Bridging the Country-City Divide in Pregnancy Services (and Giveaway!)

pregnancy-935985_1920When I was running pregnancy exercise classes in Perth, some of the ladies asked me to record some videos and put them online so that they could do them at home.

“Sure”,  I said. “One day!”

Then a few of my clients left the city, opting for the space of country life and I was asked again – could I create some exercise videos and pop them online? “Yes, yes, I’ll do that”, I said in a very non-committal way. Honestly, it all just felt a bit too hard at that point in time. I didn’t even know where to begin –  I’m not some internet entrepreneur, I’m a physiotherapist for goodness sake!

But over the past year or so, I have had frequent discussions with family members, health professionals  and past clients who lived in the country, and I asked them – what was access to antenatal education and exercise really like in rural areas? Could an online program be something that women really needed?

It was eye opening to hear the stories.

I chatted to a midwife in a Wheatbelt town and heard of women being asked to drive up to two hours to attend antenatal classes in an evening. Unsurprisingly, most women in that community didn’t bother, as the risk of driving while pregnant and tired on roo-covered highways just didn’t feel worth it! According to her, many in that town had access to minimal antenatal education and they often approached birth terrified as a result.

I asked a midwife based in another area about pregnancy exercise classes and heard of some fabulous services in the larger towns, but very little in the smaller regions. And look, it makes sense. It is difficult to produce a financially viable business teaching exercise to pregnant women when the numbers are so small.

But does living in the country really mean that you have to miss out? Shouldn’t everyone in Australia have access to high quality antenatal education and exercise? I’m sure most of us would agree that yes, they should.

So why do I think exercise is so important in pregnancy anyway? Well, the research shows us that exercise can:

  • Improve psychological well-being. Not to be underestimated, the effects on mood and body image are well documented. I notice a lot of women comment after exercise classes “I really didn’t feel like exercising today, but I feel so much better now that I have!”
  • help women adapt to changes to their body in pregnancy, such as helping relieve low back pain, tiredness or swelling in the ankles
  • help prevent conditions such as gestational diabetes and high blood pressure
  • help get you physically fit for birth and help in your recovery 
  • help reduce insomnia (yay for better sleep!)

But it is all well and good to know that you SHOULD exercise, but most women want to know the HOW? How long, how often and how to go about it? 

Well, the general thought these days is that doing something on most days for around 30 minutes is ideal, so I went ahead and recorded 12 exercise videos, each around 25-30 minutes in length. These exercise videos are specific for the stage in pregnancy that a woman is at – for example within the 16-20 week period, she will have access to two new exercise videos, one being more strength and aerobic based, the other more pilates-based (For more details on the guidelines for exercise in pregnancy, see the links at the bottom of the article).

Great – that is exercise ticked off in the program.

But…what about the education side of things? I’m regularly asked about the pelvic floor muscles, preparation for birth, perineal massage and back care, so I figure that this knowledge is desirable for most women in pregnancy. So back to the drawing board we went! We now have 21 educational videos and downloadable MP3s in the program, spread out over the course of pregnancy so that women can really take their time and absorb the information.

So there you have it! A fully online program, designed by a physiotherapist,  that women can access in the comfort of their own home is now available. 
I’d love to offer TWO Wheatbelt Local readers the opportunity to win a FREE subscription to Herasphere Pregnancy Club. They will have access to the program at no cost for the length of their pregnancy, which includes exercise and education videos, plus the private Facebook group (in which we host regular educational webinars). To win this prize, please email marika@herasphere.net and tell us WHY you would like to win this amazing prize before noon July 15th, 2016.

(Note: please check to see that you have sufficient internet coverage for streaming videos before entering the competition. Go to https://herasphere.net/pregnancy-club/ and see if you can easily watch the video)

Links:
http://www.acog.org/Resources-And-Publications/Committee-Opinions/Committee-on-Obstetric-Practice/Physical-Activity-and-Exercise-During-Pregnancy-and-the-Postpartum-Period

http://sma.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/WIS-ExPreg.pdf

Competition Terms and Conditions

1. Promoter

This competition is being run by Herasphere Ptd Ltd.

2. Entrants

All readers of Wheatbelt Local are eligible to enter the competition, including employees of Wheatbelt Local. By entering the competition, the entrant accepts these terms and conditions (https://herasphere.net/subscriber-terms/).

3. Time frame

The Competition concludes noon (AWST) July 15th 2016. Winner will be selected at random from the entries. The judges decision is final and no discussion will be entered into.

4. Entries

To enter into the competition, you must email marika@herasphere.net with a statement of WHY you wish to win a subscription to Herasphere Pregnancy Club.

5. Costs and expenses

The entrant is responsible for any costs associated with entering the competition.

6. Disqualification

We reserve the right to disqualify any entrants who breach the terms or conditions. We may also withdraw the prize and suspend Pregnancy Club membership if the winner shares login details with others or distributes Club content without permission.

7. Privacy

All personal information will be handled as required by law. Winner agrees to be announced in name on the Herasphere Facebook page.

8. Notification

Winner will be notified by email within 24 hours of the completion of the competition and winner’s name will be announced via Herasphere Facebook Page.

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