Love striking a downward facing dog pose? Or more into a sweat-filled aerobics class? But before you sign up to your antenatal fitness class of choice, figure out if it’s the right one for you
Exercising during pregnancy is great for you and your baby, as long as it’s safe. Plus, it’s the perfect time to bond with your baby and make some brilliant new friends who are in the same mum-to-be zone as you.
Get the most out of your class by asking a few questions to make your workout safe and effective for you.
1. Check your instructor’s qualifications
Your antennal fitness instructor should have built on her standard fitness teaching qualifications to make her capable of training you.
‘Your instructor should have a Level 3 qualification, which is a step higher than many people will encounter when going to regular exercise classes,’ explains pregnancy and postnatal fitness expert Dr Joanna Helcke. But as this qualification isn’t compulsory, your instructor needs to have made the decision to do this herself.
‘Following this initial qualification, your instructor should update and extend her knowledge on a yearly basis otherwise she’ll find herself bypassing new knowledge,’ Joanna explains. ‘So, adding extra qualifications and attending regular study days should be part of good practice.’
Before your first class, put your mind at ease by having a quick chat with the instructor or gym management about your instructor’s experience and professional background before signing up.
2. Check for basic medical training
On the off-chance that you fall ill during class, your instructor needs to know how to help you. Every instructor should know first aid. Also check what the general protocol is for medical emergencies.
3. Update your instructor
Help your instructor help you by updating her at the start of each session. Let her know if you’ve been feeling tired, faint or experiencing any other health issues since your last session.
Let her know if you’ve been feeling tired, faint or experiencing any other health issues since you’re last session
‘Whether your instructor checks in with you before each class can indicate how competent an instructor she,’ says Joanna. ‘I ask all my clients to complete a medical form before attending any classes, which is designed specifically for people who are pregnant. This way, I can pick up on everybody’s problems before they start coming to class.’
Your instructor should be asking about how you’re doing throughout the workout as issues such as low blood pressure can affect how you feel while exercising.
4. Make sure the movements are safe for you
Just because you’re in a proper antenatal fitness class, doesn’t mean ALL the exercises are right for you.
‘Some exercises are almost (but never always) universal whilst many others need to be graded according to stage of pregnancy,’ says Joanna. ‘As well as this, you and your instructor need to take into consideration all sorts of other conditions such as back pain, pelvic pain, fatigue, low blood pressure, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, gestational diabetes etc.’
Your instructor may recommend that you skip certain movements or alter them slightly.
5. Keep your GP in the loop
Talk your GP through the classes you’re attending and check with him if you think any particular movements aren’t safe for your pregnancy.
You can find out what level of pregnancy exercise is safe here.
6. Don’t be afraid to speak up
On the off-chance that you find your class to be unsafe for pregnant women, letting someone know is sensible.
‘You can contact the Guild of Pregnancy and Postnatal Exercise Instructors,’ explains Joanna. ‘And there is also the more general Register of Exercise Professionals, which is not specific to pre/postnatal fitness.’
After all, you may be helping to prevent other pregnant women from hurting themselves.
What steps have you taken to ensure your class is safe? Let us know below.