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Prenatal Fitness: Scoping out the Scene

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The prenatal fitness market has been steadily growing as fitness studios have been diversifying their class options to cater to pregnant women. Gone are the days where nine months of pregnancy meant one could remain inactive, eat for two (or three), or make excuses and remain lazy. Pregnancy has been understood as a transition period for women but at the same time the health and fitness industry has taken note and embraced the change with a growth in the prenatal fitness landscape.

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The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise per day on most if not all days of the week, unless medical or obstetric complications are noted. In fact, recent research demonstrated as little as 20 minutes of exercise three times per week for expecting mothers can advance a newborn's brain activity.

Amanda Rose Walsh, a certified prenatal fitness professional and doula in training, suggests to incorporate yoga at all stages of a pregnancy because it:

1) has been shown to shorten labor
2) teaches women how to breath (especially for pain management)
3) properly trains and strengthens the transverse abdominis muscles (pushing muscles!!) and the pelvic floor
4) relaxes the mom
5) teaches coping skills for labor.

Renown yoga instructor and fitness expert, Kristin McGee, stated "Yoga was a life saver for me during my pregnancy. I practiced and taught regularly. It helped me stay connected to how my body felt at each stage."

However, each woman alongside their doctor is the best judge for their prenatal fitness program. If you're looking for prenatal fitness options, we've found a few for you in the following urban markets though there are plenty more to choose from since fitness is constantly diversifying.

New York

Prenatal Yoga Center - Not only is this center an amazing resource, but they offer prenatal, postnatal and Mommy & Me yoga classes.

Body Conceptions - Their team offers private and in-home training sessions for women at any point before, during, and after their pregnancies. These sessions are specifically tailored to fitness level and trimester.

Additionally, barre/yoga studios such as Bar Method, Pure Yoga NYC, and Exhale Spa's Core Fusion program also offer a variety of prenatal focused fitness classes.

Los Angeles

Wunderbar Pilates - Offers WundaMama! Pelvic Floor and Pregnancy Conditioning classes. They offer strengthening the deepest muscles of your pelvic floor as well as postural muscles and strong, efficient legs.

Chicago

Helios Center for Movement - At Helios, moms-to-be can enjoy private Pilates sessions as well as group classes ranging from pre to postnatal. Through the use of breathing techniques, strengthening exercises and a focus on safe flexibility, moms-to-be report that the time spent at Helios supporting their pregnancies easily translated to a successful postpartum recovery.

Bloom Studio - Along with adult yoga classes, Bloom offers pre-natal, Mom & Baby, kids and teen yoga classes. Bloom also offers a pre-natal yoga training that meets Yoga Alliance's new guidelines. We recommend connecting with Kerry Maiorca.

Boston

Fit4Mom - This franchised program offers many different classes for new and expectant moms including Fit4Baby, a prenatal fitness class; Stroller Strides, a walking club; and Body Back, a workout that helps new and old moms get back into shape. *Fit4Mom is offered in additional cities i.e. Philadelphia, Houston, San Diego etc.

Beyond Fitness Pilates Studio - Located in Cambridge, this studio offers specialized workouts in Pre-Post Natal and a Baby Workout. Pilates is a great activity to stay active and strong during pregnancy, not to mention prevent back and hip pain. The Baby Workout is designed by new mom, pilates instructor and physical therapist Caryn Connarton. This workout can be done WITH your baby! This workout strengthens your entire body while preventing some of the common new parent muscle aches.

Looking for additional options? Visit FitMapped to find a fitness studio or program of choice nearby. If you're a studio or an instructor and you offer prenatal classes, please send them an inquiry to let them know!

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