Moms in Motion

Designed for prenatal and postpartum women, class includes gentle stretching, strengthening, and mild cardiovascular exercises. Following guidelines from the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists, Moms In Motion prepares women for the physiological changes of pregnancy and postpartum, develops stamina and strength for labor and delivery and restores muscle tone after baby arrives.


The miracle of pregnancy. For nine months (and then some), we nurture the precious wonder growing inside us, “glowing” with the knowledge that — some day soon — we will give birth. While our minds may conjure up visions of that Botticellian glow that pregnant women are said to be blessed with, our bodies may be reacting a bit differently.


We know that no two women experience pregnancy alike. But nausea, lower back pain and the physical demands of pregnancy and birth are quite common experiences. So how can you better cope with this sometimes grueling yet miraculous experience? In one word...exercise!

Even if you’ve never done anything more strenuous than carry a briefcase or a book, exercise can help — both during and after pregnancy. The key to realizing the full benefits of exercise, while protecting your baby, is doing so with your doctor’s approval in a safe and controlled environment.


As part of its partnership with the new Life Time Fitness facility in Shelby Township, St. Joseph’s Mercy is providing the special services women need to safely and effectively exercise before and after delivery. The “Moms in Motion” program is currently available exclusively for women delivering at St. Joseph’s Mercy Hospital in Clinton Township.


Following the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology guidelines, the program includes low-intensity aerobic activity, light use of weights, stretching and a good dose of education. Program components are adjusted to match the fitness levels of participants. Of course, those who are not physically fit need to go slowly.


Exercising in your ‘delicate state?’


The move toward exercise during pregnancy, rather than the reclined posture of our mothers whose “delicate state” prohibited much activity, is based in part on the positive results of dozens of studies. One such study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology looked at pregnant women who participated in a prenatal fitness program. The active women reported that exercise decreased the discomforts of pregnancy, relieved tension and improved their self-image. And researchers at the University of Iowa College of Medicine found that women who exercised three times a week had significantly shorter (27 minutes versus 59 minutes) “pushing” stages of labor than women who curtailed their physical activity during pregnancy.


Women must talk with their physicians before beginning a prenatal exercise program to discuss potential exercise limitations, based on pre-pregnancy fitness levels. For some women, exercise is not an option during pregnancy. That’s why participation in the program requires an obstetrician’s referral.


Conditions that indicate that you should take it easy include pregnancy-induced high blood pressure, preterm labor during a previous pregnancy or your current pregnancy, a cervix that opens prematurely under pressure from the growing uterus and fetus, a previous miscarriage and persistent second- or third-trimester bleeding.


Physical and emotional benefits abound


According to Ronald Levin, MD, a St. Joseph’s Mercy obstetrics and gynecology specialist, “exercise during pregnancy provides many physical and emotional benefits, including developing fitness; controlling weight; improving strength, flexibility and coordination; and promoting future good health.


“This new program will give women and their physicians an ideal setting in which to focus more attention on this very important aspect of maternal wellness,” notes Dr. Levin, whose group practice, St. Joseph’s Mercy-Lakeside Obstetrics and Gynecology, served as consultants for the program.


The many hormone-induced changes during pregnancy dramatically affect exercise performance in pregnant women, notes Moms in Motion instructor Lorna Bender. Circulatory system, blood volume and pressure, and cardiovascular changes were all taken into consideration while the program was being developed.


During each trimester of pregnancy, your changing body makes increasing demands on different parts, from your abs, to your back muscles. And of course, you may feel like every inch of your body is ready for a fitness makeover following delivery. But take heart. By dedicating some exercise time for yourself before and after delivery, you can come out of it glowing from head to toe.