Prenatal and postnatal is one of the least properly informed topics women encounter in the fitness world. Articles swing from discussing the need to drop your training routine completely or how to continue being a 10k champ up until the day you deliver. I was so confused when I started doing my research after finding out I was pregnant. I had spent the last year lifting weights and playing soccer, I had lost 35 lbs and gained muscle mass. I wasn’t going into my pregnancy hoping not to gain any weight, but I wanted proper information on how to preserve as much of my strength and endurance as I could. I also knew that keeping myself strong and healthy was going to give me and my baby a better birthing experience.
The point of view and focus on two key factors played into my feelings of credibility to any sources I came across, the first being Diastasis Recti and the second being pelvic floor protection. Diastasis Recti (separation of the abdominals – many times what gives us the belly pooch) is a serious threat to moms, there are numerous health risks and about two-thirds of pregnant women have it. Your pelvic floor supports the bladder, uterus, vagina and rectum. Obviously an area worth protecting and avoiding any unnecessary stress or damage to approaching birth. Proper care during and after pregnancy can aid in avoiding, avoid worsening, or help with healing damage that occurs with both of these.
I spent a good three weeks sifting through the interwebs, and consulting back and forth with my husband (who is a Certified Personal Trainer) on his opinions of what I was finding.
Fear not! To save you, my fellow mama’s, the grief of having to do the same I will share with you the three good resources I did find.
The first place that I stumbled upon with information that was concise and knowledgeable on both factors was Girls Gone Strong. Simply searching for the keyword prenatal brought up options of exercises that are challenging but at the same time protective of a mama’s body. Girls Gone Strong gives options for each trimester protecting your abdominals and pelvic floor. I referred back here frequently when I had questions about what I was doing in my pregnancy, and when it came time to start my postpartum work this was my first stop.
After exploring their prenatal workouts I kept seeing the same author, Jessie Mundell. I emailed Jessie about my frustrations and she was quick to get back to me. Shortly after following her through Mundell Lifestyles, Jessie announced she was pregnant too, a few weeks ahead of me!
Jessie offers a free 4-week Workout System for Pregnancy and Post-Pregnancy right on the front page of her website. All of her information and tips went right along with the workouts I was doing in pregnancy, and still do now that we’ve had our babies! Protecting my core and floor is number one!
The third place I found good information happened through instagram. An account for Lorraine Scapens by the name of @pregnancyexercise. I loved being able to see her tips and reminders about the importance of staying active in my pregnancy, she too stresses the priority of my core and pelvic floor. Now I love seeing her reminders about the value of my recovery and giving myself time to heal, building back up to where I want to be and not rushing!
With these three great sources I was able to take care of myself during my pregnancy and now continue doing so after with full confidence! In a future post I’ll dish about the workouts I actually did and didn’t do during my pregnancy in each trimester, as well as what routines I’ve been doing since having my baby and how that’s working out for me. I also signed up for Jessie’s free 12 days of Christmas Core, I invite you to join me and I can’t wait to share my experience with you! How do or did you handle fitness in pregnancy and postpartum?