I’ve always been active, playing sports or exercising a la gym. I’m one of those incredibly annoying, hyperactive, morning people who get up at 5am to go for a run—and am happy to do it.
Yeah, I’m the girl you pass in the office hallway and am like, “Good morning!” even before you have had your first cup of coffee. You secretly curse me and keep a tranquilizer dart in your desk in case it becomes necessary (as if that would bring me down…).
Well, my energy levels have been humbled by the fact that being pregnant is quite tiring. Who knew generating a mini skeleton, heart, lungs, and all that other gross stuff that makes up the human body would be so damn exhausting? I shouldn’t even complain, I had no idea for 5 months that I was even pregnant, I just thought my workouts were getting harder due to me no longer being a spry 20-year-old.
Well, now that I’m 25 weeks in, I can feel the pregnancy pulling me down. My belly is popping out a bit more, I get dizzy, incredibly thirsty, and I pee almost always.
Exercising while pregnant is important. Setting world records in marathons and weightlifting while pregnant is not. I believe that part of the reason my symptoms stayed at bay for so long and why I was in the dark about my own pregnant nature, was because I maintained a regular exercise regime—or genetics (my sister and mother lacked typical symptoms too). There is no clear control in this experiment since, with pregnancy, all ladies react differently, but I hypothesize the same.
It’s key to chat with a doctor prior to starting, or even continuing, an exercise routine with a partner in utero. Since I’ve been active since I was pretty much out of the womb myself, my heart is conditioned for aerobic and cardiovascular exercise. This essentially means that if I did it before I was pregnant, I can likely do it through most of the pregnancy (with the exception of jousting and other contact sports). If I had never been active, or my activity was low, this wouldn’t be the time to start training for an Iron Man, but light exercise would certainly be appropriate, such as walking or swimming.
Still, even if I ran 7 miles a day prior to baby, I’m going to need to edit this habit. While exercising enough is good for mother and child, exercising too much can be dangerous for mother and child, especially if I deplete too many nutrients, dehydrate myself, or don’t gain enough weight. Exercising intelligently is the key.
So much is happening in a pregnant woman’s body (it’s really too disturbing to think about) and too high a heart rate could result in diverted blood flow as the blood rushes to muscles, heart, lungs rather than baby.
Blood volume increases by 50% in pregnancy and vessels relax to navigate around obstacles and to all the right places (hello, placenta!), dropping blood pressure, which can make one woozy and light-headed falling “conk!” on the floor, ground, hard surface. It’s almost happened to me just grocery shopping, so I reckon I’m more vulnerable while burning some carbs.
My joints, ligaments and other things that connect me to myself are loose, swollen, borderline useless at times. This means clumsiness. Oh yes, so much clumsiness. I don’t know how I manage to trip over perfectly placid, flat surfaces, but I do so with epic vigor. It seem so easy to just grab my keys and go, except that they keep flying from my hands onto the floor as if possessed by some demonic key hating spirit (perhaps the same spirit that takes my keys from EXACTLY where I had put them and hides them under a pile of unopened mail?).
Because my joints are all wonky, I am far more prone to injury and the more time I spend pounding pavement in a run, the more likely my feet are too spread into a larger size. Oh, pregnancy, you’ve been around since people learned to copulate! You crazy thing, you.
The key when exercising, pregnant or not, is to listen to your body. Understand when tiredness isn’t just because you are exercising and it is exhausting, but because you are being run down. Some days, exercise is harder than others, but when pregnant, it is more important to be aware of this and not just “work through” the pain. Again, no pregnant woman should be prepping herself for an Olympic level marathon in their second to third trimester.
Something key I read was that if you feel completely exhausted after working out and not more energized, you likely overdid it. So if I come home after a trip to the gym and the only thing I can do is sprawl out on the floor while my cat pokes me to see if I’m all right, then it was probably a bit too much and I’m not only tired, but now I have cat claw marks to add to my changing body.
Some benefits of exercising whilst with child:
- Boost in energy
- Sleep better
- Reduction in pregnancy discomfort
- Preparation for childbirth (not sure which exercises these are…)
- Reduce stress and improve mood
- Improve self-image
- Get body back into shape faster after the baby is born
Smart exercise notes for you and your buddy:
- Warm up/Cool Down
- Talk to the Doc before starting/continuing a regime
- Eat enough because, remember, it’s not a time to diet!
- Don’t join an ice hokey league, contact sports are a no-no
- Watch overheating – wear breathable clothes, and hydrate
- Don’t lie on your back, there is this vein there that restricts blood flow to baby and mommy
- Keep moving, standing in place can make blood pool (yuck) and make a momma-to-be dizzy
- Don’t exercise to point of exhaustion, maintain a pace in which conversation could be carried out
Obviously I’m no expert on the matter, but combining what I’ve read with what my doctor said and discrediting anything I didn’t like to hear (just kidding) it’s really just common sense and understanding that a little is better than nothing (eating potato chips all day because “I’m pregnant”) and knowing that too much is bad (lamenting “my clothes are fitting…slow down weight gain!”).
Goldilocks had it right when sought what was juuuuuuuuuuust right. It worked out well that the bed that she enjoyed the most was closest to the emergency exit too.
So go out their and run, dance, walk, and yogi it up!
Also, if bed rest is recommended, well then, rest and screw all the information out there and take care of you and your guppie!