A couple questions I get quite a lot are “If you are pregnant, why are you still working out?” and “Isn’t working out dangerous for you and that baby?” I have also gotten some questions that come off a little more rude such as “Don’t you think your being selfish by still caring about your body and working out?”
One of the first things I did when I found out I was pregnant was to search online for “exercising while pregnant”. Then I went and got some pregnancy books and I looked up whether or not I could exercise. When we got to meet with our doctor, I was sure to talk with her about what my workouts were like before I was pregnant and what I was hoping to keep doing during pregnancy. We talked about what to watch out for, what to avoid and what to include. The overall, common answer I got from all these sources? Exercising during pregnancy is good for mama and baby! Exercising can help with common pregnancy complaints such as minor aches and pains, bloating, and constipation. It can also help with all those hormones raging through a pregnant woman’s body and help prepare the body for a more efficient labor (fingers crossed on this one)!
There is definitely a difference to working out before pregnancy and after pregnancy. Before I would go on training runs and constantly try to push my mile times faster and look for hills to add to my routes. I would look for new races to enter and craft training plans to try to reach new PR’s. During pregnancy I have had to embrace running for its simple pleasure of getting moving. I don’t look at the mile times on my watch. Instead I check my watch to check my heart rate to make sure it is not getting too high (I talked to my doctor and a trainer about an acceptable heart rate range). I did one race while pregnant. At four months I ran our local Turkey Trot 10k.
My husband ran with me, we started at the very back and we also waiting for about the first quarter mile before we actually started running. It was a way to make sure we had a good warm up and to let more competitive runners go ahead. It was also a good way for me to not let myself get sucked into the racing vibe. We did lots of walking breaks and stopped at every water spot for extra water. I continue to do spin classes and use the treadmills all the time. Spin class and treadmills have been great for me because I can push as hard or as easy as I want, I am not holding anyone else back, I am not worried about falling due to an uneven surface, and it is really easy to have lots of water with me to stay hydrated. Proper hydration is critical during pregnancy. I still do a modified version of weight training. There are certain machines that are no longer good for me and certain exercises that should make my body more labor ready. The amount of the weights I use for some sets have drastically decreased (if not disappeared entirely and replaced with body weight moves only) but I can still do weights. I can still do almost everything I could before I was pregnant, it is just a matter of modifying it to accommodate my changing body and the changing demands on my body.
I really don’t want to use pregnancy as my excuse to forget or give up on my fitness and my fitness goals. It may change some of those goals and it may affect the timelines for some of those goals, but I’m ok with that. Working out through pregnancy has helped me to feel good about myself as my body is starting to change in ways I have never experienced. It is helping me deal with an obnoxious level of hormones that is completely new to me. It is helping me remember that to be a good mom and role model, I need to be happy with myself and I need to make healthy choices. Don’t get me wrong, I am not total gym rat crazy and I am totally enjoying a little pregnancy ice cream here and there! I just don’t think pregnancy means the end of fitness and healthy choices!
***The opinions here are a combination of my own research and consulting with my personal doctor and a friend who is a trainer. Please do your own research and consult with your healthcare provided for recommendations as to what is best for you! ***