Understanding your Pre/Post Natal Clients…

It’s the moment many instructors dread…… someone comes up to you at the start of class and tells you they are pregnant. Do you; A) Panic and ask them to leave; B) Panic and tell them to just listen to their own body then proceed to pretend they are not there; C) Panic and give them cat/cow/clams for every exercise, no matter how far along they are or D) Calmly guide them to the correct options for the class in hand at the appropriate points and specific to the stage of pregnancy? Hopefully it was D but we know that for many instructors it could be A-C.

As a vast majority of the population is female the likelihood of you encountering someone who is pregnant and wishes to continue exercising is high. Especially if you teach group fitness where the demographic is predominantly female. Exercise during pregnancy won’t hurt the baby and can even help with potentially easier/shorter deliveries with less intervention and always a faster recovery.

There are a host of other benefits as well such as;

*Pregnancy niggles, such as backache, pelvic girdle pain, constipation and fatigue can be kept at bay.
*Women are likely to feel better about the changes that are happening to their body.
*Maintenance of a healthy weight.
*Better sleep.
*Exercise can prepare the body and mind for the demands of labour and birth. (It’s not called labour for nothing!!)
* Post natally, exercise can help women to get back into shape after their baby is born.
*In Women who develop diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes), exercise can help to manage blood sugar levels.

Most pregnant women simply want to be given the safest options for them to continue with their favourite training modalities and for the most part (uness they are a rock climber or deep sea diver) they can! However as an instructor you must know how to modify their intensity correctly as their pregnancy progresses. You see as pregnancy progresses, she will need less and less to get the same effect. She will also be a bundle of raging horses which can affect things like, flexibility, heart rate at rest and during exercise, joint stability plus many others. Having an understanding of these will allow you to prescribe exercise correctly and have an understanding of how she may feel on any given day.

Doing your Level 3 Pre and Post Natal Exercise Specialist qualification gives you all the information you need to feel confident giving the correct options when faced with this scenario. You will learn anatomy and physiology specific to pregnancy and changes to physiology throughout the trimesters; ACSM guidelines for pre and post natal exercise; specific core/pelvic floor exercises for pre and post natal exercise; how to programme for pre and post natal client; contraindications to exercise (high risk pregnancies); nutrition during and after pregnancy.