Return to Fitness
Mother Wit's favorite options for pregnant and postpartum people
In 2018, before the pandemic, I took a much-needed break from life as a full-time, full-scope clinical practice midwife. I made a plan back in 2016 to become a personal trainer and learn as much as I could about training pregnant and postpartum people and once I'd honed that skill, I thought I would incorporate midwifery care back in, slowly, and on my terms. It took a lot of planning and learning about how to start a business, not to mention savings. But despite all my attempts at preparation, I knew I was taking a huge leap of faith.
By 2019, everything was in place. I had a LLC, a website and all the certifications I thought I should have but I still didn't know enough about running a business or succeeding at business, so I applied and was accepted into an amazing start-up accelerator in New Orleans, LA called Propeller. I owe so much of what I've learned and accomplished to the support of this organization and more importantly to the people who keep its wheels selflessly spinning. I was seeing clients out of a fantastic gym called Cypress Fitness,
One-on-ones, group classes for pregnant and postpartum people, workshops for birth workers. I was learning the needs of a community and becoming part of something that I was proud of. I was spending a lot of time developing individualized fitness programs for pregnant and postpartum people, helping them along on their road to recovery (which sometimes meant breastfeeding support or a contraception consult instead of fitness!), collaborating with pelvic floor PTs and building relationships with other local midwives and then BAM! The world shut down. I had to regroup and regroup fast.
Thankfully, I also had a small remote client base for both fitness and midwifery services and as you can see, the line was rather blurry at times. Little by little, the needs of my community shifted and I found myself funneling more and more of my energy into postpartum care which left me less time for fitness programming.
Perinatal fitness is so much fun for me and way less stressful than healthcare BUT it is nonetheless very time intensive. It's something I got good at but never fast at. The good news is that this area of specialization has grown rapidly over the past few years and I have found people all over the country who I refer to. There are also a few stellar, ready-to-go options that are both excellent and affordable. I have been sharing these with my individual clients for some time now and I realize that it's time to share them with you. While I provide lots of insights into my approach to return to fitness in, Thriving After Birth, including 45+ minutes of explanations on strategies, movement demonstrations and a sample plan, I haven't developed a long-term plan that involves ready-made programs for you.
Over the past six months, I've made it my mission to bring low-cost, high-quality options for all things postpartum to the forefront. While one-on-one services are amazing and I love this aspect of my business, most importantly the connection I have with my clients and I think it should be the gold standard but that doesn't get anyone anywhere if they can't afford it. So, in the meantime, here are my top three recommendations for ready-made fitness programs for pregnant and postpartum people. Here goes...
Created by Brianna Battles, a strength and conditioning coach who has developed a certification for coaches and programming options for pregnancy and postpartum athletes. I am a proud P&PA Coach and when clients can't afford ongoing one-on-one sessions or simply don't feel they need that level of support, I frequently recommend her programs. Likewise, I want to help fill the world with coaches who understand pregnancy and postpartum and can provide better support and guidance during this time. There is a program for the pregnant athlete and another for the postpartum athlete.
The pregnant athlete course is not intended for beginners, is best done at a gym but can be done at home if you have space and the necessary equipment such as dumbells, kettlebells, a barbell, bench, med ball, resistance bands, a rower and an exercise bike.
The 8-week postpartum program is appropriate for all postpartum people, regardless of your level of fitness and previous experience, but again, I particularly like this one for crossfitters, powerlifters, runners and endurance athletes and for those who are generally headed in this direction. It only requires you to have light dumbells, a kettlebell, long exercise bands, mini resistance bands and an optional barbell.
Jessie is a pre and postnatal exercise specialist. Like Brianna, she too offers a program for those who want to train pregnant and postpartum people. She offers three distinct programs that you should consider.
To Pregnancy and Beyond is a monthly subscription program for pregnant and postpartum people at any fitness level with weekly coaching/feedback from Jessie herself. It includes three workouts per week.
Core + Floor Restore is an 8-week program for postpartum people and serves as the foundation for her other courses or your own fitness endeavors.
To Strong and Beyond is a 12-week program for all people (pregnant, postpartum and parents). It emphasizes strength training with a focus on the core and pelvic floor. You will need some dumbells (light and heavy), resistance bands, a bench or something to step onto and mini bands. She provides modifications for common musculoskeletal complaints in pregnancy and postpartum.
What I love about this program is that it is easy to recycle and reuse without getting bored since you can increase the level of difficulty of each exercise based on the options provided, by increasing the weights, reps or set. I think you can get a good solid year out of this program if you start during pregnancy and continue onward into postpartum (perhaps with a break followed by the core + floor restore program before jumping back in at the easiest/lightest levels).
POP UP was developed by Haley Shevener, a perinatal exercise specialist and mom with pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and Annemarie Everett, a pelvic floor PT. This is so much more than an exercise program. It is a thoughtful and thorough educational program that can be used by healthcare providers and clients alike. It is a place where you will come to understand your body better. It is a place where you will find the strength to reframe your thinking about what is means to have, be fit and active with POP. It is a 12-week exercise program with over 20 hours of content and a private Facebook support group.
Where does Mother Wit fit in? When should you consider a session with me? While I am not offering individualized programming or classes at this time, below is a list of what I do offer and absolutely love doing. In short, I help you to strategize and this can look a lot of different ways given your unique background and circumstances. Here are some common starting points and reasons people have decided to work with me:
I don't know where to begin
I have been trying to come up with an actionable game plan but, so far, it's not working
I need accountability
I need an individual session to ask questions about connecting my breath to my core and pelvic floor (yes, they roll out a mat, set up a camera and we get to work!)
I am exercising but feeling confused about all of the possible strategies I've heard about on IG (how to breath, body mechanics, etc.- basically, I am worrying or more than I feel is reasonable or helpful)
I need help understanding what pelvic Floor PT is and if it's right for me
I am seeing a PFPT but need help getting "off the table" (meaning that they are doing a good job in the clinic but when they return to their preferred activities, it's just not translating. I love helping with this! Frequently this is about running, jumping, lifting and gymnastics movements but really could be anything!
So reach out! I look forward to working with you!
If you are a healthcare provider or a fitpro and want to learn more about working with pregnant and postpartum people or are interested in partnering or workshops, reach out, I'd love to help get you on your way!
***I am an affiliate of these three companies, this means that I receive a commission on any sales that are generated from this email. I am only an affiliate for these three fitness companies for a reason. I truly believe in them and the affiliate model as a marketing strategy for small businesses, solopreneurs and mompreneurs.