It’s that special time of week again. Pregnancy Talk Time.
I just entered my 16th week and am feeling relatively good. Not amazing, not horrible. But a solid GOOD.
Before pregnancy I was definitely an advocate for sleep. I struggled with insomnia for a good two years and have an in-depth knowledge of how destructive lack of sleep can be on a person’s mental and physical condition. Pregnancy has illuminated this importance even more. If I miss a night of FULL rest, my body basically shuts down. I have a hard time being on my feet, I’m nauseous all the time, I’m melancholy and lethargic. The body is an incredible machine. And right now this machine is prioritizing Baby-Growing, which means all other functions are optional when I’m running on fumes.
Sleep is vital. An important message to promote before getting into my thoughts on fitness during pregnancy. If you can’t get enough sleep while you’re pregnant, you certainly should not be pushing your limits at the gym. Baby first, Booty next.
My workout regimen has altered significantly since conception.
I always imagined myself as one of those bad-ass BirthFit moms who are doing handstand push ups and muscle-ups in my third trimester (never mind that I couldn’t do those things beforehand). Lately, the reality looks more like this…
Sure, there’s some weight in hand, but not super badass by comparison. Which is a good place to remind you (and me) that comparison is the DEVIL and has no place in regular or pregnant life. We are all unique snowflakes with different fitness capabilities before, during, and after pregnancy.
Once I discovered I was pregnant, my 6 am Crossfit class got immediately dropped. I knew that I wanted to prioritize a full night’s sleep without the pressure of getting up über early to “crush it” in the gym. I figured I would continue with my Vinyasa Yoga practice and do bodyweight or weighted workouts at home to maintain my fitness.
Once the nausea came on, these ideas went away. I had absolutely no motivation to do at home workouts and yoga made me nauseous from the constant up and down movements. I almost exclusively took prenatal yoga classes (aka really really mellow yoga) from week 6 until week 11.
I felt my strength and flexibility leaving my body week after week. It was frustrating, especially since so much of my life is invested in my physical activity. At a certain point I had to let it go and plan on integrating more activity once I was feeling better. (“This won’t last forever” was my mantra during this time).
As predicted, I did feel better eventually, and with the new year I began to go to more yoga and program some at home workouts for myself.
Currently I’m focusing on making time for yoga practice four times a week. Sometimes it’s a little less cause I’ll have an off day, busy day, or lack of sleep the night before, but I do prioritize being active even if it’s only my two walks a day with my giant dog.
I feel incredibly blessed to be a part of Hapa Yoga in San Diego, a all-inclusive yoga studio with a very heavy emphasis on being mom-friendly. There’s a ton of prenatal and prenatal-friendly classes, childcare, breastfeeding support groups, etc. I love that I can walk into the studio and the teachers know how to help me modify at the different stages of body awkwardness (bigger belly, giant boobs, extra stretchy joints… I promise it’s awkward). The support is fantastic.
In addition to Hapa, I also have an online membership to Yoga Glo. It’s an amazing resource for ALL levels, ALL forms, ALL durations of a yoga practice. You can take a two hour sweaty flow with advanced postures or you can take a 15 min pre-bedtime meditation that requires almost no movement beyond breathing. It’s great when I can’t make it to a class at the studio or maybe I’m looking for something really specific for how I’m feeling. Check it out!
In addition to the yoga I also wanted to try for strength training sessions three times a week. I’ve been sticking to this consistently since the new year began but also let myself rest as needed.
During my time off from working out, I began to compile a range of weights and workout options to have at home in my “gym area”. Our back deck is covered and private which makes it a great place to workout with fresh air but threat of battling the elements.
2 yoga mats
1 resistance band
2 medicine balls, 10 lb. and 12 lb.
2 sets of dumbbells, 10 lb. and 15 lb.
1 kettlebell 26 lb.
2 ankle weights
2 lacrosse balls
1 foam roller
1 chair for step ups or incline work
Hardly an impressive home gym, but I’m making it work for me. I also incorporate a lot of body weight stuff, which, if you think about it, is a form of progressive overload each week since I’m gaining my own personal “weight vest”.
Some parameters to these workouts include shorter sets, more rest in between, nothing “for time”.
Here’s an example of a typical workout:
3 rounds of each circuit. 10 reps for each movement
weighted glute bridges
overhead presses with dumbbell
bent over rows with dumbbell
kettle bell deadlift high pulls
Not too complicated, but enough for me to feel my muscles working and feel like myself again.
I’m completely okay with the fact that pregnancy is not the time to be focusing on performance goals or body composition. I work out because it makes me a happier person, and a happier mom makes for a healthier pregnancy. Activity is good preparation for labor and delivery. I’m training because I’m growing a human, and in an incredible feat of human endurance, I will one day birth this baby.
I’m really interested to see how my workouts change and progress as I enter the later stages of my pregnancy and hope to share that experience here as well.
Just a reminder/disclaimer; This is my own experience in my own pregnant body. This is not a recommendation on how to “ideally” be pregnant and active, nor is it a criticism of anyone who does something different. Pay attention to YOUR body and do what feels right!