We are very pleased to introduce a new service at Function Health Club in our Vancouver Yaletown location – BIRTHFIT! As part of our overall commitment to helping our members and the community achieve their health goals, we recognize that as an expecting or postpartum mom, it’s often hard to know what is “right” to do in order to stay healthy and active during and after a pregnancy.
This multi-part blog series comes from Janina Schmidt, our certified BIRTHFIT Coach and facility manager. Take it away Janina!
Introducing BIRTHFIT for Expecting and Postpartum Moms
As a BIRTHFIT Coach, I am passionate about helping women navigate pregnancy, birth and life as a mom. My goal is to raise awareness about the choices we have regarding fitness surrounding an event most women will come to experience at one point in their life. The BIRTHFIT program was designed to empower moms to take charge of their bodies and decisions during this critical time, and to help you be ready in mind, body and spirit for the experience of birth. BIRTHFIT is built around four key pillars and I connect with these pillars and want to help others integrate them into their daily lives.
The Four Pillars of BirthFit
In this post, I will be outlining how to integrate fitness when you are trying to conceive. We will focus on exercise during pregnancy and postpartum in posts to follow.
“To functionally train throughout the Motherhood Transition in all planes of motion to develop competencies and physical skills, as well as enhance the main metabolic pathways.”
There is a lot of conflicting information on the internet around this topic:
How do you integrate fitness into your life when you are trying to get pregnant?
- “Have a regular fitness routine before you get pregnant to make conception, pregnancy and postpartum life easier.”
- “Don’t exercise too hard and avoid high intensity workouts.”
So which one of these statements is correct? To understand why both of these statements are true, we will first look at some of the benefits of regular exercise:
- Stress Reduction: When body and mind are in a more relaxed state, conception will happen easier.
- Weight management: Exercise can help maintain a healthy weight, which in turn makes it easier to conceive. A healthy weight during pregnancy also helps reduce the risk of developing gestational diabetes.
- Sleep: Good sleep has tons of health benefits, including (again) stress reduction and weight management.
- Building cardiovascular fitness: Aerobic exercise trains your heart and increases blood volume, which is needed during pregnancy to supply the growing baby.
As you can see, having a fitness routine in place even before becoming pregnant is very beneficial. But when is it time to scale down the workouts? If you are:
- Feeling tired and drained with low energy levels
- Not getting enough sleep
- Having generally high levels of stress
- Gaining weight even though you are exercising more
In these cases, it might be an indicator that your body is in fight-or-flight mode and it is time to ease down on the workouts. Even though the actual cause might be elsewhere, like a lack of certain nutrients, a stressful job or complications in other parts of your life, adding exercise on top can be draining your energy and adding another stressor to the body. This is particularly true for high intensity workouts, since they tend to take longer to recover from. However, this does not mean that you cannot continue with CrossFit or other HIIT work-outs when trying to conceive, especially if you have been doing this kind of training for years and your body is used to it. Just remember to be mindful of how your body and mind are feeling and scale back when necessary. A change in your life situation might mean a change in your workout routine is necessary. And always make sure that you enjoy what you are doing.
Stay tuned for our posts on Nutrition, Mindset and Connection!
If you are considering becoming a mom, are pregnant, just had a baby, or know someone who might be interested in learning more, please contact us for more information!