Class crashers: Mumhood Pre-Natal Fitness
‘It might be my hormones, but I’m a pregnant bundle of energy. Even at 36 weeks, my daily routine involves a 14-mile round-trip by bike to the office, plus some form of yoga or a swim, so finding a pre-natal group session to satisfy my fitness needs is a challenge.
‘I’m pleased to discover that the Mumhood pre-natal fitness classes at London’s Frame studios concentrate on what you can do during pregnancy, rather than what you can’t. They are created in line with their pregnancy exercise guidelines (so overstretching and crunching your six-pack muscles are off the cards) to give you a full-body workout and prepare you for motherhood. Blooming ideal.
‘Frame is known for being one of the capital’s most colourful fitness studios, so I pull on my bump-friendly jazzy leggings and I’m ready to go. Or I think I am. Grabbing a resistance band, fitness mat and a pair of dumbbells – I opted for two 1.5kg ones, the average weight of a newborn baby, according to our cheery instructor Caroline – I’m out of my comfort zone of exercising solo, and in a studio with seven other bumps.
‘Still, I’m in safe hands. As dance music gets us in the zone, Caroline bounces around the room, checking in with how we’re feeling. Marching on the spot to warm up, our pregnancy pulses race, but she reassures us it’s fine to rest or take water when we need to. Pre-natal fitness means tuning in to your body. ‘Aim to work at 70 per cent of your maximum,’ instructs Caroline. Wise words indeed.
‘The session kicks off with a few choreographed moves and I do my best to mimic Caroline. We use resistance bands to work our arms and, honing the mum skill of multitasking, we stretch them out as we breathe and lift our pelvic floor muscles. ‘Labour is a marathon,’ Caroline says. ‘You wouldn’t approach a race without training, so these moves are key.’ A mantra I won’t be forgetting.
‘”You can never squat enough during pregnancy,” we’re told as we shuffle to the bar and squat with a resistance ball between our thighs. Next, we lift weights at the bar while lunging, before we master a ‘Mumhood’ move: we pick up the weights, hold them at the shoulder, stand up, then reverse the move to go back down again. Just like picking up a baby without using your hands to touch the floor. Several reps in, this is surprisingly challenging.
‘As we position ourselves on our mats for stretching, followed by a cool down, I’m feeling energised, relaxed and pretty empowered by my strength as a mum-to-be. Maybe I should stop working out on my own so much and bump along to a few more pre-natal classes.’