health

"I have a bone to pick with pregnancy exercise classes."

Image: iStock.

Just putting this out there: why are pregnancy exercise classes so, for wont of a better word, lame? Here’s my dilemma: when I’m pregnant, I want to exercise, but don’t know how to go about it.

Unless you’re Michelle Bridges, exercising while pregnant can be confusing territory. There’s so many factors to consider: my usual bendy, downward-doggy yoga has become impossible, thanks to a burgeoning baby bump and a constant desire to vomit.

I’ve been looking for an exercise class for pregnant women to help me stay fit in a safe and informed manner.

Here’s what I want: a fun, interesting class that I will actually want to go to.

Something like the morning raves and The Jungle Body classes that I hear so much about. This – but tailored for pregnant women and preferably with a fitness expert on board to guide each move.

What I want: to go to a morning rave, but with giant pregnant ladies. (Source: Supplied.)
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Here’s what I found on Google instead: class after class that sounded so boring and ridiculous that only my eyeballs would get a workout – from rolling them so much.

Generally, there are two types of exercise classes that I’ve found. They're created with the best intentions but are not for me at all.

One type of class involves exercise that is so relaxed and slow that I would probably fall asleep. Stuff like ultra-chilled aquarobics and barely-moving yoga. Personally, I think I would probably get just as much of a workout lying in bed, and then getting up occasionally to walk to the fridge.

The other type of class is what I would call the “Messiah” class. These classes claim that they can save you from any pregnancy and birth-related problem, all using gentle breathing, slow movements and visualisation.

The Jungle Body looks like so much fun. Let our video convince you! (Post continues after video.)

These classes have huge appeal as they promise to equip you with everything you need to achieve a drug and pain-free birth. Having been through labour once before, I know it can be a huge confidence boost to be as prepared as possible before the big event both in body and mind.

But to promise that exercise can lead to a drug-free and cruisey birth insinuates something else: that using pain-relief during birth, and having a difficult labour experience is “bad”. Which they are not, at all.

Pregnancy and birthing experiences don’t always go to plan, and there are times when medical intervention is the safest option for mother and baby.

In "What to Expect When You're Expecting", Cameron Diaz plays a fitness guru who reluctantly goes on bed rest during her pregnancy.
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For me, having an epidural during labour not only eased the pain but helped my blood pressure to drop – which was vital,as I’d experienced extremely high blood pressure throughout my pregnancy. None of the deep-breathing and relaxation in the world could have helped me with that. (Post continues after gallery.)

Serious matters aside, I just really want to go to an exercise class that’s fun, sweaty and all about moving.

And if a disco ball and a neon lycra-clad pregnancy fitness expert comes with it, all the better.

Or maybe I'll just start one myself, with the help of a pregnancy fitness expert. Michelle Bridges, you know where to find me. I'll personally apply the glitter stripes to your face, I promise.

Have you - or a friend - been to a pregnancy exercise class? Was it "lame", or beneficial?

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