There’s no denying that your body is going to change when you get pregnant, but with the help of these antenatal exercise classes you can avoid muscle ache, improve your physic and maybe even avoid pain relief during labour

1 Bumps and Burpees with Charlie Launder, Lomax, Chelsea

An hour with Charlier Launder, Lomax’s resident pregnancy and baby expert, is a like a combination of visiting your midwife and having a very enjoyable personal training session rolled into one. Whether you’re pre- or post-natal, Charlie is incredibly knowledgeable and will immediately set your mind at rest, that in fact it is ok to put your hands over your head, or that you will be able to re-build your abs to their former glory. As this pregnancy is my first I have been erring on the cautious side of exercise – at least that’s my excuse – and for the first four months not done much more than some gentle swimming and a couple of Legs, Bums and Tums classes in the gym. But if you think Charlie is going to be gentle on you just because you’re pregnant, then you can think again. I’m not suggesting that she’ll crack the whip and shout “drop and give me twenty” but after an initial fitness MOT Charlie will work all your muscles to build up your strength and keep you looking good right up to your due date.

Charlie started life as a regular personal trainer before gathering more and more pregnant clients and soon found herself a pre-natal training expert. She’s done a specialist course in lower back pain management, premier pre and post-natal exercise programming and advanced modern pregnancy.

Each of the sessions is tailormade to you and your body. Charlie won’t push you too hard but she will get results. My session consisted of a series of circuits, using the bike, weights, squats and abs exercises all specifically meant for pregnant women.

Lomax works on a pay as you go system, there are no membership fees or contracts you can escape from. It’s free and easy like that. Either choose a personal trainer or join Pilates, Barre and spinning classes, drop in for nutritional advice, a massage or physiotherapy. The free and easy ethos extends into its teaching methods and if you’re post-natal, bring your baby along to Lomax, Charlie will jiggle them on one hip while you pump iron – that’s the beauty of Bumps and Burpees. If your baby needs anything, the café downstairs will happily provide (as long as they can) and there’s a lift to get the buggy upstairs, plus the changing rooms have huge showers, with space for you to park the buggy inside while you shower.

293 Fulham Road, London SW10 9PZ,

2 Antenatal yoga, Triyoga Chelsea


Find your inner peace at Triyoga’s antenatal yoga classes

I don’t mean to get too ‘earth mother’ on you here, but there’s something really empowering, and equally comforting, about sitting in a room full of pregnant women. Chelsea’s Triyoga antenatal yoga session that I tested was taken by the wonderful Deanne Liew, whose soothing presence will calm even the most neurotic of first-time mothers. Classes start with a meet and greet, mothers-to-be introduce themselves and how many weeks pregnant they are, plus any aches, pains or problems they are having with their pregnancy. Then Deanne gets straight into the session.

Deanne has been practicing yoga for 16 years and has credentials as long as a yoga mat that make her qualified to look after pre-natal women. She has also worked as a Doula and birth assistant. The yoga session is tailored to making birth easier, making you healthier and strengthening important muscles that you may have previously ignored (namely the pelvic floor).

While the session won’t overly exert you, it will get your heart rate up – for the right reasons – and work your muscles, while you hold positions. This is one class that I will be continuing throughout my pregnancy. It gives a rounded experience for the mind and body and you’ll leave feeling a little lighter – a rare feeling for a pregnancy woman.

372 King’s Road, Chelsea, London, SW3 5UZ;

3 Body Beautiful Pilates, English Ballet School, Fulham


Antenatal Pilates classes at Body Beautiful

You’ll have to look past the location of these pregnancy pilates lessons – which take place in the English Ballet School – it’s a little rough and ready and the changing rooms are full of ballet students’ clobber. But if you don’t mind that, then this is a good value exercise option for pregnant women. Dina Druzhenets runs the antenatal pilates classes, which consist of small groups of local women. The benefits of antenatal pilates are endless, from strengthening your muscles, to toning your body, relaxing and preparing yourself for birth, not to mention correcting your ever-slouching posture as the bump gets bigger, plus there’s a friendly feeling among the group.

Dina takes you through the practice thoroughly and if it looks like you’re holding the position incorrectly she’s quick to notice. Her claim to fame (and if this doesn’t sway you, I don’t know what will) is that she delivered an 11lb baby with no pain relief and just controlled breathing – something she focuses on during the hour-long pilates classes. While I thought the sessions would be a breeze, Dina doesn’t let you slack off just because you’re pregnant and her classes leave a definite post-exercise ache, a trophy for your hard work. She takes you through abs, arms, legs and bottom exercises, holding them to the point of pain and smiling the whole way through! Despite the slightly less-than-luxe location, all Dina’s equipment is high quality and she leaves a little bottle of water by your mats – a nice touch. 

First Floor  ring the door bell), English National Ballet School, Carlyle Building, Hortensia Road, London SW10 0QS; – Dina also runs one-0n-one Pilates lessons at homes in Chelsea and Fulham 

4 Maternally fit, Slice Studios, Fulham
Slice Studios sits alongside Cupcake Family Club in Parsons Green and has an amazing list of exercise classes for parents, mums-to-be and children too. Maternally Fit is run by physiotherapists with special training in pregnancy and post-natal exercise, so you know you’re in good hands. As with Bumps and Burpees this isn’t a low-intensity work out, if you’re looking for a solid cardio session then this is a great option.


Slice’s Maternally Fit classes (photo by Joshua Tucker)

The class is split between cardio and strength/core training designed to benefit you and your baby. Among the benefits are improved energy levels, a stronger body and better posture, reduced levels of back and pelvic pain, weight management and better sleep. Maternally Fit also boosts oxygen levels that reach the placenta. Classes are from 9.30-10.30am on Saturdays and book up quickly.

11 Heathman’s Road, London SW6 4TJ;

5 Power yoga, The Power Yoga Company, Parsons Green
The Power Yoga Company’s antenatal yoga classes run twice a week from its lovely studio in Parsons Green (complete with the Retreat Café). Classes are a mix of women at different stages of their pregnancy and their yoga training – you don’t have to be an expert to join.


Postures are tailored to pregnancy at The Power Yoga Company

Teacher Lulu Winefield has adapted the postures to help you feel good as the baby grows and also those that are useful for labour and birth. Breath awareness makes up a large part of the sessions – which are used to calm the mind and breath through tension and pain. You can really look forward to the savasana in these yoga classes, as each ends with a deep relaxation – it puts real meaning to the t-shirt slogan: “we’re only here for the savasana”.

11-12 Lettice Street, London SW6 4EH;