Women who have had a baby, in some ways, are no different from any other client (they have a human body, strengths and weaknesses, goals and challenges). Of course, in other ways, they are in their own world; the demands of being pregnant, going through labour, and then caring 24/7 for another human being can impact a woman in very significant ways.
The nuts and bolts of post-partum exercise planning depends a lot on if I had a history with this client i.e., did I know her before she was pregnant? did I know her when she was pregnant? If yes, then I was getting regular updates. If not, then a thorough health and fitness history would be crucial, things like: were you active before pregnancy, during pregnancy, etc..?
A few significant variables when working with a post-partum client:
-time: can she actually come to the studio? if I went to her home, would she be able to exercise? can she do something on her own, without me?
-energy: is she sleeping? does she have support? does she have other children, besides the newborn? is she properly nourishing herself?
-financial: babies are expensive creatures! And, there is at least one income that is affected…What is within her budget right now?
-physical: how is her body feeling? how did it respond to childbirth? Did she tear? Does she have diastisis recti? Is she breastfeeding?
-emotional: how much stress is she feeling? how much of an effect have hormones had? Is she suffering from baby blues or a deeper depression?
Once all of her specific issues have been addressed, we can collaborate on the best course of action, at least in the short run; things can change so much in a few months that a revision may be necessary.
Stroller Strides is the perfect way for new moms to get back in shape after having their baby! All instructors nationwide are certified in pre and postnatal fitness giving them the advantage and education for this very special clientele. Our programs range from Fit4Baby (prenatal) to Stroller Strides (newly postnatal) to Body Back (for moms of any age).
A woman’s body has changed so much in 9 months and understanding this will make a huge difference in her recovery. The interval based, directed approach is what make Stroller Strides’ programs so successful for moms, and the “village” they provide speaks to her social needs. It’s perfect!
I teach Baby Boot Camp to expecting and post-partem moms. They get to bring their baby to class in a stroller which helps relieve some of their stress.
It took them 9 months of their body changing for the baby, so yes, start slow and help them know they are doing well even if they do not see the changes right away. So much of it is mental and hormonal. Also, their body may not go back exaclty the way it was. Help them embrace their new mom body.
Once it is determined that she’s ready and able to exercise, start slowly. Your client now has a new body post-baby and it will take some time for her to get used to. Help her find positive aspects about her new body even if it’s out of shape due to the demands of pregnancy and recovery. Reinforce the need for her to spend some time during the week focusing on her own health and fitness and that the time spent will help her be a better mom. Make sure she lets you know if anything hurts or feels strange or uncomfortable as she’s getting back into shape. Most of all, be supportive and motivating as this is an important time in her life.
A post partum “recovery” plan depends, for the most part, on the mom’s birthing method and her fitness/activity levels before and during pregnancy. Mom’s goals are important to understand, too. A focused post-partum assessment and ongoing communication provide the important information needed to develop an appropriate and progressive recovery/exercise plan and format. Generally speaking, recovery plans begin with body weight exercises. As strength and stability return moms progress to higher levels of intensity and changes in format.