How do I become certified to train prenatal women and do I need additional insurance?
I am finding a large demand for training prenatal women at their homes. I would like to incorporate this population into my services, but I first want to make sure I am fully certified and insured to train prenatal women. I would greatly appreciate any suggestions. I am currently insured as a independent personal trainer, under Philadelphia Insurance Companies. Thank you for your time.
While working with these women keep in mind a few things: 1) The hormonal changes make it easier for pregnant women to over-stretch and/or develop a joint injury. Proper alignment in all exercises is key & they should not attempt to improve flexibility but rather try to maintain mobility. These joint laxicity issues can continue for up to 12 months after the birth of their child! 2) The increase in blood volume during pregnancy can lead to fluctuations in blood pressure, especially during transitions (stand to sit, sit to stand, getting off of the floor, etc.) and sometimes causes lightheadedness or dizziness. Bottom line: go slow. 3) After the first trimester, most professionals agree that supine & inverted body positions are a no-no due to the pressure of the child against the woman's aorta. Err on the side of caution if you're not sure if it's appropriate. 4) Pregnancy is not the time for maximal lifts or maximal heartrates! Regulations for a pregnant woman's safe exercising heartrate are lower than the average individual.
There are, of course, other things to consider when training the prenatal woman. If you'd like more info check out the following links-
Good luck & it's nice to hear from a fellow Massachusetts trainer!
While I applaud you for want to be safe while working with the pregnant population the ACSM states that "healthy pregnant women without exercise contraindications are encouraged to exercise throughout the pregnancy." The ACSM states "regular exercise during pregnancy provides health/fitness benefits to the mother and child."
The guidelines in ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription" are quite thorough regarding exercise testing, special considerations and contraindications with the pregnant population ans they are with other populations.
For the most part any workshop that you attend that focuses on training the pregnant population will utilize the science that comes from will come from the ACSM and the ACOG.
Hope this is of help to you.
Check out these great books from ACE Fitness. I use them in my practice with pre and postnatal clients. They are a great starting place for someone new to that market:
I would like to add something to this topics.The safety of the mother and her unborn child is the primery concern during Your workouts with clients.Stop exercising and consult their doctors if something like this happen:
Shortness of Breath
Also, Alex You may teach Your clients how to do Kegels exercises. The simple Kegel exercise is an excellent way to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.
1. Tighten the muscles used to stop the flow of urine, hold for a count of ten seconds, and release. Repeat at least five times.
2. Rapidly tighten and relax the muscles.
3. "Elevator" exercise - gradually tighten the muscles slowly to the count of three, pulling up and holding at each "floor" : then relax slowly, stopping at each "floor" to the count of three.
4. When doing the "elevator" in preparation for giving birth, allow the muscle to totally relax. This very relaxed state is used during pushing to ease the baby down the birth canal and through the pelvic floor muscles with less resistance.
Pregnant women should be done up to 5 to 10 sessions pelvic floor workouts each day.
Also , Alex, You may read books:
Clapp, J.F. "Exercising Through Your Pregnancy.Champaign, IL:Human Kinetics Publishers, 1998.
Tupler, J. and Thompson, A.Maternal Fitness. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, 1996.
With regards, Miroslava.
That is awesome that you are looking to serve a specific population. Becoming an expert is definitely something I would suggest. There are certain things women cannot do after the 1st, 2nd and 3rd trimesters so the more you can research and gain knowledge of that the more comfortable you will be training them, as well as they will be getting trained by you. Here are a couple of organizations that I know of that you can add a certification to your current training credentials
*AFPA- Pre Post Natal Exercise certification
*IFPA- Pre Post Natal Exercise certification
I hope that helps,
There are a number of excellent programs out there that will inform the teaching of pre and postnatal clients.
You may want to think about why and how you want to train this population.
The Center for Women's Fitness offers a program that will "prepare the body" for the birth and "recover the body" after the birth. The program concentrates on the true anatomy of a pregnant and postpartum woman, the changes the body ungoes and what exercises will support these changes.
It is true, as an independent trainer you do not need a specific certification for perinatal fitness, nor do you need additional insurance. The fitness industry is fast-approaching regulation, but pre and postnatal technically fall outside that regulation, which means that the term “certification” does not currently require any third-party governance.
Some of the commonly agreed upon perinatal factors to minimize (or remove altogether) are:
(1) Ballistic movements and heavy lifts, due to the general laxity of the joints during the pre and postnatal period
(2) Laying supine after the first trimester, which can impede blood flow and is often signaled by mom’s dizziness
(3) Traditional abdominal/oblique exercises after the first trimester. Many people do not have sufficient core breathing awareness. As the belly grows, these muscles incur a very new biomechanic leverage, which can cause diastasis recti and other core imbalanced challenges to arise.
There are a growing number of courses being offered as continuing education by the fitness and birthing communities. Some are online and some are live. Generally, they run similar to Personal Training Certifications, in that you must read some materials, watch some videos, practice a bit, and take an exam. Some offer pre-approved CEC’s/CEU’s, and some do not. They range in cost from less than $100 to about $800, depending how excited you are to learn about this field!
I recommend searching online, and choosing the course that calls to your intuition and inspires you the most :)
As of November, 2015, the National Accreditation boards like the NCCA/ICE (http://www.credentialingexcellence.org/ncca) or ANSI (http://www.ansi.org/) have not recognized the word "certification" regarding specifically pre and postnatal training. This means that any prenatal course can be called a "certification" without it meaning much.
We should clarify that the Fitness Industry, as a whole, is just beginning regulation--a process that the medical field went through about a hundred years ago and that physical therapy went through about half a century ago, and that massage therapy went through not so long ago. What this means is that things are beginning to change now for personal trainers.
Here's something that not a lot of people realize: Fitness Professionals are not yet legally required to hold a "certification" in order to practice as a personal trainer. In practice, of course, many gyms now require you to have one, but it's not a legality (it's not yet "regulated" by the government.) (Note that the very first area to legally require you to have a certification is Washington, D.C.) More states will follow in the coming years.
Regarding pre and postnatal training, it seems that the Bureau of Labor Statistics has not yet identified the Pre & Post Natal Fitness Professional as a unique entity in the workforce. So, to them, there is nothing yet to regulate. As I understand it, what will happen in time is that companies who are dedicated to prenatal wellness, will eventually do the analysis necessary to identify the prenatal professional as unique. When that happens, standards can be set for what proper education should be. And that's when an official status of prenatal "certification" will mean something more than just marketing.
This is the best that I have been made aware of at this point, through numerous calls to the NCCA and ANSI. As the founder of www.GetFitForBirth.com, it is a question that I am very interested in figuring out! I am all about transparency for our students, and I hope that this helps.