Offering suitable studio sessions for pregnant women is important to the overall customer experience at your gym. For many women who are expecting, there can be uncertainty and anxiety around what they are able to do, particularly in a fitness setting. Exercise is key to achieving healthy pregnancies — does your gym or studio cater to pregnant clients? Creating a space where prenatal women feel comfortable and confident is key to customer experience, as well as client retention throughout their customer lifecycle at your venue.
Expand the options
The American Pregnancy Association has indicated benefits from exercise during pregnancy include: reduction of backaches, constipation, bloating and swelling; prevention of or assistance with gestational diabetes; increased energy; improved mood; improved posture; increased muscle tone, strength, and endurance; improved sleep quality; and an increased ability to cope with labor and recovery.
Jeremy Cheung of The Performance Fix in Seattle has made it a priority to help expectant moms feel like they have fitness options, providing safe strength training and lifting programs. Inspired by his wife’s desire to find choices beyond just prenatal yoga, Jeremy sought out specific certification to work with soon-to-be moms.
“It was through my certification process that I learned a surprising piece of information” says, Cheung. “On average, women preparing for a significant fitness event, like a marathon, spend over 300 hours over the course of several months training for an experience that will last four to five hours. A majority of expectant moms, on the other hand, spend less than 30 hours of physical education or training over the course of nine months to prepare for an event that can last 24 to 36 hours. Stressing the importance of physical preparation is so critical and beneficial for expectant moms.”
How to provide support
Cheung has personally seen the demand from mothers-to-be and has incorporated modified instruction tailored to their physical needs. The response has been both overwhelming and encouraging. “There is a need to offer this kind of attention for expectant mothers – and it’s completely doable to provide.” For studios looking to offer tailored options for clients, Cheung suggests they consider and do the following:
- Get trained: Make sure you have the information and experience required to accurately advise women who are in the prenatal or postpartum stages. There are a number of certification options that ensure trainers understand what the body is experiencing throughout the pregnancy process and what can safely be done at different phases.
- Be a source of encouragement: So many women are nervous about physical exertion and whether it will negatively impact their pregnancies. In reality, exercise is extremely beneficial for pregnancy. As trained fitness experts you can help expectant moms become comfortable and confident with integrating exercise through guided instruction. When you are trained and knowledgeable, moms-to-be will be able to shed the anxiety and embrace a healthier pregnancy experience.
- Provide a community: Whether through dedicated classes specifically tailored to cater to pregnant clients, or modified exercises that are provided across each of your standard classes, help your prenatal students feel like they are part of a larger community and not the exception. This will ease nerves and encourage increased involvement throughout the entire pregnancy.
Exercise is an important aspect of a healthy pregnancy; when you cater to pregnant clients they feel confident about continuing their fitness goals as they experience this significant event in their lives.