“Can I run while I am pregnant?”
“When should I stop running when pregnant?”
“What can I start running again after having the baby?”
These are questions I receive quite frequently from clients, friends, my group exercise class participants or even strangers after finding out what I do.
The answer to the first question is yes. Running while pregnant is perfectly safe as long as their are no complications or you have not been instructed not to do so from your doctor. Though exercise duration recommendations for pregnancy is the same as the general public, 150 minutes a week, it is recommended that you do not exceed pre-pregnancy intensity levels. So if you were not running at all before pregnancy, you can definitely still began an exercise program, but it would be best to probably start with walking. If you do decide to run while pregnant, I would highly recommend good supportive sport bras as well as supportive shoes. Some women also choose to use a running belt as they get further along. You will want to really listen to your body as far as intensity goes and pay attention to any associated pain. It is not recommend to get purposely breathless while exercising during pregnancy (hormone changes will often make you feel rather breathless) but there is no need to be running 200 meter all out sprints while pregnant. Keep the intensity fairly moderate. The hormone relaxin is also circulating while pregnant, making joints a bit more lax so again, pay attention to your body. If you are having pain while running or afterwards, it is best to back off the pace or switch to fast or incline walking.
When should you stop running? There is no medical recommendation on exactly when a pregnant woman should stop. I believe you should stop when it becomes too uncomfortable, when it is no longer enjoyable or have been recommended to stop by a doctor or other medical professional. Exercise is supposed to make you feel better, not worse. I know women who ran for the majority of their pregnancy. With Caleb, I ran to about 27 weeks as it still felt good in my body. Of course, I was running quite a bit slower but I still enjoyed it. With Madelynn, I stopped and 19 or 20 weeks because it just did not feel good. My joints ached a bit and everything seemed to be jostling around no matter how much supportive gear I wore. So this is a very personal answer, if it still feels okay, you are not having any associated pain during or after, then you can continue to run until you feel too uncomfortable.
I stopped running well before this photo was taken.
Returning to running after having a baby is much more complicated and there are many more things to consider as there is a lot going on in your body post-partum.
A few things to think about:
- Are you having any pain with any type of workouts?
If gentle and slow exercise hurts, it is not time to start running.
- Are you having pelvic floor dysfunction which can include pain, incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse (when your pelvic organs drop from their normal position) ?
If you are peeing down your leg every time your attempt to run or have been diagnosed with pelvic organ prolapse you need to focus on healing your pelvic floor first.
- How is your overall current lifestyle?
It is very likely that many moms, regardless of their kids age, are probably not getting enough sleep but are you getting ‘adequate’ rest? Often, time may be better spent getting a quick nap then trying to add extra miles to your weekly routine.
- How is your overall energy and stress levels?
If your body is still very, very much stressed the last thing we want to do is add a lot more stress with running and intense exercise.
You can run while breastfeeding but a few things to consider include needing a very supportive bra (I just ended up wearing two) as breasts are almost always larger when breastfeeding. You need to to think about timing of the run with feeding and/or pumping. When you are breastfeeding, you still have some relaxin in your body. This hormone makes the joints more relaxed and loose feeling. Be aware of any joint pain and see if running acerbates this.
Caleb and I about 6th months postpartum at one of my first post-baby races. I fed him early before I left and then pumped right before I raced.
As I have mentioned before, I just wish I would of waited to return to running and intense exercise with Madelynn. I think I would have skipped many months of severe back pain. Though I do not believe you have to wait 6 weeks post-partum to return to some form of light exercise, I do think you need to wait a bit to return to intense exercise which includes running.
Even if you are running fairly slow, running is high impact and can be stressful on our bodies. The last thing we want to do to a body that is already highly stressed due to having a new baby, hormone changes and lack of sleep is put it under a lot more stress. Remember, birth should be treated as a major event to the body regardless if you had a vaginal or cesarean section. You would never run a few weeks after having an ACL surgery and that it one location in your body vs. an event that impacted most of our body. Why does society put so much pressure on new moms to ‘get their body back’ and to return to intense exercise shortly after a major body event?
As Jessie Mundell, one of the most educated coaches in pre-and post-natal exercise, says about returning to exercise post-partum, “the slowest path is the fastest path.”
Before you get back into running, I would highly recommend the following to hopefully be able to return pain free and for the long term.
- Clearance from your OBGYN. It is standard to go see your OBGYN 6-8 weeks after birth. At this time the Dr. will generally check you for any issues and clear you for exercise. As mentioned, I think slow and intentional exercise before 6-8 weeks (walking, swimming, light weight training, body weight training) is okay and actually good for most women who have no complications. But for more intense exercise I would DEFINITELY wait until you have had your first post-op check up.
- Be seen by a Pelvic Floor Physio Therapist. A physio who specializes in women’s health can help determine pelvic floor function, any issues, evaluate you for diastisis recti and make other recommendations to help you heal and function properly. Unfortunately, a recommendation to see a PF Physio is not the standard of care in this country but as more and more women are starting to talk about be open with pelvic floor dysfunction, they are becoming more common.
- You have been doing at least a month (ideally two to three months) of lower intensity workouts The first time you exercise post-partum should not be a run. Before running, you should have started walking frequently, light weight lifting, body weight exercise and core work.
- You have no pain from exercise. Pain is different than being a little bit uncomfortable or challenged from exercise. Exercising after having a baby will be a bit challenging as you start to regain strength and stamina but again, exercise is supposed to make you feel better and enhance your wellbeing. If your joints or body ache after walking, do not attempt to start running.
There are no hard rules on pre-and postpartum exercise. Yes, there are some guidelines that should definitely followed but other recommendations are really personal to each woman. Listen to your body, work with a coach or trainer who is knowledgeable in pre-and post-natal training and whom you trust. Pregnancy is temporary but postpartum is forever. By being smart, taking it slower than you might wish, you are much less likely to have complications later on and you can return stronger than ever!
If you are looking to get back into running regardless of when you had a baby (or even if you never have had a baby), want to start running or even get faster and set a new PR, I am excited to share with you Running Beyond Baby. This program contains 3, 12 week programs and is for everyone regardless of ability level. The program includes weight, core and yoga workouts as well as education on hormones, nutrition and more! There are no other programs out there that offer this much information and education at this price! AND if you are not ready yet for running (see above) you will have access to the program forever but it is only sale this week so make sure to grab it! Check it out here before Friday!
This pregnancy has been different in so many ways, specifically I feel that I have been pregnant forever! Everyone says it goes by so fast, which is true, if you are not the pregnant one :). But then I realize I only have 9 weeks left (well probably 10 since I think this baby will be late just like Caleb) and that seems crazy. But then late July seems so long away from now.
I posted my exercise and nutrition in my first trimester, again in my second and therefore wanted to do one more post for my third trimester. The biggest changes that I have noticed, is though I am feeling overall pretty good, I do feel that I am slowing down a bit which is expected, but hard for me. Working out 6 days a week and with the same intensity is getting harder. I am also having to modify more and more.
Here are the biggest changes since my last post at 23 weeks:
- I stopped teaching cycling classes and my high intensity strength/cardio combo class at 28 weeks. Cycling was getting extremely uncomfortable, I would start to cramp a bit from being in the forward flexed position and my form on the bike was really starting to be compromised. My knees were starting to flair out to make room for my belly. I did not want instruct a class with poor form so I stopped at the end of April. In my other class, I was having a hard time demonstrating all of the moves with proper form as well as doing the plyometrics. I think that it is important for an instructor to be able to show proper form, therefore I also stopped teaching that class. I am still teaching a quick, upper body only strength class for the next few weeks and will be done by the end of May.
- I am modifying more and more because of my growing belly. I am modifying the majority of my CrossFit lifts and many of the exercises I have cut out completely.
- Cardio exercise is again becoming harder. I am still walking 6-7 days a week and trying to get in at least 1 elliptical session a week. I aim for 10,000 steps a day and some days I get 15,000 and some days as little as 6,000. I still do get some cardio exercise during my CrossFit workouts and lifting since they tend to be more metabolic in nature at a faster pace.
- Other fun changes with the last trimester is having a really hard time sleeping since I get up on average 3-4 times a night to use the restroom. “They” say this is to prepare you to get up with a newborn, thanks, but I do not need preparation, I just want sleep! The lack of sleep is a challenge for most new moms (and personally, what I think the hardest part of having a baby is initially) as this can affect so many other areas of your life. I know I am hungrier, do not exercise nearly as well and my overall mood, patience and energy level are affected significantly when I am not sleeping well.
- Physically, I am much more uncomfortable at night which is probably due to retaining water which makes you feel much bigger. I am also back to having some SI joint pain at night, but overall I feel blessed that I am not extremely uncomfortable yet (ask me in July when it is 98 degrees out 🙂 )
Here is an example of my current workout schedule:
Monday: CrossFit, walk dog (usually 20-30 min during the week, longer on weekends)
Tuesday: Hot Yoga, dog walk
Wednesday: CrossFit dog walk
Thursday: Teach 45 min Upper Body Strength, dog walk
Friday: Really varies, sometimes group exercise strength class, sometimes cardio and lifting
Saturday: Elliptical and weights or rest
Sunday: Rest with the exception of a walk
Changes in my nutrition:
I have noticed, I am getting fuller faster which I remember with Caleb since I am going to start running out of room since my cabbage patch kid (my pregnancy email updates said the baby is the size of a cabbage this week) is starting to take up much more space. However, my hunger levels are fluctuating quite a bit (unlike my 2nd trimester when I was just hungry all the time). I am either hungry all day or not very hungry. Days I notice I am hungrier, I am having to graze a lot more because small amounts fill me up but I am hungry just a few hours later. My cravings are pretty much gone and am still aiming for lots of vegetables, fruit and lean protein. I am still eating a much higher carbohydrate diet that usual. My heartburn has intensified a bit as well as indigestion which again was similar with Caleb at this point in my pregnancy. I have gained about 21-22lbs at this point, again very similar to where I was with Caleb which I ended at 29lbs total. I weigh myself once a week. I am not overly concerned with my weight gain but would like to stay around 30lbs.
Here is a quick sample of my nutrition, again, not much different from the other trimesters with the exception of probably the quantity.
Breakfast (one of the following) plus I always have a cup of coffee with a generous amount of cream, first thing in the morning.
- Protein shake and Almond Flour Muffin or ½ English muffin with cream cheese or nut butter
- Egg, Cheese, Sausage and Spinach Sandwich and small amount of fruit
- Yogurt with fruit and homemade granola
- Huge salad with protein, apple with nut butter
- Leftovers from dinner night before
- Protein bar
- Popcorn and handful of nuts
- Nothing if I ate a late lunch
I am still planning 5 or 6 meals a week.
- Protein (chicken, bison, shrimp, steak, sausage etc.), vegetable (green beans, salad, Brussel Sprouts etc.) some type of carb (sweet potatoes fries, beans, couscous etc.)
- Some type of chocolate and spoonful of peanut butter or cookie butter
- Graham cracker with peanut butter, glass of almond milk
Again, not crazy changes to my nutrition as I am still trying to eat healthy 85% of the time but am trying to both listen to my hunger cues and stop when I know I am going to be uncomfortable.
I would love to hear from any other pregnant mamas how your routine has changed throughout pregnancy.
As always, thanks for reading and I would love to hear from you!
Sara and BB2
Last Sunday I was in a kickboxing class and it was not going awesome. I have been struggling to find cardio exercise that feels comfortable and good in my body and at 26 weeks pregnant the choices are dwindling. Though I do walk and lift a lot and do not do nearly as many endless hours of cardio that I used to, I still like getting a good sweat on from good old fashioned cardio exercise.
Looking at my pregnancy journal from Caleb, I was working out and doing a lot more cardio than this time around. I am trying to be okay with that since I feel that I am slowing down faster with this pregnancy which is probably because I am two years older and running after a very energetic two year old. About halfway through class…I thought this kind of sucks. Don’t get me wrong, the teacher and class were great but it just did not feel right. Just walk out Sara. No shame. You do not have to be bad ass. Why did I even have to have this inner dialogue? Why I could I just not honor my body and say hey this isn’t going well and leave? I finally told my inner self to shut up, walked out and went to walk on the treadmill and do a few min of lifting. Was it the best workout ever? No. Is that okay? Yes. But sometimes I need a little convincing of that.
I am competitive and I know that. But as I try to emphasize to my pre- and post-natal clients…pregnancy is not really the time to be competitive or try to be a bad ass. Do I think you should exercise throughout your pregnancy if you have no complications? Heck yes! Do I think you should start exercising when you are ready after baby? Heck yes! I also think there are other times in your life that you do not need to be competitive or a bad ass such as super stressful times like job changes, divorce, moving, sickness and injury.
But why do ‘we’ have such trouble honoring our bodies?
I think because lately trending in the fitness industry it is often ‘go hard or go home’ or ‘no pain, no gain.’ Now do not get me wrong, I do think you need to get out of your comfort zone often while working out to get results but do we need to do that 100% of the time? No.
So as I walked out of the class (and honestly when pregnant with Caleb, I might have humbly walked out) but this time, with my head held high, I walked out and was okay with it. This may seem silly to some but as a fitness professional, I do not like quitting a workout, especially a group workout where others might wonder what is wrong with me or that I could not keep up. But who am I kidding? No one there cared that I walked out. I found the teacher afterwards (since she was a colleague) and just let her know that I was okay and that is was just not feeling right. Many people are worried about what others might think of them at gyms or in classes but most people are too focused on themselves to worry about other people.
So I again reminded myself that I chose this pregnancy and I want this. I also am so grateful for this pregnancy as I know many others struggling with infertility treatments and was blessed to not have to go through that again. So I told myself to ‘get over myself’ :), checked my ego at the door as I left and knew that I did the best I could. This is going to have to be my mantra over the next few months as my workouts will become more and more difficult. But I will remember to be grateful for this life that I am growing inside and to honor my body where it is at that exact moment.
Switching the mindset to honor your body can be challenging but powerful. If you are too busy too train for anything specific then just make your workouts be about maintaining. Going through a major life change as mentioned, then maybe your workouts are about reliving stress and regaining focus. Injured? Workouts should be about rehabilitation and strengthening the injured area/body part. Pregnant? Just moving and exercising in a way that makes you feel good.
So maybe it’s time we honor our body exactly where it is at this exact moment. Not where it used to be or where we want it to be. But being grateful for what it can do right now.
Have there been times in your life that you have had a hard time not honoring your body? What did you do to change your mindset?
I would love to hear from you.
Julie in Half Moon at 31 weeks.
I absolutely love yoga. I remember not loving it when I took my first class over 12 years ago. I was not very flexible and what kind of workout is just stretching? You don’t even sweat (or so I thought). Fast forward a few years and I was experiencing really bad insomnia due to what I think was the stress of being in graduate school, barely making any money in a very toxic work environment and living across the country from all my friends and family. I started taking yoga about once a week and really started feeling the mental benefits. The physical benefits were just a plus to the stress relief, and learning how to breathe and relax. I continued to practice and then discovered hot yoga and fell in love with that too! Honestly, I love all varieties of yoga and have continued practicing the last 12 years. I practiced throughout my first pregnancy learning modifications and what felt right in my body. I am still practicing now and hope to continue for the rest of my pregnancy. As I get further along in my pregnancy, I feel that there are less and less types of exercise that truly feel good. Through my 3rd trimester, my main forms or exercise will most likely be lifting weights, walking and yoga.
Yoga is an incredible form of exercise at any time but can be very beneficial for pregnant and post-partum women as this time can be very stressful for many women. Carrying a baby, giving birth and holding and feeding a baby are not exactly awesome for our body alignment. Though yoga can be very challenging, it also can be very gentle on our bodies.
Though I do teach yoga, I am very green compared to the other formats of group exercise that I have been teaching for more than a decade. Because I am so new to teaching yoga, I wanted to reach out to a few awesome yogi mamas for their thoughts and tips for yoga while pregnant and afterwards.
Julie, owner of Studio Love Yoga in Erie, Colorado has been teaching for 10 years and is the mom to three beautiful kids ages 4, 2 and 1.
Hilary is a yoga teacher and personal trainer in Seattle, WA (www.hilaryparis.com) She is expecting her first baby boy in early August.
Below is my interview with these beautiful mamas:
How long have you been teaching yoga? And what formats do you teach?
Julie: I have been teaching for 10 years and I teach power flow, yin, tone and any specialty type classes and workshops.
Hilary: In June, I will have been teaching yoga for eight years to people of all backgrounds, including pregnant women. I teach many different styles of yoga from restorative to power vinyasa.
Did you do yoga through all your pregnancies Julie?
Julie: Yes, on my first two I practiced and then went into labor within 3 hours.
When did you start again after giving birth?
Julie: I was back on my mat, moving and stretching the day after birth and at a class 2 weeks postpartum.
Do you recommend yoga for pregnant women and why?
Julie: Yes, you get all the benefits that exercise offers but the most valuable thing you gain from yoga is awareness, of how you are when your body is changing, uncomfortable and experiencing constant shift.
Hilary: I recommend a regular yoga practice for women in all stages of pregnancy, but it will feel different for everyone. My experience will be completely different than everyone else’s, so keep that in mind. Additionally, there are so many types of yoga out there. Finding the class and instructor that is right for you is so important. It all depends on your activity level. For example, for someone who has never taken yoga before, or for someone who is sedentary, I would not recommend they go straight to a vinyasa or heated class. I would suggest that they take a prenatal yoga class first, and as they feel ready, they might want to dabble in some other styles of yoga. It is a practice, however, so she should attend classes regularly instead of just once in a while. Just like strength training, the body needs time to progress, respond and build muscle memory.
What do you believe are the benefits of doing yoga while pregnant?
Julie: Yoga gives you access to the tools to cope with all the changes that are happening. Yoga helps keep you present, present to the fact that this is 40 short weeks and you can make it through with beauty, strength and grace!
Hilary: For women trying to conceive, yoga can be very effective. Often times, women can experience frustration while trying to conceive, causing even more stress and raising cortisol levels. Yoga, mindfulness and meditation have been consistently reliable methods to lower stress levels. Once a woman becomes pregnant, a regular yoga practice can be very helpful to put her mind and body at ease. Healthy and stress free mommy = easier pregnancy and labor. Prenatal yoga is a great way to prepare her body and mind for labor and motherhood while relieving many pains and discomforts of pregnancy. Prenatal yoga helps strengthen the muscles that support a growing belly and changing body. Yoga also relieves tension caused by soft and hard tissue changes. Some of the strengthening poses challenge the body and mind to prepare the pregnant woman for the challenge of labor.
What are some contraindications for doing yoga while pregnant? Are there specific poses pregnant women should avoid?
Julie: Deep, compression twists and laying for length in prone or supine positions are the only contraindications. The body is amazing at guiding itself if we are listening, if it doesn’t feel right, adjust or stop.
Hilary: It is important to never practice in a room that is set to a temperature of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. For this reason, I would not recommend a Bikram class, where the classes are set at 105 degrees Fahrenheit. I found 75-90 degrees to be very pleasant while practicing. I also took all of the jumping out of my practice, and took it easy on any supine core work.
First Trimester: Again, I can’t stress this enough: listen to your body. Meditation, pranayama (breath work) and restorative yoga will be the best thing a woman can do for her body during this time. A regular prenatal yoga practice will help with all of the fatigue that comes with the dramatic hormonal changes in her body. With women who experience nausea or vomiting, any forward movements or big backbends might make it worse. Women should avoid any deep, closed twists starting now and throughout the pregnancy. Open twists from thoracic spine are fine, keeping the shoulders over the hips. It is important to let the body “do its thing,” rather than forcing it into a pose. Focusing on the natural gravity of the body can feel really wonderful.
Second and Third Trimesters: This is when most pregnant women start to feel improved energy levels (yay!), but as their bellies get bigger, certain poses become harder. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. Take the legs wider in forward folds, chair pose or any other pose that feels like it needs to be modified. Although she may feel more energy, and perhaps stronger, the hormone relaxin, which softens ligaments and tendons, is still being released. This can lead to overstretching, leaving a feeling of soreness. She should only go to her “edge,” again not forcing herself into a pose.
Backbends may start to feel uncomfortable during this time, as the skin around the abdomen can become tighter. Deep backbends should not be practiced. Think of opening your chest more, rather than leaning into your back. Also, any prone poses will feel rather odd. If you have a regular vinyasa practice, coming to hands and knees during chaturanga might feel better. With pretty much every pose, it’s best to scale back. Now is not the time to prove to the world you are a yoga champion.
Avoid any supine core work, but single leg lifts (with one foot on ground) and bridge pose are ok at a slow pace. In general, it’s best to avoid inversions, but it really depends on the person. Towards the end of the pregnancy, no mama should be upside down. I know they’re fun, but It’s only a couple of months… handstands can wait. Always consider gravity… the baby will be coming out through the pelvis, not the head. Using props really helps during pregnancy. Blocks, bolsters, blankets and straps really help.
During the third trimester, mama’s belly will start to reach its fullest capacity, making forward folds rrrrreally challenging. Listen. To. Your. Body. If you have made it eight to nine months with a regular yoga practice, you should be a pro at this by now. I like my third trimester yoga students to really focus on their breath. Lengthening the breath, and breathing in through the nose and out of the mouth while keeping the shoulders soft can be very relaxing. Taking a 10 second breath while silently counting is very meditative and calms the nervous system. Practicing Ujjayi breath can help prepare the body for labor as well.
In general, expecting moms are the experts on their own bodies. Everybody is different pre and post pregnancy. Try not to compare yourself to others during this time. Yoga should be a healing practice during this time, not a competition with others and especially not with yourself.
Hilary in Dancer’s Pose.
In my last blog I wrote about my 5 favorite kitchen tools. Now I want to cover my 5 favorite at-home workout tools. Though I have a membership at a large gym and frequent CrossFit and a hot yoga studio, as many busy moms know, it is not always possible to get to the gym every day. The following are tools that I have at my house that makes working out accessible for times I cannot get to the gym. I also have a treadmill and rower at my house but not common for everyone so I wanted to include a few tools that are relatively inexpensive and where a lot of space is not needed. I worked out at home during my maternity leave with Caleb (and plan to on my next maternity leave) and still workout at home when I cannot get to the gym or do not feel like going. I think many people think they need a full gym to get in a good workout. All you need is a few pieces of equipment and some space to move around!
Nothing beats good old fashioned dumbbells. They are so incredibly versatile and let you do so many workouts without any other equipment. I would recommend getting a few various sizes so you can challenge both large and small muscles. A great place to find dumbbells is used sporting goods store as they are often less than the big box stores.
Bands are inexpensive, great for travel and provide a different type of muscle burn. Every time I use bands, I think about how challenging they really are. They do provide more versatility for upper body but can be used for lower body as well. Two different bands of varying thickness are ideal and can provide variety to your workout.
With the exception of my cardio equipment this is the most expensive piece of home equipment I have. If you are not familiar with TRX, it is used for suspension training. This allows you to use your body weight in various angles. I used the TRX A LOT when I was in the late stages of pregnancy with Caleb and did not want to lift super heavy dumbbells and balance was becoming an issue. I also used it shortly after having Caleb when I started lifting weights again. The TRX still gives you a burn like you would not believe! I still use the TRX frequently when training myself and my clients.
Don’t underestimate the awesomeness of a staircase! You can perform deeper lunges onto the first step, you can perform step-ups if you do not have a bench and stairs are great for interval cardio! Especially if you do not have any other cardio equipment in your house and the weather is too nasty to exercise outside, the stairs can provide a great cardio addition to your workout!
Do not forget the versatility of your own bodyweight. You can get an incredible, weight bearing workout with no equipment! Lunges, squats, push-ups and dips are just a few of the numerous exercises you can perform with just your body weight. Check out the workout section on this blog for a few body weight workouts.
Though I have med balls, physio balls, jump ropes, a BOSU ball and more, I do not think you need tons of fancy equipment to get a good workout. Just as you do not need every kitchen gadget out there, you do not need every trendy piece of exercise equipment that comes out on the market to stay healthy and fit. Find a few key pieces that you like and use them and use them often!
Would love to hear if you have any other exercise tools you use for working out at home!
P.S. If you have not signed up for my email list, sign-up here! All subscribers will be entered to win a set of resistance bands!
My husband and I are thrilled to announce that we are expecting our 2nd child this summer. We are filled with an immense amount of gratitude as we did not have to go through any fertility treatments. If you read my one of my first blogs (Fitness and Infertility Part II) you will know that I was diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) and it took us about 2 ½ years and numerous fertility treatments before we became pregnant with Caleb. We technically conceived naturally between our 4th IUI and a few days before starting IVF but I still believe that the fertility drugs did in fact help us get pregnant.
Many people say that it is easier to get pregnant with your first because ‘your body knows how to get pregnant.’ My endocrinologist (fertility doctor) does not believe that your body necessarily knows how to get pregnant but believes that women are more in tune with their body, understand their cycles better, know when they are fertile etc. We had asked when going through treatments if we would struggle with having our second child. The doctor could obviously not confirm either way but the main issue before was that I was not ovulating. I had read that pregnancy could ‘reset’ some women’s hormones with PCOS and their symptoms basically disappeared. Again, the doctor could not guarantee any of this. If I was ovulating again then I would have a better chance. I was getting worried after 4 months after stopping breastfeeding as my cycle had not returned. But then suddenly in April, I started ovulating again and had cycles, extremely irregular but still having cycles every month. We knew we would have much better chance this time around but still figured it would take a while. I went to my OBGYN for my annual checkup and she told me that we should try for 6th months (vs. waiting the full year again which is standard before starting fertility treatments) with everything being normal and if we had not conceived after that timeframe we would need to go back to the fertility doctor. Regardless, if my body remembered how to get pregnant or my hormones have been re-set, we are thrilled that it did not take long and that we will be blessed with our 2nd child.
I will continue blogging throughout my pregnancy on various topics but will be including personal experiences from this pregnancy and post-partum experience. I am just finishing up my first trimester and next week will be blogging on how different this pregnancy has already been compared to my first. However, first, I wanted to share my current exercise and nutrition plan as I get asked this question a lot from all my clients (pregnant and non-pregnant). I will continue to share my exercise and nutrition plan and how it is changing for each trimester.
Due to the fact I felt much worse at the beginning of this pregnancy compared to the last, my workout schedule has been completely varied and not nearly as structured. I also have a toddler which has changed my workout schedule dramatically.
Here is an example of a quasi-typical week for me with a few explanations. Remember, I was working out 6 days a week before I became pregnant so thought this might look like a lot to many, it was normal for me.
Monday: 1 hour Crossfit- If the workout was scalable and modifiable I went to class and though I did not have to modify much in the first trimester there were some moves I did not feel comfortable doing or if I knew it would be too high intensity, I would go to the gym instead.
Tuesday: Heated Yoga Class (I picked the yoga class based on a lower heat level, always was by the door and doubled my water intake, I would also leave the room if I needed to) **Note: your body is actually more efficient at dissipating heat when pregnant. However, I could not take these classes early on as they made me dizzy and will probably stop them around 30 weeks as I feel that I have to modify every move and do not enjoy it as much 🙂
Wednesday: Teach a 45 min Cycle/15 min Yoga Class
Thursday: Varies..sometimes Crossfit or gym which usually consisted of cardio and weights, usually 45 min to 1 hour long
Friday: Teach either a Barbell Strength Class (muscular endurance class, lots of reps) or Teach a Cardio/Strength Class
Saturday: Family Gym Day- I usually did whatever I felt like this day. Sometimes intervals on the elliptical or run on treadmill with weights.
Throughout the week I also walked my dog 20-30 min most days of the week but this was a pretty slow pace.
This was also a little all over the place as I dealt with morning sickness and some pretty strong food aversions for the first 8 weeks or so. As I talked about in another blog, one of the main things nutrition wise I changed when I found out I was pregnant was not working out on an empty stomach as I did not want low blood sugar. So I often was forcing myself to eat a little something before the workout.
Pre-Workout (if working out relatively early, if working out at lunch, I would eat one of the breakfasts listed):
One of the following:
- Kind Bar or Homemade Energy/Protein Bar
- ½ Banana with PB
- Homemade Oatmeal Pumpkin Pancake with PB
One of the following:
- Plain Greek Yogurt with berries, low sugar granola (this was and is one of my cravings as I know granola is pretty much a fake health food 🙂 )
- Protein Shake with low carb almond flour banana bread with pb
- Scrambled eggs with cheese and veggies, ½ English muffin, fruit
- Homemade egg sandwich with sausage and cheese, fruit
One of the following:
- Most often leftovers from dinner
- Huge salad with protein, apple with pb
This was often what I could stomach as a lot of my usual snacks were completely unappealing. Though I craved carbs, I always tried to get in some protein.
- Some type of fruit/nut bar
- Rice cake with nut butter, string cheese
- Yogurt with berries
- String cheese, a few crackers or pretzels
By dinner time I often felt better so I kept to my regular dinners which are protein and veggie based. I did find that I needed to add a little more carbs or otherwise I was hungry a few hours later.
- Protein: chicken, salmon or turkey burger, bison, grass fed beef, shrimp
- Vegetable: salad or Brussel sprouts, green beans, broccoli etc.
- Carb: Homemade sweet potatoes fries or some other starchy type of vegetable (spaghetti squash, zucchini etc.), brown rice, quinoa, couscous etc.
After dinner: Though I have always had a sweet tooth, I have been craving sugar even more so. I try to keep this in check but I do usually have a small sweet each night. This was usually some dark chocolate, a few pieces of candy we had left over from Christmas, a graham cracker with peanut butter or cookie butter or even a spoonful of peanut butter with a few chocolate chips on top J
All of this obviously changed from day-to-day and from week to week based on how I was feeling. I did not gain any weight my first trimester most likely because I was not working out as intensely (because I did not feel good nor have the energy), was nauseous and therefore not eating as much. I have already noticed my appetite coming back in the last few weeks. I will post my exercise and nutrition again later in the 2nd for you to see the modifications and adjustments.
As always, I welcome any questions or comments.