Prenatal fitness can be confusing and scary, especially for those who aren’t sure what is safe to do, what to expect, or where to start. Then, after having a baby, they face the same challenges with a vast array of misconceptions on the internet about postpartum exercise. Coupled with the societal pressure to "bounce back” quickly, prenatal fitness and postpartum exercise can be downright daunting! On today’s episode of The Revitalize Woman Podcast, I had the chance to sit down with Molly Powell, certified personal trainer and owner of Birthfit Milwaukee.
Molly specializes in prenatal fitness and postpartum exercise. She works extensively with this population of women and also teaches Birthfit classes focused on prenatal fitness and postpartum recovery. We had so much fun talking about safe exercise for these women and the misconceptions about exercise after baby, including the pressure to “get your body back." Plus, we discussed ways to be active throughout pregnancy without injuring yourself.
- [3:09] Molly talks about her background and how she started out in environmental science but then made the switch into fitness after having her first child
- [9:50] Learn what Birthfit is about and their four main pillars that include fitness, nutrition, mindset and connection. These four pillars are used to educate and empower women
- [15:08] Women during pregnancy tend to be nervous or scared to exercise or lift weights during their pregnancy. Molly helps educate on the benefits of exercise and how to do it safely throughout pregnancy
- [16:45] As a part of the Birthfit series, participants learn how to perform functional movements to move better without injury through pregnancy
- [18:40] Listen to us talk about how we really dislike the term “get your body back” after baby and our take on postpartum recovery that isn’t focused on weight loss
- [21:00] There’s no right or wrong way for delivering a baby. We discuss the concept of trusting your gut and how that carries over into motherhood with making decisions
- [23:10] We talk about the most common misconceptions about weight lifting or strength training during pregnancy, including crossfit
- [28:00] Functional fitness is able to be modified and should be individualized to each person rather than making it a competition. This approach is important because it is tailored to what is functional for each specific person
- [28:50] The Birthfit Postpartum Series focuses on the four core muscles including the diaphragm, abs, back and pelvic floor to regain that function for long term health. Hear Molly explain the process someone goes through in this series
- [35:15] Dr. Brenda talks about the difficulty of not exercising or overdoing activity during the postpartum phase. This is often a stress reliever for most people and it is hard to find other alternatives during this stage
- [37:13] We talk about the newest research on returning to running with the new recommendation of no running prior to 12 weeks postpartum. The guideline also states that women should do a progression of exercises leading up to running as well as no pelvic floor dysfunction
- [39:00] With the increased pressure on women to lose weight quickly after having a baby, it can be challenging to be patient. We discuss that the initial goal postpartum is to restore function but this is difficult for women. The community aspect of Birthfit helps give support for women so they don’t feel the pressure to jump back in quickly
- [42:23] Molly explains how she functions as a conduit to refer women to proper healthcare providers and when she makes that referral
- [46:00] The need for more education in the postpartum phase is crucial and we talk about the frustrations of lack of education. Remember, common but NOT normal!
- [47:41] Molly answers the question about what is the most common misconception with pregnancy and postpartum
- [49:40] “Trust your gut and intuition” is Molly’s biggest piece of advice for women
- [51:00] Hear what Molly’s favorite way to practice self-care is right now
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Links Mentioned In This Episode:
Molly Powell Wellness - Molly's Website
EP01 - When to do Kegels and When not to - The Revitalize Woman Podcast
EP03 - Exercising with Pelvic Floor Dysfunction - The Revitalize Woman Podcast
Real Food for Pregnancy by Lily Nichols