#BIRTHFIT: This hashtag has come to mean so much. It’s a way for moms to connect with other moms who are in their same or similar situation. It’s a way to encourage others. It’s a way to engage in meaningful conversations that might otherwise not have been started. It’s a way to toot your own horn when you look back at the work you’ve done and lets you say, “I’m proud of me.”
But it’s also a way for people to boast asinine activities and put them under the label of something that’s as far from asinine as can be. BIRTHFIT was started as a resource for pregnant women who were wanting to workout safely during their pregnancy. Since it started as simply a blog and an idea from Dr. Mathews in 2011, it’s evolved into an educational powerhouse regarding all things preconception, prenatal, and postpartum. And it’s always been way more than just fitness. The four pillars - fitness, nutrition, chiropractic, and mindset - have been the basis for everything done under the BIRTHFIT name.
Well, almost everything.
#BIRTHFIT shows up on social media posts of things that definitely aren’t in line with the BIRTHFIT message, and as someone who works hard to spread this message as far and wide as possible while simultaneously making sure that message isn’t getting distorted, I’d like to point out a few of the things to be wary of when scrolling through your newsfeed and checking the #BIRTHFIT posts out there. Please recognize that this is not to discourage you from sharing your journey - we want to connect with you and 95% of what gets shared is beautiful, functional, and consistent with the BIRTHFIT pillars. But some things just aren't, and here are some examples.
If a mom is working out before she’s two weeks postpartum, this is not consistent with our message. We encourage healing and connection in those first two weeks, and workouts to start with intentional breathing and core/pelvic floor restoration based on the principles of Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization. Heading in to do a CrossFit workout - even if you’re 15 days postpartum - isn’t BIRTHFIT.
If a mom has to wear an SI belt to get through the day pain-free, but you see her cycling through some power cleans, this is not consistent with the BIRTHFIT intention. We want moms to listen to their bodies. If your body can’t let you get through a day without pain, that doesn’t mean you need to beat it up even more with some weights. That means you need to re-evaluate. Check in with a chiropractor (that’s a pillar, after all!), and make sure your pelvis is moving optimally and that your body is adapting to the changes of pregnancy appropriately. We’re all about staying active, but not in a way that’s causing you pain or possibly doing damage to your body. Fitness with the intention of preparing for childbirth is consistent with BIRTHFIT. Fitness without a healthy mindset is not.
If a mom is downing her third PSL (it is pumpkin spice season) so she can get through her day of chasing her toddler while 30 weeks pregnant, this is not BIRTHFIT. The nutrition pillar is about fueling your body with real food to get through your day, not jet-propelling it with caffeine and sugar. Don't get me wrong, coffee isn't terrible, but what you fuel your body with matters.
These are just a few examples, but my point is this: social media can be wonderful. I adore seeing women making improvements in their health during pregnancy. BIRTHFIT is all about movement and connection, so please keep posting and definitely tag us! We love seeing your experiences with your new baby - either in the womb or out! We want you to share those experiences with us and with the world. But we definitely don't want women making risky decisions based on something they saw online.
There are BIRTHFIT Affiliates around the world. Use social media to connect with us! And scroll through everything under #BIRTHFIT to connect with other moms and dads! Just recognize that because it has the hashtag BIRTHFIT doesn't mean it's a good idea.
Lindsay Mumma, DC
BIRTHFIT North Carolina
Here are the Instagram accounts of the current BIRTHFIT Regional Directors. Follow along!