Motherhood and Jiu-jitsu with Prof. Vanessa Waltz

This week we talk with Prof Vanessa Waltz of GB Colorado Springs about her experience of expecting a new member of the family and how she continues her routine of training Jiu-Jitsu and living an active jiu-jitsu lifestyle.
It was my dream to have a family and a JiuJitsu school and I am so fortunate to have this dream made a reality with my husband, son, baby on the way, and Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu!
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Prof Vanessa Waltz
GB: Can we start with a little background on your training in JiuJitsu. How long have you been training JiuJitsu and running your GB school?
Prof Vanessa: First, I would like to say thank you for the opportunity to share a little bit of my personal adventure in Jiu-jitsu. I have been studying BJJ since 2003 and found Gracie Barra in 2011. My husband and I have been proudly serving the city of Colorado Springs for 11 years!
GB: We understand that the Waltz family is expecting another member soon. Congratulations! Can you tell us a little about the schedule for the new baby?
Prof Vanessa: My deepest thanks, we are thrilled to grow our family! When I found out I was expecting, I delegated my teaching classes right away to other qualified instructors. This allotted me more time with my first son and to navigate the first trimester with more ease. I had fatigue and motion sickness for weeks and it was a challenge to continue to train in those first months. Not only that, but the first trimester is the one to be a bit overly cautious with overheating, dehydration, and coping with pesky symptoms. By the second trimester, I had more energy and adapted to a new schedule of training 4 days a week 1 to 2 hours per session. This is only possible thanks to students who feel comfortable working with me and are open to some adaptations.
GB: The most common question GB readers will have is: Is it still safe to train Jiu-jitsu while pregnant? At what stage of the pregnancy will you back off of your normal activities?
Prof Vanessa: 
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and the following are opinions based on personal experience only. Women who are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant need to consult a doctor for the safest path to a healthy pregnancy.
I believe that yes, a woman can train safely while pregnant in the right environment with the right people and with the right mindset for a time. The more experience a woman has, the better. Purple, brown, and black belts tend to have more confidence in choosing partners, have more understanding of the techniques and modifications, and have more body awareness for controlled and safe movements. Training while pregnant is not for every woman no matter the rank and I just want to say: that is perfect! It is totally understandable to take some time off to focus on this precious journey, just remember that JiuJitsu will always be there when the time comes to return to the mats.
GB: What are the adaptations that you have had to make since you learned of the new baby?
Prof Vanessa: I have definitely adapted my live matches the most. Switching from an offensive stand-up game to more conservative/defensive strategies, playing less guard, and slowing things down. It really helps to have so many years of study and previous experience adapting to injuries when it comes to technique practice. There is some positional training I won’t do like side control or mount. In those sessions, I have my partner do a live match instead or I do heavy bag drills. I love being on the mats when I can and taking time off when I feel I am in need of rest.
GB: Lastly, many readers will be curious as to when you will be able to return to your prior schedule of training and teaching classes at your GB school?
Prof Vanessa: I plan to take one month away for healing and a deep connection with the new baby (we call him wiggles). I am open to taking more time if it feels right, but in about 4 weeks I’ll start with technique and just being back in the school. It will likely be another month or two to get back to teaching because I like to be consistent with my commitments. In three months I will be back to training, teaching, and navigating the waters of motherhood while running a business. It was my dream to have a family and a JiuJitsu school and I am so fortunate to have this dream made a reality with my husband, son, baby on the way, and Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu!
See also on GB Blog: GB Inspiration: Prof. Flavio Almeida on overcoming struggles
Writer: Mark Mullen, Gracie Barra Black Belt