Health December 8, 2008

Fit, Strong and Expecting

Given Sun Valley’s predilection for staying fit, it was only a matter of time before local fitness instructors began serving up squats and stretches as part of prenatal and postpartum fitness routines.

“Childbirth went from being 90-percent home birth in the early 1900s to something that was very medically oriented in the mid 1900s. Now women are going back to trying to do it more naturally. And to do that, they need the tools,” says Phoebe Pilaro, who teaches prenatal yoga at Sacred Cow Yoga Studio in Hailey. Pilaro started teaching her class for personal reasons: She was pregnant, and didn’t want to follow the prescription of rest that was so popular in her mother’s and grandmother’s time.

Prenatal and postpartum exercise classes in the Wood River Valley come in all shapes and forms.

Hailey physical therapist Kim Mazik, for instance, teaches a Moms and Babes class with fitness balls at Cari’s Hair Care, Tanning and Day Spa in Hailey. The class allows Mom to have quality time with her new baby while strengthening her backs, abs, and arms.

“Pregnancy is very natural, but it’s also very hard on the body,” Mazik says. “We can show women exercises to make their term of pregnancy more comfortable and to teach them how to move so they’re not constantly tweaking themselves. We help strengthen them to make delivery easier. And we can work with them to get back in form quicker.”

Sue Wolford incorporates exercises suitable for pregnant women into her water exercise classes at the Sun Valley Athletic Club in Ketchum. And at Ketchum’s Innerflo Pilates and Yoga Studio, Olympia Nuttall teaches a Pilates style of prenatal and postpartum exercises that she learned in New York.

Pilaro says that prenatal yoga teaches breathing and relaxation techniques, while the exercises provide strength and flexibility. It also helps women become more aware of their body so they know which muscles to use for pushing when delivering the baby.

Many women do not realize that their changing hormones can cause pain and looseness in their joints and ligaments, especially in the pelvic area. Mazik explains that proper prenatal exercises can give them more core stability to counteract what hormones are doing. She even makes house calls to prescribe exercises for women who are confined to bed because of high-risk pregnancies. But most of her clients are run-of-the-mill new moms or moms-to-be who relate their first back pain or incontinence problem to pregnancy. Says Mazik, “A lot of women still have problems a month or a year after pregnancy, and it doesn’t need to be that way.

This article appears in the Winter 2005 Issue of Sun Valley Magazine.