Pregnancy Pilates, Prenatal, Antenatal, Epping, Essex
What makes a great Pregnancy Pilates Instructor you can trust with your pregnancy journey? Whether it’s Pilates, yoga, fitness classes or personal training a pregnancy specific class isn’t just about modifying moves to fit you in, it’s about creating a programme of exercise that benefits your mind, your changing body and your baby. And there’s a whole heap of safeguarding your body to help with recovery and your future self too.
If you’re newly pregnant, new to an area or new to exercise full stop, it’s really difficult to know who’s good, what’s out there and who to avoid. You’ve got to put a lot of trust in your pregnancy Pilates instructor, so before you book, it’s important to ask questions.
I’ve been a pregnancy Pilates instructor for over 15 years. I’d expect you to ask me questions about my insurance, qualifications and experience but I know it can feel a bit awkward to ask. So I’ve made it easy for you by sharing the 5 questions I would want to ask of a pregnancy Pilates instructor.
And don’t worry. You don’t need to have any experience of Pilates, exercise or pregnancy! You can ask in complete confidence (you may not have told anyone else yet) and I promise there’s no fear of offence if I’m not the right person for you.
*By the way – there’s a link to my answers at the end. It’s only fair.
1. What are your pregnancy Pilates specific qualifications and insurance?
Let’s do the legal and qualifications bit all in one go. All fitness or Pilates instructors need to hold at least a Level 3 qualification in Pre and Post Natal Exercise Prescription. It’s an industry standard offered by a few different training providers that covers the basics of anatomy and physiology for pre and post natal women and how to design an effective programme. Yoga teachers are covered under a separate governing body.
Your instructor should also hold Public Liability Insurance (PPL) which needs to include teaching pre and post natal exercise. If they’re teaching in a premises, hall or gym the lenders will have asked for qualifications and insurance but it is worth checking to ensure that the pre and post natal bit is included.
2. What fitness industry governing bodies or organisations do you belong to?
This is a grey area in fitness since it’s a non regulated industry. Technically anyone could start selling their services and trade as a personal trainer or Pilates teacher. They wouldn’t hold the correct insurance but they could still trade. There is also a massive range of qualifications out there from 1 hour online to years of practical and theory education. There are moves to change this however with the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sports and Physical Activity (CIMSPA) working towards improving standards in the UK. Your instructor can join as a practitioner or a business can be a partner. It’s worth asking your instructor about this since even though it’s a voluntary membership, if your instructor is a member it demonstrates an intention to offer high standards of exercise instruction and that they value quality and high standards of care. Membership also brings with it a requirement to complete additional training each year. You can’t be a member if you trained 10 years ago but haven’t done any training since.
Yes, you could be a brand new instructor and you could be amazing. You could have been a doulla, NCT instructor or midwife for 20 years before qualifying as a Pre and Post Natal Pilates instructor BUT you’ll only find this out if you ask. One of the things I love about having been teaching for so long is that I’ve learned from all the women who’s pregnancies I’ve walked alongside (including two of my own). I’ve listened, I’ve learned, I’ve shared. But the other thing that longevity as an instructor shows you is your potential teacher knows how to run a business. This means they’re probably reliable, that there are likely to be hundreds of women who can testify to their skills and that they’ll probably have heard about and know about all the little niggles that are keeping you awake at night. And if they don’t, then they’ll probably know how to find out.
4. Ask other people to recommend Pregnancy Pilates instructors
Not really a question for your instructor but still a question. Get recommendations from your friends, from local social media groups and from Google. Most people can’t wait to share their opinion, especially when it comes to all things pregnancy (you may have already come across this). So ask. I’d just recommend that you ask for personal recommendations and specifics.
5. What are your terms and conditions?
How do you book? Is there a minimum number of sessions I can book? What if I give birth early, can I get my money back or stop my payments? Getting all these questions out now means there’s no awkwardness later. So just get really clear on how it works. I’d also ask a few more questions if it’s a pay per go system. I’ve yet to meet an instructor who’s stuck it out for more than a couple of years doing pay per go classes. It’s not just that they’re unsustainable as a business model, it’s that you can’t progress or programme if you don’t know who’s coming week to week. With ante natal classes it’s vital to know who’s coming, what’s going on with their pregnancy, how mum is feeling and to be able to check in if they don’t make it to class.
And one last, sneaky one (because it’s all a bit post Covid/Covid limbo land): Have you had your Covid vaccination? It may be controversial but if you’re about to spend an hour in a room with someone who is looking after your health, you are perfectly entitled to ask this question. Have you had a test recently and when did you last wash your hands would also be up there for me!
I’d love to know what you want to ask? Do drop me an email or leave a comment.
For more information on pregnancy and Pilates classes click here
For advice on exercising safely during pregnancy click here