OK so this might be a little controversial, but I am against exercising whilst wearing a sling. Why?
Well several reasons really. First up has to be the safety aspect. Most slings and carriers aren’t designed to be used for exercise. They are designed to keep your baby near to you whilst you go to the shops or do daily tasks, not ballet! Using them for exercise may even invalidate the warranty. This links in with the babies themselves. Are they able to safely withstand being jiggled around repeatedly?
Secondly, has the instructor been taught to fit them properly? Not only is a badly fitting sling bad for you, but can also be downright dangerous for the baby. Slings and carriers should always be fitted properly by a professional to ensure the baby’s head and hips are in the right place. Borrowing one for a class and the instructor not having this knowledge is just bad form. Not only that but if the weight of the baby is in the wrong place it can also lead to back and shoulder pain for you. Not to mention your poor pelvic floor and abdominals.
If you’ve suffered with pelvic floor or split tummy muscles (diastasis recti), the added load of a baby can put a lot of extra pressure on these areas. Combined with unnatural movements from wearing a sling to exercise, could indeed make these issues worse. Hence see a professional for fitting but also get to women’s health physiotherapist if you have these problems who can further advise you. It is essential to learn to reconnect with these muscles and manage them properly before embarking on any fitness regime. If you’re unsure seek out a professional, preferably one who is trained by Burrell Education and an Holistic Core Restore(R) Coach. These professionals carry the gold standard in the fitness industry when training pre and post natal women.
If you do decide to attend an exercise class whilst wearing a sling consider these points:
- Is your sling or carrier designed for use during exercise, and has it been properly fitted?
- Is your baby able to hold their own head or physically ready for lots of movement in a carrier?
- What qualifications does the instructor have – are they trained in post natal fitness/pilates etc. or are a sling consultant?
- Is the class about gentle movements and focused less on weight loss and high energy?
- Have you had clearance to start exercise from your health care provider? (Usually around 6-8 weeks for vaginal, 10-12 week c-section)
If the answer to these questions is unclear or doesn’t fill you with confidence seek out alternative forms of exercise or seek professional advice.
Below is an article written by a well known GP and also carries some good advice around the subject.