Most women can maintain a workout program throughout their pregnancy and the postpartum period without issue. That being said, there are many special workout considerations for mothers that your average trainer didn’t learn during their certification. The good news is that there are highly specialized certifications available that can help trainers attend to this special community with care and confidence.
I caught up with Fit for Birth graduate and former co-founder of Fit Pregnancy Club, Joanie Johnson to learn more about why it’s important to seek out a pre and postnatal certified trainer when you are working out during this tender period.
Let’s get right to the point, why is it important for pregnant women and postpartum to work out with a certified trainer?
To start, most trainers and medical professionals simply don’t receive the training to help this population move safely. That being said, there are no regulations within the fitness industry, so literally anyone with a personal training certification can train pregnant and postpartum women. The general guidelines from OB/GYNs tend to be: “ if you did the activity before, you can continue,” and “if you feel pain, don’t do it.” Comparatively, pre and postnatal corrective exercise specialists learn very specific information about the inner core unit. This crucial group of muscles not only protects the baby, but also makes a woman better able to move, and less susceptible to diastasis recti, sciatica, and pelvic floor dysfunction.
What do pre and postnatal certified trainers know that your average trainer might not?
Most trainers will learn very basic guidelines to protect the baby: don’t lie on your belly, don’t do crunches, don’t hurt yourself - considerations that are honestly somewhat obvious. In our Fit for Birth continuing education courses, trainers learn in-depth information about the trends in childbirth, corrective exercises to restore the inner core, the importance of diaphragmatic breathing, and important postnatal considerations. They also receive dedicated hands-on training specific to this community. This knowledge helps our trainers empower women to strengthen and move with confidence.
How can working with a pre and postnatal certified empower a woman?
If you've taught a woman to use her inner core unit correctly, she increases the amount of movement options and exercises she can perform safely during pregnancy and postpartum. A strong inner core supports all movement patterns from lifting your baby to taking on high-intensity workouts.
Why don’t all healthcare professionals have this information?
There is very little research on fitness for pregnant women because of ethical considerations, so there simply isn’t a lot of training embedded in the mainstream system. Thankfully, along with certified pre and postnatal fitness trainers, pelvic floor physical therapists, occupational therapists who specialize in women’s health, doulas, and midwives are also highly trained in postnatal physical concerns. I’ve also started to see more and more OB / GYNs who are becoming more interested in fitness considerations for the mom community.
The bottom line is that if you are a pregnant woman or new mom, seeking out a trainer who has received this specialized training and is certified is crucial. Working with a trained professional will help you prevent injury, correct common pregnancy, and postpartum concerns, and cultivate empowered movement.
If you are a trainer who would like to get certified, Fit for Birth, a Miami-based health education and training company for new and expecting mothers, families, and professionals, is offering a 3-day certification program in Miami February 28 and March 1 at Ampersand Studios.
This course is eligible for CECs for a variety of certifications and Stay Fit 305 readers get a special discount if you sign up using the code live100. For more information, head to the Get Fit for Birth website.