Dr. Hannah Anderson knows from personal experience that new moms have distinct needs.
That’s why she started BIRTHFIT Cedar Rapids started in 2018 after having her first daughter in 2017 and going through the BIRTHFIT coach training in Chicago.
“There’s a huge void in the Corridor for postpartum care like this,” she said.
“We have a lot of great prenatal support like doulas and midwives and some social mom-plus-baby groups, but physical healing is left to the moms to figure it out.”
Anderson said there are a lot of non-invasive ways to help common postpartum complaints, and she sees many moms who struggle to recover after a caesarean.
“This is because with any other surgery, it’s generally recommended to go through some pre-hab (exercises before surgery to aid in healing) and physical therapy or rehab to help the healing process afterward,” she explained.
“I would love if every woman got a referral for post-operative care like they would with any other surgery.”
Anderson works as a chiropractor by day at Back in Line in Hiawatha, where she specializes in pediatric and women’s health.
“I am the only chiropractor in the Corridor certified by the ICPA (International Chiropractic Pediatric Association) in pediatric and family care,” she said, noting she started at Back in Line in 2015.
“I help moms with everything from preconception and fertility planning to caesarean scar mobilization and postpartum rehabilitation.”
BIRTHFIT Cedar Rapids is a compliment to her practice, adding exercise and physical movement piece of the healing process after giving birth.
“Typically in the U.S., women are watched very closely during pregnancy, then after birth the mother gets a six-week checkup where she’s cleared for sex and exercise and asked what kind of birth control she wants,” Anderson said. “Moms are left to Google and Pinterest their way through postpartum healing, which is complex and custom to each birth.
“I teach women the physiological components of healing after giving birth in regards to nutrition, stress and movement.”
Anderson teaches functional movement patterns that not only help with issues such as pelvic floor weakness, or diastases recti — splitting of the abdominal muscles — but also help women perform better with daily tasks such as carrying their children or lifting them out of a crib without back pain.
Her clinical knowledge — and training in dynamic neuromuscular stabilization from the Prague School — is what sets her class apart.
“There may be gym classes that help moms get in shape by modifying regular exercises, but they don’t encompass the clinical knowledge of healing on a cellular level,” she said. “There’s a time and a place for situps, burpees and jump rope, but that certainly isn’t during the postpartum period, which is much longer than a 12-week maternity leave.”
BIRTHFIT Cedar Rapids offers postpartum rehabilitation in small group settings.
The postpartum series is a four-week, eight-class series that can be taken by anyone six-weeks postpartum and beyond and of any athletic ability.
The postpartum series — with the next installment starting Jan. 19 — is held in a private personal training gym in downtown Cedar Rapids, where each class member can have her own equipment.
The pandemic has brought challenges.
“Things shut down completely for most of the year, plus I had a baby at the end of June, and needed time for myself to heal … had to walk the walk and not just talk the talk.”
Anderson said, in a normal year, she would do eight postpartum series, sometimes running two at a time, with up to 12 participants.
“It has been invaluable to women’s mental, physical and emotional health to still attend an in-person class even with different circumstances,”
“I most enjoy being a level-headed sounding board for moms in the area, and caring for the women who are constantly caring for everyone else,” she added. “I’m not in this business to make health care decisions for anyone, but if I can provide them with enough information to make an informed choice, that’s a win for me. Moms need reminders to take care of themselves, and they need someone to remove the pressure to heal quickly and mother perfectly,” Anderson said.
“Twelve weeks isn’t a realistic timeline to ‘go back to normal life,’ but I can help women make the best of those 12 weeks and reframe their expectations as to what the first year postpartum might look like.”
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At a glance
• Business: BIRTHFIT Cedar Rapids
• Regional director: Dr. Hannah Anderson
• Phone: (319) 892-3362
• Website: birthfitcedarrapids.com