Prenatal/Postpartum Health

Coaching the Mom-Athlete

By: Kara Daniels

The Importance of Pregnancy & Postpartum Athletic Coaching

Programming class plans for pregnant or postpartum athletes involves more than providing a laundry list of “do this, not that” movements or exercises, or the age-old moniker of just “listen to your body.”

With fit pregnancies becoming the norm combined with our need to “drop that baby weight fast!” we find ourselves captivated by the promise of a belly-only pregnancy exercise regimen, a bounce back program, or one that swears to heal diastasis recti, a separation between the rectus abdominis (6-pack) muscles.

Looking at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists FAQ’s for Exercise During Pregnancy, one of the four precautions specifically mentioned is to “wear a sports bras that gives lots of support to help protect your breasts.” Also mentioned is the following: “If you were very active before pregnancy, you can keep doing the same workouts with your obstetrician’s approval.”

(https://www.acog.org/patient-resources/faqs/pregnancy/exercise-during-pregnancy)

Unfortunately, this advice mimics what many trainers and instructors are taught during our basic training, and does not take into account the intensity of exercise popular today, like CrossFit, bootcamp classes, Olympic weight lifting, etc. While many of these exercises can be completed while continuing a healthy pregnancy, we need to look past just pregnancy and consider long-term pelvic and overall women’s health.

A Pregnancy and Postpartum Athletic Coach is someone who has completed the P&PA certification, which provides education and resources for both trainers and athletes about the specific needs surrounding a woman while pregnant or after childbirth. These needs can last years after pregnancy—not just in the immediate fourth trimester stage—and include mental and emotional considerations, not just physical ones.

A P&PA Coach appropriately modifies a workout to the needs of the specific athlete, and works in collaboration with medical professionals, like Pelvic Floor Physical Therapists, for both prevention and recovery purposes. Our focus is not just on preventing or healing a diastasis, but it’s coaching while taking overall pelvic health needs into consideration. This also includes exercising with pelvic organ prolapse, managing incontinence, pain, and more, even for women with non-pregnancy related conditions.

The P&PA coaching certification is imperative in a group fitness setting when working with this population. Classes are scalable, meet the athlete where she is, and allows the mom to work within the means of their pregnancy or postpartum journey. Providing options does not lessen the workout… it just makes it different.

 

Stroller Strong Moms North Charlotte

Stroller Strong Moms was founded in 2011 in Columbus, GA. Over the past nine years, it has expanded to almost 40 independently owned and operated affiliate locations.   Stroller Strong Moms North Charlotte is one of the newest affiliate locations, celebrating our Grand Opening on October 10, 2020. While we pride ourselves on our challenging, full-body workouts and appropriately named tagline, “S.L.A.M. (Sweat Like A Mother),” as an international community we hope to shift the focus from bouncing back post-childbirth to celebrating our bodies for what they have done and what they continue to do.

S.L.A.M. is for any stage of motherhood and all levels of fitness, and you do not have to have a stroller-aged kid to join. Outside of class, we have playgroups and Mom’s Nights Out. We also cheer each other on to reach our personal and fitness goals, whether that be running our first 5K, moving up in weight size during class, or training for a marathon with other moms by our side.

We currently meet Monday-Thursday & Saturday from 9:30-10:30. Our full class schedule is at our website, strollerstrongmoms.com/northcharlotte. Your first class is free!

I am excited to bring P&PA coaching to the Charlotte area and collaborate with other women’s health professionals. Completing the P&PA coaching certification has pushed me to become a better instructor as well as teach my moms to advocate for their own health.   I invite you to join us – you will be welcomed with open arms!

 

*Pictures from Stroller Strong Moms – El Paso*

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