I have always been quite an active person, playing netball, tennis etc and so when I found out I was pregnant I wanted to stay active throughout the duration. Of course I knew I had to tone it down a bit and could not play such dangerous contact sports but I wanted something that was both fun and worth doing.
I have read in various places that if you do exercise throughout pregnancy and keep quite active you stand a very good chance of regaining your figure after the baby has been born and it comes back much quicker than if you didn't exercise, ate for two and generally let yourself eat cream cakes for the previous 9 months.
I am a keep swimmer as well and had heard a lot about aqua natal classes and how good they were so I decided to give one a try. Aqua Natal classes are great when you are pregnant because being in the water is such a wonderful feeling. You are probably feeling very fat and heavy but the buoyancy of the water means the impact stress and pounding on the body experienced during land-based exercises is virtually removed. When I'm in the water I almost feel weightless and the feeling is great. It takes all the stress and pain away from my hips and joints that have been getting the strain of my ever increasing belly and also my stomach feels quite light too.
Aqua Natal classes are a very safe form of exercise during pregnancy. Aqua Natal is basically a form of exercise, done in the swimming pool that is specifically tailored to pregnant women. It combines a series of stretches, low impact weight training and other exercises to keep your muscles and joints supple throughout pregnancy.
I think most public swimming pools offer these classes but a quick search on the internet will help find one near to you. I take part in a class on Monday mornings for an hour. The cost is £4.65 but I believe it is less if you join the swimming pool as a member. I started when I was about 16 weeks pregnant and have been going ever since. You can ask your swimming pool when they recommend you to start but this was a good time frame for me. When I first started most ladies were a bit further along than me but now most people are about my timeframe of giving birth. I wear just a regular bikini to take part but you can buy specific pregnancy swimming costumes if you find your old ones don't fit over your bump. I love showing my bump off so I don't mid wearing a bikini but I know some people can be self conscious.
My class is taken by a retired midwife and I find this really helpful as she really knows what kind of exercises are good during pregnancy and what you should not do. She also talks us through the exercises were are doing in the pool and tells us for example that this stretch is good for swollen ankles or this is good for actual labour, etc, etc.
It's a very low intensity workout and you can make it as hard or as easy as you like. We start off with some foam dumbbells which help us with our arm exercises. Then we also use the noodle floats to tone our arms and legs. We generally walk through the water doing these different exercises but if you wanted to make it a bit harder for yourself you could go a bit quicker or use the weights for more resistance under the water.
The class lasts for an hour. We also practice some relaxation techniques as well as pelvic floor exercises which are very easy to do under the water. When I come out I do feel very relaxed and as if I have done some good exercise. I have heard it's good for baby too as when you exercise you release certain hormones which are then transferred to the baby which they enjoy.
Another great thing about these classes is that they're a great way to meet other expectant mums in your area. It's hard finding people who are in the same situation as you so a class like this is a great way to bring you together over a shared interest. I have made a nice group of friends now and we go for coffee after the class as well because they have a coffee shop in the swimming area.
I definitely recommend Aqua Natal classes as great exercise during pregnancy and a great way to meet people.
When I was pregnant I attended Aqua natal classes at the Queens Street Leisure centre in Derby city centre.
The class could be attended one you were fifteen weeks pregnant but I was twenty weeks pregnant when I started.
The group was instructed by midwives and the instructor changed every week although there was a pool of midwives who were trained.
There should have been two midwives to run the group of up to fifteen women but on a few occasions there was only one midwife so the numbers allowed was reduced.
There was a crèche available for older sibling that a couple of the regulars used while |I was there and were happy with the staff and facilities.
The group cost £3.50 but it was reduced if you had a passport to leisure. This group was always full and regulars would pay then go into the cafe to wait for the class to guarantee a place. I went twice and was unable to get in but went into the big pool and had a swim.
On the first visit you are asked to fill out a form that gives Details of any medical problems and problems with pregnancy, the name of your midwife and Due date.
Each session you are asked to sign in which again takes dude date, and emergency contact. The nice thing is as everyone is in swimming costumes you really get to see other people's bumps growing week by week.
The class itself follows a usual warm up then exercise. The amount of effort required depends on who is teaching. I only ever ached once after a class.
There are aerobic sections but also in some sessions we did practise breathing and pelvic floor exercises. You are advised to do the class at your own pace and if it is uncomfortable don't do it. The session always ended with a relaxation section
The water itself is warm as it is in the baby pool. I found that my son would relax and go to sleep as soon as he got into the water and would push himself down into my pelvis which made some exercises impossible to do without pain. I went till I was 38 weeks pregnant and not once was he awake for the class. My favourite exercise was we climbed on the waggles and cycled round the pool. I also loved the fact of how much easier it was to move especially as my bump grew larger.
After the swim there was a room for everyone to meet and go and have a drink, this was included in the price. You could order food from the cafe and have it bought through. Many people were on best behaviour but most weeks I had chips with gravy. The Midwives also join this part of the group and it is a chance to as the trivial questions that you never bother asking your midwife when you see her. It is also chance to chat to other women that are roughly at the same stage of pregnancy and most weeks there was somebody's scan picture been passed round.
This group is not part of antenatal care so employers are not obliged to let you attend but a few people got letters from there midwives explaining why they needed to attend which covered this.
I found this group most enjoyable. I enjoyed both the exercise and the chance to chat with other pregnant women about both how exciting it was little worries and what we had been buying. It was the highlight of my week when I was pregnant.
I would recommend it to anyone who is pregnant
Aquanatal is water aerobics for pregnant ladies. It is usually run by midwives and physiotherapists.
The main reason I started Aquanatal was due to a recommendation from someone else who had found her local class was a really good way to meet up with other pregnant women in her area. Some of whom she stayed in contact with after her child was born.
I didn't know any other pregnant mums so I took myself off to my local class when I was 24 weeks pregnant. My employer was fine with me attending the class. It was 12.30 - 1.15 followed by tea and biscuits. It cost £3.
The first session is quite never wracking as my bump was barely showing and there were lots of really pregnant women, all of whom were chatting to each other. It's like the first day at a new school. Luckily it was someone else's first session so we sort of stuck together. As the weeks went by you soon become a regular and it then becomes more enjoyable.
A midwife and physiotherapist took it in turns to run the class and there was always another midwife in the pool with us. They took us through a series of exercises and relaxation moves and pelvic floor exercises. The water supports you and allows to keep fit and perform stretches.
After a while you will need a maternity swimsuit because you won't fit in your normal costume.
Research evidence indicates women who had participated in the aquatic exercise programme reported significantly less physical discomfort, improved mobility, and improved body image and health-promoting behaviours .
It's a really good place to meet other women and be baby bores together. I'm still in touch with a couple of mums and now our babies play together.
Throughout my pregnancy I used a variety of means to keep fit, dancing, walking, aerobics. When I started my maternity leave, I decided to join the aquanatal classes run by our local community midwives, primarily to get me out of the house and to meet new people. I didn't expect it to be very intense exercise or to get much of a workout from it. I was really surprised. I found that I could feel the exercise on all the right muscles, but felt safe knowing that I wasn't exercising anything I shouldn't as it was run by midwives. They especially focused on developing arm muscles, which has come in handy since as it helped with lifting my baby. The water reduced the feeling of my weight, but also helped provide ideal resistance to the activities. The classes were friendly and open, with people able to work at their own pace and intensity. The people I met at the classes have helped by providing a smile and a hello at local baby clubs.
The classes were free, but you had to pay £2.80 to enter the pool. The number of women varied from week to week - 4 at the smallest when I went and 7 at the most. The classes were never large or crowded - we had half the pool to use and the other half was ladies only swimming so there was no embarrassment. Classes were an hour long, and there was normally 5 minutes of free swimming (with floats available) at the end.
As I love swimming aquanatal seemed like a great idea to me! My local classes are free as they are run by Sure Start, although I only found out abut them be asking at the pool itself - my midwife never mentioned them.
The class was run by a trained midwife so I felt in very safe hands, she would start off the class on the side and then join us in the pool for the more strenuous bits as she was also pregnant as well!
I didn't get to join though until I was about 32 weeks as the classes were during the day and I couldn't get the time off work till then (had to use holidays).
It felt great being in the pool as the water supported by bump, getting out was a bit of an effort though!
We would start off with some gentle stretching before moving on to some bouncing about and some arm work (all important for developing those arm muscles to carry your baby about!) all done at your own pace with breaks whenever you needed to. It was also a chance to chat with other Mum's to Be and see how people were progressing.
I was so sad when I couldn't go anymore. By coincidence one of the ladies from the class ended up giving birth 25 hours after me and we ended up on the same ward together and found out that we had given our girls the same first name! lol!
I remember the moment that I tried on my maternity swimsuit in Mothercare. I looked hideous, tears pricked my eyes as I scanned the sight before me. I was only 5 months pregnant and huge! I bought the costume and decided to brave the pool with the persuasion of my midwife. I felt nervous emerging from the changing room but what I actually saw made me feel much better. Ten other women looking equally as hideous! I had all sorts of fear about going swimming most reinforced by my neurotic mother! What if I slipped in the pool? Well I didn't and I have even heard that at some of these sessions you wear socks in the pool - I don't know if that is accurate or not. Then I was worried in case I went into labour and had the baby their and then - if only! This was all at the point before I realised you usually have to endure hours of pain (23 in my case) until baby enters the world. I was also worried about the way I looked and with this my confidence had slipped away and I was concerned that I wouldn't make any friends. It actually took a lot of guts on my part to turn up let alone get in the pool. I'm pleased to say that once I got into the pool I felt 'normal' again. My body became weightless and all the aches and pains of my pregnangcy were soothed away. It was quite a strange session as the water sorts of lifted by bump and carried me away. I had suffered quite badly with back pain and found that the water offered me some relief. The classes were run by two midwives, although this was the only contact I had with them throughout the pregnancy I was glad I knew them when one turned up to pull out my stitches after the birth! One of the midwives was on the side showing us what to do while the other was in the water with us which was very reassuring. The exercise involved some simple stretches as well as a work out for the oh so important pelvic floor muscles. It is amazing how much better you feel
after a good stretch as I felt unable to do anything like this while pregnant for fear of hurting junior. The music was up beat and lifted my spirits as we copied STEPS dance moves to 'Tragedy'. Floats were given out to aid our exercising and you could stop exercising at any time. The floats supported you making you feel weightless. They were sort of long tubes that you could lay into for a good relax. Also you could put them inbetween your legs and work your leg muscles by performing a cycling action this let you travel up and down the pool. You did have to be able to swim to attend this class as we did do some lengths of the pool and also ventured into the deep end. It would be advisable to check with the organiser first regarding how water confident you need to be. The classes made me feel so much better about myself. I was able to make friends, share pregnancy stories and the exercise did wonders for my bad back. I was only sorry that the classes clashed with my work and therefore I was uanble to attend every week. In fact the classes are the one thing that I miss about being pregnant! I wish I had known about the classes from earlier on in my pregnancy. Ask your midwife if anything like this exists in your area at one of your appointments. I have since heard that this class has closed down, there wasn't enough interest - but neither was their enough publicity. Thanks for reading.
I started going to aqua-natal classes whilst 5 months pregnant. This is my second pregnancy and I didn't go first time round, mainly as I was too intimidated to go on my own. This time I've managed to find a like minded preggy to go with me (via the internet believe it or not!!). The idea of aqua-natal is to give pregnant women some gentle aerobic exercise. The water holds your weight very well enabling to you move relatively freely and hopefully, with minimum risk of injury. My classes are taken by two midwives, they alternate each week. As each midwife has a different routine it's nice and varied. There are two classes per week, one on a Monday morning 9am - 10am and another on a Wednesday evening 7pm - 8pm. This is a good idea as, if like me, you work and you can't make the daytime session you can go to the evening one. Before each session I have to sign a register claiming that I'm fit and well to take part in the class. Whilst waiting for everyone to arrive the midwife comes to each person and asks them how they are, if they've had any problems since the previous class. I find this really good as it gives you a chance to air any concerns you may have, whether or not it's related to the aqua-natal class. All the pregnant women are requested to wear socks as well, as the bottom of the pool can be slippery and the socks give you some much needed grip. It's an odd sensation at first but also a good indicator of who's new, as they all turn up without socks!!! If you're new or have forgotten your socks, the midwife lends you a pair. Once everyone arrives you start off with some gentle warm ups i.e. walking around the pool. Then there are leg exercises, arm exercises, pelvic exercises, including pelvic floor. Near the end of the session we are all given float aids and pair off. One uses the two floats, one under the legs and one under the neck, and the other gently pulls you through the wa
ter, then you swap. This is the winding down exercise before the class finishes. The classes are great fun and always the midwife is on the look out for anyone who may be experiencing problems. If it hurts to do an exercise or you're getting out of breath then you're told to stop and rest. Not only is the aqua-natal class a good means of getting some supervised excerise whilst pregnant, it is also a way of meeting other expectant mums. Now, how much you enjoy this part of the class depends on the type of person you are. I, myself, am very shy and find it extremely difficult to approach strangers. However, when someone new attends the class I do make an effort to speak to them, as you never know, they could be a new life long friend!! All in all, aqua-natal gives me some much needed exercise, weekly access to a midwife and the opportunity of mixing with other pregnant women. It's well worth the money (£3.35 per session) and I only wish that I'd gone during my first pregnancy.