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Classes help moms get in shape

5/16/2014

By ELIZABETH GOLDEN

egolden@dailynews.net

Hays Medical Center has begun offering pre- and post-natal fitness classes.

The classes, which are for pregnant women or women who recently gave birth, are designed to prepare women for the physiological changes that occur during pregnancy and post-partum.

"All exercises are geared toward women to strengthen and help with all the changes that happen in pregnancy," said Tamra Leiker, a certified pre- and post- natal exercise specialist.

"The classes also help with stamina for labor and delivery. The post-partum help(s) with strengthening and conditioning when they start lugging the baby around."

The classes focus on various exercises geared toward pregnancy and are safe for each trimester of pregnancy.

"There are specific modifications you have to do as you progress with pregnancy," Leiker said.

Each class involves a combination of strength and cardio-respiratory exercises.

Leiker, who is business manager at the Center for Health Improvement at HaysMed, realized the importance of pre- and post-natal classes during her own pregnancy.

"I was pregnant and around 25 weeks, my normal activity level declined," she said.

"We were lacking those lower intensity classes. I like group fitness, so I asked my coworkers about the certification and they gave me the resources."

The session began March 31.

"Your body goes through major changes when you're pregnant, and it's not always comfortable to go into any setting and exercise," Leiker said. "Since these exercises are geared toward pregnancy, the stretching can alleviate some uncomfortable areas and prepare your body for birth."

Leiker said the social aspect is the most valuable part of the class.

"It's really important to be able to be around women who may be experiencing the same things you are," she said. "You're still able to do something for yourself and be around other moms. It's a social network."

In order to attend, women must have medical clearance from a physician. Usually clearance is given four to six weeks after delivery.

Pre-natal classes are from noon to 1 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Classes also are offered from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. All classes are at the Center for Health Improvement.

The classes are free to attend for CHI members. Individual classes are $3 each, or 10 for $27 for non-members.