It’s really hard to choose someone you really trust, to look after your precious little one, isn’t it? Going back to work, I looked at endless childcare options, scrutinising the Ofsted ratings, and personal attributes of those who would be potentially caring for my children. I wanted to feel that they would be well looked after, that all of their needs were met holistically, so that I may feel confident and also be able to concentrate on my work, without worrying if they were alright.
I certainly wouldn’t leave my children with someone who was not up to the job.
So why, when women choose to get back into fitness, do they settle for a general exercise class, or a trainer or an instructor, who has little knowledge or experience, when it comes to their most specialist postnatal time?
A qualification in fitness does not make the trainer an expert for every client. Every person who engages in fitness will have a personal goal that they want to achieve, or need particular guidance on how to remain active safely, without undue stress or risk of injury to the body. You have those who want to achieve increased muscle mass, lose weight, train for an event, become an athlete, enjoy the social side of fitness, and you have those who have specific requirements that need adequate trailering from someone who is experienced in their field.
There are many considerations that personal trainer need to be aware of when working with a pregnant or postnatal client. Every woman will have different needs, and so needs a bespoke approach to the programme that the trainer/instructor gives them.
It is a misguided approach to put mums into categories of type of birth she has had, the number of months postnatal, how many children she has had or her specific goals based on what her abilities were pre pregnancy or birth.
Childbearing impacts on a woman’s physiological and emotional state hugely, and what women experience during pregnancy, labour and birth will vary so much. Each woman needs an in depth screen to understand the considerations that need to be made, when designing a personalised rehabilitation plan.
Exercise is only a small part of the picture for a pregnant and postnatal woman. They need a specialist that coaches her recovery on a global level.
She needs guidance on optimum nutrition, focusing on her rehabilitation on a cellular level, and nourishing the body with adequate calories and the right macro and micronutrients.
A woman needs to understand the importance of rest to her recovery. Hormones such as cortisol, actually retard healing, so she must look at the support and help she can get, in those vital months post birth.
She needs to focus her mind set on what matters most, and that really must not be on aiming to be perfect, to fit into those size 10 skinny jeans within weeks of birth. There’s no need to achieve the ‘Kardashian’. This is disillusioned and unhealthy. Women need to own their body, and love it no matter where they are with it.
Ultimately, acceptance that childbirth is a transitional time, that brings a new role for a woman, as a mother, and a new body, that requires care and attention, to listen to the subtle cues such as pain or heaviness when exercising, and pulling back and modifying what they are doing.
Women are not broken after birthing, it’s just a temporary phase. With the right guidance and facilitation, mamas with be able to connect with the right stages of recovery, and do what is best for their long term health, mentally, emotionally and physically.
I am a specialist pregnancy and postnatal personal trainer and fitness instructor, massage therapist and midwife, and have two young children. I offer bespoke group and one to one classes, workshops and consultations. So if you need a pregnancy programme, or a new mummy MOT, or just a massage to relax and find your flow, you know where to come.