Functional Training Institute

How to Train Mums Differently to Support Pre- and Postnatal Wellbeing with Jen Dugard

Did you know, as a fitness professional in Australia, 43% of your potential clientele is a mum? So if you’re not learning about women’s health pre- and post-natal, you’re missing a vital opportunity in your clientele base. 

In this fascinating podcast episode, host Vanesas Leone speaks with expert guest Jen Dugard, founder of MumSafe™️, creator of Safe Return to Exercise™️, and author of How to Love your Body as much as your Baby. With over 15 years of experience and passion for ensuring the wellbeing of mothers, Jen’s insights in this episode are invaluable.

Their conversation sheds light on the importance of providing specialised training for fitness professionals to help mothers on their journey to pre and postnatal wellbeing. Here’s what you can expect to learn:

The Significance of Understanding the Numbers:

Jen Dugard opened the discussion with some eye-opening statistics that emphasise the importance of focusing on pre and postnatal fitness. In 2020, around 4.35 million women in Australia were using fitness facilities, outnumbering men. Furthermore, 77% of women over the age of 15 in Australia are expected to become mothers at some point. These numbers indicate that a significant portion of trainers’ potential clientele will be mothers, making it crucial for fitness professionals to be adequately trained to support this demographic.

Pre-Pregnancy Preparation:

Jen Dugard stressed the significance of preparing women for pregnancy, starting before conception. Building a strong strength base and educating young women about their pelvic floor health can help them in their fitness journey. Many young female athletes are pushing their bodies to the limit without understanding the importance of their pelvic floor muscles. Educating them about these muscles can prevent issues later in life.

Understanding Pelvic Floor Health:

A key aspect of pre and postnatal fitness is understanding pelvic floor health. It’s not just about having a strong pelvic floor but also ensuring its flexibility and proper function. Many young athletes may suffer from hypertonic pelvic floors, causing issues during childbirth. On the other hand, some may have weak pelvic floors, leading to problems like incontinence.

Postnatal Care:

The conversation transitioned to postnatal care, focusing on the crucial six weeks to six months period. It’s essential for fitness professionals to recognize that the six-week medical checkup after childbirth is not a green light for intense exercise. Mothers need a comprehensive return-to-exercise plan that considers their unique needs. This includes checking for diastasis recti and understanding the importance of pelvic floor rehabilitation.

The Role of Trainers:

Trainers play a vital role in supporting mothers during their fitness journey. They need to have a deep understanding of postnatal issues and have a comprehensive pre-exercise questionnaire. If trainers observe potential problems, they should encourage mothers to seek further medical evaluation and care.

Training mothers differently to support pre and postnatal wellbeing is not just an option; it’s a necessity. The fitness industry must adapt to the changing demographics and growing awareness of the unique challenges faced by mothers. By providing specialised training and support for fitness professionals, we can ensure that mothers receive the care and guidance they need on their journey to better health and wellbeing for themselves and their babies. 

Jen Dugard’s advocacy and Vanessa Leone’s episode shed light on this crucial aspect of fitness that deserves our attention and commitment.

Our favourite quotable moments:

“If you’re a male, please keep listening. This is so important for you to stay on board with us because [pre- and postnatal] needs to be education for everyone, not just education for females.” – Vanessa Leone

“42% of [your] potential clientele is going to be a mother.” – Jen Dugard

“Empowerment comes through education.” – Jen Dugard

“We as trainers need to understand that [a new mum’s] six week checkup has cleared her to start to move, but it’s definitely not a go-back-to-what-you-were-doing before you fell pregnant.” – Jen Dugard

“Make sure you’ve got a pre exercise questionnaire that is specific to working with mums.” – Jen Dugard 


Jen Dugard Website

Mum Safe Website

The Checklist

Jen Dugard Instagram

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About Jen:

Jen is the founder of MumSafe™️, creator of Safe Return to Exercise™️ and author of How to Love your Body as much as your Baby. With 15 years experience Jen’s mission is to ensure all mums are looked after safely & effectively through ensuring trainers have a sound general knowledge in working with mums.  Jen educates & mentors across Australia, New Zealand, Singapore & Taiwan. Jen features regularly in media and serves on the Fitness Australia board.

About Your Host:

Vanessa is a seasoned Movement Therapist with a vast array of skills and experiences in the industry. Her goal is to help as many people find betterment in their lives. She is known as a hybrid trainer, attaining high levels of education, and delivering a quality presenting experience in both group fitness and personal training streams. Attaining betterment drives her knowledge and pursuit for further education for herself and everyone she encounters. Vanessa continues training clients and trainers all over the country and presenting at the International Fitness Conference. Vanessa’s ethos is doing things BETTER.

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