Pregnancy is a funny old thing.
Clearly the female body was designed to grow, nurture and produce a little human. God forbid, more than one in some cases (hats off to those women!!). So logically you’d think it would be a natural, effortless process, right?
Well if you’ve ever been pregnant you’ll know it’s not. Natural maybe, but effortless, most definitely not.
Sure, there are some women who breeze through pregnancy with a ‘glow’ and never complain or appear to have any pregnancy-related issues at all. I’m not sure who these women are, I can only assume they also ride around on unicorns and survive on steamed kale. Because I have never met a woman who had a completely complaint-free pregnancy.
This isn’t to say I am having many issues. I had no morning sickness with any of my pregnancies, have had two natural births and so far I can still cough, laugh and jump without peeing myself. Which I consider a win-win all round.
However, my body is still changing. Clothes are IMMENSELY uncomfortable, especially trousers. I pee way more than seems reasonable considering my liquid intake. I get breathless bending over for more than a few seconds. And if I get up from the couch too quickly I sometimes get a sharp stabbing pain in my side (round ligament pain) reminding me that I am incubating a baby human.
My exercise routine is probably where I have noticed to most change.
What’s happening to my body?
Running is ridiculous. From hammering down mountains on trail runs in the pouring rain this time last year, to trudging miserably around the neighborhood with a bouncing jelly-belly and aching feet from the increased weight, it’s just not pretty. I have resorted to spinning classes now as they are far more comfortable and still give me my endorphin hit.
My powerlifting has also changed dramatically and as the Powerlifting Nationals draw closer and I feel my strength slipping away as I watch everyone else wrap up their final preparations, I have to say it’s been quite a depressing experience and I have had to give myself more than a few pep talks.
The weights are now 30-40kgs lighter than they would be if I was competing at nationals as I had hoped. My stance has had to change on many of the lifts too, as the belly needs accommodating. And even lifting at the lighter weights it feels like a challenge.
But I have a fantastic coach in David Cross and he has been 100% supportive, compassionate and accommodating in adapting my plan as I give feedback on how I feel. Although the goal is to train for as long as possible to preserve as much strength as possible. Birthing and parenting are not for the weak!
Pilates has been my saving grace, and even though there have been modifications here too and dizziness sometimes prevents my favourite roll-down, and all prone work is now modified as I can’t lie flat on my belly anymore, there are so many ways to adapt the movements I don’t feel cheated at all. In fact, most days Pilates is all I am in the mood for because it feels good to move and stretch and breathe.
o if nothing else I am learning more and more about my body and how to work with it rather than against it. Which is another challenge on its own. Many days it would be easier to just sit with a hot chocolate and read a book. And one day maybe I will. But for me movement is essential, even if it’s dragging my poor dog for a brisk 30 minute walk in the freezing cold.
My lovely client Dori is now almost 32 weeks pregnant and is still in class 4x a week, which is nothing short of inspirational! And my post-natal MomMe Fitness classes are giving me a crash course on life with a newborn again – it’s amazing how quickly you forget how little they are, how much they poo and how often they demand the boob.
Perhaps the demands of pregnancy are merely a preparation for the demands of a newborn. You’d think by the 3rd baby I’d know this by now, but bless dear Mother Nature, it appears amnesia is another side-effect of pregnancy
If you’d like to share your story with me on your pregnancy journey, or if you’d like some advice on exercise during pregnancy or post-natal exercise, comment below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org