Where are all the antenatal fitness classes?!

Apologies in advance, but I’ve got a bit of a moan. And if I can’t moan on my own blog, where can I do it?
I’m starting to turn a corner now I think, feeling a bit fresher and more energetic. I still have crap days, but I’m not very good at keeping on top of the eating and of not overdoing it, so I know where I’m going wrong. But I feel ready to start doing a little exercise and getting out of this comfortable, almost lazy, rut that had been so easy to slide into.

I live in a nice area of north Liverpool, we have a couple of council-run gyms and I’ve found the midwife service, run by the fabulous Liverpool Women’s Hospital, to be brilliant so far.

So I thought it’d be easy enough to find some pregnant-friendly antenatal classes, where I can safely and cost effectively keep my fitness at a good level (it was never amazing to begin with but I could manage 10k on a bike with the right motivation), and keep everything in healthy working order to give me and my baby the best pregnancy possible.

My local gym, Active Sefton (yes I’m naming and shaming), has just one antenatal class – Antenatal Aqua Aerobics. Sounds great! Except the only class is on Tuesdays at 9.30am. I work. I’m already in Manchester by 7.15am and don’t get home until 6pm, so this is no good for me, or most working mums-to-be. That rules out my local council run gym completely, unless I want to pay to go swimming with the masses (I’ve heard it costs £5 a time, which is a bit too steep for it to be a regular thing).

A few Google searches later and I uncovered a big fat zero antenatal classes in my area, free or otherwise. The closest I’ve found, which I’m in the process of signing up to, is a weekly pregnancy yoga class, £20 for four classes, in the nearby town of Crosby. It’s a 15-20 minute drive, so not too far away, but is on a Saturday in the middle of the day, which is just a bit annoying when you rely completely on your weekends to get any jobs done, see friends and family and generally get your life in order.

So there we have it, one paid-for yoga class a week is all I’ve managed to scout out after an hour-long search.

I’m not using this as an excuse to not exercise, I’ll do some cycling on our exercise bike and will go walking when the weather allows, and when I’m home from work early enough.
My rant is over the lack of support and fitness facilities for pregnant women in my local area. If ever there was a time to enable women to retain a level of fitness, and make it easy for them to access safe and expert direction on how to keep fit and healthy in a way that will benefit both them and their baby, this is it.
And it’s not as though the demand isn’t there. I now know nine women, including myself, who are all due before the end of this year, and the previously mentioned yoga class has a waiting list it’s in such demand, so why oh why aren’t there more free or, at least, more reasonably priced classes or facilities on offer in every local community?
Is this something the council should be accountable for? Or the health services? Or is it a private matter and we just need the right experienced people to share their expertise with us (we’d pay, of course!)
Did anyone else find this during pregnancy? Is there anything we can do to make it better for everyone, not just those who live in the right place and who can afford it?