I really enjoyed hosting a pregnancy / postnatal exercise and nutrition live Q+A on babyexpert.com today! Questions included pelvic floor and post c -section tummy worries (‘is it EVER coming back?!’), as well as PCOS pre-conception fitness concerns and pregnancy weight control with diabetes.
Other experts asked to host chats on babyexpert.com include Zita West, the fertility guru, and so I was flattered to be in such great company! But it also got me thinking about the term ‘expert’, how it is used so sparingly (especially on the web) and the responsibility that goes with that label.
Pregnancy and postnatal exercise concerns often simply do not seem to be answered succinctly by the ubiquitous pregnancy ‘bibles’ (mine was Yehudi Gordon which I swore by!… what was yours?), or even by doctors and midwives. This is perfectly reasonable since none of these are specifically focussed on that subject matter. Your doctor and midwife are of course utterly fundamental to your wellbeing and safety during pregnancy and birth, but they’re not necessarily up to date or experts in the latest exercise research.
As a pregnancy and postnatal exercise specialist and personal trainer, I need to be very clear about my boundaries. I NEVER cross the line into giving medical or obstetric advice. We’re not childbirth or parenting experts, we’re not antenatal teachers or trained counsellors.
I do know quite a lot about childbirth (especially when it goes off childbirth plan :-0), a little (very little!) about parenting, a fair amount about breastfeeding (my experience here goes thus : I had it down after 3 weeks – I was lucky and had great support. No judgement from me on your choices!) and hopefully am pretty experienced and knowledgeable when dealing with the hormonal rollercoaster of pregnancy and motherhood…
…My point being, I know about as much, and as little, as every other mother out there.
I am very clear however about my ‘expert’ status.
My expertise is in physical exercise throughout pregnancy and beyond – for fitness, strength, fat loss, flexibility, core and postural restoration, as well as alleviating pain and discomfort. I have a sound technical knowledge of, and and can advise on, optimum nutrition for pregnancy, breastfeeding and postnatal weight control. I developed the MUTU System after 10 years of putting mums’ midsections back together.
General guidelines are a good starting point, but fears about exercise causing miscarriage; ‘how much weight gain is too much?’; ‘how long will it take to lose it?’; ‘how hard, how often and for how long should I exercise?’; exercise to make pregnancy, SPD and back ache more comfortable and controlling weight gain in pregnancy are all clearly still big concerns.
These are the questions I can answer. There are many ‘experts’ that will assist with your health and well being during pregnancy and motherhood, and my ares of expertise is very clearly defined. I won’t tell you how to give birth to, parent or feed your children, and I go to the doctor when something hurts. “Know your limits” as Harry Enfield used to say (showing my age there!)