- Posted by doula
- On 19th February 2020
- Reading Time: 4 minutes
We spoke to Kelly Connaghan and Gill Bann who run a joint course for pregnancy at Lough Road Yoga in Upper Ballinderry. The course comprises of 5 yoga classes in the studio with Kelly, and 1 class in the pool with Gill. It has been running for 3 years and they are proud to have supported local mums through their pregnancy and beyond.
Tell us about how this all started?
Gill and I met on our initial yoga teacher training course in Lisburn, back in 2013/2014. At that stage, I knew I was going to have a swimming pool at my new house, but it wasn’t completed. We chatted about how we could combine pregnancy yoga and aquanatal and create this great course, so we kept in touch. I was teaching pregnancy yoga at my studio in the meantime, and then in 2017 we finally got the joint class up and running.
It has gone from strength to strength, and the mums seem to appreciate the chance to enjoy both styles of yoga at the same time and at the same location.
Gill, what benefits can a mum get from being in water during pregnancy?
Aquanatal offers a gentle, fun way for women to enjoy movement, breathing and a connection to their baby by using the supporting element of water. Water supports the muscles and joints protecting the pregnant body from the jarring impact of some land-based exercise. Because it is so relaxing, Aquanatal can promote the body’s ability to produce endorphins, our own very effective pain relief, and therefore reduces the need for opioids in labour. It has many other benefits too: better sleep, toned lower back and abdominal muscles, pelvic floor awareness, optimal foetal position (including encouraging breech babies to turn) and less antenatal anxiety. Aquanatal is taught in warm pools for the comfort of the mums and babies.
As well as teaching as part of Kelly’s course, I teach a class every Thursday at Lisburn Leisure centre from 2-2.45. Recently I have started to train Aquanatal teachers worldwide, travelling to Russia and China. I am currently the only Aquanatal Tutor for Birthlight in Ireland. A lot of mums are not aware that Aquanatal is recognised by the Royal College of Midwives, so you can get time off work to go to the class if it is during work hours. It is classed as an antenatal appointment.
Kelly, what do you bring to the course?
I love teaching yoga, but in particular, I get a lot out of teaching antenatal yoga classes. As well as my dedicated pregnancy yoga teacher training, I have completed training as a Doula and I am one of only 2 teachers in Northern Ireland that have received advanced pregnancy yoga certification from the Elbow Room in Dublin. I teach a holistic approach to pregnancy and birth. Each course is different depending on the needs of the students who are enrolled. We do a combination of traditional yoga poses that have been adapted for pregnancy, some work with therapy balls to help with sciatica and pelvic pain, guided relaxations and effective breathing techniques for birth and beyond. We also spend time looking into birth plans and everything birth related, such as positions for birth, using the rebozo, things your partner can do, and how to promote oxytocin and endorphins during birth. A lot of mums attend their local Getting Ready for Baby classes, HypnoBirthing, Daisy Birthing plus Aquanatal and yoga to be as informed as they can be. Emma from the Belfast Baby Company has started contributing to the course as well, so we have a yoga teacher, Aquanatal and a doula’s input. I am really proud of the course we have put together, and I hope to be supporting mums for a long time to come. I have also been teaching antenatal yoga with SureStart in Belfast for the past few years too.
The pregnancy class is suitable for all stages of pregnancy, with no lower or upper limit, mums can join at any time. Get in touch to find out when the next set of classes are starting.