MIDWIVES are encouraging mums to exercise during pregnancy and after their baby's birth.

Keeping active during pregnancy can reduce fatigue, swelling and pelvic pain and helps women cope better during labour, according to a spokesman from Taunton's Musgrove Park Hospital.

And physical activity after birth is also a great way for women to bond with their baby and to meet other new mums.

Musgrove's midwifery team has been successfully running a series of classes called Bumps and Beyond for the last 18 months - and due to their popularity they have been extended.

Activities include aqua-natal, circuits, yogalates, baby yoga and mum and baby fitness classes, so there is a class for whatever stage of pregnancy a woman is at.

The classes, run by qualified ante- and post-natal fitness instructors, are also available to women who are thinking of starting a family.

Women signing up to take part for the classes also benefit from reduced costs through support from Knightstone Housing Association’s Creative Active Communities initiative, a four-year Sport England project designed to encourage and assist people to get active.

Wellington mum-of-two Jen Bolton said: "I joined the aqua-natal class in September 2017 at Wellington Sports Centre as I wanted to exercise and to meet other mums.

"The class is run by Hayley, who is a local midwife and mum of four. She is a fantastic instructor with a great knowledge of exercises suited to the pregnant body, but she also pushes us, which I found was really important in getting prepared for giving birth.

"The class is a great mix of muscle toning, cardio and relaxation with a little Q&A session at the end. I thoroughly enjoyed the class every week both physically and mentally."

For more information or to sign up to a class, go to the Bumps and Beyond Facebook page.