Every pregnancy is different. It's important to acknowledge that we all have our own experiences with our prenatal and postnatal (aka postpartum) bodies.
That being said, these are five lessons I have learned through having my own child as well as being a PRONatal Fitness Certified and a National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer.
What contributes to a successful prenatal and postnatal fitness program? How can one achieve their goals during pregnancy and postpartum?
Looking back on my own experience, there are five lessons I had to learn in order to successfully incorporate physical fitness into my life during pregnancy and as a new mom.
1. Learn to Adapt
I had a plan for myself that included fitness during and after my pregnancy, a birth plan, a breastfeeding plan, and lots of other plans. Let me tell you – not one of these went as I had imagined. Learning how to adapt to all of the things that were not under my control and acting on what was under my control with the best information I had at the time proved essential.
2. Be Patient When It Comes To Change
This particular lesson was most important for me postpartum. Can we just agree to eliminate the words “bounce back” from our vocabulary? It took patience to safely and sustainably recover, rebuild strength, and ultimately incorporate my favorite fitness activities back into my routine.
3. Prioritize Self
I still need this reminder but it is so important. Finding a way to incorporate health and fitness with all the other things that are important to me is prioritizing myself. With all of the demands of life, so many things can get in the way of prioritizing time for fitness, especially during pregnancy and with a new baby. As a new mom, finding the time and energy to exercise was difficult. Spending even a half hour on myself felt like a huge luxury.
4. It Really Does Take a Village
I cannot emphasize this enough. I needed to build my community and learn to ask for help. I found pre/post natal group classes to be an invaluable resource during this time. Connecting with other people going through a similar time in life was motivating, comforting, and informative.
5. Redefine What “Strength” Means To You
I had to redefine what strength means and that meant redefining my fitness goals. During pregnancy that meant feeling good during pregnancy and preparing my body for childbirth. In the months after the birth of my son, strength meant recovering and being able to get through the day. Today, strength means feeling good in my body while being able to do the things I enjoy safely and sustainably. The success is in the effort and showing up in the moment.
Be sure to keep an eye out for future blog posts on pre/post natal fitness including some exciting news of a pre/postnatal group strength training class we have in the works!
Meet the Author
Kristen is a NASM certified personal trainer who also holds a masters degree in social work from Fordham University. She has a strong interest in the interconnectedness between physical health and mental well-being that led her to pursue a career in personal training. Kristen works to promote healthy and happy lifestyles by coaching her clients through safe and fun workouts designed to help them achieve their personal goals.
Growing up as a competitive figure skater and ice hockey player, movement and physical fitness have always played a central role in her life. Kristen is an avid snowboarder and enjoys spending time outdoors hiking and biking with her family.
“I love helping my clients reach their wellness goals by designing fitness programs that can be incorporated into a balanced lifestyle. My goal is to make working out a fun part of your routine!”
If you'd like to train with Kristen, shoot her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!