What it Means to Train for Birth with Sarah Jamieson

Sarah Jamieson of Moveolution believes in the power and importance of movement, and for women wanting to have a baby, it’s about creating a nurturing environment both inside and outside the body.

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Sarah’s aim is to empower women through the challenges of preparing to bring a child into the world, looking at women-specific training to help new mothers find the strength within themselves, examining everything from diet to ligament strength through the entire process, from preconception to postpartum recovery.

Preparation Before Conceiving

Preparing to give birth to a child is a big conversation, but the initial focus should begin with preconception. Fertility is down and miscarriages are prevalent amongst women, though women are often discouraged from discussing it when it happens. This silence around miscarriages unfortunately perpetuates the cycle of loss and grief.

Because miscarriage rates are so high, there is a common practice of not announcing a pregnancy until the end of the first trimester. The reality is, this leaves women to both celebrate and mourn in silence. It’s a challenging thing to go through, but it’s important to open up the conversation.

It’s essential for women to have as much information as possible, to know who to speak with about healthcare and supportive services, and to understand the importance of preparing both the body and the mind for birth, even before conception.

The Importance of Diet during Pregnancy

Diet plays a huge factor in creating an environment that is healthy and nurturing to grow a child within the womb. Inflammation in the body is one of the most important issues to address, not just for pregnancy, but for health in general.

Looking at food sensitivities and also any pre-existing issues will help avoid complications, and it’s also good to consider how the body detoxes. There is a genetic component to it and a biochemical one as well, which can be explored and understood through genetic testing and comprehensive blood work with a healthcare professional.

Finding a diet that is suited to individual, specific needs is the key, because there’s not a right way that fits everyone. Eating enough to supply the body with what it needs to conceive is just as important as getting enough nutrition for the baby to grow after conception.

Movement and Training

As a personal trainer, Sarah sees preparing for pregnancy and birthing much in the same way someone prepares for a sport. Getting the body ready physically through training is a big part of the preconception process, similar to how one trains for a marathon.

So how does one train to conceive and to give birth? The process is two-fold, with movement and training being the major components. Movement means making sure the joints and tissues are well-recovered and they’re moving well with no limitations or restrictions, because when a woman becomes pregnant, it’s difficult to correct those things. So it’s essential to make sure the body is in a good working order before conception.

Training and exercise during and before pregnancy can reduce the risk of complications, but women should use caution and do so under the care of a physician. Every woman is different. Previous training and fitness levels should be considered when planning a regimen, and someone without any fitness background should be especially careful.

The goal with training is getting ready for birth, not weight loss or gaining a particular aesthetic. Strengthening supportive muscle groups and the abdominal cavity will help support and balance the weight a woman must carry on the front of the body during pregnancy. Core stability and maintaining spinal alignment is key.

Mindset and Mindfulness

When preparing to have a child, the process goes beyond the physical aspects. There are new responsibilities to consider, and taking care of a little human is a big task.

When preparing both the body and the mind, one must realize that there is now another person in the equation, which can be difficult to manifest and process. Until the child is born, it isn’t always clear how much of an impact this new life will have. It could be the single, most challenging endeavor anyone undertakes.

The tricky part is to process all of this without forgetting about self-care. There is the opportunity to really nurture and find that co-regulation with a baby as it grows, and that’s part of the psychological preparation. Having a healthy mindset is the best way to give a child a good start in life.

There’s no manual for motherhood or parenthood, and it can be overwhelming, but it’s such a special time, and every day and every moment counts. The body goes through many changes, hormonal and biochemical. Postpartum depression is an issue that many women experience, and there is too much shame around the issue because it is not being discussed.

It may seem like it’s best to shut out these feelings when they arise, but the best way to move through it is to honor the process, feel it, process it, discard it, and move on. These emotions have value. They are part of a changing identity into parenthood and the evolution of the self.

Bonus Tip (For Men and Women): Movement Snacks!

Movement is important to staying healthy, but many people today sit for upwards of 8 to 10 hours every day. An exercise that’s good to counteract this, for both men and women, is something Sarah calls a “movement snack.”

Set a timer for every 90 minutes to two hours, and then do two to five minutes of movement. Move the spine, move the hips, move the shoulders, focusing on the major joint complexes. Do a minute to two minutes for each movement, depending on the amount of time available. These movement snacks are great for taking a break, increasing productivity, and alleviating the stress of everyday life.

This practice is also essential for body durability, strengthening the body to withstand wear and tear on the joints and tissues, which is something that is useful and healthy for everyone, and it will increase mobility, energy, and overall quality of life for both men and women.

Key takeaways

  • Preparing for childbirth starts with preconception

  • Every pregnancy is unique and every postpartum is unique

  • Diet is a huge factor in creating a healthy environment for carrying a baby

  • The goal with movement and training is getting ready for birth--not weight loss or aesthetics

  • You have to prepare your body and your mind for giving birth

  • “Movement snacks” are a good way to get moving during your day