With Mother’s Day around the corner, it’s a good time to reflect on how much our mothers have done for us. It’s also a time to think about all the soon-to-be and new mothers that are celebrating their first Mother’s Day. The time mothers have for self-care is limited and so are the resources to get “back after baby”—that is, until now.
Houston Heights residents Ingrid Hanna and Hallie Ager—physical therapists, fitness enthusiasts and mothers—started online postpartum rehabilitation program Back After Baby in March to help new mothers bridge the gap between their pre- and post-pregnancy bodies. Former colleagues, Hanna initially reached out to Ager to develop a series of workshops for new mothers using her fitness background and their multiple years of physical therapy experience.
“I knew that Hallie and I would work together again someday,” Hanna says. “The idea turned into a web-based program because we needed to make something that was realistic and accessible. It was not realistic to expect a new mother to be able to attend a workshop or three physical therapy sessions a week.”
Both women stressed that the program is about much more than losing weight. “You go to the doctor for six weeks after having the baby, and that’s it. There’s no education on how to recruit and wake up your muscles," adds Agee. "The aches and pains don’t have to be there. Mothers want to get their muscle and strength back.”
There are three phases to the six-month program: relearn, restore and revive. The “relearn” phase is what the average woman needs most postpartum. During this phase, new mothers relearn movement patterns, muscle activation and prevent or correct muscular imbalances.
Restore, the second phase, builds up core stability, mobility, range of motion and muscular strength. Revive, the final phase, builds on strength and mobility gains to prepare new mothers to begin any exercise program. Detailed exercise videos demonstrate proper form, reps or length of time for each exercise. Just as important, the program stresses everyday form and posture to minimize stress on joints and bad mechanics performing everyday activities.
Back After Baby costs $20 per month for the first six months and $5 per month for any additional months. Users may be able to skip phases, or it may take longer than six months to achieve pre-pregnancy abilities—every person starts at a different level.
Mother's Day will come and go, but the benefits moms receive from safely and effectively transitioning back to a full-fledged exercise routine will make every day a celebration.