Following a campaign from local MP Luke Hall and local mothers, pregnant women will now have access to free swimming at Active Leisure Centres across South Gloucestershire.

The scheme starts from February 1st 2020, and will be rolled out in every active Leisure entre in South Gloucestershire: Yate, Bradley Stoke, Kingswood, Longwell Green and Thornbury.

To be eligible for the scheme, women will need to present their Maternity Exemption Certificate, supplied by their doctor or midwife, and will also need to show proof of address before their first session.

This campaign for free swimming is the first part of Luke’s Positive Plan for improving Schools and Family Life to be delivered. The plan also includes building two new primary schools in Yate, upgrading schools throughout South Gloucestershire and improving special educational needs and disabilities provision, including better equipment for deaf children.

The initiative was inspired by current research showing the numerous benefits that swimming has specifically for pregnant women. These include; preventing diabetes during pregnancy, reducing the need for caesarean sections, improved fitness and reducing high blood pressure.

Luke Hall MP said “As a husband and father to two young children, I really know how valuable this scheme shall be for pregnant women. It has been great to team up with local mums to push the council to create such an innovative new scheme.”

Former swimming teacher and mum of three Liz Brennan said. “I am delighted that our joint campaign with Luke has seen real success. As a local mum, I think it is vital that pregnant women have access to support like this. This really is amazing news for local families in South Gloucestershire.”

Mark Crutchley, Chief Executive at Circadian Trust, said: “There are a vast number of benefits to exercising during pregnancy, from maintaining a healthy weight to reducing health-related complications for the mother and baby – and these benefits can have long-term effect on a child’s development beyond birth.”