A couple of weeks ago, I met with the lovely Marie from Fitmama, Basingstoke and North Hampshire’s leading maternity health and fitness provider. Marie is putting together a mini guide for her pupils, illustrating some of the most important and effective exercises to prepare the body for labour. I had the pleasure of photographing the poses for the guide, which will be available on the Fitmama website shortly. Afterwards, we caught the opportunity for a few snaps of Marie herself for her website.
Marie was kind enough to let me ask her a few questions about Fitmama and the importance of fitness in pregnancy for my dear blog followers, many of whom are expecting a baby.
Q: Do antenatal fitness classes really help make labour easier?
Marie: “Pregnancy Fitness classes can help to improve your cardio vascular and muscular health, which leaves you in a better position to endure the intensity of labour, and better able to push your baby out and avoiding forceps or c-section. The classes teach you to understand how your body works during labour, and gives you the knowledge to use the muscles, breathing and mental tools together to PUSH! Even if you know you are booked into have a c-section, the fitness classes will help you to make a quicker recovery, no matter what type of delivery you end up with.”
Q: Does one already need to be in great shape to make the most out of the classes?
M: “These classes are suitable for everyone at any level of fitness, so long as your midwife/practitioner is happy for you to take part. If you have had any problems during your pregnancy it is best to ask your health professional first. You can read more about contra-indications for pregnancy exercise on the Fitmama website.”
Q: What do you enjoy most about your job?
M: “I am passionate about giving women the power to understand more about their amazing bodies! Being a mum myself, I know how it feels to be pregnant and go through the process of delivering a baby, and how being a little fitter can make the delivery process more manageable. Let’s face it, it’s never going to be a walk in the park, but if we can save ourselves from any complications, it’s worth it! The other most rewarding part of my work is watching the social network of mums from each individual course build into great units of friendship and support… Yesterday, I saw a group of four Mums from a course I ran last year who were all out together at the local village Fete, with their toddlers and partners! It gave me a great sense of happiness to see them all still keeping in touch, even though their babies are now big boys!”
Q: Share one piece of advice for mums-to-be.
M: “Do the best you can for yourself, have enough information to make informed choices, and be prepared to change your mind about your birth plan in labour… it’s a woman’s prerogative!”