Mompreneur: Sarah Bradford and LUNA Center

March 13, 2017

LUNA Pre & Postnatal Fitness + Wellness Center

Marin native Sarah Bradford is the founder and operator of LUNA Center, a unique pregnancy and postpartum fitness studio located at 1165 Magnolia Avenue in Larkspur. She took the time out to answer a few questions for us about herself, her business, her family, and why she loves working and living in Marin.

Please tell us a little about yourself, what’s your background?

My name is Sarah Bradford, and I am the Founder of The LUNA Center. I am a Marin County native and grew up in Kentfield, and my husband is from San Anselmo. Together we have a beautiful 19-month-old son and two dogs.

I started my career in holistic wellness as a Certified Holistic Nutrition Counselor specializing in fertility and pregnancy, and as a HypnoBirthing Instructor. I was surprised to find that there was really no prenatal specific exercise aside from yoga here in Marin County, and through my own fitness journey I learned just how crucial this is. I wanted to provide my community with empowerment, strength, and knowledge to have healthier, happier, easier pregnancies and births. So I decided to dive in head first and become certified as a Personal Trainer, Pre & Postnatal Corrective Exercise Specialist, and Diastasis Recti & Core Rehabilitation Specialist. I am also a Certified Bloom Method Expert. Coupling all of this with my background in Holistic Nutrition and Childbirth Education, The LUNA Center was born.

What’s your business all about? What makes LUNA different from other fitness centers?

LUNA is the first pregnancy and postpartum fitness studio of its kind in Marin. We offer a different approach to pre & postnatal fitness, and are based on the premise that you can, and should train for birth. Runners train for marathons for months, sometimes even a full year leading up to the big event. Childbirth is the biggest marathon of a woman's life, yet we don't train for it. At LUNA we do just that. Our labor training techniques consist of strength training, cardio, & interval based movements that mimic contraction time to challenge our clients and keep them strong and fit throughout their pregnancies and post-birth. Our unique belly pumping & core techniques help prevent abdominal separation, decrease discomforts often associated with pregnancy, and help our clients have a more effective and shorter pushing stage during labor and faster healing post-birth.

LUNA Pre & Postnatal Fitness + Wellness Center LUNA Pre & Postnatal Fitness + Wellness Center

We are Marin's exclusive resource for The Bloom Method's™ highly specialized, unique, and innovative pregnancy & postpartum fitness techniques which we utilize to teach our clients how to safely and effectively exercise during every stage of pregnancy, build strength and stamina, and stay connected to their changing bodies all while preparing them for childbirth and the demands of motherhood. Through one on one personal training and group fitness classes, we provide our prenatal and postnatal clients with a safe, effective, sweaty, challenging, and fun workout. Some of the benefits our clients can expect to experience are; continued strength during pregnancy, a deep connection to the inner core muscles as the belly grows, increased strength and stamina during labor, quicker postpartum healing, less (if any) common pregnancy discomforts, lower risk of developing diastasis recti and pelvic girdle pain, how to correctly engage and release the pelvic floor, and a feeling of empowerment and confidence. Exercise during pregnancy has been shown to reduce the need for medical interventions by up to 55%, lower the risk of pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia by over 27%, and reduce the overall duration of labor, including a shorter, more efficient pushing stage.

We are a community of pregnancy & birth professionals operating under one roof. In addition to prenatal and postnatal fitness, we also offer diastasis recti prevention and rehabilitation, holistic functional nutrition to support our clients while trying to conceive, throughout their pregnancy, and post-birth, childbirth education classes, HypnoBirthing®, breastfeeding education & support, newborn care classes, and other various workshops. We will also have a bi-monthly free support group for infertility and trouble conceiving. Through our innovative approach to holistic birth preparation and beyond, we strive to provide our clients with a sense of empowerment, strength, and confidence by giving them the tools to experience a more comfortable pregnancy, easier labor, and a healthier baby.

What inspired you to start your business?

My husband is a two-time cancer survivor, and while the treatments he went through ultimately saved his life, they also left him unable to have children naturally. Luckily we knew this was a possibility and took the necessary precautions before his treatment began to be able to have a family in the future. When the time came, we went through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) followed by two frozen embryo transfers to become pregnant with our son. It was not an easy process, and it was during this time that my passion for working with women struggling to conceive, and pregnant and postpartum mamas really began to deepen. Once I was pregnant with my son, I wanted to do everything I could to maintain my healthy lifestyle in order to have the healthiest pregnancy, birth, and baby possible. I am a long time practitioner of yoga and continued with my regular Vinyasa practice right up until the end of my pregnancy. I wanted to do other forms of exercise too, but I wasn't able to find anything that was specific to pregnancy aside from yoga, and as a first time pregnant mama I was afraid to try anything else on my own.

After a long and somewhat difficult labor and postpartum recovery period, I wanted to begin exercising again, but quickly realized I couldn't even find my core muscles. My back ached from holding my newborn son, my hips were sore and overstretched from birth, and I felt overweight and weak. I knew something wasn't right. I reached out to my friend and the Founder of The Bloom Method, Brooke, and told her how I was feeling. She walked me through checking myself for diastasis recti, and sure enough I had an almost three finger separation. She gave me the tools to heal my diastasis and I am proud to say that with dedication I was able to fully heal it! My core is now stronger and more functional than it ever was pre-pregnancy. It was during my own journey through pregnancy, postpartum healing, and getting back into shape that I realized how crucial proper exercise during this time really is. I could have most likely prevented my diastasis recti had I known how to do so during my pregnancy, and could have had an easier postpartum recovery period as well. It had been a dream of mine for many years to someday open a wellness center that focused on fertility, pregnancy, and new moms, and I was so inspired by what my friend was doing out in Colorado that I decided I needed to bring it to my community in Marin.

Sarah Bradford and Family What's your favorite thing about your business and clients?

Pregnancy is an incredibly magical, sacred, and beautiful time in a woman's life. Being able to have a positive impact on their pregnancies and transition into motherhood (or into being a mother of multiple children) is something that fills me up. My heart truly lies in the work that I do. I love being able to see my clients' pregnancies progress, being there for all of the different stages, and meeting their little ones once they arrive! I admire the sheer strength, dedication, humor, and willingness to learn that each of my clients brings with them. I am constantly in awe of my clients. Being able to support women during this incredible journey through pregnancy birth, and motherhood is an honor. I am truly passionate and dedicated to helping other mamas feel strong, empowered, and educated in their pregnancies and births, and to be able to provide my clients with the tools to have happier, healthier pregnancies, births, and babies.

What do you and your family love about living in Marin?

My husband and I grew up here in Marin, and our families still live here. We love the beauty and nature that Marin has to offer. We enjoy hiking around the lakes with our son and our dogs and taking coastal drives out to the beach. Marin also has such an incredible community. Growing up here you really get to know a lot of people, and its amazing to get to see our children grow up alongside those of people we have known and been friends with for most of our lives. There are more young families migrating to Marin which is so exciting to see! The demographic is changing a bit and I love seeing more people starting families here and raising their kiddos. I also love how here in Marin we have such easy access to the snow tipped mountains of Tahoe, city lights of San Francisco, beaches, and wine country all at our fingertips.

For more info, visit www.lunacentermarin.com.