This Singapore mum did aerobics during pregnancy and here's WHY we are impressed!
This Singapore mum did aerobics during pregnancy and here's why she thinks prenatal and postnatal aerobics work so well!
Mummy Vanessa Tang was not always into sports and fitness. She tells us, "I didn't grow up as a teenager who loved sports..."
In fact, she led a very unhealthy lifestyle, until health issues started cropping up, "I was binging on unhealthy lifestyle habits like excessive drinking and smoking, as well as having a terrible diet, that led me to having very bad gastritis when I was in my early 20s."
"I had frequent gastric attacks even though I ate, and they would last for days and finally the last straw was when I had to be admitted to the hospital. And even when I was discharged, the pain went on for another week."
"I was bedridden for the entire week and I told myself then that I wanted to have a better and healthier life. I had that thought because it was too painful to go through it again, and I was advised by doctors that there isn't any real cure to gastritis, you can only prevent it."
Once she got on to the healthy road, however, there was just no stopping this mummy of 2. In fact, she continued to exercise through her pregnancy, "When I was pregnant with my first child, I only trained on my own and was more into weight training. I seldom did any cardio except on the stationary bike or short walks on the treadmill."
"It was okay but didn't help much with my pregnancy."
In 2016, she decided to take her passion for exercise one step forward, "I got certified in Group Exercise/ Aerobics Instructing with FISAF (Federation of International Sports, Aerobics and Fitness) in late 2016."
She was also pregnant then with her second child.
Says Vanessa, "I knew I wanted to teach Prenatal Aerobics at that time to help other expecting mummies keep fit and enjoy working out together. Knowing that there wasn't anyone else providing cardio classes to expecting mummies, I wanted to make the first move to introduce it in Singapore."
"And since I was also expecting my 2nd child, I thought it would be nice for other expecting Mummies to come to class and work out together with someone in the same boat as them."
"The sense of fulfilment when mummies told me that they felt better, and slept better after my classes and wanted to come back for more brought me immense joy, and kept me motivated."
"The exercises also did tremendous help in my labour where my baby just slid out without me having to push! My hubby was so amazed he kept telling me I had to share my testimonial, it was a funny moment in the labour ward because honestly speaking I myself was really amazed too."
"My gynaecologist supports my idea and she thinks it's great for me to work out. She would compliment on how I looked during pregnancy and after birth, and always credited it to my classes/exercises."
This mummy just gave birth to her baby No.2, Mah Hope, three months back and had a normal vaginal delivery with no episiotomy performed, "I can definitely testify to whether working out benefits pregnancy and labour because I can compare to my first delivery, where I had to stop working out completely at 7 months due to hip pain."
"I had more back pain during my first pregnancy as well and the hip pain was so bad I had to limp everywhere I went."
"Back then I had not started on aerobics and seldom did cardio exercises, except going to the gym to do some light weighted exercises. Definitely different this time around!"
So, where are these prenatal aerobics classes conducted, and how has the response been among Singapore mums?
Vanessa informs us, "Classes are held at Waterloo Centre and I'm in the midst of planning classes at Westgate as well. Class schedules will be up by end of September and will resume in early September. I'm just coming back from maternity leave actually. And yes, I train my students personally that is why the short break in classes."
"Response has been growing. It is a niche market but a lot of expecting mummies are actually keen on such classes, at least to come for trials to see if it's something suitable."
"I would say the sign on rate is 80-90% most times. Feedback I have got is that, my classes are easy to follow, helps them break a sweat and gives them a great workout. They also like the fact that the class is cosy, and the instructor is friendly and approachable."
"So far, I don't think any of the mummies have been skeptical about the classes."
From and until which month of their pregnancy can mums take part in prenatal aerobics? Do they need to take any precautions?
Vanessa tells us,"The class is suitable from any point of pregnancy and can be continued to late term as long as mummy and baby are healthy, and mummies feel fit and comfortable exercising."
"Sometimes, mummies get instructions from their gynaecologist to rest, so I'll advise my student to follow her doctor's orders and come back when they have been given the green light."
"Actually, there are really not many precautions to take. I've spoken to my gynaecologist before and these are her words, "As long as the mother is healthy and has always been active, she can definitely carry on with what ever she's been doing, and slowly adjust to her pregnancy as things progress."
"For mums who have not been actively exercising, it is also fine to exercise if she is healthy and feels fit to do so, she'll just have to start slow and pick up slowly"."
Check out a video of Vanessa's prenatal aerobic class below:
What about postnatal aerobics? How did the idea of that come about?
Vanessa reveals, "It was a natural idea since I started on prenatal aerobics. I not only wanted to guide mummies during their pregnancy, but also wanted to be able to continue with guiding them them through their recovery period."
"It's more like having a special friendship and support with the mums."
When can new mums start on postnatal aerobics? Again, what precautions are needed?
Says Vanessa, "Usually when their episiotomy incision/wound has completely healed (approximately 6 weeks or so and determined by their gynaecologist), for normal vaginal birth mummies."
"For both normal birth and C-section mummies, I'll only take them in for classes when their gynaecologist has given the green light to start exercising."
"On an average, starting from 4-6 weeks for normal vaginal birth mummies and 2-3 months for C-section mummies."
"As for the precautions, just start things easy. Actually as soon as mummies feel fit and ready, going for walks is the best first exercise to start with, as well as kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic muscles. These can be done on a daily basis."
The benefits of postnatal aerobics include:
- It helps strengthen and tone abdominal muscles.
- It boosts energy.
- It may be useful in preventing postpartum depression.
- It promotes better sleep.
- It relieves stress.
What advice do you have for other mums on how they can be fit during pregnancy?
Vanessa has this to say, "Have a balanced diet to maintain a healthy growing weight for yourself and baby. Move regularly so you'll feel less tired and also exercise to stay positive and fit during pregnancy."
"Regular physical activity during pregnancy improves or maintains physical fitness, helps with weight management, reduces the risk of gestational diabetes and enhances psychological well-being. I always say, Happy Mummy = Happy Baby!"
As a mum, how do you maintain work life balance...how do you juggle your classes with kids?
Vanessa feels, "Support and help from family members is definitely a crucial part of my work life balance. Without them I wouldn't have had the time to work because then I'll have look after my kids on my own."
"Being positive and motivated helps me stay on top of things when my schedule is tight. I owe my positivity to my workouts (talk about endorphins), and motivation to my students for their compliments and happy faces after every class."
"I'm glad I can be an inspiration to other mummies out there, and this drives me to carry on."
Well, we definitely are inspired, Vanessa. Keep up the good work! Here's wishing more success to this gorgeous mum!
*Disclaimer: This experience has been shared by mummy Vanessa Tang. theAsianparent strongly advises pregnant mummies to consult a doctor before embarking on ANY exercise or workout, as every ‘body’ is different.