BIRTHFIT Podcast Episode 87: I’m Pregnant. Now what can I do at the gym
Lindsey: Hello, BIRTHFIT. This is Dr. Lindsey Mathews, your BIRTHFIT founder. This is another super special episode coming at you live from the BIRTHFIT Summit. Again, this is a live question in which we asked a number of regional directors at the BIRTHFIT Summit. So the question was: I’m pregnant. Now, what can I do at the gym?
I basically asked all of our regional directors this question because I get this emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent as a Facebook message or even an Instagram message I would say at least three times a day. So stay tuned. Here are your answers.
I’m sure you get this question infinity times. I’m pregnant. What can I do and not do in fitness?
Female: I’ll start real fast. So the first thing is like, “Congratulations! You’re pregnant.” And what are we doing with fitness? What are your fitness goals? And to help the mom kind of reframe because, hey, maybe she was competing for CrossFit regionals. Maybe she got this half iron man coming up.
Moms have all kinds of reasons for doing what they’re doing. Maybe not just competing, but for other things. But now, we got this pregnancy. And fitness goals need to adapt a bit because labor, birth, postpartum, they’re going to require you to be the ultimate expression of your woman fitness and to be functioning in all the metabolic pathways and to have balance and strength and coordination and flexibility and all of those things.
And to help the mom reset to start this path, to get her in the right framework, the right mindset I think is the first thing where I would start.
Female: Yeah. I think goal setting is really important. Most women who I see aren’t in a competitive environment. Well, I live in Los Angeles, so they have lots of concerns about what’s going to happen to their body. But for the most part, it’s a genuine like what can I do now? And I think going from a goal setting point of like what are we training for is really important.
And I would say for the most part, especially if you are lucky enough to be a member at DEUCE Gym either to keep doing what you’re doing which is really awesome, with obvious modifications when they present themselves. But I think the coolest thing that I find is that these women don’t even know what they’re capable of in pregnancy.
Because it’s just like, “Oh, my god. What do I do now?” And so I’m like, “Just come back to class tomorrow.” And that stamp of, “You’re doing it just fine,” is really, really important. But just telling them that movement is life is a big one and then training with purpose and intention.
Female: I think that thankfully fitness and training is getting much more common. Maybe it’s just the world I’m in, possibly.
Lindsey: You live in a bubble.
Female: I might live in a bubble, but I think it’s getting more common. And that’s a positive, but it can also be an obstacle as there’s now this competition of like, “Well, I’m pregnant and I’m still going to rock through toes to bar, rock through kipping pull-ups, rock through this whatever competition to prove that my body still can. So I would totally agree with the mindset shift and just talking to them like now is the time to listen to your body and maybe not push yourself when you feel like shit that day.
Like move for sure, but what does movement mean for you that day? Sit with yourself, get your mind right and listen to your body when it tells you to slow down. And start prepping their mind, again, that they’re now training for birth, the biggest athletic event of their life.
And that they don’t have to prove anything to anyone, but this is a great opportunity for them to really become connected to their baby and their body through movement. So yeah, I think the mindset and then like giving them the power and the control to take some prerogative and advocate for themselves through movement.
Female: So I would add to like the intention that you guys mentioned. I think that’s really important, but I know for me personally and I think maybe a lot of other women who are really into fitness when they find out they’re pregnant, I mean it hits you that if you’re going to train with intention and maybe that’s through BIRTHFIT, there’s a fear of losing out on that group, that communal atmosphere, working out with other people, having that supportive group around you.
So for me, the biggest thing just since I found out I was pregnant again and wanting this pregnancy to be different in terms of my training and just an overall feel was finding people that in the gym, it’s so amazing. They’re like, “Oh, this is really cool what you’re doing, the BIRTHFIT prenatal training. Can I do it with you?”
And so then that’s been really awesome. They’re not pregnant. Maybe that’s not even on their radar. But finding people that want to be part of that journey with you so you don’t feel lonely or on an island like you’re always training by yourself. Because I like training with other people.
That’s part of what drew me to CrossFit in the very beginning. So I think having that support group of people and it maybe someone that you would have never expected, but not being afraid to share or invite other people to share in that experience with you can be really powerful.
Female: All these answers are awesome. The only thing I would probably add to everything that’s been shared is a couple things. So you mentioned support in the gym. But I just want to have real conversations with them. So I say who is your support? Who is your tribe? I want to know those things.
I used to always kind of go to what’s your goal. What do you want to accomplish? You want to look at this, whatever. Now, I am more interested in finding out, “Well, who’s on your team? What is your family situation like?”
And I guess maybe that’s changed because recently I’ve had a whole slew of women I’ve done consultations with that don’t have a support team. Somebody recently lost her mother. Another person, the mom just got married so she doesn’t feel like she’s a part of her life right now.
Another person, she has a really good friend, but she’s at a different part of her life as well. And so it’s just I’m finding that more and more women just need a support team. The other thing I do is I create space and I let them know right away like — this is awesome. He’s so cute. He’s persistent, love it.
The other thing I do is I say, “Hey, listen. I just want to let you know that you’re going to experience a lot of transition, a lot of new things. I want to let you know that you can come to me at any time. And if you’re not comfortable with me, here’s some other people that you can talk to, right.”
I’ve referred people to so many people up here. I’m like, “Oh, there’s a friend of mine, Gina or you should come to Erica or call Melissa.” I literally am constantly referring people out. If you don’t feel comfortable with me, I just want to let you know that there is somebody that you can talk to. You are not an island. Please do not feel like you’re by yourself. So creating space and finding out who’s on their tribe.
Female: I would say just add on to everything that was already said is just letting them know that they’re going to come up against some obstacles too. People are going to possibly ask them like, “Is that safe? Should you be doing that?” And just being prepared to be empowered and be able to stand up for themselves and what they’re trying to accomplish for them and to not listen to the you shouldn’t do this and you shouldn’t be doing that and you shouldn’t pick up a barbell and aren’t you going to hurt your baby?”
And if they’re just being supportive and letting them know that that is probably going to happen if they continue to want to pursue fitness like they have been safely. And then I think the only other thing is being a gym owner, I try to make sure that they understand that I’m going to have conservations with my other coaches and that we are going to be a team in the gym for them.
And women feel like they can come to me and say, “I’m pregnant.” I want them to know that we’re all here to support no matter who’s class they’re in. Like we’re going to be a resource for you even though I maybe a BIRTHFIT regional director, I’m going to also educate my coaches on what is appropriate for them to be doing so that they feel supported and can trust everyone that’s there.
Female: Yeah. So I think I’m going to probably second a lot of what Embo said. When they first come to me and they’re telling me — and gosh, dang, there’s a lot of them right now — that they’re pregnant. And the first thing I’m like, “Well, that’s freaking rad.” I want them to know it’s not anything to be like, “Oh, shit. Well, like that sucks,” you know.
So the first question I usually ask them is, “What do you think that’s going to look like? What’s going to be different?” And I’m like, “Well, right now, nothing. We’re going to learn some really cool new things.”
And a lot of them have already at this point seen the functional progressions because I do try to sneak them in in our regular classes. But really honestly what it is and each — I don’t know if any us are really touching this, but each one of my moms, they’re so different. They’re so different.
I have some moms that are like — one that I’m kind of coaching through like via online texting, she’s just a badass. I don’t have another word for her. I mean she’s strong. Her goal is to go to regionals next year. It’s probably going to happen.
But I’m also trying to help her to be responsible about that because she in the beginning, she was doing the BIRTHFIT online, the prenatal series. And then she kind of went off on her own and decided like, “Hey, I don’t think I need to do this. I’m so badass and so strong.”
And now here she is kind of after the fact having some things that are coming up that are going to definitely hinder her from getting to the next point. So that mom is approached a little bit differently than say my day-to-day mom that is basically coming in completely green and has never even moved functionally before.
So really what it is just kind of meeting each mom where they’re at and helping them to move with intent and move correctly and have the optimal pregnancy that they can have and that’s really how I approach is individual case-by-case.
Female: Just to add onto that. You mentioned that she’s taking the online prenatal series. I’m pretty sure this has happened to a bunch of you guys, but have people approached you and that don’t live anywhere close to you and said, “Hey, I’m pregnant. What do I do?”
Female: Does anybody want to answer that one?
Female: Take the BIRTHFIT coach seminar.
Female: Pay for education.
Female: Here’s information. Here’s education. Here’s some resources. Here’s where to go. I know up in the Northeast, we need more people. What’s so awesome about this is like we’re constantly spreading. It’s like I tell people, “We need more help. We need more people.”
But if you can’t find someone close to you, like I just had someone in western Massachusetts and then another person in Connecticut, quite a few people from Connecticut. And that’s why it’s so cool that there’s someone in Boston now. I’m like, “Yes, finally.” Thanks, Kim.
But you know what, that is just like it’s so awesome that we have the online series. So that has been a really huge resource I know for us especially.
Lindsey: What are some of the exercises? I know I mentioned this in the question, but we kind of went off in another direction. What can I do and not do?
Female: Start with broad strokes. You can move functionally. Some women don’t know about BIRTHFIT or they’ve heard about BIRTHFIT, but they’re not BIRTHFIT because they’re not trying to have kids. But then they find themselves pregnant. Okay, now what do I do, right?
So start with a functional progression for sure. This is how you train your core. This is how you learn to stabilize. It’s going to get harder as your baby grows. But it depends as well where you’re at in your pregnancy. So first trimester, this is where a lot of the physiological adaptations are taking place.
And energy might be low. It’s expensive energetically to build all these tissues and the blood vessels and the blood volume needed to fuel you and baby. For second trimester, a lot of women feel that resurge of energy. Maybe powerlifting now that you got a smaller bump. It’s like that’s what functionality looks and feels like for you.
In third trimester, it’s more like e-moms. Right now, we’re preparing for birth in a really intentional way. We’re going to work hard for about 90 seconds to two minutes and we’re going to rest. And we’re going to breathe, and belly breathe and connect to baby throughout the entire movement.
So what’s so beautiful about fitness in BIRTHFIT is that this is the chance for a mom to start facilitating that trust in her body in the gym, right. It’s so cool. It’s this awesome, daily, weekly practice that she gets to be in.
Female: Going along with what you can do, [0:15:40] [Indiscernible] the kids to somebody else.
Female: Always the bad guy.
Female: For pregnant women, we talk about building your posterior chain. And for regular women, we talk about building your posterior chain. For men, we talk about building your posterior chain. It goes along for everybody.
But in pregnancy, it’s super important. As you know, the body changes, the bones move, the ligaments start to loosen up. You purposely have more of a pelvic tilt or a curve in your lumbar, right. So this is to obviously position your body properly for birth.
And you’re supporting an anterior low. So you’re supporting a load on the front side of your body obviously. This is growing constantly throughout the nine to ten months that you were pregnant. So if you are growing a load on the front of your body, we need to make sure that there’s a balance on the back side of your body which would be the posterior chain.
So we’re doing lots of movement to grow your rectors, your glutes, your hamstrings, calves, your traps, your scaps, your lats, everything really. So anything that supports the growth and development of your posterior and like really your glutes because that’s to me the main, most important thing there. We all like that.
But you’re supporting the backside of your body so that when you give birth, you have a strong backside and a strong body really to go through labor and delivery. But when you’re in this postpartum period, you have muscle support for your body that’s now changing again.
Female: What an opportunity to do sandbag, Carrie.
Female: Seriously. Early and cowbell swings.
Female: I guess I’ll cover the elephant in the room then.
Lindsey: Thanks, Erica.
Female: What can I not do. I get this question all the time. And a little bit of a digression to get back to where we are, but we’ve got pregnancy and postpartum kind of backwards in general. So people in your life may treat you like you’re ginger and you be careful. And we need to like be training for birth and slow down postpartum.
So it’s really important that all of our training is intentional. So when people ask me, “Well, what can I not do?” It really goes back to listen to your body and find where your body is. So because I love the pelvic floor and diaphragm and core so much, I often times get questions around diastasis and incontinence.
And this is going on. So what should I not be doing? And that’s why right away we say no sit-ups ever again in your life. No crunches, kipping pull ups, toes to bar, GHD sit-ups. But then realistically, nothing that is increasing or exacerbating active symptoms that you have going on.
So that looks different for everyone. And you again have to meet yourself where you are with it. But we know that those movements that I just listed, they don’t have a space in prenatal or postpartum training. They don’t.
So we can have the conversation a year postpartum if you really should return to any of those or not. But definitely not when you’re prenatal. And also these changes happen in the body for a reason. And when your belly is expanding, there is — like the area of least resistance is the sheath that connects your rectus abdominis muscles.
So that’s where you’re going to see a lot of the stretch. And so sometimes that’s the only reason why you see a diastasis or maybe there was a little bit of dysfunction in the movement before that. It doesn’t really matter. If that symptom is getting worse, then you need to avoid anything that’s making it more prominent.
So again, it forces you to get in tune with your body, connect your baby and your body in that way because you’re really going to have to be able to connect with your baby and your body in the big show of birth.
Lindsey: Wait. So you can check for diastasis during pregnancy?
Female: You can. Sure thing.
Lindsey: So yeah. Tell me more.
Female: Yeah, you can. So early on in pregnancy you may not see much of a change. And as your belly grows as I said, there’s expansion that occurs obviously. So things that you’ll see, a diastasis looks — your belly will start to look like a tent or you’ll see coning in certain positions.
And once you start to see it, it’s kind of like a blaring bright light of like, “Holy shit. What is that?” And so when I do consults, a lot of times — well, most of the time — I have people send me videos because they’re asking me the same questions. What can I do? What can I not do?
So if I can see what’s going on, then I can better help you, but pay attention on your own. Another way you can check is laying on your back, knees bent, feet on the floor and come into a mini crunch and just see what happens within your core. Or if you totally love pullups, but they’re getting a little bit more difficult for you to do and you just feel like, “Holy crap. I didn’t really realize how much of my core for –” let’s use pullups as an example.
And then you have someone else assess you because it’s really easy to do a pullup when you’re looking down. If you have someone else assess you and you see it, then you that’s a time to stop to modify that movement. And like Embo said, posterior chain, all the posterior chain, all the booty with intention.
So the answer to what would I sub for these movements is ring rows functional progression, just a lot more quality functional movement, preparing yourself for birth.
Female: I think it’s important too to realize that some women are going to feel really down sometimes when you tell them what they can’t do. And to spin that in a positive light and explain to them to use this opportunity as a chance to get stronger.
Work on your strict work. Use this time to really — because we don’t do that enough usually. Accessory work, things that are going to then set you up for success postpartum instead of focusing on all the things I can’t do now and being sad about that.
Female: Yeah. I’m going to touch on that. I actually just had one of my girls. I think we just hit the 16-week mark with her. And when I noticed the coning, I saw it. I pulled her aside and she’s like, “I’m fine. I’m fine,” doing butterfly pullups.
And I said, “Kelly, you’re not fine. Like I’m telling you it’s not appropriate anymore.” And I’ve been fighting with her from the beginning on her strict work and telling her like everything needs to be strict now. This is where we’re at.
And she said, “But dammit, I just got these butterfly pullups. I’ve been working on this forever and I’m going to lose them.” So I had to have the talk with her about think about what you’re going to be gaining from this and being in that strict work and taking the time to step back just a little bit.
Think about what the comeback is going to be for you. That’s going to be — you already now you have a skillset. She’s like, “I’m fine.” So what I did was I videotaped it for her so she could actually see it back. And then finally I had a little bit of breakthrough there and a little bit of understanding.
But sometimes it just takes some love and compassion. But then sometimes you got slap down that mama bear. I mean you do. And you just got to kind of say, “This is the line.”
Lindsey: This is the line. Don’t cross it.
Female: Yeah. But yeah. It is hard. That’s a hard thing and it’s a real thing. And especially in the CrossFit world, you have to be very mindful of that. These women have worked really hard for their gains and where they’re at and it’s a super big deal to them. So you have to be respectful with that too.
Female: And on the other side of that, you have people come to you that are now pregnant and maybe they weren’t doing CrossFit. Maybe they were just running or going to spin. And now all of a sudden, they want to introduce functional training which is awesome.
But being sensitive to that as well and as a coach knowing how to approach somebody that wants to now be gung-ho and incorporate all this new information. And they want to be healthy, but easing them in safely and appropriately.
Female: That was my last series. I had zero, zero — my women that had any functional fitness background. So it was a very cool opportunity for me because I was starting from scratch with them. And getting to teach functional progression all the way through basic movement, standard of movement, teaching a squat.
I mean it was really — it was actually very cool experience for me as a coach. But yeah, expect that to happen, you guys. Expect people to come into you being like, “I want to do this.” And you’re like, “Sweet. Show me a squat.” And you’re like, “Holy shit.” So yeah, it can happen.
Lindsey: Embo, how important is strength training? Sorry. I cut you off.
Female: Me? Oh, no, you didn’t.
Female: Just real fast. What I’m about to say sounds ass-backwards and it’s really not. Pregnancy and postpartum can be such a gift to a competitive athlete because if you think about it, how often do you stop and really like asses the way that you’re creating core stability so that you can transfer load and do movements well. It doesn’t happen until you have an injury of some sort and then maybe it’s too late.
Or you have this gift of a pause and to really reflect on what it is that you’re doing, how you’re recruiting. It’s truly a gift. And I think if we could start communicating that to more women, it wouldn’t seem like a such a grieving time. And I’m not going to skim over that and say that it’s not difficult especially when your identity is being this badass athlete. That’s hard. And I appreciate that and what an opportunity.
Lindsey: Awesome. Now, let’s talk strength training.
Female: How important is strength training during pregnancy. I think strength training is one of the most important things you could do during your pregnancy. And sticking with — I like to call it strictly strict when you’re pregnant or strictly strict is phenomenal.
Like I had a woman come to at 36 weeks and she’s like, “Hey, I want to get birth fit now.” And I was like, “Okay, let’s do this.” She was like, “Is it too late?” I’m like, “No, the baby is still in there. We got time.”
We pressed, we pushed pressed, we squatted. We did wall balls, we walked around. That was pretty much it. We bench pressed, maybe. And basically, we just moved. Strictly strict even though push press isn’t technically strict, I really love the push press.
And she had like a three-day labor and she said — and the weeks leading up to her going into labor, she’s like, “I’ve gained five more pounds, but I don’t feel like I’ve gained five more pounds. I’m walking up the stairs and I still feel the same. Like I don’t feel like I’m heavier. I’m feeling strong.”
And I’m like, “Dude, yes, let’s do this.” And she’s like, “I’m 42 weeks. Can I come in tomorrow?” I was like, “Yup, let’s go.” And all we did was strength train. Yes, we added the e-moms and the like one minute on, one minute off interval style of workout.
But getting strong in your pregnancy is not only physical. Obviously, that’s really helpful. And another anecdote to that, one of my friends, when she gave birth, she laughed to her nurses and said, “This feels like a one rep max back squat.” And they looked at her like she was insane, but she had an amazing birth.
So not only is it phenomenal for your physical body, but to feel emotionally or like to feel strong on the inside is the most valuable thing you can get out of lifting weights. Like you guys all felt that yesterday when we carried sandbags, right. You’re like, “Damn, I’m pretty cool.” Right?
Like that’s literally why I do strong man because it feels awesome. You lift heavy weights and you feel badass and how cool is that in pregnancy? Even if you’re heavy weight and somebody else’s heavy weights are completely different things which they will be to you. It’s a big feat. And it’s like these little victories throughout your nine to ten months that make you feel physically and emotionally strong and lifting weights is the take in.
Female: Can I share a little doula story about this?
Female: So Kevin who’s on the BIRTHFIT podcast as a #BIRTHFIT dad, I don’t know. It was a few episodes ago. Anyway, I was their doula at their birth and Lindsay is his wife’s name and she is strong as fuck. She is. She’s badass.
So she had a home birth and it was a pretty amazing, but also one of the craziest flipping things I’ve ever been a part of. But yeah, so her and I have the same affinity for squatty potty. So of course, the squatty potty was out being used as a birthing stool.
And things were starting to get really intense. And she started to tell me that she was like, “I need to be in a squat. It’s too much pressure on my butt right now. It’s like too much pressure on my butt.
So things are intense like the baby came within the next I would say half hour to 45 minutes. And so literally through every contraction, she would get down into a squat on the squatty potty and then she would hold herself up with her upper body up off the squatty potty through the contraction. Like literally pushing herself up and I was like, “Holy shit.”
So she was able to get into this squat that she needed in a suspended hold through a contraction. Yeah, I was like, “Whoa.” Yeah, the human body is amazing. So that’s why strength. This is why we lift.
Lindsey: Can Abby go first?
Female: You have a question for me?
Female: I thought you wanted to say something.
Female: Oh, no, you can go.
Female: Okay. I have a question for this group. What would you say to either a doula or a midwife or an OB who has this myth conception or a mom who has been told this? “Oh, those CrossFit moms, their pelvic floor is too strong, and baby can’t get through.” Yeah, “Too tight or too strong and baby is never going to come out?”
Lindsey: There’s a great blog Dr. Lindsey Mathews wrote on birthfit.com.
Female: Mic drop.
Lindsey: And it’s all about — have them define what fitness means to them because they really don’t know what they’re asking. And for some, it’s just being constantly — I just took the answer away from you all and I’m coming over here. They’ve been exposed to these long endurance athletes that maybe have just run because triathlons used to be like the thing, the freak thing that people did, not it’s CrossFit, soon it maybe something else. I don’t know.
But for me and that blog it’s like okay, what is their definition of fitness? It did not match my definition of fitness. And what was too tight and what didn’t work out for them?
And for them it’s usually the hip flexors or something were too tight. And I don’t think they really knew what they were trying to say. Just they wanted to put blame on something for the failure of whatever that situation was. But I do see, and I talk about this in the coach seminar, that there has to be a balance.
There has to be functional training. There has to be range of motion, strength training, everything happening in all three planes. So if you’re just spinning or you’re just running, then you’re only operating and if you’re just cross fitting, you’re only operating in the sagittal plane.
So there’s got to be stuff happening in the other planes. Same thing if you’re just doing yoga, you’re only focusing on the range of motion. You’re not focusing on the strength training aspect of it. And that’s going to be really hard to stabilize your pelvis to even have any type of muscle to hold a baby in this position on the other side.
Sorry. Anybody want to add?
Female: My experience with this last pregnancy, my second pregnancy, the first — I moved to a new area, wasn’t sure, got some recommendations from some friends on an OB’s office. First date with them I realized really fast that was not going to work for me that office.
My first appointment, I specifically said my husband and I own a CrossFit gym. I’ve been cross fitting close to six, seven years now. I will continue to do this. So I’m not asking permission. I’m asking for support.
And I was told, “I really don’t want you to life more than 20 pounds.” I’m like, “Well, I have a seven-year-old son that sometimes needs help and weighs a lot more than that.” So I think it’s just important to again build your team and figure out if somebody does not match with your ideals or what you want during your pregnancy, then obviously find — I wasn’t looking for somebody to tell me, “Yeah, keep lifting.” But to support me in what I know is safe and in my decisions.
Female: Yeah. And going along with that, I don’t consider myself a pelvic floor expert by any means. But something that you can share with doulas or women is like the little sneak sprinkle and share that we do pelvic floor and diaphragm corrective exercise work, right.
Like that is kind of what the functional progression is. It is rehab for your pelvic floor. And also ask them how they know that, how they know that to be true. Like how do you really know that to be true? Because I don’t know that to be true.
Female: It’s always looking for blame.
Female: Yeah. I’m not asking you. Yeah, I know that you do.
Female: It was a CrossFit mom one time.
Female: I don’t know.
Female: Venice City. Ask them how they know that to be a fact because they don’t, right. And you’re scaring somebody for no reason.
Female: There’s no research.
Female: There’s no research. There’s no reason for that. Tell them to shut up.
Female: Okay. I hear this one a lot. My doctor told me that I shouldn’t squat really low, below parallel. And I definitely shouldn’t do it in the last trimester. See you never.
Female: Because you might give birth.
Female: Run for the hills.
Female: The best position to give birth in is a squat. It opens your pelvic outlet by 30%.
Female: Totally. Boom.
Female: There’s that science.
Female: So I was going to go back to even — it goes with this question about your question too is how do you explain it. My favorite thing is just to show it. So invite those people out to participate in the class. That’s the best way that I’ve seen to help explain it. It’s just to invite them out to do it.
And then they see the benefits firsthand not only for themselves personally, but then also for the people that are taking the class. So whether it’s a below parallel squat, when you do one you realize the magic.
If I tell you that it’s great, you may not necessarily understand that. Exactly, you already feel better just one squat, you know. And spending time in the squat, we’ve been talking about time and attention, but even just like sitting in that bottom of that squat during pregnancy is amazing.
Accumulating time in the bottom of the squat and I’ve been approached where I’ve spoken with medical teams at hospitals in our area. And they always ask what is the risk. Like what is the risk in women doing this? And I tell them every time, the risk is not doing it. That is the risk.
That’s only one I can think of and it sounds super simple, but if you come out and see it, you will see that there are no inherent risk. The risk lie in everyone else is kind of turning a blind eye to the magic of BIRTHFIT.
Lindsey: Totally. There was one study and I think it was done by somebody that went to the University of Texas which is why you go to A&M. I think it was a strength and conditioning department. And one guy wanted to prove his theory that squatting below parallel damage the knees.
So he funded the study or they funded the study. They got the results they wanted, but then they since went back and found that that study was flawed. But just like the term breech trial, the study was out and it’s put things in people’s head that make people freak out and question squatting below parallel or questioning vaginal breech births. One study can brainwash people.
Female: Yeah. And to bring it full circle, I really believe there’s a positive intention in everything. That everything is either an act of love or a cry for love. And these doctors that are saying, “Don’t life more than 20 pounds, don’t squat below parallel. You can’t have a vaginal breech birth.”
This more often than not comes from a place of love of them wanting to protect a bad situation from never happening again. And like Dr. [0:39:58] [Indiscernible] said before when we problem solve without understanding the innate physiology, the natural way of things, sometimes we undermine those natural, physiologic processes by virtue of doing that.
So sometimes it’s hard when you head docs say that. I was told in my third birth, “You can’t life more than 15 pounds.”
Female: And it’s [0:40:21] [Indiscernible].
Lindsey: Somebody told Melissa that.
Female: Exactly. Because at one point in time, they either heard of or experienced a patient coming in who deadlifted or did something that was nor properly cued or knew how to do it functionally.
Lindsey: Or they heard it through the grapevine.
Female: They heard it through the grapevine, right, horrible outcomes. How do we then speak to the lowest common denominator to protect all women from this? And there you have it. Like there’s the — yeah, it is very general. And there are so many creative ways that we can get back to a more individualized model of care where we’re spending more time with moms. What’s your lifestyle? What do you do on a daily basis to then better support them through their journey?
Lindsey: Awesome. One more question then we’re switching. Can I work out two weeks postpartum?
Female: Do you mean breathe?
Lindsey: No. I mean go to the gym.
Female: I’ll go first.
Lindsey: Rep it out.
Female: So for the first two weeks literally just breathe and be with your baby. Beyond that, it’s like baby wearing walks. So if that means — I think in my experience personally, when I get that question from moms and maybe anybody else can speak to this as well, but it comes from a place of needing community and feeling a little bit disconnected.
So if I get that question, I’m asking them like what are they doing for support right now? What’s going on? Hopefully, occasionally I will meet them where they are at their home or whatever. But encourage them just to do some baby wearing, more bonding with baby.
They can maybe start the functional progressions, maybe, depending on what’s going on with them. But I encourage — is that the point of no return? It’s just going to catapult off the — I encourage them to — if they’re asking me to go back into the gym, it’s coming from somewhere else.
So I encourage them to connect with another mom. Maybe it’s me. Maybe it’s someone else in their tribe and move together. Like wear baby, go for a walk. But two weeks postpartum, no, you don’t need to go back to the gym and go back into a workout.
This would be like the very, very, very earliest that I would have anybody in a postpartum series.
Female: Breath and flow.
Female: Breath and flow, right.
Female: Erica said everything that I was thinking. So I don’t need to repeat that. But I had a woman and it was the same thing. I really got that she just wanted a sense of community and she was three weeks postpartum, so not two weeks, but close enough.
And she’s like, “Hey, I’m feeling great. I want to come back.” And I was like — like she came to the gym two days postpartum because her chiropractor’s next door to us. Brought her in. She’s like, “She was born two days ago.” And I was like, “Jesus.”
She was great. She seemed very fine. She went home, said, “I’m ready to come back.” And I was like, “Okay. I mean, no. Like let’s see what’s going on.” And I just checked in. I said like, “Let’s see another week.” And she texted me five days later and she goes, “I don’t know what I was thinking. I was having like a great three days. And I am just exhausted. I need to rest more.”
And I was like, “Yes, you do.” It’s her second pregnancy and she had the postpartum series before which was really awesome. I said, “Why don’t you just start doing the belly breathing and functional progression number one?” And then she came into the postpartum series again.
But she came back and was like, “Holy crap. What if I came back?” And I was like, “Yeah, dude. I just would not have let you.” And it was really just that longing to be out and about. And I think that’s the underlying tone of wanting to come back to the gym for a lot of people, not everybody. There are the people who want to jump right back into it and that’s a hard no.
Female: To add to that, I recently had maybe because it’s warm out by us, more marathoners that have given birth or whatnot. And some of them, like one I knew, the other one I did not know. And there’s a certain mentality what you know when you’re training for anything, but especially for a marathon that just like I have to get my miles in.
Like I just have to do it especially when baby is born. Like okay, baby’s out. Let’s go right back to the trails. And we’re like, “Whoa! Whoa, whoa. What’s going on?”
So I feel like this has been happening by us especially with running and postpartum. And one thing that I decided to do, I said, “I’m a running coach.” So they don’t always listen unless I’m saying, “Hey, here’s the amount of miles that I need you to run.”
If I say anything but that, it’s almost like they shut down. So what I did to counter do that is we created a private Facebook group for just our postpartum moms. And a lot of them know each other or they know at least one person in that group. So I’ve connected them and I tell them ahead of time like, “Hey, I’m going to connect you to this specific mom.
I’m also going to add you to this group, this community and I want you to connect.” So it’s so great now seeing how this is starting to catch on in our region. Moms are reaching back out and they’re saying, “Hey, let’s meet up. Hey, let’s go for a walk. Hey, what are you doing? Like we’re going to go take the babies out in a baby stroller.”
And I don’t always need to be the one to say, “You should not do this right now.” I actually spoke to one of these marathon runner moms and she said. “Oh, that’s okay. My friend, Britney, told me the other day that I shouldn’t do this until this time.” Or, “You should really check out the postpartum series that they’re doing at that gym.”
It took a long time to get to that and some frustration and beating my head up against the wall. But it’s just a cool thing just reiterating what Erica and Embo said about community is a really strong tool. So yeah.
Female: I know earlier we discussed and a lot of us have certain roles in our lives. Like we’re mothers, we’re wives, we’re business owners. We’re this, we’re that to so many different people. And I think it’s hard for some people in the postpartum especially the first few weeks, month to really let go and surrender to that. And just let go of those roles.
I mean I think the, again, the biggest thing is a support team where you can delegate your responsibilities and not feel like I have to get back to my business, I have to get back to being a good wife. Like creating that support around you to and ahead time to delegate who’s going to check my email, who’s going to do this, who’s going to bring — who’s meal trains, all of that stuff. So you don’t feel the pressure of like I have to get back to that role. Like my role now is mom and my identity should be around that.
Female: What would you say for the mom that is searching for that community that maybe if you’re not letting her come into the gym because she’s two weeks postpartum. That she’s going to seek something elsewhere.
Female: That’s a really good question. I actually for me, I have a really big female demographic inside our gym. Sorry. It’ll probably come back on, yeah. Okay. So something that’s happened that’s really cool is they have kind of created this like almost like mini tribe within each other.
And so the women in my gym, I’m very, very lucky. I’m blessed. They’re really supportive women of each other. So couple things that have happened have been just automatic meal trains that they’ve done, but we’ll have walks.
So there’s like this really cool trails where we live. So we’ll go on a walk with them or something like that. But yeah, that’s definitely a thing. And you’ll be surprised how many women are just longing for that, just that community connection especially if it’s something that’s been their journey like the entire time of their pregnancy.
Then yeah, they’re longing for that for sure. So I would say yeah, they’ll seek it. If you can’t bring it to them, they’ll seek it. I feel like that comes on my heart and my shoulders as their coach is that I’m going to make sure that I’m going to provide that for them somehow.
And she made a really good point of delegating. If I personally can’t be that person for them, I’m going to reach out to my tribe and say, “Hey, you guys, who can meet so-and-so for a walk today for 30 minutes?” Or, “What about going here and doing –” like just even a lunch date or something, but yeah, you got to be there. It’s important.
Female: To add on that really quick. If we’re doing our jobs the way that we want to in BIRTHFIT, that’s never going to be a problem. Like we are with them from preconception ideally through the postpartum period. So we’re training during pregnancy for labor and delivery. Maybe we’re their doula also, how cool is that, being their trainer and then their doula.
And then you’re like, “Great. I’ll do a house call at two weeks or three weeks. We’ll check in at four weeks and I’ll see you at six weeks or five weeks.” Maybe she’s killing it and she’s feeling great at five weeks and everything is great. But that is the goal if we’re doing our job right is a non-issue, obviously. We don’t live in an ideal world, but that’s what we’re hoping for.
Female: So there’s this great thing called the BIRTHFIT prenatal series. And during the prenatal series, we start focusing on the postpartum plans. So we’ve got this birth plan, all the things that we want to happen. And then we are also starting to think into and dream into what we want our postpartum experience to look like.
And part of that experience is creating these allies, people that help you stay connected and the power ups, things that help make you feel full and able to give yourself as a mother and as a wife and as a business owner and as all of your hats. So it’s part of our intention. It’s part of our design to bring that to moms postpartum so that they’re well-supported through the entire transition.
Female: Sorry, just real quickly. To add to that, if they’re at that point where they come to you and they say — first, if they’re willing to admit that they would go see someone else, I’d be like, “Wow, you’ve got balls. That’s amazing. I’m really impressed.”
My first reaction would be like, “Go ahead. That’s fine.”
Female: Good luck out there.
Female: Yeah, you can do that. But let me tell you why you don’t want to do that. Let me tell you why you want to stay here. Besides the tribe and the community and the support, a lot of times, I’ve only had that someone say something kind of alluding to that. Maybe one time ever.
And it was from a very competitive, competitive person. And so I went the route of, okay, let me speak to their competitive nature and talk about an advantage. Let me tell you why coming here and doing or listening to the way we do things here actually gives you a big advantage, so you come back more healed, you come back stronger. You come back more functional. You’re better able to breathe and hold positions and be more efficient.
So why would you not want to have an advantage? So why would you go that way? And I think speaking to like understanding personalities and their nature is really important.
So I’ve never not really experience that scenario, but if I ever did, I feel like the other factors going on, I feel like I would just have to really get to know them a little bit better and talk to that competitive nature. Or maybe there’s something missing or maybe there’s fear or sadness, whatever it is. That’s how I would handle that.
Female: Slow is fast.
Lindsey: Yeah. I think your question was they go elsewhere.
Female: Yeah. Worst case scenario, complete stranger reaches out to you, in interested. They’re two, three weeks postpartum and they want to go in the postpartum series. What do you do?
Lindsey: Yeah, what do you do. You give them the best information you can. And you all know a lot more than you think. And if they don’t want to wait then usually I see them in the chiropractic office a year later. And they’re like, “Oh, I tried this online program and it didn’t work.” Or, “I tried this. So I went back three weeks and started lifting.”
Like there’s just a message online. I get messages like this all the time. And it’s like, “I started lifting heavy like six weeks postpartum.” I was like, “What? What are you doing?” No foundation.
But yeah, usually I think Mel said or somebody said like they’re searching for something else and they don’t even know it. Anybody else want to ask a fitness question? Oh, got one.
Female: So ideas on you have mamas that don’t maybe want to tell people right away that they’re pregnant and want to wait. How do you make it less obvious for them so they can still be in the gym? And without people being like, “Ooh, I see you’re doing those functional progressions. You must be pregnant.”
Just to avoid that really blatantly obvious like, “Oh, I see.” Yup, she’s definitely…
Female: Pepper them in.
Female: Yeah. We’ve had two of this within the last month. And it’s really cool because they totally trust us and share that with us really early. So we let all the other coaches know. And yeah, we pepper the functional progressions into class for sure. Yeah, make everybody do it. Everybody can benefit from it.
And then if there’s toes to bar for example in the workout —
Lindsey: Shoulder injury.
Female: Shoulder injury.
Female: I was going to say she’s usually —
Female: Yeah, you’re doing slam balls today.
Female: She’s usually far more hyper aware of being modified or doing a different workout than the rest of the gym is. Everybody else just wants to get their reps in.
Female: And if you’re at a gym with adults there, everyone has had a preexisting injury.
Female: Yeah, true story.
Female: But it’s a really good question because one woman just came to us and she’s like, “I’m eight weeks pregnant.” And you do, you really want to respect their privacy and I’m just, “Thank you for letting me know. Noted. You’re doing slam balls today.”
Female: I give them a heads up that I’m going to tell the coach, the other coaches as well.
Female: I think that’s the right thing to do is to let your other coaches know. That’s very important and that’s a safety thing too.
Female: Yeah. And I think somebody touched on earlier about the social media thing. That’s huge for me. That’s extremely important that I ask that. Of all my clients and my athletes, they come tell me that they’re pregnant. I ask them right away, “What is your take on social media? Is that something you’re okay with or not?”
And I really, really try to be mindful of that. And it’s right on what they were saying too about kind of sprinkling it in. And honestly, I do it too because I mean I have an injury. I make my husband do it now. And I just say —
Lindsey: We’re all doing it.
Female: Yeah. And we’re all doing it. And it’s, “Oh, she’s doing that BIRTHFIT thing. Is she pregnant?” And I’m like, “It’s not just a BIRTHFIT thing. It’s functional progression. You just move.”
Female: I just love the pelvic floor.
Female: Yeah. We need more glutes in here.
Lindsey: Awesome. All right, final thought, everyone. So first of all, I would say attend the BIRTHFIT coach seminar. If you can’t do that, there’s BIRTHFIT online programming. If you can’t do that, hire a BIRTHFIT coach. Get with your BIRTHFIT regional director.
The final thought is this. We are training mind, body and soul for birth. So we are not modifying your volleyball workout for the day or your track workout for the day or your CrossFit workout for the day. We are training physically and non-physically for the greatest event of our life.
And this is a complete paradigm shift, a complete mindset. “Oh, god. Which way are we going now? Okay, we’re going down this route.” Like I need you to wrap your mind around that because it hasn’t been done before and that’s where we come in.
BIRTHFIT comes in to help you train mind, body and soul for the biggest event of your life. And then we recover smart and efficiently. So side note, no more knee raises, sit ups, toes to bar during the motherhood transition. Just write that one down.
All right. Don’t be afraid to set up consultations. Reach out to anybody for support because this is what we do and we got you. Have a good night.
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