I went to a physio class a while back in Lagan Valley Hospital and the one thing the physio kept reiterating was to try and exercise throughout pregnancy. Labour is meant to be like a marathon and apparently exercising is meant to keep the body strong and best prepare it for the big day.
I used to run and swim a good bit, but a few months before I fell pregnant I put my back out, doing the Color Run of all things! I’d been training for a half marathon and had upped my running, swimming and thrown high intensity classes into the mix but on the evening after the Color Run my body decided it had had enough. Unfortunately I had to stop exercising for 6 weeks and then only start swimming slowly but surely so by the time I got pregnant I was physically unfit again.
I walk a good bit with the dogs, however I had been pretty lazy with exercise until I went to this physio class and realised I really wasn’t helping myself or Baby D by not getting off my arse. I started swimming again and was hoping to start pilates but after realising the waiting list was the length of my arm I decided to try out YogaBellies. You might have seen them on Dragon’s Den a couple of years ago?!
I’m not usually a fan of all that “hippy stuff” but when I realised that the class involved breathing exercises and postitions to help cope with labour I was all for it! Do you know that antenatal classes in the Ulster Hospital basically don’t exist anymore? I’m booked in for a 90 minute class in July and that’s it! Correct me if I’m wrong but I thought there was a 6 week courses that you go to with your birthing partner to help you prepare!
I went for my second YogaBellies class on Tuesday night and it really did reinforce how glad I am to have joined. The class starts with breathing exercises before going through yoga moves which will strengthen the body and also aid in easing pain during labour. There are also moves to help if the baby is in breech position or if you suffer from sciatica or heartburn. At the end of the class we all lie for 10 minutes to relax and connect with our babies.
Funny story actually, at the end of class on Tuesday, Baby D decided it was time to have a wee roll about when we were meant to be relaxing. He also got the hiccups and while I was lying there trying to think peaceful thoughts, I couldn’t help but smile at his little hiccuping body and his frustrated moves. It seems Baby D isn’t into all the “hippy stuff” either!
Saying that, both times I’ve come away from the class with a renewed belief that I can do this and not to be scared about labour so I would definitely recommend it even if yoga isn’t your thing.
There are YogaBellies classes for women who aren’t pregnant, pregnant women and mothers & babies, all over the UK which you can find here.