Saralyn Ward noticed something was missing as she taught Pilates to clients and trained instructors. Her prenatal and postpartum students wanted to understand how their changing bodies worked, but there wasn’t much information for them to use.
That reality hit home when Ward had her first child. “I really felt blindsided by the lack of information,” she says. As the first among her friends to have a child and without other new moms to consult, Ward felt especially alone. Suddenly, her passion for helping women became a mission to help moms, and she began The Mama Sagas blog.
Research about pregnancy and fitness is scant in part, Ward says, because new moms aren’t willing to take chances when they—and their new babies—are physically and psychologically vulnerable. Based on the overwhelming response to The Mama Sagas, Ward began to put together an e-book, tapping experts in pediatric and postpartum health to answer tough questions that new moms have about a wide range of topics.
Ward also started thinking about ways to get that information into the hands of new moms in particular, in a way that was more accessible. She remembered one specific night when her baby was having trouble nursing. In pain and feeling helpless at 3 a.m., Ward looked at her phone and thought, I wish there was something I could tap into in the palm of my hand, to give me answers now.
Ward wanted answers that were credible and easy to understand, that didn’t require reading a long article in the middle of the night, “and also, some advice from other moms who have been there,” she adds. From that flashback, inspiration struck, and The Better After Baby app was born.
Now also serving as an editor for Healthline Parenthood, Ward is busy helping people navigate parenting challenges from breastfeeding to maternal mental health. Now, as more parents turn to digital sources to help them navigate life in a pandemic, she’s more passionate than ever about changing the conversation about postpartum fitness. And she has a 7-year-old in distance learning, a 4-year-old who wants to do everything big sister does, and a new baby who’s busy eating, playing and sleeping.
24Life recently asked Ward to share her insights into prenatal and postpartum fitness, what it means to be better after baby, and how she manages her own mental and physical wellness as life gets busier than ever.