Why we’ve launched SixNatal exercise classes

Consultant Hand Physiotherapist, Rehab Physio, and Women's Health Physio, Becky WithycombeSixNatal is the passion project and brain child of Women’s Health Physio Becky Withycombe. Here she tells us why the classes have been launched and what she hopes to achieve through running them.

My favourite part of being a Women’s Health Physio is the noticeable positive impact I can have on someone’s every day life. The support I can provide to someone during their pregnancy can improve their overall experience of being pregnant, enhance their birthing experience, and help prepare their body for postnatal life – and having a heavy baby to lug around everywhere! It’s such a rewarding feeling.

Recently after chatting to clients, friends and through general word-of-mouth feedback, I’d really picked up on the fact that some women were not accessing the right information about exercise and pregnancy. I’d hear people saying they were nervous about exercising while pregnant, or other usually active women completely giving up their exercise routines.

I’m all too aware of how common it is for women to experience musculoskeletal (MSK) aches and pains during pregnancy, such as low back or pelvic pain. Traditionally we’ve been conditioned to think that pain and discomfort during pregnancy is normal, and that for nine months we simply have to put up with it.

However, we’ve come a long way in recent years, and there are now so many different ways we can reduce pain, strengthen our bodies and prepare for the postnatal period. Exercise can make a huge difference, and so can the input and guidance of a Women’s Health Physiotherapist.

One of the reasons why I love working as a physio at Six is because we have the freedom to try new ideas. When I mentioned the possibility of introducing pregnancy exercise classes, the team were so encouraging and let me run with it!

SixNatal classes are for anyone who is pregnant and keen to exercise. Whether you’re already really sporty and want advice on how to keep training during your pregnancy, or are a complete exercise newbie who’s considering something slower-paced like Pilates, we’ve got something for everyone.

We’re hoping that a one-off SixNatal class will be a more accessible way for women to get support, as you’re not tied into a long-term commitment, and don’t need to have had a physio appointment beforehand.

Our vibe at Six Physio is all about us really getting to know our patients, which is why the class sizes are small with a maximum of six people. It’s reassuring to chat to other expectant mothers who are going through the same thing as you, and to have the time and space to try out different things together. Pregnancy can be a daunting and isolating experience but it’s important to remember that you are not alone!

One of my main aims is to increase awareness of what support is available to women while they are pregnant. Women’s Health Physio in general is underutilised, which is a shame considering the huge benefits it can offer. It’s surprised me how many people have said to me: “I wish this was available” or “I wish I’d known about this when I was pregnant.”

I’d like to think that some of the women who come to a SixNatal class will get so much out of it that they explore our other relevant services, such as Prenatal Assessments, Postnatal Body Checks, and Women’s Health Physio Appointments. That’s why we’re offering a 10% discount off our services to anyone who attends.

The SixNatal classes take place at our Chelsea clinic and we’re not bragging when we say that we offer the very best facilities you can find in London. During the classes we’ll use specialist equipment including Reformer and Cadillac Pilates machines, which are absolutely excellent during pregnancy as there are so many different exercises and movements you can use them for.

It’s understandable for women to be unsure of what the ‘right’ amount of exercise might be while pregnant. If you were worried about overdoing it, this might stop you from doing any exercise at all. During the SixNatal class we’ll hone in on this and come up with tailored exercises that work for you, providing guidance on appropriate levels of exercise, and when not to push it too far.

I think it’s important to mention that every woman and every pregnancy is different, and there are sometimes reasons why exercise wouldn’t be advised. However these reasons are few and far between. The NICE guidelines recommend pelvic floor muscle training during and after pregnancy, and it’s well known that exercise has mental health benefits as well as physical.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from being a Women’s Health Physiotherapist, it’s that women are powerhouses! Your life doesn’t just stop during pregnancy, and women will usually have all sorts of other responsibilities to manage, whether that’s looking after other children, work commitments, hobbies or keeping on top of the house.

That’s why we want to help empower women to stay active during their pregnancy and feel confident about exercising.

Learn more about what’s included in a Six Natal class here and click here to book onto the next class!

You can also read more info about exercising when pregnant in these articles on Live Science.

Request An Appointment

We aim to get back to you within an hour

How should we contact you?