This is a guest post by Insure Fitness Group.
Working with a client during pregnancy is not just about helping them stay fit in those 9 months, you’re helping them get ready for labor and life after baby.
Before the Bump
Your approach will be different depending on whether your client was active before the pregnancy or not. If she was already attending classes, continuing to do so is fine. If she has decided to join barre because of this life event, you will need to think of a program which starts moderately, until you get a feeling for your client.
If your client was active before – she should not expect to exercise to the same level, it may need to be notched back a bit.
It is also better to have a continued lower level of exercise throughout, than working out intermittently- encourage her to attend regular classes.
Make sure her doctor knows!
It is essential that before starting or continuing an exercise program, your client has consulted with her physician. Doctors may advise women with certain conditions not to exercise. Once you know you have the doc’s ok then you can get to work.
The Bump and Barre
Sorry for stating the obvious, but it’s true, pregnancy changes everything.
Pregnant women produce the hormone relaxin. Its name tells you exactly what it does, it loosens ligaments and muscles throughout the whole pregnancy. Levels are actually highest in the first 30 weeks. This may have the added benefit of improving your client’s flexibility. But remember too, that hip flexors and lumbar joints will be unstable, treat them with care.
Be aware that your client’s resting heartbeat will go up and remain elevated throughout because of the extra blood flow to the fetus. You can expect an increase of about 10-15 beats per minute at rest.
Working on Posture and Core Strength
This is one of the things you can really help with, as a barre instructor. Aching hips and legs, and of course back muscles, are all common in all stages of pregnancy. Be sure to work with pregnant clients to target specific muscles. You want to clients to target their glutes, inner thighs, hamstrings, abdominals, pelvic floor and upper and lower back. Why? Focusing on these areas can help you lengthen and strengthen the muscles that best help you accommodate the growing bump.
Everything you can do in the first two trimesters to strengthen these muscles, especially the back and posterior chain, will help her at least reduce the aches and pains of the baby’s added weight.
Exercises which improve core strength and stability are a must. Working these two will help make the pregnancy less uncomfortable and will actually help when it comes to delivery time. Think more in terms of pulling exercise for a strong back rather than pushing exercises.
If you haven’t worked on breathing exercises with a client before, now is a time to check them out. Besides everything else, if your client is suffering from morning sickness deep breathing might be all she can manage, but this can be a good start!
Medical Opinion in Favor
In general, medical opinion towards exercise during pregnancy is positive. It helps the body accommodate all the changes which are taking place, and in many ways is training for labor in much the same way as a marathon. Let’s face it a marathon might be easier than labor. The general guidelines are to just use common sense.
Exercise doesn’t need to stop at delivery either. Once the baby is here, you can help in getting your client back into shape again!