What to expect when you’re bringing bump to class!
First of all, if you are reading this because you are pregnant - congratulations! Its an exciting and sometimes challenging time!
The general rule for aerial is that pregnancy is not the time to take it up. Aerial is intense and if your body isnt used to it, then you've enough going on growing a little person without adding complexities of aerial into the mix.
If you are already an aerialist and are confident that you know your body, then it is possible to carry on training with adaptations and within your limits. Interestingly, in the early days of pregnancy, the danger is not necessarily to the growing bump, the risk is more to the Mum. There is so much relaxin pumping around your body, that you might overstretch and injure yourself.
Womack and Bowman have written some tips for experienced aerialists on how to train safely while pregnant which is definitely worth a read!
Julia’s story on aerial and pregnancy! (maternity photoshoot of aerial dreams!)
‘I wanted to stay as strong and active as I could throughout my pregnancy - both to prepare my body for birth, and to hopefully make the post-birth recovery easier.
I managed to continue silks until 6 months pregnant, and straps until 16 weeks. It was a decision that I didn't take lightly as aerial isn't a low-risk sport (or art!), and there were some negative opinions from people who didn't think it was safe or appropriate for a pregnant woman to still be hanging upside down several feet in the air! However, silks is my happy place and I didn't want to lose that bit of my identity to being pregnant. I worked well within my ability level, stopped belly wraps and drops, didn't push my splits and only worked with instructors I knew well where I felt comfortable and supported. I sought out all the information I could find within the online aerial community, to understand what was sensible and possible (there's a fab Facebook group 'Pregnant and Postpartum Aerialists' https://www.facebook.com/groups/890517204670279/
that was really helpful!).
Every week my body changed and felt different - from the sickness and exhaustion of the first trimester, to the added weight and loss of full ab engagement as the bump grew. The tube was the worst for setting off my morning sickness - I remember feeling sooo ill commuting in for straps, and started to question if it was a stupid idea. But the happiness and endorphins I still got from training made it 100% worth it, every time. The final 3 months of being 'grounded' I joined a muggle gym and was the huge pregnant lady on a spin bike all the way to 38 weeks!
I'm still so proud to have been able to do a scratch night performance at nearly 6 months pregnant - and thankful that the studio were supportive and let me!
The post-pregnancy journey has been so much longer and tougher than I could have anticipated - at nearly 10 months post-partum, I still feel like I've not got 100% of my strength back and 'I want my abs back' is a common complaint when training!! I worked closely with a physio to ensure I was safe and ready to get back in the air, and started back at about 12 weeks pp. Recovering from a c-section has been an added challenge - with the scar sitting just where front balance is for me on all apparatus. Fitting in the 'me time' to get to aerial is tricky - but so important for my physical and mental health, and in turn to be the best Mummy I can be. - Julia’
Edel’s story on aerial and pregnancy!
Edel, Mum of 3 girls, had 3 very different experiences with pregancy.
First child, I felt like a superhero and was very cross when my aerial teacher grounded me immediately as soon as they found out I was expecting. I was carrying on with all the other sporting activities I was doing, so I didnt fully understand why aerial was different! But then with pregnancies two and three, I was very nauseous with a serious of other complications and I decided that maybe I should stay grounded until the little ones were born. A more extensive version of the story if you are interested, can be found in Kate Edwards "Flying through Pregnancy" book. This is a great resource for any mamas who want tips for conditioning both pre and post partum!
Another great resource is Rebekah Leach "An Aerialists Guide to Surviving Pregnancy" book. The book shares stories of women who had to give up immediately. About others who trained until the day of the birth. As well as a variety of other experiences. Pregancy is a journey. Alnd although some days feel like they might never end, it is ultimately a short one, and you need to listen to your body as it knows best. It is single handedly creating the next generation of potential aeriliasts!
Pregnancy and Flying Fantastic
If you are one of our regular students like Julia, we would advise you to stop aerial or work very gently, well beneath your limits and with a teacher that knows you. If you are new to Flying Fantastic, then Im afraid we will ask you to join our little aerial community after little one is born. After which time, we might even have brought back Mum and Baby Aerial. Watch this space!
Do get in touch if you have any questions on your training but also do check with your medical professionals to determine the best steps for you, bump and the wonderful world of aerial!