Postnatal exercise comes with specific guidelines: you must get sign-off from your GP at six weeks before starting any fitness regime (before that, only gentle walks are advisable), and be mindful not to attempt what you were doing pre-pregnancy right away, but to rehab properly.
“Every woman’s post-pregnancy journey is different,” says PT, fitness influencer and new mother Kayla Itsines. “It’s essential that you work closely with your health professionals and only do exercise that you have clearance to do.”
After pregnancy, many women suffer from a condition known as ‘diastasis recti’, where the abdominal wall separates. Taking this – and other postnatal complications – into account when working out from home, it pays to follow a specific programme, or interact live with an expert who can advise you personally on your post-pregnancy journey.
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Below, find the best virtual classes that are as safe as they are effective:
Kayla Itsines, one of the most influential PTs Instagram has ever seen, has created a new post-pregnancy programme since becoming a mother herself. Accessible via her Sweat app – alongside the celebrated Bikini Body Guide (BGG) – the specialist 12-week programme comes backed by a panel of obstetricians and exercise physiologists. Designed to support new mothers to rebuild strength and fitness after pregnancy and birth, the short workouts range from 15-25 minutes, to slot easily into time-poor lifestyles.
To access it, sign up to the Sweat app, choose Itsines as your trainer, then select ‘Post-Pregnancy’.
CariFit is a unique baby-wearing workout perfect for mums with infants aged six weeks to 18 months old. Based on low-impact HIIT principles, prepare to sweat and burn as 30 minutes fly by, while your baby feels snug and safe strapped to your chest. They stream daily live classes with founder and postnatal fitness specialist Vern Hill and his team for just £5, and you can catch up with some on YouTube.
‘Babies on Board’ is Xtend’s signature fusion of ballet and Pilates, taught while you wear your baby in a carrier (or not, if you can steal some time to yourself!). Safe for pre- and postnatal women, expect a body-sculpting workout that will help your posture and core recover, while strengthening muscles specific to the needs of new mums. The classes are currently accessible virtually via Zoom, while the Marylebone studio is temporarily closed.
The Louisa Drake Method
Known as the “shape-changer that generates stronger, longer and leaner bodies,” The Louisa Drake Method has recently launched a pre- and postnatal programme called the LDM Pregnancy Project. In the regular online sessions, streamed via Zoom, celebrity trainer Drake – or a member of her team – leads a LDM Sculpt workout offering the most effective and supportive exercise adaptations for new mothers to recover safely after pregnancy. To accompany the drop-in based classes are workout guides (soon to be available), which cover postnatal fitness, health and nutritional advice.
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Pip and Joan, the women behind Mum Hood, are also the founders of Frame, London’s funnest fitness studio chain with a cult following as strong as the instructors. Since entering into pre- and postnatal journeys themselves, the friends filled a gap in the wellness market with safe, simple and effective workouts, both within the Frame locations and for women to do at home. With separate programmes – all specific to each stage of your early motherhood journey, various class types (from reformer Pilates to cardio), digital resources and inspirational events, Mum Hood is a family you’ll want to be part of.
Barrecore, the barre fitness company with 13 studios across the UK, explains that its method is safe post-pregnancy due to the low-impact and mindful nature of its classes. Designed to ease clients back into regular classes (which exhaust your muscles to the point of the signature ‘Barrecore shake’), they’ve recently added a dedicated weekly postnatal class to the live schedule, streamed via Zoom. With Barrecore’s strong focus on the core, their trained experts can diagnose ab separation and run through a series of exercises that help heal the wall and strengthen the muscles back to pre-pregnancy levels.
Sculpting and strengthening are the core principles of Define London, the New-York style barre method currently accessible live via Zoom. The up-tempo workouts – as loved by celebrities – are suitable for those on postnatal journeys, as founder (and new mother) Ashley Verma tells us. For anyone pre/postnatal, she recommends their ‘barre class’ and ‘mat class’, where highly-skilled instructors will provide you with modifications throughout the session. “These two formats focus on perfecting alignment and posture, and strengthen all those tiny muscles that support the body,” she says, which is great for post-pregnancy.
Highly experienced trainer (and mother of three) Paola Di Lanzo has taught her famed method, Paola’s BodyBarre, at various luxury London studios including most recently, FLEX Chelsea. A cherished class is the ‘BabyBarre‘, a specifically designed fusion of ‘floor barre‘ for postnatal women. The sessions help build strength and suppleness, focusing on core muscles including the pelvic floor. The best bit? Babies are welcome, too. Currently, PBB can be accessed virtually, with group classes and also personal training offered by Di Lanzo.
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This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR UK.
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