Benefits of Pregnancy Fitness Classes: Pregnant and Exercising

The importance of regular exercise to maintain good physical and mental health has long since been known. When you are pregnant, taking pregnancy fitness or exercise classes is especially important, in order to remain as healthy as possible.

Types of Pregnancy Fitness Classes

These days there are a wide variety of pregnancy fitness classes available, with yoga and pilates being very popular ways of staying fit whilst pregnant. Other common types of fitness classes for pregnant women, include aqua natal and pregnancy aerobics. Another increasingly popular choice involves attending active birth classes. In The Essential First Year, Leach explains that active birth classes may include the following:

- pregnancy-specific yoga preparation for birth
- workshops for women and partners
- practical work on birth positions
- postnatal information sessions

Benefits of Pregnancy Exercise and Fitness Classes

There are multiple benefits associated with attending pregnancy exercise and fitness classes, particularly the opportunities such groups provide for meeting other pregnant women and making new friends. For women who have gone from working full-time to maternity leave, this can be a lonely time, making it important to access support.

Key benefits of choosing to take part in specific pregnancy fitness classes, as identified by Leach, may include as follows:

- pilates - gentle exercise, helps condition pelvic floor muscles
- yoga - helps pregnant women remain supple, relax and focus with breathing - techniques
- aqua natal - stay fit and supply while pregnant, easier to exercise without - weight of bump
- aerobics - helps keep heart, lungs and muscles strong

Where to Find Pregnancy Exercise Classes

As with most things in life, it is always best to have a chat with close friends or family who have attended exercise classes during pregnancy, in order to get a personal recommendation. Most leisure centres will offer pregnancy fitness classes, while private health clubs often provide special small group classes, ideal for mums-to-be. Another way to find out about pregnancy exercise classes or special fitness sessions for pregnant women, is through your midwife or local hospital.

If you cannot find a pregnancy exercise class, then it is very important to let the fitness instructor know that you are pregnant. This will enable the instructor to let you know which specific exercises are not recommended during pregnancy.

As highlighted above, there are many mental and physical benefits of regular exercise, especially when pregnant. Exercising during pregnancy helps relieve stress, improve breathing techniques, meet other mums-to-be and maintain fitness. Classes which may be most helpful to pregnant women, include yoga, pilates and aqua natal sessions.

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