Jenna Bush Hager has opened up about her ectopic pregnancy and the toll having multiple abdominal surgeries has taken on her body while sharing how her trainer has helped her learn how to reengage her core.
The Today host, 41, sat down with her dance fitness instructor Amanda Bartolomeo, the founder of the workout CorePlay, for a special wellness segment that aired on Tuesday while she was on vacation with her family.
‘When I first met Amanda, we started talking about finding your core, and what that means metaphorically for women and obviously, literally,’ Bush Hager recalled, saying they both realized they suffered ectopic pregnancies.
‘I had one years ago before I got pregnant with Mila. I hadn’t really engaged my core because I’ve had six or seven stomach surgeries with C-sections, appendicitis, ectopic pregnancy. And so, I had sort of lost that part of me. But also as a woman, it was a really hard thing to go through.’
Jenna Bush Hager, 41, opened up about her ectopic pregnancy during a special wellness segment that aired on the Today show on Tuesday
The host sat down with her dance fitness instructor Amanda Bartolomeo, recalling how they realized they had both had ectopic pregnancies
‘It was a really hard thing to go through,’ said Bush Hager, who shares children Mila, Poppy, and Hal with her husband, Henry Hager
An ectopic pregnancy is when a fertilized egg grows outside of the uterus. They occur in a fallopian tube more than 90 percent of the time, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, but they can also implant in the abdomen, cervix, ovary, and cesarean scar.
Ectopic pregnancies are not viable and need to be terminated, as they can become life-threatening and require urgent surgery if the area of implantation ruptures.
Bush Hager, who has children Mila, nine, Poppy, seven, and Hal, three, with her husband, Henry Hager, previously shared her heartbreak over her ectopic pregnancy during a conversation with Meredith Vieira on the Today show in 2019.
‘It was my first pregnancy. I was so excited,’ she recalled. ‘I remember I was in California and I started to feel sick. I was with my best friend, and Henry said, “Take [a pregnancy test]. You’re with Mia. You’re with your sister. Find out if you’re pregnant.”‘
Bush Hager was so excited to find out that she was pregnant that she told about seven people, despite saying she was going to keep it to herself.
‘I had no idea what an ectopic pregnancy was,’ she explained. ‘They looked up and the baby was in my fallopian tube. My husband was out of town. My sister was in Africa. And, so, I went into emergency surgery, and I had my fallopian tube removed — and I was alone.’
Bush Hager explained that she hadn’t been engaging her core for years because she had ‘six or seven stomach surgeries,’ including her ectopic pregnancy and C-sections
The former first daughter has been working with Bartolomeo for nearly two years and credits her physical transformation to her dance workouts
‘I think that’s the thing about women’s health is that it’s not just about looking skinny or looking a certain way or fitting into your jeans. It’s about feeling healthy all the way around,’ she said
A decade later, Bush Hager met Bartolomeo after her own ectopic pregnancy, which created an instant bond between them.
‘Just reaching out and telling people around me what I went through, [made me realize] how many other women have gone through it, and that there is such a community of women that can show up for each other,’ the trainer said.
The former first daughter has been working with Bartolomeo for nearly two years and credits her physical transformation to her dance workouts.
‘I think that’s the thing about women’s health is that it’s not just about looking skinny or looking a certain way or fitting into your jeans. It’s about feeling healthy all the way around,’ Bush Hager said.
Bartolomeo explained that she helped her client help her find her core ‘in a happy, fun way’ while working out with friends, saying, ‘She loves dance cardio, and I love dancing, so it’s a perfect mix.’
Bush Hager also reflected on her body image growing up, saying her mother, former First Lady Laura Bush, never talked about diets or the way she looked in front of her and her sister
When Bush Hager sees photos of herself as a little girl that were taken at times when she might ‘not have felt the cutest,’ she reminds herself that she was funny, smart, and had a huge heart
When Bush Hager was in Texas for a recent Christmas, her twin sister Barbara, found her diary from the fourth grade and saw that her New Year’s resolution was to lose weight
Bush Hager added that she always feels better after one of their workout sessions and makes a point to show up for them no matter what is going on in her life.
‘Sometimes you’re like, “Oh gosh, I’m so tired. The kids were up all night.” There’s like a million excuses, but the second I would meet Amanda, she was smiling and we would start dancing,’ she said. ‘It was like whatever was hanging on us from the days before, from the night before, would release.’
Bush Hager also reflected on her body image growing up and how that has changed over the years.
‘When I was in Texas over a recent Christmas, my sister was reading my diary, and she found an entry when I was in fourth grade, so the same age as my eldest daughter. I was nearly 10 and my New Year’s resolution was to lose weight,’ she explained. ‘Barbara actually hid the journal from me because it broke her little heart to know that I felt that way at that young age.’
She noted that when she sees pictures of herself as a little girl that were taken at times when she might ‘not have felt the cutest,’ she reminds herself that she was funny, smart, and had a huge heart.
Bush Hager admitted that it was especially difficult to be thrust into the public eye when her father, George W. Bush, was elected president in 2000.
Bush Hager admitted that it was difficult to be thrust into the public eye when her father, George W. Bush, was elected president in 2000, saying they were ‘feeling the freshman 15’
Bush Hager explained that she wants to model self-love for her children, saying she encourages them to stay active, but she never speaks badly about herself
‘I think overall I feel pretty good about myself,’ she said. ‘I feel like I put the emphasis on the right things’
‘My dad became president when we were 18 years old. We were freshmen in college, so we were definitely feeling the freshman 15,’ she said. ‘I think that was a little weird, and to see our pictures on the cover of magazines was a strange thing.’
Bush Hager added that her mother, former First Lady Laura Bush, has always been an incredible role model when it comes to body image.
‘My mom never talked about diet. She never talked about the way she looked. She definitely would never self-hate in front of us,’ she recalled. ‘I want to make sure that I’m modeling that type of love to my kids.
‘Mila and I, we’ll go for walks. They see me work out. They play sports. I encourage them to stay active, but we’re not sitting around talking bad about ourselves.
Bush Hager shared that she loves the little girl she was and the woman she is now, insisting that Bartolomeo has changed her life.
‘I think overall I feel pretty good about myself,’ she said. ‘I feel like I put the emphasis on the right things.’