Staying fit and healthy during your pregnancy has been proven to have numerous benefits for both you and your growing baby - from improving your heart health, muscle strength and circulation, to shortening your labour time and even contributing to healthier and more intelligent babies.
But if you're rocking a baby bump, the thought of hitting the gym can be intimidating - especially if you weren't working out all that regularly before you were expecting.
And yet there's actually no better time to start getting into fitness than when you're pregnant. As long as you have the OK from your doctor and work with a trainer who's qualified in prenatal exercise, it's totally safe, and is a great way to tune into your body, maintain some muscle tone, and prepare yourself for childbirth and new motherhood - trust us, you'll need those toned arms for all the baby-cuddling you'll be doing!
Luckily there are a range of gyms and companies offering pregnancy-specific workouts. These are not only geared to be safe and appropriate for your growing body at every trimester, but are often very sociable and a great way to meet other women at the same stage of life as you.
If you were big on fitness before conceiving then it's usually fine to continue with your previous regime to some extent at first, but you will gradually need to adapt your routine to fit your changing body. In particular, ab and core exercises are off the agenda almost entirely come 12 weeks in order to reduce the likelihood or extent of diastasis recti (your abdominal muscles separating, which happens to the vast majority of mums-to-be at some point in their pregnancy).
Please note, pregnancy is a time to maintain fitness, rather than to make any gains in fitness, and you should always be able to maintain a conversation throughout any workout that you do while you're expecting. Ensure you're well hydrated, do not overheat, and, no matter how much of a fitness fanatic you consider yourself to be, we highly recommend you seek out the advice of a class teacher or professional who's specifically trained and qualified in prenatal exercise - even if it's just for one session:
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Dubai's Top Prenatal Fitness Classes
This friendly mobile fitness training company offers two weekly combined prenatal-and-postnatal fitness classes at a studio inside Kids HQ children's play area in Al Barsha Dubai. The circuits-style workouts combine gentle strength training using light to moderate resistance and low-impact cardio. The instructors are qualified in prenatal fitness and will take care to get to know you and your body’s changing needs so that the moves can be adapted to your abilities and pre- or postnatal stage. It’s also a fun way to meet other mums-to-be at a similar stage to you – plus, once your baby is here, childcare from one of the excellent staff members at Kids HQ is included, as well as a free play for kids under three in the toddler or soft play area.
All of their fitness instructors are qualified and up-to-date on the research that has been done surrounding exercise during pregnancy - including pelvic floor dysfunction and function and the role and function of the deep core unit - and will know what exercises are appropriate for you through all trimesters.
Details: Dh90 pay as you go, or Dh790 for 10 (valid 4 months). The prenatal classes are based at Kids HQ in Al Barsha during the summer, but shift to outdoor parks in good weather. Sunday 6.30-7.30pm; Monday 10-11am; Wednesday 10.30-11.30am; Friday 8.45-9.45am. timings subject to change: see Urbanenergyfitness.com or contact 055 886 9158 | firstname.lastname@example.org. NB During Covid-19 in-person classes have been paused. Check for updates.
This welcoming group of pre- and postnatal trainers are all mothers who are passionate about helping you to have the fittest and healthiest pregnancy and postnatal recovery possible. They offer a programme of regular prenatal fitness, babywearing fitness and postnatal rehabilitation classes with childcare included in Al Manara, The Lakes and Mudon. The classes all include pelvic floor and core stregthening segments, as well as circuits-style body weight strength training and cardio, while the six- and four-week Blast Challenges feature higher intensity training as well as a nutrition programme and support group to assist you with your fitness goals post-baby. Physio sessions are offered for every postnatal mum, so that your abdominal muscle separation and pelvic floor strength can be checked before you return to exercise.
Throughout the Covid restrictions they have been offering a comprehensive timetable of fitness classes on Zoom - PM 055 909 0643 for the latest updates.
Details: Prenatal group training sessions currently offered on Zoom. Message 055 909 0643 for details.
Pilates is great for posture, upper and lower body strength and stability, and helps reduce back pain, making prenatal Pilates an ideal workout during pregnancy. Real Pilates is one of Dubai’s best-regarded Pilates studios and offers a mixture of prenatal mat Pilates or prenatal reformer Pilates.
Where the mat-based classes use light equipment and help to tone and maintain body weight, the reformer sessions involve stretching and holding exercises using the resistance of a reformer machine, helping to build strength.
Details: Prenatal combo pack is Dh895 for a 10-session pack valid for both mat and reformer (valid 6 months). Classes are based at either the Jumeirah or the JLT Real Pilates studio and are held both morning and evening, see Real-pilates.com for exact timings.
3 UAE prenatal fitness trainers to check out
Pre and postnatally trained Ashtanga yoga instructor Anna also happens to just had her first baby as we speak. She has lots to say about the asanas (poses), pranayamas (breathing techniques) and meditations available to help ease any pregnancy discomfort, prepare for labour physically and mentally, and boost postnatal recovery. She teaches group classes and also offers pre and post-natal private classes.
Super glam Dubai-based new mum, weightlifter and all-round fitness superstar Rhian has developed a comprehensive Babyandme 12 week Post Natal Training Plan, available to download as a series of workout videos online for $150 (http://www.rhianadamsfitforlife.co.uk/). Intended to help you lose weight, tone up and have fun with your baby from the comfort of your home, the workouts are suitable for all abilities and combine aerobics with basic exercises such as squats, bridges and planks.
If you’re not very familiar with workout moves you may want to have a few PT sessions first to ensure that your technique is correct and safe for your repairing body.
Certified Midwife, breastfeeding counsellor and Ante/Postnatal Educator Nikki also happens to be a personal trainer. She offers a wealth of advice and information on her website Thefitmidwife.com, as well as offers personal training sessions in conjunction with MamaBFit. Call her on 0529-975-972.
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