There is no denying that there are very stringent requirements when applying for the ADF, Police, or to become a Firefighter. Life can be challenging for many women with such career aspirations and dreams of being mothers.
They fear they will have to choose one; a career or becoming a mum. However, you can have both! It is simply about preparing your body to recover and meet the demands of the job when you're ready to go back.
The key is ensuring your body is ready to carry a baby so that you are in optimal condition and can recover quickly. Many women worry about muscle weakness, posture, and pain AFTER giving birth. This is too late. You need to consider these elements before.
With that being said, in this blog post, we will look at some prenatal preparation tips for any women who aspire to apply to the ADF, Police, or Firefighters.
#1. Prepare for Changes to Your Body
The way you disperse weight will change, as will your posture during your pregnancy. You also need to factor in hormone changes, impacting every part of your body, including joint strength and mobility.
Laying the groundwork for healthy habits will ensure your body is prepared and that you have the strength you need for growing and delivering your baby and for the months following childbirth.
You may want to consider booking an appointment with a physical therapist who will be able to educate you on lifestyle changes you can make to improve your strength and posture. For example, they can educate you on how long to sit or stand in the same position or how to carry your groceries safely.
Before conception, you can focus on improving core strength and endurance as well as the strength of the muscles along your spine, upper and lower back and legs. Gains in these areas will also come in handy during training camps and on-the-job tasks.
#2. Follow a Regular Training Routine
A regular exercise routine can help prevent chronic conditions, including depression and diabetes, and aid in weight management. Many women experience gestational diabetes in Australia, for instance. It typically develops around the 24th to 28th weeks of pregnancy.
Lower impact aerobic and cardio activities like stationary bikes, running, walking, and swimming is ideal during pregnancy. This can help boost heart and muscle strength, reduce the amount of cortisol in your body, and lower your risk for bladder leakage.
The general advice for prenatal women regarding exercise is to keep up with their training at a maintenance level and listen to their bodies. Unless your medical team advises against it for risks, it's crucial that you keep up your training regimen and adjust the intensity as you progress with your pregnancy.
This also means that strength training is equally important, so don't hesitate to include bodyweight or resistance workouts in your plan so long you choose the load and frequency wisely.
#3. Practice Breathing and Relaxation Techniques
Learning how to breathe correctly can help to ensure your mind and body are ready for a healthy pregnancy and recovery. It will also support your training performance and aid in better sleep and recovery.
Learning how to breathe correctly during movement patterns and exercise is vital. Your lungs, the diaphragm and intercostal muscles complete a series of contractions during inhaling and exhaling that create a domino effect in your pelvic floor and core muscles. They will naturally contract as a result, helping to give you the most protection and stability from injury during training.
You can learn plenty of breathing practices, each with a different purpose. Still, the most important one will be breathing in through your nose and exhaling through your mouth in a controlled manner and not rushed so you can use your breathing to relax you and your baby during labour.
You can also use the same tactic to keep your breathing steady during running training to allow oxygen to reach your muscles for optimum running performance.
#4. Concentrate on Your Core
We've already mentioned the importance of strengthening your core previously. As your stomach grows, the muscles running vertically along either side of your belly button will lengthen. If these muscles stretch too much, they can separate. This is known as diastasis recti.
The right core exercises can help improve or prevent several issues. This includes diastasis recti and low back pain, incontinence, and pubic symphysis pain. Your physical recovery from giving birth can become much longer if you develop complications, which will also delay your ability to return to training and work.
So, the best strategy here is to have the right exercise plan to build a strong core and minimise the risks of those problems. Working with a fitness coach will become helpful here because everyone has different levels of strength and varied abilities. Your personal trainer can tailor the program to suit your needs.
#5. Focus on Your Pelvic Floor Muscles
Finally, you must ensure that your pelvic floor muscles can stretch, relax, and contract correctly. Many women are not doing Kegels the right way. If your muscles are too tight, you may be unable to do proper contractions. You need to relax before you can strengthen them in that case.
Your pelvic floor muscles need to be able to stretch and relax during birth. This enables your baby to pass through the vaginal canal. Stretching your muscles without bearing down is just as critical as strengthening them.
So, starting pelvic floor exercises is imperative for all women who plan to give birth at any point in their lives. If you've never tried Kegels before, seek support from a pelvic floor physical therapist to teach you how to perform the exercises correctly so you can start working on them before your baby bump starts to grow.
The pelvic floor muscles will also have a vital role in the postnatal recovery of your pelvic floor and the organs in your pelvis. Thus, you can prevent the development of common issues like incontinence or prolapse of the uterus.
Follow the steps above to prepare your body for your career's demands.
So there you have it: 5 helpful prenatal preparation tips for aspiring applicants to the ADF, Police, and Firefighters. If you work in such an industry or dream of doing so, it does not mean you cannot have children and then return to work. You can. But you must take steps to ensure that your body is prepared and can recover quickly and effectively. If you'd like to have a commitment-free chat with a trainer who's done it all, feel free to get in touch!
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