Friday, February 19, 2010
Pregnancy and Exercise
I am on my third pregnancy, forth child. This pregnancy has been very different than the others. It has been wonderful!!! I have exercised the whole time. I still teach my group fitness classes and I ran some pretty good mileage until recently. I continue to do spin classes and other forms of cardio. I am nine months pregnant.
With my other pregnancies I went from a completely active lifestyle to a sedentary lifestyle. My first pregnancy was a twin pregnancy which was considered high risk by my doctor and he told me to stop all activity. I knew it would be hard on me emotionally but I was willing to sacrifice for the sake of my children. I contracted nearly the whole time. I was in the hospital twice before my actual delivery trying to stop labor and I couldn't even walk around the block or turn my head at the end without starting with some contractions. I was tired, I was a little depressed. I gained 50 pounds or more.
Because my first pregnancy was so rough my doctor once again advised me to not exercise with my next pregnancy. So I didn't with nearly the same results by the end. Both of those pregnancies were miserable. After each one, however, I fought back after wards and though it was rough, I regained my original level of fitness or better.
This current pregnancy is different. I got a new doctor. I didn't realize I was pregnant until 2 months into the pregnancy. I had ran a 20 mile run the week I found out. I was feeling a little bit odd and a little depleted and wasn't sure why a slower paced run was so taxing. When I found out that I was pregnant, my doctor encouraged me to maintain my same level of physical activity. I decided to stop aggressive marathon training on my own initiative, knowing that I was too competitive but I wanted to continue my running and classes. I crossed my fingers and tried to listen to my body. I even had to endure some eye brow raises and "tatas" from loved ones who had nothing but my health and the baby's health in their motives. I had done my research, however, and tried to keep and open mind to both ends.
I felt like I had tried the other side for the sake of my children and in the end it did not serve them like I had hoped. I also had to keep in mind that I have children at home now and they are young and they need me and every bit of energy that I have available. If exercise has the chance of helping me be a better mother for them and it really didn't hurt the unborn (like all the scientific studies say) than I needed to push through a little bit of the fatigue and nausea and continue.
Honestly, what a turn around! I have tons of energy and even forget that I am pregnant. I only gained 30 pounds which I feel good about because I do start lower on the BMI scale so I feel like I need a little extra weight gain. I also do not contract nearly as much as I did throughout my other pregnancies. It is almost like the exercise is an outlet somehow.
Last night, I taught a turbo kickbox class with some weights mixed in. I was substituting for someone else. When I walked into the class, belly protruding, everyone looked at each other in shock, I had never taught them before. I reassured them that I would give them a good workout and apologized for the other teacher who could not come last minute. I told them they were welcome to leave and I wouldn't be offended. No one did. They loved it and I know they got and excellent workout!
It has been a big blessing and help so far to continue my current level of fitness. If there is another pregnancy, I will definitely continue exercising.
I am not trying advocate exercise for all pregnant women. In fact, if I had to go back and do it again I would probably still not exercise with my two first pregnancies. With the knowledge that I had at the time a the circumstances I don't regret my decision not to. I am grateful, however, for a doctor who encouraged me to continue this time and the ability to get through those first few rough months when fatigue and nausea cause many women to stop.