I am going to preface this review by quickly explaining how picky I am about recommendations of exercise programs, DVDs, and other things where the professional is not in the room, able to see your movement and correct to prevent injury. Basically, I do not recommend anything of this nature because there is often disregard of any risk of injury and there is almost never an actual explanation on how to do a movement. I could do an entire post on this, but just know as an exercise physiologist I am not at all a fan of the idea of all exercise being better than nothing, and particularly not “more, harder, faster” being the best for most individuals.
Despite my disclaimer, I bought this program, knowing that the quality of information put out by the lovely women who created One Strong Mama would make me happy to point clients and friends toward something while I was on my impending maternity leave.
It. Did. Not. Disappoint.
The day I bought it, I did my first video, and immediately decided I wanted to shout from the rooftops the goodness that is contained in OSM. I have heard a lot of not great (read: really terrible) “advice” and exercise info for prenatal and postpartum women, not only in my own pregnancies, but also as I look specifically for sharing with other women in my career. OSM was refreshing in the videos and all the content the program contains. It is just all so stinking good. I wish I had made it!
You can just stop reading now and go get the program. Seriously, you will not regret it. Here’s a link: One Strong Mama Program (affiliate link).
However, if you are like me, and over-research things, then the rest of this post is for you!
The perks of OSM:
- You never lose the program. I used this from when it was released (about 6-7 months pregnant) and am still using it almost 7 months postpartum. I will continue to use this probably through a next pregnancy and postpartum period. If you are looking at cost, I hope this alone sells you. That is a HUGE deal, to have a solid exercise program for that long, even if it was only for one pregnancy and recovery.
- Lindsay and Lauren are continuing to develop and improve on the content they have put out in OSM, and you get access to all of it. Many online programs charge you if they update material (which is lame, but it happens).
- The birth material alone is worth the cost. Seriously. I have learned a lot about pregnancy, birth, and recovery throughout the last several years, and most of the information Lindsay revealed in the birth preparation section was new to me. As a doula and childbirth educator (Hypnobabies), she brings a ton to the table. I can honestly say I believe much of my second birth going more smoothly was due to this information, paired with prepping my body more thoroughly for birth with OSM.
- Their styles of teaching are very compatible with women. Have you ever gone to a class (of anything) and just been aggravated at the teacher? Their voice is frustrating, they are monotone, they are obnoxious cheerleaders or just yell at participants, or they may even mock people as a form of making it fun (yes I’ve seen this), etc. Not all teachers jive with all students and that is a fact of life, but both leads here do an excellent job of being fabulous teachers, encouraging, speaking honesty with grace (no judgments in the whole program or on their free facebook group either), and also being that lovely presence that makes you want to grab coffee with them because they are obviously your soul sisters (except you’ve never met them).
- Lindsay and Lauren have struck the almost impossible perfect balance between pushing you way too hard and not really having you do anything. As a professional I admire this wholeheartedly as it is truly a challenging thing to master in a live class, and online, where you see none of the participants (age, ability, size, gestation week, etc etc), is a whole different ball game. And yet both ladies mastered it. Like seriously killed it.
- The classes are just the right length of time. I am not going to lie here- I was a bit frustrated when I started the program, as I was in my third trimester, dealing with SPD and SIJ pain, and I was wondering why they did not have a pregnant woman doing the exercises with Lauren and Lindsay. When you are pregnant even if you are used to getting on and off the ground and moving a lot (we live pretty #furniturefree and sit on the ground a lot), it takes you a significantly longer time to move from position to position. It just does. So to not have a pregnant woman demoing, I thought it was a bit frustrating as I kept having to pause the videos so I could not miss a whole section of doing something. However, with all the pausing and a longer meditation at the end, the class turns out to be more like 45 minutes or even longer. You can obviously skip things or add things too, so it ends up being a perfect length for whatever you are needing in any stage of pregnancy or postpartum. And to top it off- you will still keep pausing the video all.the.time. when you are doing this postpartum because your kids do not wait for anyone guys. They just do not. Some days it will take you over an hour to just get 15 minutes of movement in, and it is just how it is. It does not get any easier. I am so glad the videos are not an hour or more to start (they are all around 30 minutes prenatal and 20 minutes postpartum), because if they were longer I know I would be far more likely to just skip it every day, as I often fall into the “all or nothing” trap. Aiming for 20-30 minutes most days is manageable and doesn’t leave me feeling guilty when I do them far less than I would like.
- Lauren and Lindsay give out tons of free info in their facebook group, and even though they do that they are never really pushing their product. OSM is just so fabulous that it should sell itself, but it also was not probably made to make them rich, but to help women everywhere to understand their bodies and empower them to find healing. I love this mission and whole-heartedly stand by it, and just knowing they are not always looking for a quick buck makes me love OSM even more.
- You do not have to do the research all yourself. I mean- you definitely can read the books and search the blogs and ask the teachers. But in a time when having everything in one place that has been thoroughly researched from many teachers of these teachers, it is nice to know you can learn so much all in one spot.
- It is a holistic viewpoint of motherhood all wrapped in a teachable package. It is not just about pregnancy. It is not just about birth. It is not just about postpartum. It is not just about diastasis recti or prolapse or incontinence. It is not at all about “getting your body back”. It is about empowerment and encouragement. It is about seeing your body as a vessel growing a human but also building a mother. It is about understanding how your mindset into pregnancy and how you move now is not only preparing you for labor and birth, but also for motherhood. It is about learning to give yourself heaps of grace while you are growing a baby and recovering from delivery because you will need it when you are parenting your child(ren). The lovely thing besides all of what this program is, is that even teaching all of this goodness does not make it overwhelming. Nope, instead it is wrapped up like a little gift for you to soak into each week as you immerse yourself in learning and growing.
- It is equally amazing in content for pregnancy AND postpartum. Seriously, it is almost like the videos have gotten better in the almost year since I have had this program, even though they are the same. They just fit that perfectly for women of all stages. I have done multiple videos with my mother (not anywhere near pregnancy or postpartum) and my kids have also done parts of them with me (you know, because they have the attention spans of gnats). I love that it is so welcoming to all levels, ages, and places in life.
The downsides of OSM:
- It costs money. Yup. In exercise psychology I learned people trade money for things in order to find value in them. If everything was free we would not appreciate, or probably even listen to it. There is a whole list of things I could put here that cost more than this, all of which will hopefully not be necessary with the information gleaned and body prepwork done with OSM. At the end of the day, free information (i.e. just do kegels!) is not always the best information, and unfortunately with the lack of education in maternal fitness and overall in the obstetrics and midwifery field with the pelvic floor, core, and body as a whole, it is necessary to find this information in other places than your provider. Hopefully in the future all women will receive postnatal women’s health physical therapy as part of coverage from insurance, but we are sadly nowhere near this in the United States currently. Right now instead we can support a couple other mamas who have become experts in this field to teach the rest of us.
- It is not a magic pill. You cannot just get the program, not do it or read any of the information, and then go on to have a perfect fairy birth and speedy recovery after having a completely pain-free pregnancy. I mean, you might. You also may get the program and do as much as you can and still not have a pain-free pregnancy and your recovery may still be challenging. There is really no way of guessing these things. I still had SPD and SIJ this pregnancy (I also had SPD my first pregnancy). The video shown for helping these things did help tremendously, as did some other bodywork I needed to keep up with during my pregnancy. It made it more manageable. It did not make it magically disappear, unfortunately. For some it will, and that is amazing. But please know you can do everything “right” and still have a cesarean, develop DR, bleed postpartum the entire six weeks, and/or have back pain in pregnancy and/or postpartum. There are many things outside of our control and sometimes setting yourself up for success is the best thing we can do, even if our success looks different than we envisioned.
- It is still takes discipline, even though it is easily accessible and wonderful. Pregnancy and postpartum are wonderful times for you to practice grace and knowing your own boundaries. It is a delicate balance between knowing you will feel better physically if you do your movement practice but also knowing a nap would make a world of difference in you. Sometimes the nap wins out. Sometimes it wins a lot more than the movement practice. Learning when to say “yes” to certain self-care practices and “no” to others is challenging but part of the whole process. After two pregnancies and births I can say I am solidly still a work in progress. Sometimes I still feel guilty as if I am “not doing enough” for myself as I struggle with some on-going pain, and yet six months postpartum I know I am doing pretty much all I can do at the moment. The balance between discipline and legalism is real y’all.
- Working out with kids is no tranquil setting. This is no fault of OSM but if you envision doing these videos without two kids crawling on your back and jumping on your expanded chest during savasana, then you may be surprised that it does not work that way. #momlife
In the end, I obviously am quite a fan of this program and really recommend it for all mamas. I am an affiliate now, but I truly would be writing this same exact review even if I was not. All that really means is you get an honest review before buying One Strong Mama and I may receive a small sum if you choose to get OSM, while paying the same price. (Thank you if you do! Please let me know and I can answer any questions you have along the way!) I will cover how my second baby’s birth went in comparison with my first and OSM played a part in another post, but know that it really did help (sneak peek: pushing was 3 minutes and my husband almost did not make it upstairs!). I am positive I forgot at least a few of the positives of OSM, but I hope you found this review helpful!