This blog was originally published on birthfit.com and appears here with permission.
I’ve always been an athlete, and I have always known that I wanted to be a mom. BIRTHFIT first caught my eye years ago because it seemed to be the perfect blend of these ideals; the woman that I am (the athlete) meets the woman that I wanted to be (the mom). I saw BIRTHFIT and thought, “I can’t wait to do this! When I get pregnant this is what I’m doing!” I’m not a mom yet, and as my heart eagerly and patiently awaits that season of life, I have discovered this profound truth: you don’t have to wait to be BIRTHFIT.
BIRTHFIT stands firmly on Four Pillars: fitness, nutrition, chiropractic and mindset. We encourage pregnant and postpartum moms to develop a practice in each of these pillars. This practice is an evolving one, undertaken with the understanding that there is always more to learn, and we are capable of lifelong growth. So, why not start NOW? Yes, NOW. Whether or not you know for sure you want babies, whether pregnancy and motherhood is 6 months from now or 3 years from now, practice in our pillars will move any human forward and prepare your body and mind for the great work of motherhood.
Here are some practical ways to start walking the BIRTHFIT path today:
Get in touch with your core:
One day, a little human is going to be living in your belly for 40-ish weeks. Getting in touch with the central part of your body helps you begin to prepare your “baby house” for a guest. Prepare for the work of carrying baby, your labor, and your postpartum recovery by getting in-tune with your core now through breathing, functional movement and meditation. When we create a core that functions well, we are strong, stable, and can generate movement from a place of capacity, not compensation. We teach breathing and our Functional Progressions as the foundation of a solid core. Good news is that you don’t have to be pregnant to start learning these! Reach out to a Regional Director to get some hands-on guidance in our Functional Progression. (Seriously!)
Learn to Breathe:
That sounds, crazy right? “I breathe every day! I’m alive, aren’t I?” BIRTHFIT teaches deep, abdominal breathing that allows for all the muscles and key players of our core to function and work together optimally. When we learn to breathe, we begin to bring awareness to a critical space in our body. We tap into physical energy as well as emotional energy. You always have access to your breath and it can be one of your biggest allies in labor, especially if you have developed this practice. We can start this practice right now, and can work on it anywhere! (How cool!)
Train with a Purpose:
Right now, maybe you are training for a race, a meet, a competition or just to be a healthy, rockstar woman! Find your motivation for movement, set a goal, and work towards it! Once you become pregnant, your training purpose becomes “train for birth.” Developing the mental practice of having a focus or purpose for your training will carry over to your training when you become pregnant. Your goal and training will shift, but your intentional habit of developing your Fitness Pillar will already be established.
In preparation for becoming pregnant, your nutrition is critical. We love a whole foods diet consisting of lean meats, colorful vegetables and fruits, and healthy fats. We encourage moms to limit dairy and grains because of their known inflammatory response in the human body. Avoid processed foods and ingredients you can’t pronounce and you are off to a great start. Not only are you eating well for the now and creating optimal health for conception, but you also won’t have to do a dietary overhaul once you become pregnant. If you want to really dial in your nutrition to optimize baby-making, consider setting up a nutrition consult with Dr. Gina of BIRTHFIT Chicago.
Have an Open Mind:
At this point, pregnancy is uncharted territory. What a great opportunity to have an open mind about what is ahead. Throw off preconceived ideas about pregnancy and childbirth and do some exploring. Ask questions, do research, talk to friends, ask to hear someone’s birth story. See what’s out there and begin to formulate your ideas about how you want to feel during your pregnancy, your birth and how you want to be supported in the postpartum. Every birth is different. Use a meditation practice or intentional breathing time to start creating and exploring your vision for pregnancy and postpartum. This practice would be a valuable way to open your heart and mind to the possibilities of motherhood.
Find a Tribe:
Having a community that loves and supports you is key to your emotional health now and in the future. These are the people who will be around when you make your exciting announcement and will support you through your pregnancy and into the postpartum. Start gathering friends, professionals, chiropractors, coaches, and mentors who will be in your corner, and are on board with your vision for your pregnancy and postpartum. Reach out and support your friends or family members throughout their pregnancies and postpartum. As women, we have an amazing ability to nurture and mother others before we ever become mothers ourselves.
BIRTHFIT is a movement that is founded on the notion that we can evolve and grow in our practices and thoughts. For me, I’m not sure when I will become a mother, but I know that in the meantime I can begin to prepare for that time by establishing practices in each of the Four Pillars, and by having an open mind about what motherhood will look like and when. Wherever you are in your journey, know that the women of the BIRTHFIT movement are here to support, guide and love you each step of the way. Reach out to a local Regional Director to learn more about how to become BIRTHFIT whether or not you are a “mom yet.”