FORGET swanky members clubs – no sooner has the stork paid a visit these days, everyone who’s anyone ditches chi-chi clubs for the family-friendly spa. The constant media bombardment of supermodel mum pics (you know the ones, catwalk-ready six weeks after being wheeled out of the delivery suite), combined with endless Grim Reaper-style health warnings, has left women feeling the pressure to get fit pre-and-post birth like never before. So it’s no wonder so many London mums – and dads – are flocking in their droves to baby-friendly wellbeing meccas, where there’s not only a readily available network of new mums, but dad and baby are both welcomed and catered for too. It’s not just all about replacing one achingly cool social life for another either: there are genuine health advantages to shaping up pre-and-post natally, and with the family too – that is, everything from minimising the risk of gestational diabetes to keeping hubby happy.
KEEP BABY HEALTHY: Researchers at the University of Auckland in New Zealand found that regular aerobic exercise taken by a mum-to-be is good for a growing foetus — and may even help baby get a healthier start in life.
SHED THE POUNDS FOR GOOD: If you’re wondering how joining a mum spa can help you banish the mummy tummy, it’s worth considering that having the support of others can make those goals more achievable. Todd A. Astorino, Assistant Professor of Kinesiology at California State University says that people who enlist the help of an exercise buddy or peer support stick with an exercise plan and achieve their goals more than those who choose to do it on their own: "For long-term weight loss,” he says,” you need to have social support".
KEEP BABY NO.2 SAFE! Being able to fit back into your pre-pregnancy clothes is not just about keeping up with the Joneses (or Miranda and Orlando). Last year, research revealed by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) showed that retaining as little as one or two pounds after giving birth can make problems more likely in subsequent pregnancies.
GET DAD INVOLVED: Including your other half may be more important than you think. A survey commissioned by Bounty revealed that a third of dads felt left out during a partner’s <a href="http://www.huggiesclub.co.uk/pregnancy" target="_new">pregnancy</a> and 40 per cent of dads felt they had nothing to do after the baby was born. And these days, new dads don’t have to embrace Namaste and hummous to get in on the action: at London-based Cupcake Spas, dads are welcomed with open arms. Dad-friendly classes events include toddler rugby while their Daddy Open-Days involve fewer smoothies and Pilates moves and more fry-ups, beer, Sunday papers and a de-stress massage in preparation for the working week (Cupcake’s next Daddy’s Open Day is 5th November, cupcakemum.com). www.laurawilliamsonline.com