Anna Victoria’s Postpartum Journey Inspired Her to Launch New Programs On Her Fitness App

2020 has been a big year for Anna Victoria. On the personal front, after a two-year battle with infertility, the Fit Body Guides creator welcomed her first child, Aurora Vittoria Ferretti, in August.



a group of people posing for a photo: Anna Victoria


© Provided by Shape
Anna Victoria

But Victoria has been busy at work, too. She’s been developing a series of updates to her Fit Body app, including the launch of a pregnancy workout program and the introduction of three new trainers.

Victoria says being a first-time mom motivated her to bring something new to the Fit Body app that would specifically cater to her fellow mamas. “You hear about how hard being a mom is, but you really can’t comprehend it until you go through it yourself,” she tells Shape. “There are so many emotions and so many new things you have to learn — and in the midst of it all, you’re constantly feeling like you’re doing something wrong.”

In addition to emotional ups and downs, Victoria says she’s had some physical challenges during her postpartum journey as well. One week after her (unplanned) C-section in August, she says, she couldn’t even sit up on her own. “It took me two weeks to walk without pain,” she shares. “When you have a newborn, you don’t expect to be going through that. It’s a lot to juggle, which has, at times, been very hard.” (Related: 7 Moms Share What It’s Really Like to Have a C-Section)



a group of people posing for a photo: Along with a new pregnancy-focused workout program, the trainer will also be welcoming three new trainers to the Fit Body app.


© Anna Victoria
Along with a new pregnancy-focused workout program, the trainer will also be welcoming three new trainers to the Fit Body app.

It wasn’t until she was three weeks postpartum that Victoria started feeling more like herself again, she says. “Every week since then, I’ve gotten exponentially better,” she explains.

But when she was cleared by her doctor to work out again in September at around six weeks postpartum, Victoria knew she wasn’t physically capable of diving back in just yet. “I couldn’t even think about it,” she says. “I know my body and I just wasn’t ready.”

Instead, from weeks 6-8, Victoria says she focused on breathing techniques to start feeling in tune with her body again. “I felt like building a mind-muscle connection with my core was a good place to start,” she says. (Related: Fitness Influencer Anna Victoria Fights Back Against Pregnancy Workout Shaming)

The following week, Victoria started inching her way back into a workout routine. Her first “true” workout, she says, was a beginner-level, low-impact lower-body workout from her Fit Body app. “I even ditched the weights, but I still couldn’t walk for a week [after that first workout],” she admits. “I didn’t expect to be that sore! It was so hard.”

The experience was not only humbling for Victoria, a seasoned trainer, but it also inspired her to bring more pregnancy-, postpartum-, and beginner-friendly workouts to the Fit Body app — plus a new group of trainers to teach them.

What to Expect From the New Fit Body App Updates

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Study: Postpartum depression can linger for years for some women

Many women have depression symptoms after giving birth, but for some postpartum depression hangs on for years, a U.S. government study finds.

Of nearly 4,900 new mothers researchers followed, one-quarter had depression symptoms at some point in their child’s first three years. And for about half of them, the symptoms either started early on and never improved, or took time to emerge.

It all suggests women should be screened for postpartum depression over a longer period, said lead researcher Diane Putnick.

“Based on our data, I’d say screening could continue for two years,” said Putnick, a staff scientist at the U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, in Bethesda, Md.

Right now, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends pediatricians take on the task of postpartum depression screening. It says they should screen mothers for symptoms at their baby’s routine check-ups during the first six months of life.

That’s both because postpartum depression usually arises in that period, and because babies have frequent check-ups during those months, according to Putnick. So pediatricians are, in a sense, best positioned to catch moms’ depression symptoms, she said.

On the other hand, pediatricians are also limited in what they can do. Mothers are not their patients, so they do not have access to medical records to get the bigger picture — including whether a woman has a history of clinical depression. And they can only suggest that mothers follow-up with their own provider.

“What happens after women are screened?” said Dr. Rahul Gupta, chief medical and health officer for the nonprofit March of Dimes.

“The recommendation is excellent,” he said, referring to the AAP advice to pediatricians. “It’s a great starting point.”

But women’s primary care doctors need to be involved, Gupta said, particularly since postpartum depression can persist, or surface relatively later after childbirth.

For the new study, published online this week in Pediatrics, Putnick’s team used data on 4,866 women in New York state. All took part in a research project on infertility treatment and its impact on child development.

During the study, mothers completed a five-question survey on depression symptoms when their baby was 4 months old, and then again when their child was 1, 2 and 3 years of age.

The study was done before the AAP recommendations came out, Putnick said, and it’s not clear what kind of screening or follow-up women might have gotten from their own providers.

Based on the study screening, new mothers followed four different trajectories: Three-quarters had few depressive symptoms throughout the three-year period; almost 13% had symptoms when their baby was 4 months old, but improved afterward; 8% initially had few symptoms, but developed more as their child grew older; and 4.5% had persistent depression symptoms.

Putnick stressed that the women only screened positive for symptoms. They were not diagnosed with clinical depression, and it’s unclear how many would need treatment, such as talk therapy or medication.

But the findings show that postpartum depression symptoms can be long-lasting, or arise relatively

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