Fitness star Steph Claire Smith is imminently awaiting the arrival of her first child, a baby boy, revealing she is "more excited than nervous" about becoming a mum.
The Melbourne influencer and co-founder of Keep it Cleaner, who has been sharing her pregnancy journey with her 1.5m followers, has opened up to Yahoo Lifestyle about how her health and fitness routine changed, her 'one commitment', and how important that online community has been for her.
"I've always been really open about everything I go through in life online, so it just felt kind of natural to be as open with my pregnancy as well," Steph tells Yahoo Lifestyle. "But it was also being mindful that whatever I share, it's very much my journey."
"I have reached out and spoken to a number of women and heard a number of different stories and I think that community, even if they're people that you don't really feel that close to, you just bond and relate to them on a whole other level, which I really appreciate."
Steph Claire Smith has teamed up with experts including physiotherapists, Pilates Instructors and a meditation coach to release the new KICBUMP program - a series of exercises, meditations and educational videos to support women through their pregnancy and beyond.
For Steph, falling pregnant became a chance for her to learn more about how her body and exercise routine would change. But the 25-year-old stresses that making sure she kept moving was "really important".
"It makes me feel like me, it makes me feel really good inside and outside," she tells us, adding her routine changed quite a bit from trimester to trimester.
"I wasn't working out anywhere near as often, I was walking daily that was kind of my one commitment to myself was to keep moving in that way," Steph says.
The model worked with her physiotherapist, Ashleigh Mason, to adjust her routine depending on how she felt - Ashleigh is now part of the new program as well - and said she really noticed a difference when she didn't move as much.
"I noticed that on the weeks in my pregnancy where I did nothing and no movement, that was actually where I felt more irritated in my joints and everything like that."
Steph hopes the new program will help other women sift through the overwhelming amount of advice around exercise and pregnancy online, something which she says can cause a lot of anxiety.
She's also acutely aware of the importance of reminding people that everyone's journey is different, and no one should be looking at what someone else is doing online and feel like it's a bad thing if they can't achieve the same.
"That's the whole reason why we wanted to bring out the KICBUMP content, because a lot of it is extremely educational," Steph says.
"It's really just about empowering women to get their own health advice, but also to really tune into their own body, and know what feels right for them."
When it comes to what advice Steph has to avoid falling in to that 'comparison trap', especially during pregnancy, she says to remember pregnancy is only one short part of your overall health and fitness journey.
"We all do it, we all look at someone else's life and compare it from time to time, especially when we're not feeling ourselves," she tells us.
"And if you were someone that was really, really active and then suddenly that ability has been stripped from you – because of risks in your pregnancy or just not feeling energised or motivated – I can totally relate to how that would feel.
"It is frustrating because I'm so used to being able to do things and I think you just have to remind yourself that it's a short journey, whilst nine months feels like a really long time at the end of the day, it's not."
It's also a time to just appreciate what your body can do, Steph adds.
"One day afterwards, you will be able to slowly get back into things. So just kind of appreciate the time and remind yourself that your body is going through a whole new challenge that it's never done before," she says.
"It's really, really incredible when you break it down, it's a full miracle and I don't understand how it happens, it's really magic. And whenever I got frustrated about not being able to do something that maybe I used to be able to do, I just had to remind myself of that and feel really proud of my body for what it is doing and that kind of gets me through."
KICBUMP launches on the KIC app on Mother’s Day, Sunday 9th of May.
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