Intentional Training Before and After Birth

Webster dictionary defines intentional as: ”deliberate, to have a purpose behind a task.” How can this be applied daily to our lives and any training we are pursuing in the Motherhood Transition? The intent will be personal to us each, and specific to our season, but the concept is the same: have intent, prepare our bodies, be safe, and make some type of gain or preparation. 


What is your intention with your current training program? Is it to 

  • prepare your body to carry a baby?
  • prepare your body to give birth?
  • help support the healing of your body after birth?
  • facilitate healing years into your postpartum? 

Or, Is it just to feel better/be stronger, and possibly have a better understanding of your body?  


Another way of viewing the intention of our training is to look at our WHY. If you are currently, or have in the past worked with a BIRTHFIT Coach or Professional, you may have heard them say or personally asked you your WHY. This may help you get to your intention in your training. If we remain intentional with our bodies and minds through our training, we set ourselves up for proper preparation, healing, and sustainability within motherhood and beyond. We are placing MEANING or PURPOSE behind the way we train.


Motherhood, no matter what end of the journey you are on – is THE unknown. This is why we must emphasize the INTENT within our training.


There are a few key points to consider while intentionally training before and after birth:


  1. Include functional movements based on real-world situational biomechanics, usually involving multi planar and multi joint movements. Some of these movements include squats, deadlifts, pull ups and push ups.
  2. Understand and apply diaphragmatic breath throughout training, but also in regular activities.
  3. Utilize appropriate core stabilization, which begins with contraction of the thoracic diaphragm (as described by DNS). This creates intra abdominal pressure, or a task-specific brace.
  4. Include variety of movement; we do this by incorporating specific warm up, strength, conditioning, and accessory work with each workout.
  5. Keep the season in mind. What are we training for? Birth? Healing? Pregnancy preparation? General wellness?
  6. Avoid dysfunction in our movements (this includes dysfunctional movements – movements that are not optimal for our biomechanics or intention, but also movements that are functional but demonstrate dysfunction (an example is that a pull-up is a functional movement, but in the prenatal time period, this may cause undue stress on the abdomen and therefore demonstrate dysfunction).


Understand that in preparation for birth, motherhood, and postpartum, we must train our core for strength, longevity, and the ability to take on a lot at once. During pregnancy, we carry a front load for 9 months while maneuvering daily tasks, and potentially other children. During labor, we birth a human being through our pelvis and multiple layers of muscle for hours on end. In postpartum, we carry odd and moving objects (children) on one side of us, in front of us, behind us, and sometimes overhead. Finally, in our forever years of postpartum, we count on all of the training leading up to this point to keep us functional and strong as we age. Our training needs to reflect these dynamic movements with a focus on quality movement. 


With that being said, let’s be honest: it’s hard to always be intentional and functional. Life day to day is fast and furious. We must slow down, give ourselves the time to be intentional, and remind ourselves of our goals. Live in the season we are currently in and be aware that our training likely looks different than someone else. If we install the same common ground of being intentional, functional, and using our power house, we can be most prepared for all things motherhood. We have all the tools we need to prepare for birth and postpartum within our bodies. With those same tools, we can facilitate healing through intentional, functional movement.


Dawn Hager CF-L2, 


USAW Sports Performance Coach 

SBD Doula

Beautifully New






  1. BIRTHFIT Coach Seminar workbook, version 1.0
  2. DNS Weightlifting Seminar workbook (written by Dr. Richard Ulm)
  3. DNS Sport and Fitness, Part 1 Seminar workbook 
  4. The BIRTHFIT Postpartum Series workbook
  5. BIRTHFIT YouTube Page
  6. Webster Dictionary
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