WNiF Magazine - Autumn 2019 Edition | Page 20

By Jen Dugard I t’s been over a decade now since I first decided to turn my fitness business into one that specialised in working with mums. Ten years ago there were very few pre and postnatal courses, and very few trainers actually realized that they needed further education in order to properly work with mums. Times definitely feel like they are changing – for the better, but there is still so much we can and we need to do. We get to choose to acknowledge that we need to understand more when we work with what I call a very specialised yet general population OR we get to bury our heads in the sand and just keep doing what we have always been doing. I know there is a better way and I know that if we all choose that way great and positive change can occur. OUR INDUSTRY: LEADING THE WAY IN WORKING WITH MUMS 20 WHAT’S NEW IN FITNESS - AUTUMN 2019 Statistics tell us that 85% of women will become a mother. So if you are sitting back thinking this doesn’t apply to you, that all of your clients are younger women think again – in a few short years they may transition into motherhood. And if you work with older women, who no longer have babies and you no-longer view as ‘postnatal’ I’d encourage you to also continue reading. Consider the phrase “once post-natal, always postnatal” and the fact that many older women are living with contraindications, such as incontinence and prolapse, that were a bi-product of carrying a child and giving birth yet no one is talking to them any more because ‘their baby has grown so they must be okay’ – not so. These women, even more so, are suffering in silence. This needs to change within our scope of practice and recommend a trusted colleague who we know can look after her. She may or may not fully understand what happened to her during her birth process and may not be completely aware of potential birth injuries – this is not within our scope of practice but if a woman is telling you about a long or traumatic birth it is absolutely a warning flag that she may need more care than we are qualified to offer. It is not standard for her pelvic floor or abdominals to be assessed post-natal – not all 6-week check- ups are the same. Her pelvic floor is an internal muscle, which as fitness professionals we cannot see or feel. We need to educate and support our women to seek out further information about where their body is at right now. I believe seeing a Women’s Health Physiotherapist should be standard in our postpartum care. Just because she looks fit on the outside or can perform higher level exercises it does not mean they are suitable for her right now – I hope I am wrong but I do feel we could be heading for a situation in years to come where women that look super fit on the outside in their later years are falling apart on the inside. We are one of the first generations where women are exercising to a higher level and intensity as the ‘norm’; CrossFit, power lifting etc. Could we see huge amounts of these women in ten years time that are suffering prolapse that we could have prevented had we spent more time re-building from the inside out in the early post-natal phase? So what CAN we do and why is it so important? What I do know from many years of experience is that: 1 Her six-week check up does not clear her to go back to the exercise she was doing prior to falling pregnant – as a profession we need to understand this and choose whether we educate ourselves further to look after her OR we stick Whether you are pre/postnatal trained or not if your client becomes pregnant or you are asked to train a postnatal client you must be brave enough to begin conversations that talk to them about their pregnancy, conception, delivery and early WHAT’S NEW IN FITNESS - AUTUMN 2019 Be brave enough to start the conversations 21