At the end of the last Holistic Core Restore Every Woman programme, myself and the students began to talk about the of empowerment in women to take control of their recovery after birth. We discussed how we can spread the word further and the topic of other personal trainers and their education came up.
One of the participants shared an experience where she was in a gym after giving birth to her eldest. A “personal trainer” said she could ignore the 6 week check.
He then asked her to jump on the treadmill where he preceded to increase the speed whilst she was on it. Now, in regular personal training sessions this is NOT OK, let alone when a woman has just had a baby a few weeks previously!
Only this week a video circulated social media of a personal trainer asking a new mum of 4 weeks to do an abdominal crunch as a way to get strong after a baby.
Unfortunately, post natal education is VAST.
Trainers can spend months studying in-depth online and face to face courses from women’s health experts or they could complete a really short add on module to the basic personal training qualification. When I completed my initial training many years ago I really didn’t have a clue (as an example I didn’t really know what a prolapse was until I started entering the women’s health focus in more detail back in 2014).
Having said that, for many women it can often be hard to find a trainer with the right knowledge and experience: someone who knows how to take a mum from post birth to performance in a safe way.
If you are a new mum and want to start exercising, here are some tips on how to find the right postnatal personal trainer and health coach.
1.Find out about their qualifications since not every personal trainer has had postnatal training. The best fitness education for women’s health is from Burrell Education so look out for anyone who has trained with Burrell Education.
2.What questions do they ask you about your birth and recovery, and what checks do they make? At the very least, EVERY personal trainer working with new mums should provide a tummy check and an in depth questionnaire about pelvic health.
3.Do they have an in depth support network to refer on to if you need further support and help? The best post natal personal trainers will advise on the next step, be it going back to your GP or referring you for some women’s health physiotherapy.
4. Ask them how they integrate the breath into their training. How you breathe is SO IMPORTANT. Reconnecting with the breath is a key part of postnatal exercise due to the posture changes in pregnancy, which affect how the diaphragm (the breathing muscle) works in connection with the core and pelvic floor muscles.
5. What is their approach to integrating the whole body into exercise? All postnatal personal training programmes should focus on you and your needs. A thorough postpartum exercise programme will help you move, lift baby and carry out daily activities with ease whilst ensuring your pelvic floor and core muscles are working well for you.
6. Steer clear of any programme which includes running, crunches, planks. Find someone who help you build a strong base before adding more intense exercises into your programme.
7. If you are attending a group class, ask how they attend to the needs of the mums at all different levels. Do they offer participants options for different levels and recommend what is right for you?
Postpartum exercise is a minefield and it is sometimes hard to know if you have found the right trainer. If you need some help getting started, feel free to contact me to find out more about the post natal programmes I offer .
Click here to read more about my Holistic Core Restore programmes.