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Developing a Prenatal Practice

I’m about to embark on my first prenatal class! I feel confident in my abilities to address a pregnant clientele – for one thing I am a mother and have gone through it all two times. My daughters are now 23 and 26 (how did that happen!?) but I remember well both the challenges and the joys.

More recently of course, I have been studying loads and forces as part of my Restorative Exercise™ work – and it’s not a very romantic way to think of a developing baby – but it is a load! So it’s not the load that is a problem, it’s how you carry it, and even more so, it’s about the body you bring to the pregnancy and the loads that can exacerbate the tissues such as the pelvic floor and the linea alba (Latin for “white line” – the connective tissue down the front of the trunk that can weaken in a state called Diastasis Recti when the rectus abdominus widens unnaturally). The loads to the spine, the feet, the chest wall, and shoulders (breasts increasing in size), all increase. Mechanically, there is an optimal way to carry an increasing load that minimizes the negative impact on these body parts and ensures a robustness entering the last stage of pregnancy – the birth!

Unlike some fitness paradigms that have prenatal programs such as yoga and Pilates, there is no reason not to enter an RE™ practice during pregnancy even if you have not started the program prior to becoming pregnant. Admittedly, it would be ideal to start before as you will already have learned alignment habits and as the pregnancy progresses and the load increases, you will be in a better position (literally and figuratively!) to handle it. However, it is not a good idea to wait until after the baby’s arrival to start minimizing the impact of the pregnancy. So regardless of how pregnant you are, there are lots of resources (free and paid) for you which I will list below.

Of course, most people who start an RE™ practice when they are pregnant have the birth in mind, especially if it’s a first child, the birth looms scary and inevitable – the great unknown! We know we are biologically capable of propagating our species – we are made for it right? But certain cultural practices are having an effect on our bodies – practices such as wearing heeled shoes, sitting a lot, not squatting during daily activities such as going to the bathroom, all contribute to a shape: the pelvis, the pelvic bones and the pelvic floor, the hips and trunk wall all have to adjust to these practices. So this is the body you bring to the pregnancy and the birth – the body which you can start changing as you head for the big day of delivery!

Once the load is no longer on the inside of you, and you have a baby on the outside of you, you will notice another difference in the way RE™ addresses the postnatal mother. Most paradigms treat it as a need to get “back in shape” – as if the pregnancy were an anomaly to the person you were before becoming pregnant. Believe it or not, you are the same person who has been in several different biological states. But now you are probably nursing, and most likely holding and carrying a growing baby (yes, he/she is still being a load to your body!). And there is an optimal way to do that as well – which I will teach you.

But wait, there’s more! What about your child’s development? Who is preparing you for that? My teacher Katy Bowman, founder of Nutritious Movement, has two young children herself – so she is providing the inspiration to hundreds of pregnant women all over the world to bring up robust and healthy moving kids. I can cover topics such as:

  • how breastfeeding develops the baby’s palate,
  • how does a baby’s grasping reflex relate to his ability to hold up his head
  • what is the difference between carrying a baby and strapping him to you (for you both)
  • when and how should you use a carrying device such as a stroller
  • how does diaper wearing affect developing hips
  • how much movement does a growing child need
  • what types of movement does a growing child need
  • what shoes should your child wear and when should he wear them

Here’s a list of things you can do right now:
1. Get out of heeled shoes. This might require a sensible transition period.
2. Get a squatty potty or use some blocks under your feet when on the toilet (no need to actually hover, you can sit down, just elevate your feet)
3. Back your hips up and drop your ribs down (ie, don’t “wear” your pregnancy way out in front)
4. Walk more (transition appropriately)
5. Go through the link below to read the blogs and listen to the podcasts
6. Find a Nutritious Movement certified Restorative Exercise Specialist™ near you!

This page on the Nutritious Movement website lists several dvds, books and courses, but there is also a list of free blog posts and podcasts for you:

UPDATE: In the summer of 2016 I had my first prenatal client give birth at home with a midwife and she had a wonderful birth! Looking forward to the second baby later this year.




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