Working Out During Pregnancy

Before I found out I was pregnant I had a fairly consistent workout routine down. I swore up and down that I would continue working out once I was pregnant. I didn't work out at all with Emerson and I really regretted it after she was born because it took me so long to get back into it. So for the first 6 weeks of my pregnancy I continued working out pretty consistently. I stopped running and doing high impact stuff and switched over to less intense activities like walking, step aerobics, and light weight training. I used some of my old The Firm videos quite often.

Then in June the morning sickness hit and I felt like I had been hit by a truck. I'd heard that working out can help alleviate it and I did muster up the energy to do a few workouts but they were few and far between. You can see here that the month of June was pretty sparse in the workout department.

In July I started to feel a bit better and I tried getting back into a regular routine. That's also when I reintroduced Jillian Michael's back into my rotation. As you may know, some of her workouts are pretty intense and there are some moves included that probably aren't the best during pregnancy. But I mostly stuck to the first two workouts in Body Revolution which are very low impact. I also modified any moves that I didn't feel comfortable with. I didn't do any of the crunches or exercises that required me to lie flat on my back and just subbed with other moves I found online.

Then in August Jesse was injured and exercise took a backseat to everything else. It was actually my least active month for the entire year and I could tell! I had less energy, felt yucky, and was more than a little stressed out (with good reason!) 

I vowed to do better in September and I did. That's also when I realized that I could kick my workouts up a notch. Until then I had been taking it pretty easy and I couldn't remember the last time I had really worked up a sweat. So I did something a little bit crazy (with my doctor's permission) and added jogging back into my routine. I didn't feel like just walking was giving me enough of a workout but I also knew that I couldn't just get out and run a mile after not running in so long. So I downloaded the Couch to 5k app and started on Week 1 Day 1. My jogging intervals probably weren't much faster than my walking but I felt great! Doing intervals seemed like the perfect level of intensity for me. Over the next few weeks I continued working through the program. I made it halfway through the 4th week and decided to stop there. Anytime I ran more than 3 or 4 minutes at a time I had a lot of hip and pelvic pain so I knew that I was pushing it a little too hard. I cycled through more of the workouts from the first couple of weeks. 

During this time I also continued to do Jillian's workouts with modifications as well as some workouts I found online. I particularly love Fit in Heels and Blonde Ponytail. They both offer some pretty tough full body workouts that you can do with very little or no equipment.

I didn't work out quite as much during October as I would have liked but I did continue with the same routine. Now that I'm getting bigger I'm finding that sticking to shorter jogging intervals is more comfortable. I've mostly stayed with Week 1 and 2 of Couch to 5k. With just 12 weeks to go, I'm hoping that I can continue to workout until the end. I'm sure I'll slow down even more and I'll eventually switch to just walking. I'll also probably start using my bodyweight only when strength training just because it's getting more uncomfortable with weights. 

I'm obviously no expert when it comes to staying fit during pregnancy but these are a few observations I've made and things I've learned during the last 28 weeks:

-Despite remaining much more active this time, my weight gain has progressed almost exactly as it did with Emerson. I was hoping to stay closer to the 30 lbs mark (as opposed to the 36 lbs I gained with E) but I'm not sure that's going to happen.  Either way, I know that working out has made me feel so much better and I'm hoping it will help me get back into regular workouts more easily after Adelyn is born.

-I have hip pain and feel the pregnancy aches whether I do or don't work out. I've heard that not working out can make things worse because of lack of movement. I've also wondered if all of the extra movement makes my hips feel more sore. From what I can tell they feel pretty much the same either way.

-It's not a competition to see who can gain the least amount of weight. I love reading fitness blogs but I've noticed that it has become a bit of a bragging point for some bloggers. (Example: I only gained 20 lbs during my pregnancy and I walked out of the hospital with a six pack and fit right into my Size 0 jeans.) So that's probably a bit of an exaggeration but I have noticed a trend along those lines. Yes, it's important not to gain excess weight but the number on the scale is just that: a number! The important thing is that you are nutritiously and adequately fueling yourself and your baby. Your weight gain (or lack thereof) is not always an indicator of your health.

-Don't compare yourself to others! For a while I struggled with comparing what I was doing to what others were doing during pregnancy. I saw girls doing Crossfit, running 3 or 4 miles a day, and eating perfectly. I wondered if maybe I wasn't doing enough and whether or not I was truly having a "fit pregnancy."  After a while I realized that that was completely ridiculous! You have to do what feels good to you and you cannot worry what anyone else is doing (just like with parenthood!) 

-Anything is better than nothing. You don't have to run half-marathons during your 6th month of pregnancy or hit the gym 6 days a week.  The point is to keep moving in any way you can whether it be walking, running, or yoga. In a perfect world we would all get our recommended amount of exercise but the sometimes it just doesn't happen. That's ok! Two days a week is better than 0 days a week!

-Most prenatal workouts are boring. I hate to say it, but I haven't really loved any of the pregnancy workouts I bought. They are just too slow or too cheesy for me. I have preferred to stick to my tried and true videos and to modify them in ways that are safe and comfortable for me. I've also loved trying new workouts that I've found on Pinterest. I have an entire board dedicated to Pregnancy workouts that you can find here:

-Listen to your body. I take more rest breaks during workouts and I always stop and drink water several times throughout. I even had one workout where I just didn't feel well. My hips were killing me and I was having some pelvic pain so I stopped halfway through my workout. It wasn't easy to just stop but I knew that it was the right thing to do.

I know that I still have quite a ways to go and I'm going to get a lot bigger so I will be sure and update how my fitness routine progresses towards the end. If you are interested in following along, check out my fitness page here. I've included every workout I've completed in 2013.

I'm anxious to see if my activity level makes a difference in labor and delivery and postpartum recovery so I will also share that once the time comes!

And before I close, I want to share a fun little challenge that a few of my blog friends invited me to take part in. They've created a Facebook group for moms who are trying to live a healthier lifestyle. Basically we are starting a 12 week challenge on November 1st. Each of us is setting our own health/fitness goal and we will use the page to share our progress and offer encouragement to one another. At the end of the 12 weeks everyone who meets their goal will be entered into a drawing for a gift card of their choice. We already have some great women participating and are always looking for more. If you want more details, visit Natalie's page here or you can email either one of us. It's going to be a great way to work on your goals in an encouraging and non-judgmental group- we'd love to have you!

Michelle said...

Go mama!! Good for you! I need to get workin on my fitness!! I feel ya on the hip/pelvic pain. I had horrible pelvic pain when I was pregnant with M. Some days I could barely walk. I guess it's called SPD and your pelvis starts to separate earlier on in your pregnancy. I'm 5.5 months post partum and feel 80% better but some days I wake up and it feels like it's just shattered. Ugh.

Adelyn said...

Stumbled on your blog and just had to comment, as your daughter's name is mine, almost exactly! My middle name is spelled Elyse, but otherwise, identical. I'm sure your daughter will be very happy with her name - I've loved mine :). I've never met another Adelyn, but it seems like it's getting a lot more popular.

Happy Pregnancy!

© Wherever We're Together. Made with love by The Dutch Lady Designs.