I am Jennifer Blackford, a Qualified Pregnancy and Post Natal Exercise Professional who specialises in women’s fitness and pelvic health in exercise since 2011.
I have two children that light up my world, who challenge me everyday and who remind me that life is precious and to be enjoyed. My husband is the bomb, he is my partner in life and he makes me feel complete. I rarely sit still for long, love keeping fit and being strong, I froth on intense workouts like CrossFit, being on my SUP brings me calm (except for the split second I think about sharks…), summer is my season, and I’m happy when I’m hanging outdoors with my family and friends.
As an experienced women’s health exercise specialist I educate, support and guide women during pregnancy, postnatal and beyond. I love what I do and am really lucky to be able to support women with appropriate exercise through the immense changes that happen during pregnancy and the postpartum period.
I know that exercise is beneficial for the majority of pregnant and postpartum women. It is true however; there are barriers that require an experienced and qualified pre and postnatal exercise specialist who understands safe and correct exercise modifications.
During my pre and postnatal exercise programs, and personal training sessions, you will hear me educating and supporting new mothers to be realistic and patient when starting a pregnancy or postpartum exercise routine. I rant about how it took around 40 weeks for the pregnant body to form a baby, and how it could take nearly as long, or longer, to fully return to your pre-pregnancy self.
40 weeks in the scheme of life is a short period. I believe that reducing the risk during pregnancy allows the body to bounce back more quickly after baby is born. Choosing to exercise smart and to modify or scale squats instead of heavily loaded squats accelerates the return to hitting PB’s after childbirth. I have witnessed how not training smart or scaling appropriately increased the duration for new mums to return to fully functional exercise. I have worked with many women who did not scale appropriately and as a result suffered from incontinence during exercise and day-to-day activities like sneezing, coughing, laughing and lifting baby.
I emphasis that it took around 40 weeks for the pregnant body to form a baby and no matter your experience with pregnancy or if your labour is quick, long, or surgical, the body undergoes a huge transformation to birth a baby. Unfortunately, after the 6-week postnatal check, women mistaking return to exercise as previously known, but this time is not the all clear to return to exercise. It is important to take time to heal after having a baby and be reminded that ‘just because you can, (run, squats, thrusters, sit-ups, deadlifts etc) does not mean you should.
Pregnancy and childbirth is a BFD (Big FarkingDeal) for your body to handle and my exercise philosophy is firstly about acknowledging your body in relation to childbirth. My exercise programs focus on the impact that corrective and progressive exercise rehabilitation has on mothers. It is key to develop functional movement, which is fundamental to nurturing baby and is on the continuum to returning to activities once loved, (without sacrifice).
My pregnancy and postnatal exercise programs focus on individualised, safe and relative exercise solutions that support motherhood movement patterns to progress mobility, strength and mental wellness. I work alongside other health professionals, including Women’s Health Physiotherapists, to provide the best outcomes for women, mothers and mothers to be.
Motivated by my own personal experience I am dedicated to helping women achieve optimum physical function and master quality of life. I am passionate about helping women exercise the right way during the different phases of life and empowering them to live an active and healthy life.
My main goal is to reduce the risk of pelvic floor dysfunction in women by supporting them with appropriate exercise during pregnancy and postpartum.
Having my children was an exciting phase in my life, it was also an emotional time and left me with a post-baby body that did not function properly and that I hardly recognised.
My first baby was born in 2010. I was determined to have a natural birth yet after hours of an unsuccessful labour and complications I was rushed off for an emergency c-section (caesarean). My second baby was born 6 weeks premature also by caesarean.
I exercised during pregnancy and after I had my babies. There was a lack of helpful and practical exercise advice from my health care team, (obstetrician, midwives, ward physiotherapists, GP, Fitness Professionals). I didn’t have anyone advising me on what exercises to do or to avoid during pregnancy or what exercise to do or avoid post-pregnancy. I trained with personal trainers at gyms, did CrossFit, Pilates, HIIT and Bootcamp yet nobody ever asked me if I was postnatal.
Unsafe exercise during pregnancy and after childbirth left me with an umbilical hernia, diastasis rectic (abdominal separation), hemorrhoids, varicose veins and pelvic floor dysfunction. Exercise plays an important role in my life; it is my profession, part of my identity and fundamental to my mental health. I was pissed that my body didn’t function how it should so I made it my business to learn everything I could about safe pre and postnatal exercise. I needed to know how I could reduce the risk of lasting abdominal separation so that I and other women didn’t look pregnant after childbirth. I needed to understand what exercise is suitable and how to determine the correct load without increasing the risk of abdominal doming and umbilical hernias. I was sure as day that leaking urine was not normal after childbirth and I was not about to accept incontinence as the norm. I know now that I could have avoided or reduced my risk of these pregnancy related conditions by following appropriate pregnancy and postnatal exercise prescription.
I can relate to what it is like to be a woman and to go through pregnancy and childbirth and I can relate to how it changes our body and our relationship with our bodies. I have experience first hand incontinence, a weak core, the ‘mummy tummy’, hemorrhoids and an umbilical hernia and this is why I am compelled to help women reduce their risk with safe exercise prescription during pregnancy and beyond.
My absolute passion is to help women to feel fantastic, heal their body, achieve their dreams and feel amazingly confident in mind, body and spirit as the go through motherhood. l am passionate about inspiring women elevate and transform their lives, and watching ladies fall in love with and really own their bodies.
Advanced CPD in Modern Postnatal Assessment, Core Restore and Functional Exercise Programming, Burrell Education
Advanced CPD in Modern Pregnancy Functional Exercise Programming and Child Birth Preparation, Burrell Education
Certificate Pre and Post Natal Exercise, Fitness Institute Australia
Certificate IV In Fitness, Fitness Institute Australia
Certificate III In Fitness, Fitness Institute Australia
Piston Science Module 1 Part 1 – Diaphragm / Pelvic Floor Piston For the Adult Population, Julie Wiebe, Sports Medicine and Women’s Health Physiotherapy
Piston Science Module 1 Part 2 – Core Dysfunction Across The Life Span, Julie Wiebe, Sports Medicine and Women’s Health Physiotherapy
Female Athletes: Ready for Impact, Julie Wiebe, Sports Medicine and Women’s Health Physiotherapy
Pelvic Floor Piston, Foundation For Fitness, Julie Wiebe, Sports Medicine and Women’s Health Physiotherapy
Certificate CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, CrossFit
CrossFit Speciality Course Weightlifting, CrossFit
Certificate Punchfit Trainer, Punchfit
Certificate Kettlebells Level 1 ‘Fundamentals of Kettlebell Training, Functional Training Institute
What Every Trainer Should know About Pre/Post Natal Clients, Dynamic Strength Physio / Herasphere / Marika Hart
Bulletproof Your Girls, The Physio Detective, Antony Lo and The Physio Down There, Lori Forner,