Make sure your Post Natal exercise is Safe…
Since becoming a Mother and a Fitness professional I have found a glaring issue!
There are a lot of trainers out there who are not post natal trained, yet they advertise “Mums and Bubs” classes, dropping one liners like “Get your pre-baby body back” and “Lose the Mummy Tummy”, and then these women put their trust in these people.
And while I know many of us are on Maternity or Unpaid leave, and are working from minimal pay, there are Network Marketing companies taking advantage of this by luring women in by offering free Mums n Bubs classes, then selling them a “Recovery Smoothie”- these people aren’t even trained at all and god knows whether a breastfeeding Mother should be drinking that garbage anyway (plus to then guilt someone into buying an actual tub of that crap to “get your pre baby body back” – don’t get me started)!
We also have community groups aimed at Mothers to provide free or heavily subsidised fitness classes. Again, more often than not, these are run by Mums who enjoy fitness, not qualified fitness professionals.
While this is a lovely idea, it’s putting women at risk.
What is scary about all of these scenarios, is that Post Natal Fitness is not something to be taken lightly. We have so many things going on in our bodies during that period, and being guided by a trained professional is essential. If we do not take care of ourselves appropriately, we could be headed down the road of permanent damage. Some examples, during the Postnatal Period:
- Our joints are more flexible as we still have a lot of relaxin in our bodies from pregnancy (the hormone which enables our joints to stretch for birth), and if we are breastfeeding it takes a bit longer to stabilise.
- Our pelvic floor needs to be considered, it might not be as strong as it used to be, we may have continence issues or a prolapse. Our bodies may not be ready any plyometric or jumping exercises, some women’s pelvic floor becomes fatigued during exercise. These women may also need to see a Physiotherapist with a Women’s Health knowledge.
- We may have a diastasis, or separation, of our abdominal muscles – many women aren’t aware they have this problem and then are doing crunches upon crunches to get their flat tummy back, when in reality they won’t get the flat stomach back if the diastasis remains untreated. If anything they are making the situation worse with many abdominal focussed exercises. A diastasis can affect women by causing back pain and pelvic floor issues.
- We may have carpal tunnel (again from our joints being more flexible) – so you may not be able to do exercises like pushups or planks on hands.
- Our bodies need rehabilitation, not annihilation from some overzealous “Trainer”. We just had a huge change in our bodies that occurred over a 9 month period, we don’t just jump into a regular exercise regime after a major surgery or illness, so why should we be expected to after having a baby – A MAJOR LIFE EVENT both physically and mentally.
But my trainer is insured, I hear you say? Well, the trainers insurance company doesn’t cover them unless they are trained… yes that is essentially true, BUT, insurers are only ever involved when these trainers find themselves being sued – which means the damage has already been done to some poor woman. Let’s face it, you do not want to be the woman that finds out the hard way.
So please ladies, ask the questions of these trainers BEFORE you attend their sessions. Ask if they are Pregnancy and Postnatal trained, and where they got their qualifications from. Do your research. While it may seem confronting, it could save you money and heartache later on when you are seeking major medical intervention for a pelvic floor issue or a diastasis.
I also recommend getting a check up by a Physiotherapist. These professionals are invaluable in the treatment of pelvic floor and diastasis. Following their plans and exercises can save you so much money and heartache.
Exercise in the postnatal period has AMAZING benefits, but let’s just ensure we are safe. While having an appropriately trained instructor may not be as cheap as your free classes or your weight loss smoothie classes, rest assured you won’t suffer for it in the long run.