BIRTH RIGHT: Ante-Natal Exercise and Relaxation classes now being run at Fourways Health Centre

23 Oct, 2012


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First time moms often approach the birth and initial care of their babies with mixed emotions. Overwhelmed by questions, fears and uncertainties, expecting a first child can be a daunting experience. Ante-Natal exercise classes can however help moms prepare for their new arrival, by calming the worry and demystifying the birth process.

Ante-natal exercise classes prepare women for labour and birth. They’re also a great place to meet and share experiences

Pregnant Belly

with other moms-to-be. The classes also include information on good eating habits, smooth post-partum adjustment and impart skills for coping with the stress of labour and general stress management during pregnancy.

“It’s very important for pregnant women to remain as relaxed as possible during their pregnancy,” says Justine Hunt, a

“During birth, another hormone called oxytocin is released to facilitate uterine surges and cervix dilation,” continues Hunt. “Most women in labour experience some sort of fear, tension and anxiety and this in turn also leads to a large release of adrenaline which counteracts the effects of the oxytocin. When this happens, moms to be usually experience short, agitated breathing which reduces good oxygenation to the baby through the umbilical cord.” registered physiotherapist and cranio-sacral therapist practicing at The Centre for Holistic Health in Fourways. “During pregnancy, a woman’s body releases a hormone called relaxin which allows the ligaments in her hips to stretch so that the pelvis can widen in preparation for birth. If a mom is under strain, the stress hormone adrenaline is released countering the effects of the relaxin and this may in turn cause stress to the unborn baby.

Hunt, who gave birth to her first baby just under a year ago, understands the importance of including relaxation techniques in a birth preparation class in order to facilitate stress release. She also values the role that gentle exercise and posture support play in improving and maintaining pelvic floor and core stability strength, so as to prevent back pain and loss of bladder control pre- and post-natal.
Mom holding baby“Ante-natal exercise classes are a great way to preserve and enhance the general fitness and flexibility of pregnant women, and this should be coupled with advice and education about the different stages of labour, optimal birth positioning and breathe awareness exercises, so that the mind and body is prepared for the birth,” concludes Hunt.
With so many magazines and books out there, the enormity of pregnancy can be very overwhelming for even the most prepared mom-to-be. Attending ante-natal exercise and relaxation classes should provide some peace of mind, while the rest is up to motherly instinct.

Justine Hunt is a qualified physiotherapist and cranio-sacral therapist with a special interest in ante-natal care, birth preparation and post-natal care.


Based at the Centre for Holistic Health in Kingfisher Drive, Fourways, her classes are fun, relaxing, and empowering for new moms-to-be.

For more information contact the Centre for Holistic Health on 011 467-7022.