reformer equipment in three sessions. Thereafter, move on to regular group sessions. Fundamental sessions are designed for people with no preexisting conditions or pregnancy. So get your husband to join you on the Pilates bandwagon too! 😉

Breathe Pilates Info

Giveaway! (CLOSED)

Win a private session of Pilates (U.P. S$130) at Breathe Pilates! Be one of the three winners to try out Pilates at Breathe Pilates — be it pre-natal, post-natal or Pilates in general.

I will choose a winner each from Facebook and Instagram respectively, and another winner from either platform.

Facebook Giveaway:

Instagram Giveaway:

(*go to the IG post on @JoogoStyle. Click the ‘paper aeroplane’ beside the comments bubble icon > add post to your story.)

This giveaway is for those residing in Singapore only. Giveaway ends 14 November 2019 (Thursday), 2359hrs (+0800GMT).


Disclosure: This is an editorial review. I was sponsored a small portion of the package and was not paid for publishing my experience with this service. All opinions are of my own and are genuine.

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