Pounding the treadmill time and time again isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, which is why a fun, sociable and beneficial pregnancy exercise class can be the perfect workout option
Whether you a big fan of zumba or enjoy the odd Pilates class, there’s no reason why you have to give it a miss during your pregnancy.
There are plenty of pregnancy-specific classes that are suitable for mums-to-be and still give you the workout your changing body needs. Just make sure that your instructor is made aware of any health issues that you may be facing during your pregnancy, so she can safely tailor your workout for you.
And because they’re so sociable, classes are a great way to meet other mums-to-be, too.
There’s a reason why antenatal yoga is the go-to pregnancy fitness class. It’s a great way to maintain your pre-baby muscle tone and flexibility, and does wonders for your posture. Plus, it’s gentle on your body – perfect for your growing bump – and will help you learn to relax and breathe well, ultimately making your labour experience easier.
But, like any pregnancy fitness class, be careful to not overdo it, but this is something that your antenatal yoga instructor will help you with and show you which exercises are best, and safe, for you.
Do try to attend an antenatal-specific class – there are plenty out there so you shouldn’t have a problem finding a local one and your instructor will be able to advise you which parts of the class are OK to do at your stage of pregnancy.
Pregnancy Pilates is another fitness favourite that is great for preparing your body for birth. It helps strengthen the back and abdominal muscles while keeping the pelvic floor area strong – helping to reduce the risk of incontinence after you’re baby’s arrived and tightening your muscles that may weaken during pregnancy.
It’s also another class that incorporates breathing techniques and relaxation methods and is brilliant for strengthening your core.
‘Core strength should be at the top of your priority list,’ says pregnancy and postnatal fitness expert Dr Joanna Helcke. ‘Maintaining core strength will help to support the spine, particularly as your baby grows your centre of gravity will change which places the core under strain as you get bigger.’
If you love nothing better than a spot of swimming, then definitely sign up for an aquanatal classes. A safe, low-impact exercise, this class usually includes aerobic-style moves to improve blood flow, strengthen your muscles and maintain flexibility in the spine and joints.
If you need more persuading, being in the water will make you feel weightless – definitely a welcome feeling during pregnancy. And you don’t need to be a strong swimmer as these classes are normally held in the shallow end of the pool. But, if you’re unsure, do check with the instructor before signing up.
‘If you can’t find a local class with a trained specialist in pregnancy, swimming is a great alternative,’ says Joanna. ‘If you’re suffering from pelvic girdle pain, be sure to modify your swimming accordingly – breaststroke is to be avoided at all costs but front crawl should be fine for you.’ Check with your GP first if you're unsure what's safe for you.
Taking part in a weekly aerobics class is really beneficial during pregnancy and has the added benefit of being lots of fun. It’s great for your heart, lungs and muscle tone and will improve your stamina – helping boost your endurance levels during labour.
A pregnancy-specific class will be more low-impact than a regular one, with jogging and jumping moves replaced with marching. Before starting, make sure that the instructor is aware of your pre-pregnancy fitness level – if you weren’t a gym bunny before you conceived then you’ll need to start off gently.
5. Combined fitness classes
Plenty of fitness centres across the country run combined pregnancy classes, aimed to include a range of workouts and movements. You should be able to do some cardio-vascular fitness and strength training, as well as maybe use exercise gear like hand weights.
Is there a great antenatal pregnancy class in your area that you’d recommend? Let us know below.