Barely one year ago in the summer of 2018, entrepreneurial Fairfax mom, Laura Arndt, launched her Matriarc app, designed specifically with a goal of helping mothers and their bodies during and after pregnancy. This helpful mom-centric tool was a logical expansion of Arndt's vast fitness knowledge and experience that began when she earned her bachelor's degree in exercise science in 2005 and started a career as an exercise instructor in 2007.

Within the last 10 years, Arndt has worked steadily giving exercise instruction and building up her fitness repertoire significantly through certifications in various related specialties, including Pilates and strength and conditioning. All her years of practicing her craft have now prepared Arndt for the resounding success of the Matriarc app.

How It All Started

Before the Matriarc app came to be, the fires of intrigue were igniting something in Arndt's brain. As she began offering group exercise classes and personalized training to women, Arndt saw an increase in clients who were either pregnant or had just had a baby and were in their early postpartum stages. Clearly, these women had different physical needs that needed to be met through specialized fitness training and education, but how?

Arndt learned a great deal from working with expectant mothers and formulated her own conclusions - a strong disconnect existed between doctor's orders and the realities of life these women experienced. Arndt could not fathom pregnant women receiving incomplete instructions on how to care for their body after delivery. She felt it was her job to do something to fix that. Inspired by this imbalance and working actively to effect change, Arndt decided she wanted to create an educational tool to provide fitness-based resources and support, specifically to women who were having babies.

The Matriarc app was officially born in Arndt's mind in 2015, as she began to collect information and work with doctors, therapists and specialists in women's health to create specific exercises to strengthen the core and pelvic floor after delivery. For two years, Arndt worked with professionals in exercise and videography to design and professionally produce short, medically-approved exercise videos for mothers.

Laura Arndt felt the Matriarc app was the perfect solution to help women care for and rehabilitate their bodies after delivery, and she was proud to offer this dedicated resource to help mothers with their bodies, minds and relationships with others.

Her 10 years of experience in working with mothers during and after pregnancy also proved valuable as Arndt prepared to give birth to her first child, now 10 months old. Arndt experienced a lot of the same lack of information and guidance as she saw with her clients years ago. She chose to turn her own pregnancy into a positive outlet by sharing her struggles and experiences as a contributing writer on motherhood topics at PopSugar.com, Mother.ly and other websites.

As an experienced personal trainer, a strong connector within the birth community and now a mom-to-be herself, Arndt was as determined as ever to create a one-stop-shop for mothers. "All too often a woman's health is put on the back burner during pregnancy and postpartum and 100 percent of the focus is on the infant. The reality is, moms need guidance and support for their own well-being," states Arndt.

Benefits

Today, the Matriarc app serves as "a tool for women to use during pregnancy and post-delivery to improve their health and wellness … [with] over 100 professionally filmed exercises, audio meditations and an educational newsfeed," describes Arndt.

The app has five main sections: the welcome guide - a news source for relevant articles about motherhood; fitness and wellbeing; a practice section that shows 5 to 7-minute videos that help rehabilitate the body; meditations for the mind and a community section to help connect mothers with nearby professional support.

After downloading the app and creating a free account, users will see a static menu listing the five main sections of the app. Clicking out of that takes users to the Matriarc feed which contains many useful and interesting motherhood articles linked to outside sources including Parents.com, ScaryMommy.com and BuzzFeed.com.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Matriarc is its dedication to pelvic floor and core strengthening exercise sequences for beginners - in two phases lasting for 20 days each. Daily lists detail steps for each sequence, with accompanying videos every step of the way. On Day 1 of phase 1, for example, the postpartum mother will be offered an opportunity to do:

  • Supine deep breathing with Kegels

  • Supine knee to chest stretch

  • A pelvic tilt

  • Supine marching

  • Another pelvic tilt

  • Supine marching (redux)

  • Stomach quadriceps stretch

With soft music playing in the background and a strong narrator voicing the exercise actions, each expertly produced video showcases a fitness model against a plain white background, leaving mothers with exact, clean and uncluttered visuals and information on how to perform each exercise.

What's Next?

After founding Matriarc parent company Kor, LLC in 2016, Laura Arndt seeks to "support women during pregnancy and postpartum through the Matriarc application and online community marketplace." Arndt also provides online fitness consultations and offers events local to the D.C. metropolitan area. Next on Arndt's list is the launch of the Matriarc premium app, as well as an expansion of the community support section of the app, to give pregnant and postpartum mothers ample opportunities to connect with birth community professionals.

Visit the Matriarc website at matriarcapp.com. The Matriarc app is available for Apple iPhone users only. Downloads are available through the Apple store: apps.apple.com/us/app/matriarc.


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Amanda M. Socci is a freelance writer who lives in Alexandria, Va. with her husband and two daughters. Amanda is passionate about many things, including school fundraising, Girl Scouts and recycling with art. Amanda can be reached at SocciWriter@gmail.com