This post is written to give you an insight of my experience of exercising during my pregnancy. It is written from a personal perspective of a healthy woman in her early forties who regularly participated in exercise before my baby was conceived. If you are pregnant seek medical advice about the type of exercise suitable for your fitness level.
BABES, I THINK I’M PREGNANT!!
“Pregnancy is a kind of miracle. Especially so in that it proves that a man and woman can conspire to force God to create a new soul”. – Robert Anton Wilson
At the time of writing I am 22 weeks and 5 days pregnant. However, my partner Mark and I only discovered we were expecting our first child together when our precious fetus was 9 weeks old! My close friends know I’d basically given up on conceiving. After all I’m now in my early forties and I’d read up on how much a woman’s fertility reduces as she gets older. So, missing my cycle in July escaped me as it was a beautiful summer.
My social diary was busy, and I had many occasions where I enjoyed an opportunity to get dressed up and party! When August came, I started to think about my menstruation. I noticed the time had passed and started to think my body was at the through the start of the menopause. This is a change in my journey into womanhood that I’m preparing for. However, I’ll tell you more about this story another time.
LOOKING BACK TO KEEP MOVING FORWARD
Today I’m going to talk about my experience of exercising and nutrition during my pregnancy. If you’re following my wellness journey, you’ll be familiar with my story.
To summarise for those of you I’m just connecting with. My healthy active lifestyle journey started properly in 2013 after I admitted to myself my expanding waistline was a direct correlation to my unhealthy eating habits. In those days skipping breakfast, eating calorie loaded meal deals, cakes, biscuits, takeaways and alcohol at the weekend was part of my daily and weekly habits. Subsequently, my dress size shot up from 14 to 22 over a period of years.
During this time in my life lack of exercise was not my problem. I enjoyed salsa dancing at least three times a week, played netball and rode my bicycle as often as possible. Sadly, my unhealthy eating habits were the reason behind my weight gain. I thought I could exercise my way out of a bad diet. Fast forward after following a personalised nutritional programme, drinking water, taking vitamins and minerals in addition to regular exercise I had lost weight and my dress size was down to a 14-16 depending on where I shopped. I’ve continued to keep up with my nutritional programme during my pregnancy. This is the first pregnancy where my iron levels have not been depleted. So, I’ve avoided taking iron tablets which would probably make me constipated!
PREGNANCY IS NOT AN ILLNESS
Over the last five years eating healthy and staying active had been a major part of my lifestyle. One of my motivations for taking a pregnancy test was to see if I should attend a planned kickboxing session. I just started training for my brown and white belt and I was starting to push myself mentally and physically.
“Being pregnant was the healthiest I’ve ever been in my life. Except for the cupcakes”. Ashlee Simpson
Mark and I were like nervous teenagers when we purchased the pregnancy test. We were equally shocked when the result showed we had a welcomed surprise passenger inside me. Our kickboxing training was the following day. We didn’t know if exercising was allowed during pregnancy and decided it was best if I didn’t train. My Instructor looked puzzled when I told her I wouldn’t be able to train for a while. After sharing our news, she reassured me that my training programme would be modified and advised me to speak to my GP. I was delighted when my GP encouraged me to continue with my exercise “You are not ill, it’s just a change in your physiology” he said.
MAKING SENSIBLE MODIFICATIONS
Excited about our news, I did lots of reading over the internet. I soon discovered expecting mothers like everyone else should be aiming for at least thirty minutes of daily exercise. The general advice was to avoid high impact exercise that involves jumps and exercise around the abdominal area. So, over the last thirteen weeks my exercise programme has been modified. I personally decided to stop running in my first trimester. This means my Saturday morning runs are on hold until next Spring. However, walking is encouraged, so I’ve happily stayed committed to my daily walks during lunch breaks at work. I have also continued to organise and invite others to join me for bi-weekly walks in our local Country Park.
“If you don’t make time for exercise, you’ll probably have to make time for illness.” Robin Sharma
My fitness levels before pregnancy were probably higher than most women my age. This is due to my experience in fitness coaching and my years of training in martial arts. So, I’ve decided to continue with kickboxing. To be clear, my training within the dojo is very modified and I have only trained with very experienced kick-boxers. The exercise has been modified for low impact and I have used a range of equipment to ensure even modified exercise is safe. Overall most of my exercise has changed quite significantly, for example I don’t do any jumps, which as you can appreciate is frustrating for a freestyle kick-boxer! Other exercise moves have been removed from my plan like squats, sit-ups and high intensity bur-pees.
YIKES! I CAN BARELY TOUCH MY TOES!
Some elements of my training are already literally out of my reach. Stretching is important in martial arts. Yesterday I started to notice how my pregnancy is restricting me from touching my toes. My energy levels during the evenings are low. So, I only attend kickboxing once a week on Saturday afternoons.
As we count down the next sixteen weeks, I’m sure I’ll have to start doing different things such as swimming and yoga, which are very popular with pregnant women. All being well I’ll write an update to this blog during the third trimester to tell you what type of exercise I’ve taken up.