New mums and pregnant women in Moss Side, Hulme and Rusholme are being given the chance to get healthy with a new range of free activities run by a team of midwives and psychologists from The University of Manchester.
The programme of activities is being offered in the Moss Side, Hulme and Rusholme areas of the city and includes swimming, Pilates, cooking classes and yoga, alongside small changes to participants’ lifestyles that could make a big difference to their own and their family’s health.
Claire Lyon, a research midwife at The University of Manchester is leading the project. She said: “We know that being active is good for mum and baby – delivering oxygen and nutrients around the body. It helps to keep mum fit and avoid excessive weight gain during pregnancy while reducing anxiety, and releasing endorphins (the happy hormone).
We also know that women who do not stay active during their pregnancy are 4.5 times more likely to have a caesarean section, so making even a few small changes can make a big difference.”
The EU-funded Together Project will run for six months with other activities including aqua-natal and cooking and eating demonstrations.
The first activity will offer free swimming on Wednesdays from 20 April 31 August at Moss Side Leisure Centre to pregnant women and new mums. Women need to register for a free swimming card from Martenscroft Children’s Centre.
There will also be a free four-week Pilates course for new mums (up to one year after the birth of their baby) starting on 22nd April between 1pm – 2pm at Martenscroft Children’s Centre. Women need to need to register at reception.
The programme as a whole is intended to promote a positive lifestyle change at a time when women are making other big changes to the way they live their lives. Dr Debbie Smith, a health psychologist involved in the project claims that the evidence suggests that despite being a period of physical and psychological transition, it is a great time to encourage change.
Claire added: “New mums are thinking very hard about their health at this time but it’s often hard to find out which activities they prefer or learn about changes they can make. That’s why we’re trying out these pilot activities, so that women can see what they like and make the changes which will work best for them.”
Any pregnant woman or mother of a baby aged one year or less can take part in the programme.