From books to bootcamps, getting fit after having a baby has never been so easy, writes FIONA REDDAN
IN YEARS gone by, new mothers typically enjoyed grace periods of at least six months – if not six years – from getting involved in fitness activities. Now there are no excuses. Can’t find a babysitter? Bring the baby along. Had a Caesarean section? No problem, you just have to wait an extra few weeks. But while there may now be an unwelcome emphasis on keeping your figure during and after pregnancy thanks to all the celebrity mums, making fitness activities accessible for everyone is surely to be welcomed. So, if you’re looking forward to a new arrival or have recently welcomed one, what are your options?
FOR DANCING MOTHERS: If you’re missing your weekly fix of throwing some moves in the local nightclub, you might be interested to learn that Activemum runs a series of dance classes aimed at both mothers-to-be, and new mothers. Taking place across Dublin, mothers are encouraged to bring their babies in slings so that they can enjoy the movements also. Those who have yet to give birth are asked to bring a note from their GP indicating that they are cleared to exercise.
Cost: €10 a class
For details: activemum.ie
FOR FRESH-AIR LOVERS:If you need a little bit of motivation to get out walking with your new arrival, signing up for a class can help you exercise while you push your buggy.
Buggy Bootcamp offers classes in north and south Dublin, and involves a 60-minute workout aimed at burning excess baby fat and toning and strengthening muscles. And the older the child in the buggy, the more strenuous the work-out. In Wexford, Buggy Body Tone offers similar classes.
Cost: €8-€10 a class
FOR THOSE WHO LIKE TO STRETCH:For many mothers-to-be, yoga and pilates are an enjoyable way of preparing for the birth, while postnatal classes can help restore the body.
Reform in south Dublin offers pilates classes for mothers at either side of the birth. Expectant mothers can start classes once they pass the 12-week mark and are classified as a low-risk pregnancy. The aim of such classes is to maintain core strength to support the back, hips and stomach during childbirth.
At Pilates Physiotherapy in Cork, postnatal classes are offered aimed at helping women retrain weakened tummy muscles and strengthen the pelvic floor. And babies are welcome.
Cost: From about €13 a class
FOR BOOK LOVERS:If you’re unable or not inclined to attend a fitness class, you can still try to keep in shape in the comfort of your own home by reading a book.
Belfast-born Marie Behenna runs antenatal fitness classes which aim to take mums-to-be from the early days of pregnancy through to the delivery and beyond, and has now put her “Fitmama Method” down on paper in a new book.
The book goes through the various exercises she recommends at different stages of pregnancy, such as good posture techniques, abdominal exercises and pelvic floor strengthening. It also comes with recipes and personal soundbites from mothers.
Cost: £10.50 ( amazon.co.uk)
For details: fitmama.org
FOR BEFORE AND AFTER THE BIRTH: If you’re looking to commit to a fitness programme that will bring you up to the birth and beyond, then Baby Body Fit, a three-stage maternity fitness plan, might be for you. It is designed initially to strengthen the body while pregnant; then adapted to get back into exercise and lose unwanted weight soon after the birth, and, thirdly, to help keep up a healthy lifestyle after returning to work and a normal life.