Introducing my beautiful client, Sarah. Every time I arrive to train Sarah at her home I am amazed at how organised she is – her twins are both sound asleep, she has dinner bubbling away in her slow cooker and is dressed and fully motivated for her session. Let’s find out a bit more about Super Mum Sarah….
Tell me a bit about yourself ?
I’m Sarah, I’m 37 and married with 5 children. I have three boys aged 10, 7, and 5 and 6 month old twins (boy and girl). I am currently a stay at home mum but was formerly a lawyer working in commercial litigation.
What did you find challenging about Pregnancy ?
Each of my four pregnancies were completely different. I have always been addicted to exercise and view it as an essential part of my life. So when I fell pregnant with my first son I continued to exercise and did so until about 39 weeks. I mainly did weights at the gym, swimming and walking. However, I think I pushed myself a little too hard during this pregnancy and as a result I suffered from debilitating pubic symphysis pain. I had to see a physio in my last trimester and really had to tone down my exercise.
The second pregnancy was vastly different. I suffer from mild poly cystic ovarian syndrome and had a lot of difficulty falling pregnant the second time round. I had 4 miscarriages before I fell pregnant with baby number 2. I was absolutely petrified of losing this baby that I stopped exercising and also neglected my nutrition. I consequently gained about 30 kilograms which was very hard to lose!
By the time I conceived baby number 3 I was determined to exercise safely and maintain a nutritious diet. I took at safer approach to exercise this time and towards the end of this pregnancy I discovered Pilates. Pilates was a game changer for me. It completely changed my body shape and also gave me a stronger core. I was disappointed that I hadn’t discovered it earlier. I noticed that I was able to handle my contractions during labour better because I had a stronger core. I also bounced back into shape quicker compared to my previous pregnancies.
My final twin pregnancy was again completely different from all my other pregnancies. Exercising during this pregnancy also presented its challenges. Because I grew bigger a lot quicker, I was forced from very early on in my pregnancy to do gentle exercise. I was also more exhausted during this pregnancy. By the time I reached 20 weeks I restricted my exercise regime to Pilates and swimming. I had severe back pain during this pregnancy and saw my physio on a regular basis.
During my last two pregnancies I had severe vulva varicose veins which were extremely painful in the pelvic region. I had to wear supportive compression pants at all times and could not stand for very long.
Did you have any challenges post-birth ?
I birthed my twins naturally and believe exercise during pregnancy helped my achieve this. Post Pregnancy, my vulva varicose veins disappeared immediately. After all of my pregnancies, I also had minor pelvic instability and also minor abdominal separation. My physio therapist helped me deal with these challenges. Regular Pilates classes and returning to exercise safely and effectively with Dahlas also contributed to my recovery.
How long of you been training with Dahlas at Bodyfabulous ?
I have been training with Dahlas since my twins were 4 months old. I train with Dahlas twice a week; once with a friend and one solo session.
Tell us about your sessions ?
I love training with Dahlas because she is acutely aware of the damage that pregnancy inflicts on your body and ensures that each session is safe. In the early days we focused on exercises that targeted my pelvic floor, and protected my abdominal separation to assist in my post-partum recovery. I am now doing more intense resistance training and cardio.
What have been your training goals ?
My initial goal was to return to my pre-baby weight and to regain strength. I have lost my weight now and am now focussing on improving my strength, energy levels and overall fitness.
Do you have any nutrition tips ?
Dahlas has given me great tips concerning my diet. When I first saw Dahlas I told her how I felt that I was not eating well. This was largely due to the fact that I am time poor. Dahlas introduced me to smoothies. Smoothies are great because they are quick to prepare and you can throw in so many nutritious ingredients. Dahlas also recommended Protein Supplies Australia WPI protein which is a breast feeding friendly natural protein powder. I was unaware that breast feeding mothers require 15% more protein in their diet. I adjusted my daily diet accordingly – my milk supply improved and my energy levels lifted, I felt so much better for it.
If you had any advice to any other Mum wanting to exercise during or after Pregnancy what would it be ?
It is so important to consult trained professionals before exercising during and after pregnancy. I have always consulted a specialised post-natal physiotherapist before returning to exercise after pregnancy. A Women’s Health physiotherapist can assess your pelvic floor strength and also your abdominal separation.
It is also important to make sure that any exercise specialist you engage is certified in pre and post natal exercise – this will assist your recovery post birth.
Remember to be kind to yourself and give yourself realistic expectations. Don’t forget once you give birth you are also Post Natal forever, your body will never be exactly the same as pre-pregnancy. That’s ok with me because I have 5 beautiful children to show for it.