An Interview With: BIRTHFIT
Here at Duo Diary, we are all about providing new mothers with tools and resources to make healing after childbirth easier. Information about HOW to heal shouldn't be hard to access -and let's face it, most women don't even realize they NEED to heal. There are so many questions women have after having a baby: breastfeeding and pumping tips, pubic symphysis symptoms, diastasis recti, self care ideas for new moms, what exercises are best for postpartum women. While many women have these questions and so many more- there is not nearly enough information readily available at the fingertips of new moms. We aim to help change that by highlighting companies whose purpose is rooted in helping pregnant and/or postpartum women. This month, we are SUPER excited to be sharing BIRTHFIT- a company focused on helping moms get and stay strong using their four pillars: Fitness, Nutrition, Chiropractic, and Mindset. BIRTHFIT has many online programs, as well as access to Regional Directors across the country, so that you can access the BIRTHFIT knowledge no matter where you live. We recently chatted with BIRTHFIT to find out more about what they do and how they can help women like you. Read more about BIRTHFIT below:
Explain what Birthfit is and why it was started:
BIRTHFIT is an educated, empowered state of readiness - specific to childbirth - that is achieved through an evolved practice in fitness, nutrition, chiropractic, and mindset. BIRTHFIT is a movement that was created to change the way the world views birth. Our goal is to cultivate awareness and enhance education through the Motherhood Transition by developing and producing one of a kind BIRTHFIT experiences through in-person classes and distance learning so that women have the space to make their own informed, intuitively guided choices.
What types of women/situations do you work with most frequently? What usually brings a client to you?:
Women come to us when they decide that they want to experience an empowered, educated Motherhood Transition. Anywhere between preconception through any point postpartum, the transition into motherhood deserves attention as well as intention. We see women throughout this transitional time period typically because they want guidance on movements during pregnancy, details on core and pelvic floor health, or are looking for a total approach to taking care of themselves as they grow and nurture other humans. We typically see women because others have told them about BIRTHFIT, and we love those referrals.
What are some examples of programs or services that you offer?:
We offer courses in person as well as online. We work with women in person through our various BIRTHFIT Regional Directors, who offer the BIRTHFIT Prenatal Series (a childbirth education course), BIRTHFIT Postpartum Series Breath & Flow and BIRTHFIT Postpartum Series (unique group rehabilitation courses), consultations, prenatal training, and community events; we also work with coaches and professionals to introduce them to BIRTHFIT at our seminars. This year we're opening up the annual BIRTHFIT Summit for a one day community event as well! We offer online support through programs such as Before the Bump, Prenatal Programming, and Postpartum Programming; as well as consultations with our team and webinars on various topics. We have a ton of free content via our blogs, webinars, podcast, and YouTube channel.
What are some of the most common misconceptions that you see about postpartum recovery and exercise in pregnancy/postpartum?:
There are so many misconceptions. Essentially, society has everything backwards: we think of pregnancy as a fragile state and postpartum as the "bounce back" time. In reality, pregnancy is the ultimate expression of female fitness and the postpartum period is when women need extra care, support, and patience. Pregnant women are incredibly capable, and their exercise routines can reflect that in an intentional way. Melissa Hemphill (the BIRTHFIT Coach lead) likens activities during pregnancy to putting a fork in a microwave: just because you *can* do something doesn't mean it's a good idea. But we don't modify movements for pregnant women; instead, we train intentionally with the pregnant body in mind. Our workouts aren't just about moving around with a bump: we train to prepare for labor and to enhance core stability throughout pregnancy.
On the postpartum side, there's this idea about some magical six-week green light. Research tells us that ligaments take approximately 280 days to heal, and there are plenty of ligamentous changes that happen during pregnancy; to only take six weeks to allow your body to recover is crazy! But unfortunately, a lot of women are instructed to suck in their belly in order to strengthen their core or heal a diastasis, when this couldn't be further from the truth. We teach core stability based on the principles of Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization and the developmental kinesiology of how all humans learn to move. Sucking in, pulling the belly button to the spine, and other similar cues are all the opposite of how humans stabilize appropriately. (I suppose a succinct answer to your question would be "everything"!)
What do you wish women knew about postpartum recovery?:
I wish more women knew how important it is to recover completely. I wish they knew that chiropractic care and pelvic floor physical therapy are essential and I wish that these appointments were as automatic as the six-week postpartum check-up that women go to their OB or midwife for.
We divide the postpartum period into four phases:
0-2 weeks is the co-regulation period
2-6 weeks is the recovery period
6-12 weeks is the rehabilitation period
12 weeks-12 months is the rebuilding period
That's a year worth of intentional recovery that we emphasize. Many women expect to be "normal" within six weeks, and don't have the guidance or information from their support system to expect otherwise. We're doing ourselves a disservice by not taking the time to heal, reset, and nourish our bodies in the postpartum time period.
What have you learned from the women you've worked with?:
Every single woman that we encounter has something to teach us. The most valuable lesson I've learned is to simply be patient and allow moms to express themselves how/when they're comfortable. Some women need and want to share things immediately, while others need some time and space to reflect before diving in. I think the most valuable lesson I've learned has been getting rid of "shoulds" in the Motherhood Transition. Each woman is on her own journey, and we're just here to support them through that.
How would you like to see pregnancy & postpartum care change in the US?:
In a word: drastically. Like I said, we have things reversed. I would love to see pregnant women celebrated for their incredible vitality and life-giving capabilities. I would love to see postpartum women nurtured and supported by their communities, providers, and society in general. I see this happening through education, and we're already noticing the differences within our communities where BIRTHFIT is represented. We are working on uniting birth practitioners in the BIRTHFIT Professional Seminar so that there isn't such a disconnect. We've brought OBs, PTs, and DCs together with nutritionists, doulas, coaches, and childbirth educators; together we're changing the way that women receive care throughout the Motherhood Transition.
Where can our readers find out more about Birthfit?:
We love connecting with people! Ideally, we'd meet women through our Regional Directors (there are almost 100 of us!). You can find a BIRTHFIT Regional Director near you at www.BIRTHFIT.com. There you can also look for a BIRTHFIT Professional or BIRTHFIT Coach to work with. You can sign up for our online programs, subscribe to our newsletter, read up on our blog, watch our free webinars, or hop over to the BIRTHFIT Podcast! And, of course, you can follow us on social media @BIRTHFIT! We would love to connect with you soon!
This blog provides general information and discussion about medicine, health and related subjects. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately-licensed physician or other health care worker.
This post may contain affiliate links.