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Post-partum fitness classes inspire new moms to get moving

Cortney Moore

In a world where post-baby snapbacks have extended from celebrity circles to the average Jane via Instagram, new mothers are increasingly looking into fitness classes that can get them through the fourth trimester.

“This is a much more active population than we’ve ever had before,” Carrie Pagliano, president of the Academy of Pelvic Health Physical Therapy, told The Wall Street Journal about the growing demand for pre- and post-partum fitness.

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She added, “There’s the assumption that they’ll be able to continue that, but they don’t know how.”

Carolyn Swenson, a urogynecologist at the University of Michigan Medical School, said she has observed the shifting attitude on exercise in her own patients.

“I see patients at two-to-four-weeks-post-partum, and a lot more of them want to start exercise as soon as possible,” she remarked. “I think part of it is this unrealistic image on social media of what a new mom should look like.”

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists does encourage physical activity throughout all stages of pregnancy, but for women in the post-partum stage, the organization advises they opt for low-impact exercises such as walking or recumbent cycling.

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Actor Alec Baldwin’s wife, Hilaria, is one celebrity mom that practices the slow recovery medical boards approve of for new mothers.

Hilaria Baldwin, who is a yoga instructor and a mother to four children, has shared snippets of her post-partum fitness journey with her 700,000-plus Instagram followers.

“Someone might look at pictures of me exercising and get stressed out. I look at it as me taking care of myself. Hopefully, someone else will get inspired to do the same,” Hilaria Baldwin told the WSJ. “I want to show women that our bodies are not broken.”

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Despite experts advocating for slow and steady exercise, women are seeking out fitness classes that are higher intensity in their quest for a flat tummy.

Select CrossFit studios across the country are offering post-partum fitness classes to help new mothers regain their strength.

CrossFit did not immediately respond to FOX Business’ request for comment, however, the CrossFit Cove in Columbia, Maryland, is one studio that tailors a six-week "Fourth Trimester Fit” program for women in the first 12 weeks of post-partum.

Fitness apps such as Aaptiv offer high-intensity interval training resources for new mothers, so workouts can be done in the comfort of home. Similarly, the Matriarc app launched by former Pilates instructor Laura Arndt features exercises focused on the pelvic floor and core.

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Emily Wannenburg, a former nurse and midwife who has been dubbed the “pelvic guru,” started her post-partum recovery program “4th Trimester Fitness” and has expanded the six-week course into other cities in Florida. With plans to hold instructor-training sessions in California, Washington, D.C., Florida and North Carolina next year, Wannenburg aims to help as many mothers as possible.

Wannenburg told the WSJ that she has accepted mothers as early as 10 days post-partum into her program.

“This is not kick-your-butt fitness. It’s about reconnecting with your body and connecting with other mothers in the same stage,” she explained.

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Women who are in their fourth trimester should consult a physician before attempting a fitness program.

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