If you’ve been a coach for long enough, you’ve worked with someone who’s pregnant. Chances are, a big chunk of your clientele have had children at some point and are therefore postpartum. Pregnant and postpartum woman will (and maybe already do) make up a portion of your clientele at some point in your career.
Just like with any other population, there are very specific issues that arise during and after pregnancy. Some of these issues include:
Pregnancy and delivery can increase your risk of each of these problems. Unfortunately, many of these problems often go unnoticed due to a lack of awareness and competency from coaches, athletes and other medical providers. It’s a big problem, especially given the prevalence of pregnancy in most gyms.
If coaches don’t have the tools to be able to spot and handle these issues training can lead to even more problems (Worsening of symptoms and even surgical treatment of things like prolapse and hernia).
I get it, as a male coach it’s an uncomfortable subject. It generally isn’t a subject covered in coaching certifications. If you haven’t had any children yet, the whole process can be pretty foreign. On top of that, during pregnancy a woman is carrying what is probably the most important part of their life at the moment (Their child). Emotions run high with the whole situation at hand.
On the flip side of the coin pregnant and postpartum women can sense the lack of competency from a coaching perspective. They’re confused about which movements are ok to push and which aren’t. They try and get some answers from their doctors but the advice there isn’t always the most comprehensive.
Ultimately this just creates a scary and uncomfortable situation for all parties involved. It’s not good.
Anyway, the good news is that if we arm ourselves with some basic knowledge we can greatly help these women out and prevent a lot of these common issues in the gym. On top of this we can help to spot problems as they come up and prevent the worsening of them (and direct them to the proper outlet to get the problem solved).
This is the reason why Sarah Duvall and I teamed up to create a great course on the topic. Basically, everything a coach needs to know in order to safely and efficiently work with women in the gym during their pregnancy and afterwards. We also made a free mini course to have you learn the basics of working with pregnant and postpartum women that you can access by clicking on the link below. In the minicourse we go over several essentials for working with pregnant and postpartum women:
Keep pregnant and postpartum women healthy!
Dan Pope DPT, OCS, CSCS