A mum-to-be is refusing to let pregnancy get in the way of her passion for pole dancing.
Kristen Leigh, 33, has been strapping on her seven-inch heels to strut her stuff.
The physical therapist, from the Bay Area in California, says the fitness has helped her to love her body while she’s five months pregnant.
She revealed: “I just absolutely love it. I love the community and how supportive everybody is.
“For me personally, who did dance for so long, I love the constant exploration of ways I can move my body.
"It really challenges me to think of how I move my body in a different way and learning skills and tricks is really rewarding."
Kristen began pole dancing in 2014 after visiting a strip club in Portland.
She added: “One of the dancers was doing really amazing contortionist style tricks with lots of strength and that made me really want to try it.
“I was too shy to go alone but once some of my friends suggested it, we went and I fell in love.”
Two years after taking up the discipline, Kristen began performing with the Bay Area Company Flux Vertical Theatre.
She also started competing in 2017 – but has had to put a halt on this during the pandemic.
Kristen started training at home as Covid shut down fitness premises.
And as health and safety rules have changed, she’s had to be extra careful going back to studios too.
The mum-to-be said: “When studios re-opened, they weren’t allowed to spot us because of social distancing.
“Because they weren’t allowed to spot us, I didn’t feel comfortable doing aerial and more challenging tricks that I would have been doing before.
"So now I do more choreography."
Kristen said she plans to continue pole at some level throughout the entirety of her pregnancy.
She revealed: “Of course, there’s going to be things I can’t do like laying on my stomach or inversions.
“But as long as I can still dance around the base of the pole then I’m going to do it.
“Though I’ll probably switch to wearing socks at some point.”
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Kristen hopes sharing her story will encourage others to give pole dancing a go.
She added: “Anything that involves moving your body, muscles, joints and raising your heart rate is physical fitness.
“If you do what you enjoy and with people you like you’re going to love it more, so find what you enjoy.”
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