Functional Fitness for Pregnancy Interview Question 3 of 7: Pregnancy Myths

On December 20, 2013, freelance writer, Megan Senger, interviewed CEO and Founder of Fit For Birth, Inc., James Goodlatte, for an article that would be published in the May issue of IDEA Fitness Journal, Volume 11, Number 5.  James was one of several industry experts interviewed for the article titled “Functional Fitness for Pregnancy.”  His progressive and unique views helped shape the article, particularly concerning exercise selection and objectives.  His views also gave a unique perspective on what it means to select exercises based upon Trimesters.  What follows are the transcripts of the complete interview…

Background by Megan Senger:

This article will discuss functional fitness as it relates to the different stages/trimesters of pregnancy. Note that this article is NOT a review of exercise guidelines during pregnancy, cardiovascular or nutrition concerns, or general tips about working with pregnant clients.  Instead, it will focus exclusively on functional fitness for activities of daily living during pregnancy, i.e. what exercises should a pregnant client perform during her 1st, 2nd, and 3rd trimester so she can comfortably perform ADLs during her pregnancy, prepare for the birth experience (“fit for birth”), and her immediately post-partum ADLs (e.g. sitting in a chair nursing/feeding her baby for hours, etc).

3. Many myths about exercising during a healthy pregnancy persist (e.g. don’t raise your heart rate above 140 bpm, don’t lift weights during pregnancy, etc). Please could you comment on what your experiences have been regarding working with pregnant clients and/or your own pregnancy and exercise experiences regarding exercise myths/unfounded fears for clients. What persisting myths out there bother you the most?

She is not sick, she is pregnant!  In the modern world, pregnancy has become a “condition” in need of treatment.  This is ridiculous.  While it is true that modern mal-aligned women then become mal-aligned pregnant women, pregnancy is not an illness.  Think of our ancestor hunter-gatherer women who would deliver a baby, and then keep going with the tribe.  The illness here is not pregnancy, it’s the modern dysfunctional society which cultivates our modern women to be stressed, out of alignment, and generally unhealthy compared to our ancestral peers.

And then we culture our women in a society based on fear.  How might that pan out?  For starters, heart rate maxes were abolished by research by Clapp released in 2002.  Why do so many health professionals and women still quote 140bpm?  Lack of education or fear, I suppose. I once spoke to an intern of Dr. Clapp’s while he was performing the research leading up to his landmark 2002 release. She told me that they had women doing jump squats with barbells on their backs and thermometers in their rectums! I think that’s enough to blow “don’t lift weights during pregnancy” out of the water, even if that eye-witness account proved to be exaggerated. Why then, the scariness of weights? Fear-based society.

Fit For Birth recognizes that there are reasons why certain beliefs are created, and often there are or were truths behind those beliefs.  We honor them by studying the history of how they were created; something that is absolutely critical for any professional who wishes to be truly excellent in this field.  At Fit For Birth, we study why certain “blanket-statement” rules are often adopted for good reason, but then taken too far.  It’s currently happening with the “draw-in” technique, for example.  Quite flatly, a historical look at how we’ve arrived where we are in pre and post natal fitness is necessary in order to break free of the “sheep mentality.”  Otherwise, we are prone to change a rule, while unknowingly creating another problem in the future.

What about lying supine?  While it is true that the weight of the uterus and baby upon the ascending arteries can cause a woman to become light headed due to impeded blood flow, my personal experience has shown me that the women following the Fit For Birth method virtually never have this problem.  Fit For Birth also coaches our instructors to empower our clients to understand and listen to their bodies, and adjust as they feel comfortable.  Rather than imposing a flat rule of “don’t lie on your back”, we allow our clients to do as they please, and shift as necessary.

Read more from the interview here:

Question 1 of 7: Pregnant versus Non-Pregnant Functional Exercises

Question 2 of 7: Top Functional Exercises During Each Trimester

Question 4 of 7: Considerations for Training Pregnant clients with Physical Jobs

Question 5 of 7: LABOR TRAINING SM

Question 6 of 7: Physiological Aspect to Training Pregnant Clients

Question 7 of 7: Additional Advice


James Goodlatte is a Pre & Post Natal Holistic Health Coach whose passion is to heal families by inspiring the use of natural methods and by building a global team of fitness & health professionals to reduce infertility, avoid mechanized childbirth, and lower chronic disease in our infants.  As the founder of Fit For Birth, Inc., he is a driving force for providing Continuing Education Credits for the Pre and Post Natal World.  As a writer, his articles have been published in a dozen languages and have inspired contact from Pre & Post Natal women as well as health professionals in over 150 countries.

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