A couple months after I got certified as a personal trainer, a friend got pregnant and asked me to find out information for her on how to safely become pregnant. I found a certification through the same agency I got my training cert from and did all the material. I was able to safely train a number of pregnant and postpartum clients with that knowledge. Fast forward over 3 years and I found myself pregnant. I wanted to see what other material was out for pregnancy. I reconnected with an old friend who is a strength coach and she pointed me to a couple pregnancy and postpartum certifications that she had completed or purchased.
I am SO thankful that she did. I signed up for Brianna Battles' Pregnancy and Postpartum Athleticism certification. It opened my eyes to the gap that exists in the training world, as well as in the OB world. Diastasis recti, prolapse, and incontinence are words that now have a whole new meaning to me. Previously I knew what they were but thought they were normal for women who had kids. Now, I know they are common, but certainly not normal. I found of what a pelvic floor physical therapist (PFPT) was, what they do and the importance of seeing one.
I learned things not to do while pregnant to prevent possible issues, even though it's not guaranteed. I learned that it's important to decide the risk vs reward with certain exercises. That's why I stopped running and doing plyometrics at 24 weeks, even though I physically could have run until the end of my pregnancy. I saw a PFPT and attended one of their workshops and learned exercises recommended during the different stages of pregnancy and postpartum. I learned that at 6 weeks postpartum, we are not actually fully healed in our hips and pelvic floor, so we shouldn't jump right in to "get our bodies back" and exercises that go along with that, as well as how to "fix" any issues that may have come up.
Honestly, I am proud of myself for listening to everything I learned.Sometimes it was really hard. Like when I saw someone running on my favorite trail on a beautiful day or my good friends were training for various running races. And when I was feeling pretty down on myself and clothes weren't fitting well, etc.
Yesterday I saw my OB and she gave me the all clear on being able to exercise again. Never did she mention diastasis. Never did she recommend me seeing a PFPT. She told me I should start slow getting back into exercising but I could go for a run if I wanted to. I was so mad. I know better (I probably won't be running or jumping for a few more months and will see my PFPT next week), but what about all those other new mamas who don't? I get it, I am anxious to get my body back too, so I can see how those baby bootcamps are enticing, but we need our bodies to heal properly before jumping into doing burpees, sprints, or double unders. Having a baby should be treated like having a knee injury. Proper time to rest and recover, as well as rehabilitation needs to be done prior to being completely healed and fine.
The lack of guidance and knowledge is exactly why we think the common issues are normal. I am proud to be with this group of P&PA Coaches who are working towards helping moms have a healthy pregnancy and properly heal their bodies afterwards.
Side note, postpartum is forever. So if you had a kid 1, 5, 10 or more years ago and you are suffering from diastasis recti (the separation of your rectus abdominals at the linear alba - the center line in a six pack), or incontinence (peeing when you cough or sneeze), there is still hope and PFPTs or P&PA Coaches can help you!
Click here to read this article on how it should be normal for a new mom to see a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist.