In Part 1, we covered why some health coaches should be considered real coaches, and why some should have quotation marks around their self-imposed title. I promised I'd let you know why I came out of my non-confrontational hole to talk about why these "coaches" are so dangerous, and with Part 2 I make good on my promise.
One of these health and fitness direct sales companies that use "coaches" to push their product has created a line of pre-post natal workouts. While a personalized program created by a certified professional is always the best option (ESPECIALLY if you’re pregnant or have recently given birth), it’s not out of the ordinary to see generalized workouts geared towards the pregnant exerciser. Search YouTube and you’ll see what I mean.
Enter “coaches,” and enter the problem.
There are a lot of rules for the health and fitness professional when working with this very special population. One of the biggest is that, at minimum, your postnatal client does not touch exercise for the first six weeks after childbirth (and that’s IF it’s a picture perfect labor and vaginal delivery). C-Section? Add on at least an another two weeks. Above and beyond all else, the client’s doctor must approve them for exercise. For whatever reason, their doctor may determine that an even longer time frame is needed for full recovery. Certified trainers must remember that a postpartum client’s body has gone through severe trauma- it might be weird to think of it in that way, but it’s true. When the body goes through trauma, it has to take the time to heal.
Image via Pixabay
So what are these “coaches” doing when they spot a potential postpartum lead? What they’ve always done, which is hit up their inboxes. But what makes this even more despicable than usual is that these “coaches” are reaching out to people who have literally JUST given birth (we’re talking HOURS in some cases) about joining their pre-post natal workout programs. Ahem…ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
Before you say “oh, it was probably just one pushy person!” Nope. I’ve seen screenshot after screenshot of DMs from different “coaches” praying upon someone who has just produced another human being and expelled it forcefully from their bodies. There is no other word for this than disgusting.
As we previously discussed, a postpartum client is nowhere near ready to even consider exercise HOURS AFTER GIVING BIRTH. To suggest otherwise puts the client at an astronomical risk for severe injury, no matter how textbook their birthing process.
Additionally, to approach a postpartum client in this way reinforces the ridiculous societal construct that our bodies are not acceptable unless they look a certain way. To imply that a postpartum parent should be doing anything besides resting and bonding with their newborn is so incredibly offensive on so many levels, I don’t even know where to begin. The last thing that anyone should be thinking about in the hours, days, or weeks after they’ve given birth is how to immediately “lose the baby weight” or “get back in shape.” To prey upon the culturally cultivated insecurities of postpartum body image (or body image in general) is reprehensible.
It’s essential to be certified when working with anyone in an exercise or fitness capacity, but especially when specific health concerns, like pregnancy and recent childbirth, are present. There are numerous considerations of which the fitness professional must not only be aware, but also in which they must extensively educated. Pregnancy, labor, and delivery can affect the body in myriad ways. It is the pre-post natal trainer’s responsibility to know about these effects, to program exercises in a corrective capacity if needed (remember- the body has gone through trauma), to avoid exercises that will make potential issues worse (like Diastasis Recti), and to know when it’s appropriate to refer the client to a specialist (like in the case of Pelvic Floor dysfunction). An uneducated “coach” trying to push a generalized program onto a pregnant or postpartum client knowing nothing about their medical history, specific pregnancy concerns, birthing process, or postnatal issues is one of the most insane and dangerous things I’ve seen of late. I am shocked that this company has continued to get away with these completely irresponsible practices.
In Part 3, we’ll talk about how to tell the difference between an educated and certified health and fitness coach, and a “coach.”