After a few months away, I am back and ready to write! I have had a lot going on and needed a bit to settle into a slightly different routine. First off, I am pregnant:) At 20 weeks I am halfway done already!
In this post, I will give an overview of my current pregnancy experience and how it has affected my fitness. This involves workout modifications, chiropractic care, and some personal experiences.
I hope to share my fitness journey throughout my pregnancy. I want to show women that continuing your workout routine while pregnant is OK (as long as you are having a normal, healthy pregnancy of course). The best advice I’ve gotten is from my midwives. Listen to my body, and trust it. Squatting 150# is not dangerous for me because it is not that heavy for me! Also, I have been squatting since I was 14 years old pretty continuously throughout my skating, cycling, and CrossFit lives. I have not been maxing out any lifts or trying to go for PR times in my workouts. I wouldn’t recommend that someone lift like me if they don’t have any background in it and weren’t doing it prior to their pregnancy. This is when it becomes unsafe.
In the 1st trimester I got dizzy pretty easily and slightly queasy from switching positions quickly (i.e. burpees, situps, etc). Some days I was just as strong as my regular self and some days I was firing at 50%. It wasn’t up to me, it just happened. These days I had to get my workout in during the morning or it wasn’t going to happen. By 4pm everyday I needed to get horizontal. I took a nap almost everyday that I could during those beginning months. Compared to the nausea, migraines, and backaches that a lot of women get, I considered myself pretty lucky. I was never sick or experienced severe symptoms. That doesn’t mean that every day was peachy. I still was uncomfortably bloated every time I ate, had strange stretching pains in my stomach most days, and just felt foggy and out of it a lot. Also there were a lot of swinging emotions going on as I was trying to mentally
adjust to the idea of being a mom. I’ll be very open and honest about my journey. Yes, my husband and I had agreed to start “trying”, but I wasn’t prepared for how fast it would happen. I’ve known healthy women in their 20’s that have struggled for years to become pregnant. I knew that it could take awhile, and being 34, I assumed it’d be at least a few months. I was wrong. Ha!
During the 2nd trimester (which I’m currently in) I actually started to feel pregnant. Everyone says the 2nd trimester is when you feel the best, but since my 1st trimester was so easy, the 2nd is definitely harder. I actually have a belly now and it’s tight and crampy most of the time. Pull-ups have become too much of a strain on my abdomen so I’m using a thin band for assistance. Throughout this whole pregnancy, my squats have remained strong. This makes me very happy. Squats center me. I am lost without squats, haha. Sounds ridiculous, but it’s true. A little over a year ago I had some knee issues going on for about 6 months that didn’t let me do squats hardly at all, and I felt lost. So I am very glad that squats continue to feel good for me and make me feel like I am at least maintaining some strength.
The olympic lifts (Clean & Jerk and Snatch) have forced me to go down in weight a bit and back off of the intensity. The quick, explosive nature of the movement doesn’t really cater to my crampy, tight, abdomen. This morning I still did power cleans (video) at my CrossFit gym, but was about 30#’s under my max and had to be less explosive (which will naturally limit how much you can lift). As i get bigger, I anticipate having to use more Kettlebells or dumbells instead of a barbell for some things. I do know some women that have just changed how they lift a barbell throughout their pregnancy, so as to go around the belly. This may work too. I’ll let you know!
As for core and abdominal work, I have backed off of a lot of it. I used to do many different versions of abs/sit-ups almost everyday. Now, I rely mostly on things that work the abs as a secondary process. For example, when I do a fairly hard set of strict press, my abs are working a lot! Any kind of overhead movement is still using a lot of my core, with less crunching and direct abdominal work. Overhead squats are a great example. I also do standing ab exercises with dumbbells and kettlebells which are a lot more comfortable than being flat on the ground. I am still doing side plank and regular plank, though not as long as I used to, and without any weight on my back. I’m hoping the core strength I had entering pregnancy and the secondary core exercises I do are enough to help my abdomen bounce back post-birth.
Lastly, I wanted to mention my chiropractic care. I see my chiropractor (who is amazing and the best one I’ve ever found) about once every 10 days, sometimes going 2 weeks in between visits. He adjusts my lower back and hips a lot right now and continues to work on my other persistent issues such as my shoulders. And for a little bit of TMI, he does a great kinesio trick on the valves of my intestines to, um, get things unblocked and moving again. Another not so awesome thing about pregnancy is that your intestines slow down to let the baby absorb more nutrients, so constipation is very common. My husband and I attended our first prenatal group meeting at our birth center a couple days ago. This is a meeting with other women and their partners that are also do in December. Almost all of them were complaining about lower back pain (sacrum, SI joint, lumbar spine) and hip pain. Many said that sometimes just walking they felt as if their hips were going to pop out of the socket. This is most likely due to the hormone, “relaxin”, that loosens up the joints of your body in preparation for labor. I have no idea if I will also have these same issues coming up, but for now, I believe that my strength training before and during pregnancy, as well as my continued chiropractic care, have spared me from a lot of the issues that other women face. My joints don’t feel loose at all yet, most likely because they are secure with muscle surrounding them, keeping them where they should be.
I will be blogging about the specifics of what I experience with my pregnancy and fitness journey coming up in the future, but wanted to give an overall picture to everyone of what life is currently like for me halfway through:) All my posts will not be about pregnancy, but since it is such a large presence in everything I do these days, it will come up often. Thanks for reading guys! As always, please feel free to write me with questions, comments, concerns, or to share your similar experiences. That would be awesome!