As you may or may not know, as of this past August I am a pre/post natal exercise specialist! I’m up one more level of awesome!
All jokes aside, it’s a very very cool certification and I’m ecstatic to be able to help this very special population. Although the process of getting certified was long, it was enriching and definitely worth it.  Some of my requirements were:

1. Read “Exercising Through Your Pregnancy” by Dr. James F. Clapp

Dr. Clapp is a leading researcher in this very specific arena, and his book offers ground breaking information. He talks about how pregnancy was once viewed as a sickness, whereas in reality perinatal women can do just about anything that their non-pregnant counterparts can. He covers the physiological changes that occur when you become pregnant, the benefits of exercising during pregnancy (there’s a lot– more on that later), and how to program and monitor.

2. Read a ~200 page manual written by my certification creators, Kim Nelli + James Goodlatte 

This manual is something I refer to frequently. It sort of fleshes out details from Clapp’s book and goes into more detail about structural considerations, corrective exercise, movement assessment, primal movement patterns (breathing, squat, lunge, twist, bend, push, pull, single leg balance), and actual program design. There is also a separate manual for post-natal fitness that digs into the emotions of child birth, hormones and nutrition. What I like so much about this certification is that Kim and James really explore a holistically healthy pregnancy, as opposed to just focusing on exercise.

3. Complete about 10 written quizzes to submit for feedback

4. Review and Learn the latest ACOG guidelines for absolute and relative indications to exercise during pregnancy

These are very pregnancy-specific issues to be mindful of as a trainer, or if you’re pregnant yourself. Some absolute contraindications include persistent 2nd or 3rd trimester bleeding or pregnancy induced hypertension. Some relative contraindications include severe anemia or poorly controlled thyroid disease.

5. Video record 2 movement assessments, 1 for prenatal and 1 for post

6. Video record a 60-minute session

A big thanks to my stellar client Christina for allowing me to film our session!

7. Have 2-5 skype meetings with James to discuss videos

James gave great feedback and really encourages his FitForBirth trainers to think critically.

I’ve learned way too much to ever summarize in one blog post, but to give you an example… here are some benefits to exercising during pregnancy:

For Moms:

1.  Less weight gain

2. Less labor pain

3. Less pregnancy discomfort

4. Decrease in need to artificially rupture membranes

5. Decrease in need for episiotomy (2-4″ incision along the vaginal wall)

6. Decrease need for operative intervention

7. Decreased time in labor

For Babies:

1. Increased physical health scores

2. Increased intelligence scores

3. Fewer fetal interventions

4. Fewer pregnancy complications

5. Increase nutrient delivery to fetus

These are obviously not exhaustive lists, and I can’t emphasize enough the importance of staying active during pregnancy. Many people view pregnancy as a time to be lazy and excuse a poor diet because they’re hormones are telling them to eat a double mac. Quite the contrary. Pregnancy is a time to pay even MORE attention to your health– you’re creating another human for pete’s sake! I’ve had a few pregnant clients at this point, and it’s honestly pretty cool to empower them to continue to lift and engage in interval training.

Lastly, I want to give you some insight as to how a session with me actually goes down. 

The session is broken up into 4 components. We spend the first 10-15 minutes doing some breathing drills to turn on the diaphragm, TVA and deep core muscles. Kim and James refer to this is awakening from ‘core amnesia.’ The next 25-35 minutes are dedicated to functional training. During this time I will go through specific corrective exercises, and my usual strength training programs. After that, we spend 10 minutes in what’s called Labor Training. Labor training is basically HIIT with a recovery period using imagery. I let my ladies choose their form of conditioning (ball slams, mountain climbers, sled push etc), and I walk them through the imagery. The work/rest intervals are supposed to simulate how actual contractions occur, starting with shorter work periods/longer rests, and gradually moving to longer work/shorter rest. Then whatever time is remaining is used for gentle stretching and relaxation. The ladies leave the session with a sense of achievement, confidence and calmness.

So far, I’ve been meeting with my pre/post natal clients in 1-on-1 sessions, but I’d also like to start a small group training program so that ladies can get the camaraderie and encouragement from fellow preggo’s.  🙂

If you or anyone you know is interested in pre/post natal training, please contact me at ldevincent@fitcorp.com

-L

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