What is women centred care?
In the world of maternity and obstetric care the concept of ‘woman centred care’ has a heavy emphasis. Women centred care means that each woman has her individual needs, expectations and goals addressed. It is exactly as it sounds, where the care of the woman is fully centred on her individual needs. Every woman has the right to antenatal, birthing and postnatal care that considers their individual, social and emotional needs.
How women centred care works in the Fitness Industry
I believe the fitness world needs to embrace this concept of ‘women centred care’ so that individual women can have their training needs, expectations and goals met on a session-by-session basis.
One way that your Mumsafe Trainer will embrace women centred training will be through working within the traffic light framework. For example, at the beginning of the workout session, clients can identify which colour ‘light’ best suits them for the day. The process of allocating a certain colour is individual and heavily influenced by a multitude of factors, for example you may be physically well and have no symptoms of prolapse, signed off as ‘green’ by your physiotherapist, however you’ve had little to no sleep the previous night or have just started your bleed. With all these factors in mind you may decide that today is an ‘orange’ day. Next week it might be a green day and the following week it could move back to a red day.
The Traffic Light System
- Red light. It’s the day to work on your rehab program and rehab alone. Today is not a day for running or participating in exercise that contributes to increased intra-abdominal pressure, particularly when standing.
- Orange light. Today there is some rehab work to focus on but this doesn’t restrict you participating in other exercises. You’ll need to increase awareness of your body and ensure you are doing your rehab exercises to compliment the exercise program today.
- Green light. Damn Girl you are feeling good! Body and Mind are A-ok! Your women’s health physio has ‘cleared’ you to move your body as you like in the exercise session. You can understand and engage muscle groups appropriately and can push your body as hard as you would like to.
The non linear path to postnatal fitness
The traffic light system may also correlate to your physical capabilities. These are determined by your women’s health physio and trainer along with your baseline fitness level. Exercise sessions also need to take into account the mental wellbeing of clients as well as considering sleep and any recent illness. Your goal needs to be to move your body in a way that promotes health and wellbeing in the context of your body and your life. Progress within your training will not be linear but is regularly impacted by a multitude of factors.
Women Centred Exercise for perinatal depression and anxiety
It is worth noting that exercise during pregnancy and the postpartum period has found to correlate with reduced incidence and severity of perinatal depression and anxiety. According to Panda, up to 20% of mums (and 10% of dads) will experience perinatal anxiety and/ or depression. Women centred training supports women by ensuring that a woman who is experiencing perinatal depression and anxiety can access specialised, guided exercises so that she is kept safe at this vulnerable time.
The best advice I was given as a new mother was to prioritise sleep, fresh air and a gentle walk
You will find within your Mumsafe sessions, all muscle groups will be worked in a way that suits the individual person. You may be reminded to smile – smiling during exercise benefits physical, emotional and mental wellbeing! So, learn to get in tune with your body, think about what movements feel good today, move in a way that suits you and smile about how good you are feeling. You’re doing great mumma!
Australian Government Department of Health (2018). Providing woman-centred care.
Davenport, M.H., McCurdy, A.P., Mottola, M.F., Skow, R.J., Meah, V.L., Poitras, V.J., Jaramillo Garcia, A., Gray, C.E., Barrowman, N., Riske, L., Sobierajski, F., James, M., Nagpal, T., Marchand, A.-A., Nuspl, M., Slater, L.G., Barakat, R., Adamo, K.B., Davies, G.A. and Ruchat, S.-M. (2018). Impact of prenatal exercise on both prenatal and postnatal anxiety and depressive symptoms: a systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 52(21), pp.1376–1385.
panda.org.au. (n.d.). Health professionals | PANDA.