For those of you who do not know, I recently had a baby girl! She has quickly become my world and has her dad wrapped around her finger. I thought this would be a really good opportunity to share what my pregnancy and fitness journey looked like. Before I start sharing, I am not pre/post-natal certified and everyone has very different pregnancy journeys. This is just my experience over my 9-month pregnancy!
Let’s start at the beginning; aka before I knew I was pregnant! Before I knew I was pregnant I was working at a Wellness Center that opened at 7:30am. I was up almost every day around 5am and working out in my garage by about 5:20am. My workouts were almost all exclusively lifting. I would run probably two days per week and if I couldn’t I would do some sort of cardio related circuit or intervals. I was on a routine that I kept and loved it and was making some great strides!
At some point in February I noticed that my morning coffee or energy drink started to taste a little different and I did not have an appetite. I didn’t think much of it. Over the next few days I was a little nauseous, but was still able to eat most of my normal food and do my normal workouts. I also had a Lasik surgery scheduled. Technically, if you’re pregnant, this is a surgery you should not have. It’s not terribly unsafe but just not suggested. I started noticing more symptoms, but honestly, did not want to reschedule my surgery so I did not take a pregnancy test and just kept chugging along fitness and life wise. Come to find out, literally the day after my eye surgery, that I was pregnant. No wonder I had been nauseous and food didn’t taste good. Don’t worry, I communicated with my eye doctor and he assured me everything was fine and safe and what to look for in case I needed anything extra with my eyes throughout the pregnancy.
But what did this mean for my health and fitness journey? Well, as far as I knew, it was completely safe to continue your normal workouts at least through the first trimester as long as the workouts are similar to what you were doing and not bothering you. So that’s what I tried. It did not last. At all. The nausea hit and it hit hard. I did not have a lot of morning sickness per se but I certainly didn’t feel good, let alone up to working out or eating healthfully. Food-wise it quickly became, "what can I stomach?" and workouts quickly started to disappear. If you look at my Instagram (@kustomfitnessandnutrition) there is literally a month gap between my workouts and announcing my pregnancy.
So, what did I do and eat the first trimester? Workout wise, we went on a lot of walks. And I mean a lot. Sometimes my husband and I took the dogs for about a mile or even to a park. Sometimes just the two of us walked as long as we felt after dinner. Heck, even in my down time at work I walked on the treadmill. Anything to keep me moving that felt okay. Food wise, it was not very pretty. It was basically what I could stomach. That was mostly high carbohydrate foods or greasy fast food. Most fruits made me sick and vegetables tasted weird. It was a very strange time. Heck even rice made me sick on certain days. Needless to say, first trimester was pretty lazy and not the most healthful of eating. Even with that, I lost weight (which is very normal for the first trimester).
There was one major downfall here and it was my mental state. As someone in the health and fitness industry it was driving me nuts that I was eating so poorly and moving so little. A lot of people tried to reassure me it was normal, but it didn’t help. My only advice on this front is that you have to work through these feelings. Find a way to work through it or make peace with them. When I discovered how many calories I was supposed to be eating and how much weight the average pregnant woman gains, I started to feel better. Not great, but better.
The first 3 or so weeks of my second trimester were about as good as the first. Lots of nausea. Not much eating or exercising. But! When they say that your energy comes back and you feel good in the second trimester, they are not lying. I slowly started to feel a little bit better. My appetite came back ever so slightly. Stuffed potatoes became a staple in our house! And they were a life saver!! I started to be able to drink things like chai latte, but coffee was still a big no go at the beginning.
However, this is when my sugar cravings started. I wanted all the sugary things. I even announced that I was having a girl with a strawberry doughnut! I can specifically remember one night my husband asked me what I wanted for dinner and all I wanted was a milkshake and French fries.
Workout wise I definitely was feeling better. Now was I lifting 4 days a week and running? Absolutely not. Was I walking or doing something bodyweight or light weight every day? Also no, but I was doing SOMETHING 4ish days a week. A lot of walking still. Especially with the dogs. I managed to do some bodyweight and band workouts. Even some dumbbell only workouts. As I progressed through the second trimester I was definitely able to do more. I was able to dedicate more time to actually doing different kinds of workouts. They also started to change as my bump grew. A big struggle for me was maintaining my core being tight in a plank or push up so those changed. I would do incline push-ups and moved incline higher as needed. I started doing more standing core stability exercises like pallof presses. Core wise, from my understanding as long as I wasn’t seeing any coning it was safe. Again, I am not pre/post-natal certified and I communicated with my doctor regularly about my exercise restrictions. I suggest you do the same.
I could only hope this energy would stick with me for the third trimester.
The energy kind of stuck. I was able to walk and generally workout well into my third trimester. The hard part was it was the dead of summer and I hate the heat so so much. Even in the heat I walked a few times. I was able to do some workouts that looked pretty similar to the second trimester. Bands, bodyweight, and nothing more than 15 pounds. However, this only lasted so long.
Around 34 weeks I started having a lot of hip pain. Like a lot. I noticed when I was standing or doing dishes I was straying away from putting weight on my right leg because my hip was hurting so badly. It was odd. Again, talked to my doctor. Turned out, baby girl had her head pretty much in my hip which is what was leading to the pain. Now, this is pretty normal. There was a small cause for concern because it was the hip that I had surgery on a few years prior. Nothing major, but at this point my doctor said listening to my body was more important than ever. If I was having bad hip pain, especially on the side I had surgery on, I needed to stop and rest. So that’s what I did the rest of my pregnancy. By the time the hip pain went away, my first trimester symptoms had returned. Extreme fatigue and nausea, not to mention only being able to eat in super small portions. Needless to say, around 34 weeks structured workouts and long walks disappeared. Short walks were manageable and much later curb walking. But that was the extent of my exercise right up to having her!
My overall thoughts on fitness and pregnancy are pretty basic. The most important thing for anyone, myself included, is listening to your body. For me that meant not doing much the first trimester and just kind of letting myself rest. That meant the second trimester I was kicking butt. And lastly in the third trimester it meant laying on the couch to rest my joints. Each person experiences this differently. My biggest struggle listening to my body was the foods I was craving and that I could stomach. I generally eat pretty healthfully and the fact that that wasn’t happening messed with my head some. Again, this is something that people experience differently throughout pregnancy.
Remember, this was just my experience with pregnancy and health and fitness. If you are pregnant and have any questions, I highly suggest reaching out to your doctor and someone who is pre/postnatal certified.