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.


Linda said...

You are awesome Susan! I can definitely testify that exercise does help with the pregnancy. I know that for sure with my first pregnancy. My second pregnancy I wasn't as active and felt not as strong and had more swelling.

Sal-my-gal said...

That's great! Who's your doctor?

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