- Written by Queen Munguti for KenyaKidz
Thitu Kariba, a zumba instructor, is giving a chance to pregnant women to exercise so as to keep fit. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a pregnant woman can safely take part in 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise every day, as long as they don't have a medical condition or complications.
Thitu was inspired to start the training last year while she was pregnant because she needed a way to keep fit. “Zumba is one of the safest exercises that a pregnant woman can do because unlike other exercises such as aerobics, which is high impact, zumba can be toned down and no jumping or high kicking is required,” she says.
“Every trimester is different, the instructor has to keep in mind, the baby’ s position, because as they grow in the stomach, they get heavier thus the pain in one’s back and feet intesifies causing a lot of discomfort to the mother.”
“The first trimester is usually the most delicate; this is when most miscarriages happen because the baby is just forming so the exercise has to be low impact as possible.”
For the workout, Thitu takes them through a fifteen minute zumba routine on the ground, which works out the pelvic bones and helps the body to stretch and open up thus releasing the pain, they experience while pregnant. She then takes the exercise to the swimming pool for a 15 to 20 minutes workout.
“In the swimming pool, the body becomes light so there is little to no back pain, knee pain and your feet do not hurt while in the water,” Thitu said. “Also it helps them cool down, reduces their heart rate, and keeps them from sweating a lot.”
One of the biggest advantages of working out while pregnant is that it helps with the endurance of labour pains. “I experienced little pain while I was giving birth, I hardly shouted, which surprised the doctors and nurses, I even managed to get some sleep and eat right after,” she said. “This is because exercise during pregnancy gives one the discipline and they are able to control their body pain.”
“Another advantage is that it keeps your weight in check, once you give birth, they will still be in fit and you will have little or weight to lose.”
Other than exercise, she teaches pregnant women about their health during pregnancy, such how to keep their blood pressure in check, she advises them on their nutrition and what kind of food to eat.
She also can be the dueler to the mother at the time of her delivery. “Some women I train ask me if I can hold their hand during delivery but I only agree, if the father of the baby also agrees. I help them with their breathing.”
She usually trains at the King Post Gym and charges Sh700 per session which is inclusive of towels, the use of the hot showers and the swimming pool charges.
For private sessions, she charges Sh2000 per session.