01. How soon after birth can I begin exercising?
It depends. Every person, pregnancy and postpartum experience are unique and come with individual considerations. For anything you might consider “intense”, I will always counsel you to wait until you are cleared by your primary care provider (midwife or OB-GYN) and ideally, by a pelvic health physical therapist as well.
If you are healing well and you’re itching to get some movement in before that six week mark (and if it’s ok with your provider- please check!), I recommend beginning by reconnecting to your core and pelvic floor through a breathing strategy know as the Connection Breath. If these are comfortable, you might begin taking short walks and introducing exercises that align with the difficulty of your every-day activities (things like, bodyweight squats, clamshells, heel slides and gentle stretching).
I typically begin working with new parents at 6 weeks postpartum or beyond.
For more information and guidance on breathing strategies and exercise suggestions, visit this blog post on early postpartum exercise considerations or this post on the Connection Breath (applicable to pregnancy and postpartum!).
If you are beginning exercise prior to working with me, please consult this post on What It Means to “Listen to Your Body” During Pregnancy and Postpartum. Please discontinue exercise if you encounter any symptoms of core or pelvic floor dysfunction.
02. Is it safe to exercise during pregnancy?
Absolutely! As long as you have not been told otherwise by your medical provider, exercise during pregnancy confers a TON of benefit on the pregnant person and their baby.
Some benefits of prenatal exercise include:
- Maintenance of healthy weight during pregnancy
- Reduction of the risks of some pregnancy complications including gestational diabetes and preeclampsia
- A decrease in maternal discomfort and injury
- Prevention or management of perinatal mood disorders
- Reduction of the risk of medical interventions during delivery, including cesarean- or instrument-assisted delivery
- Improvement in the growth and functional capacity of the placenta
There is no evidence that recreational exercise as a part of an uncomplicated pregnancy causes any harm to the developing baby. Most, if any, concern over prenatal fitness should revolve around keeping mom’s body (and specifically, her core and pelvic floor) happy and healthy.
03. Why do I need a pregnancy and postpartum fitness specialist?
A personal training credential prepares someone to train the ‘average’ human. But who is that? According to my certification agency, it’s not pregnant or postpartum people. We’re given a couple of pages out of 800, tucked into the ‘special populations’ chapter of the textbook. But women are half the population. 85% of women will become pregnant in their lifetime and pre/postnatal people have very specific considerations. If you are in the market for a pregnancy or postpartum personal trainer or fitness coach, I urge you to pay attention to a coach’s credentials.
Having a basic personal training certificate is not enough. Having had a baby (or a “fit pregnancy” or “getting their body back”) does not qualify someone to coach anyone else.
Good coaches invest in continuing education and mentorship to level up their knowledge and skills. Make sure your coach has solid training in pre- and postnatal fitness and a robust understanding of pelvic floor and core health. Ask how your coach is continuing to grow, improve and stay up-to-date on current research and practices in perinatal fitness and pelvic health.
Beyond that, what should you keep an eye out for? Make sure your coach is:
- Asking you about your pregnancy, labor and delivery details and pelvic health history.
- Educating you on core and pelvic floor anatomy and function. They should be comfortable talking with you using proper anatomical language unless YOU have requested otherwise (and they should be comfortable with any boundaries you set in this regard).
- Talking with you about how pelvic floor physical therapy may compliment your return to fitness or sport and also make you aware of signs and symptoms of pelvic floor strain.
- Teaching you to access your core, stabilize your body and manage pelvic health symptoms from a framework based on breathing (not sucking your belly button to spine!).
- Tailoring your workouts and training plan to where you are in your childbearing journey, what your individual goals are and any pelvic health considerations.
04. What is your in-home personal training service area?
I serve personal training clients in their homes primarily in neighborhoods north and east of Seattle including Bellevue, Redmond, Sammamish, Kirkland, Bothell, Woodinville, Kenmore, Lynnwood. Please inquire if I haven’t listed your city but you think you might be within my service area. Occasionally I will work with a client outside my normal area if my services are a good fit, however, depending on the distance I may need to assess a travel fee..
Please note, in-home services are extremely limited at this time. Please contact me to inquire.
05. What is your birth doula service area?
06. Can I still improve my abdominal separation even if it's been years since I had my babies?
07. Can my children be around during our sessions?
Of course! This is one of the greatest benefits of in-home training. However, if your children are mobile, I recommend setting them up with an independent activity or babysitter so that we can complete our session efficiently. Unfortunately, I can’t extend sessions to accommodate childcare needs, so please plan to the best of your ability.
08. What kind of equipment do I need to have at home?
Most likely you just need a few different resistance bands and a set of dumbbells to get started. Please reach out with specific questions about your exercise program for exact recommendations.
09. Is it safe to exercise with pelvic organ prolapse or diastasis recti?
Exercising with a pelvic floor or core dysfunction is about more than just eliminating certain exercises or modifying others. Often, it requires retraining the inner core muscles and learning strategies to manage the pressure generated in your abdomen when you exert yourself during exercise. If you are working with a pelvic floor physical therapist, I can support you during your rehab process. If you haven’t yet seen a physical therapist, I can educate you on your inner core muscle anatomy and function and teach you basic breathing strategies that should be consistent with most physical therapy protocols. I am able to modify exercises for many common core and pelvic floor dysfunctions and help educate you on strategies that will help you manage your symptoms as you navigate your return to fitness.
One of my missions is to make sure that having birthed a baby is not a reason why you can’t go on to do all the things. I am passionate about helping you develop strategies to manage your pelvic health and help you return to your sport or fitness activity in a sustainable manner.