My Fit Pregnancy: Before and After the Baby
I was actually driving home from Fitcamp the day that I realized I might be pregnant. That whole week I felt weird like I had a burst of energy (but not for long!). It turned out I was right, my husband and I were going to have our first child! By the way, This is my personal story, so buckle up folks because it’s a wild ride! Seriously though, many stories are different (and that’s ok!). And when you get pregnant many women feel compelled to tell you their story even if it was a nightmare! But don’t be alarmed they are just trying to help. However, some women think it’s a competition, it’s weird, so just ignore them. Every journey is challenging. Every woman works hard in labour whether they take pain medication or not, whether they have a c-section or not, whether they have a coach or not. It is your journey. You are awesome!
I have been a regular at BodyNetix since 2008 and a trainer since 2011. Of course I am a bit biased when I say it’s the best workout going, but it is! More importantly though, exercise is what keeps me sane and energetic. I figure there are 24 hours in each day and it’s my job to carve out some time for health and well-being. I was a 6:00 am’er and loved it! I loved getting up at the crack of dawn and heading to the gym. It just worked for me. but it doesn’t work for everyone, I know.
"Pregnancy is NOT a Disease."
As soon as I found out I was pregnant I got a ton of mixed information about working out and pregnancy. Thankfully, my doctor is awesome and also a marathon runner. He said, “Pregnancy is not a disease, carry on with what you are doing and just listen to your body.” This is what people should know! I wanted to have a healthy and active pregnancy and carry on with my workouts. So, I decided to take my pre and post-natal fitness certification online so I would be able to work out safely during my pregnancy, and I’m so glad that I did. I’ve talked to many women who have had babies that said they either quit exercising after the first trimester or as soon as they started to show. You don’t have to quit! Exercise is good for you and the baby!
The First Trimester
My first 3 months were tough. Between anemia and hypothyroidism, I was double tired, but at least I didn’t have morning sickness or anything like that. I was just tired and kind of grumpy (my husband would say that is an understatement!). But here is the key fitness rule: don’t start doing anything crazy new. You can continue on with what you are doing, but DO NOT start something new! You can begin an exercise routine after you become pregnant but you need to talk to your doctor and find a trainer with pre and post-natal knowledge who can guide you. 30 minutes a day is all you need. But be warned, this is arguably the most annoying time, body-image wise, during pregnancy. This is because you don’t show until way later so you just look like you’re gaining weight and your body is going through a lot of change. I remember people checking me out in class. Everyone is super nice and encouraging at BodyNetix, but I’m sure they wondered what the heck was up. I gained 10 lbs. the first 8 weeks, it was insane! Oh, and many sites will tell you that you shouldn’t gain any weight in the first trimester (yeah right).
The Second Trimester
This is the “Woohoo! I feel amazing” phase. My advice is: don’t be a hero. Keep with your modifications. By this point I was doing burpees off the BOSU, easing up on my tabatas, slowing my sprint, changing up my core work big time and allowing for breaks. Here is the key rule for the 4th month and on. If you can’t breathe, the baby can’t breathe. You need to be able to carry on a conversation while you work out. That is what tells you whether or not you’re pushing too hard. Try singing the ABC’s or Hot Crossed Buns softly to yourself, and if you can’t without gasping you need to slow down. You also cannot lie flat on your back from here on out. You risk collapsing the Vena Cava (the large artery running the length of your spine that is responsible for the delivery of oxygen to the baby). Try standing ab work. Any lying bench work on an incline you really need to watch your form as your low back might give you grief (you should always watch your form anyways!)
The Third Trimester
When I got pregnant I was 165 lbs. When I went to the hospital to have my son I was 210 lbs. (you get very heavy at the end). I was attending classes 5 days a week in the beginning, but after my first trimester I dropped it down to 3 days a week because my body needed the recovery days (probably because it was hard at work making a baby!). I just did cardio the other days. I managed to keep going to Fitcamp until I was eight and a half months pregnant. Eventually you just have to stop. I was at the point where I was changing most of the workout to get through. But I loved the social aspect, I mean BodyNetix members are super fun and awesome. I didn’t want to stop. I kept going to 6 am classes but went down to 3 days a week.
Guidelines for pregnancy ideally include 3 days of weight training and 2 days of cardio, but it is different for everyone and you may want to do less and that is OK. Your body needs time to repair because it is also making a little human.
I was used to the workouts and doing early mornings, but I’m not going to lie, I had some mega exhausted days. For me, going to the gym after a full workday was a very tiring thought. Do what you can each day. If you need to skip the gym then that’s okay! Try and get out for a walk or something if you can. Tomorrow is another day!
Working out throughout my entire pregnancy not only kept me physically fit but also helped me stay mentally fit. Hormones are the devil and they will make you feel nuts. Some days I wanted to cry, yell and laugh all in a matter of moments. It is so important to move your body and make those endorphins flow, not just for you but for your baby too. Exercise also significantly minimizes your risk for developing gestational diabetes.
By my 38th week, I was doing waddle walks and swimming lengths at the pool. My hips hurt, I was huge and heavy and the idea of jumping made me cringe (no burpees for me! I didn’t really miss them that much though! Shhhh, don’t tell the girls!)
In your spare time you should make some batches of food to store in the freezer. I made chilli, soup, muffins, and asked my close friends and family to do the same (I will post a few recipes on here but there is a ton on Pinterest and on our Facebook page as well). Check out my Mini Crustless Quiche recipe!
The first month after you have a baby you are a zombie so food prep is out the window. You eat when you can and you will put anything in your mouth. So help yourself out by having healthy freezer meals on hand. You will need good nutritious food to give you the strength to heal and take care of your baby (and your husband).
I woke up at 4 am with cramping and I knew I was having him that day. Well it turned out to be the next day “technically” as I had Linc at 1:30 am on September 20th. I had a textbook labour (I was lucky) and it was exactly how my pre-natal class instructor described it. I climbed the mountain of pain gradually and eventually went to the hospital. When I arrived, my water broke shortly thereafter. I remember the doctor asking me what I needed for delivery. I asked for an epidural, extra pillows and the squat bar (lol).
When it came time to push, I was in the squat position for most of the time and on my hands and knees. At the very end I was on my back with feet wide up on the bar. It was crazy, that’s all I can say. I had done a lot of research on the best positions for labour and squatting allows for gravity to help you. I gave it my all. (The whole pregnancy he was measuring on par so I figured I was having an average sized baby.) I pushed for about two hours and finally he arrived. 22 hours of labour in total from start to finish. It was the most incredible moment of my life! I had finally met my little gym buddy, the one I was growing for almost a year! It was the hardest workout of my life! On the scale he went and he was a whopping 9 lbs. 13 ounces! Holy! The doctor was impressed. She asked with a smirk, “What’s the name of that gym you go to again?”
Now, I can’t prove that any one thing led me to a successful delivery, but epidural was bliss and I could not imagine having Linc without one! Eating healthy, working out, genetics, healthy lifestyle before pregnancy; any number of things can happen to anyone. Healthy people can have complications, unhealthy people can have none, but I truly believe that being active and fit contributed to my having a good pregnancy and delivery. HIIT training (high intensity interval training) is excellent preparation for contractions. At BodyNetix, we like to do timed sets where exercises range from 30 to 60 seconds. Contractions are the same and then you get a rest. Endurance and strength are also essential to a good delivery. New research has also shown that mothers who exercise decrease their chances for caesarian births.
After Baby Lincoln
I sit here reading over this blog post that I wrote over a month ago. Lincoln is now 3 months and one week old and I am back into my groove. I recently completed the 21-Day Challenge at BodyNetix. If you have contemplated doing it but haven’t yet then I highly recommend it. I used it as a kick start to get back into routine. I managed 15 hours of fitness in 21 days and lost 6 pounds; not bad for a new mom! It took me a while to heal from the nerve damage in my legs from delivery so I found plyometric extremely tough, and I also could barely run. I took it easy, went for walks and did yoga and tried to ease back into exercise. Listening to your body is the most important thing you can do besides keeping your baby alive! Eventually you will get your body back to normal so enjoy the crazy ride and be kind to yourself.
If you or anyone you know is thinking of becoming pregnant, is currently pregnant, or just had a baby, please consider attending my FREE Pre and Post-Natal Workshop at BodyNetix on Saturday, March 4th. I will give you tips and tricks to having a healthy and active pregnancy and new journey as a mom. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to register!