While attitudes have changed in recent times, traditionally pregnant women were advised to take things easy and avoid exercise. Prolonged standing activities and strenuous exercise should be avoided, but there is growing scientific evidence that exercise promotes numerous benefits for both mother and baby. To prescribe the correct type and amount of exercise however, a fitness professional needs to be incredibly knowledgeable and appropriately qualified.
Exercise professionals often cite the ability to work with special populations as a noticeable gap in their skill set. It’s something echoed by Cheryl Hersey, director of Action PR, who went so far as to suggest that the fitness industry is failing pregnant women. In her interview she encouraged personal trainers to be “adaptable” and to offer a “well-rounded service”.
Speaking about the potential opportunities available, Cheryl said: “Most PTs who study for a pre/postnatal qualification do so because they want to specialise in this area. Pre/postnatal fitness isn’t a crowded marketplace and there’s plenty of opportunities for more specialists to build a business working with this type of client. But there’s also a huge opportunity for all PTs. Holding the qualification doesn’t mean you have to specialise, but it does mean that if you have a client who becomes pregnant you can continue to work with her throughout the pregnancy, which means no loss of revenue.”
Katie Bulmer-Cooke, experienced personal trainer and star of BBC’s The Apprentice, spoke about how rewarding she finds it incredibly rewarding to work with prenatal clients. She urged personal trainers, particularly female, to seek out this client base.
With all this in mind, we’ve produced an insightful infographic which looks at the key facts surrounding prenatal exercise. It includes numerous benefits, suitable equipment to use, and various exercises broken down by trimester.
If you’re a fitness professional interested in working with special populations, our dedicated careers page has FAQs and numerous resources to help you.