Participants in Rwanda’s first-ever public exercises for pregnant women have told the BBC that they enjoyed it and want authorities to continue with the programme.
More than a 100 women attended the first session in the capital, Kigali, over the weekend in what organisers say is aimed at “changing the myth on bodies of pregnant women.”
Nelson Mukasa, leader of a local non-governmental organisation that initiated the sessions, said many in Rwanda believe that when a woman gets pregnant she has to stop every physical effort.
“People should know inactivity is very risky for her body and the child she carries,” Mr Mukasa said.
Just after the session, Libérée Uwizeyimana – who is eight months pregnant – told the BBC that she had never exercised while pregnant.
“I am very tired because I am not used to [this], but I am also happy to work out with other pregnant ladies,” she said.
Ruth Ntukabumwe, who is seven months pregnant, said she wants to attend more sessions.
“It is a very good thing, I practised, felt relaxed and then the child’s movement made me feel very good,” she said.
Dr Jean Nyirinkwaya, a gynaecologist in the capital, Kigali, recommends sports to all pregnant women who visit his private clinic.
“Walking, swimming and body stretching have no negative impact on them,” Dr Nyirinkwaya said.
The event organiser said they had selected exercises that would not adversely affect the pregnant women. He also invited men to accompany their wives during the sessions.