Planning for A Baby Is A Lot of Work!

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Photo with my younger sister, Samantha, and childhood best friend, Amanda, during my visit to New Hampshire. 

I am 28 weeks pregnant in this photo. 

If you've had a baby, you're probably thinking to yourself after reading the title of this post: "Duh...".  Well I'm just figuring this out and I bow down even more to the amazingly strong women out there who have gone through this - and the ones who have done it multiple times! 

The last month has been a whirlwind of my belly suddenly "popping" and dealing with the requisite back discomfort that comes with it, weekly childbirth prep classes (we opted for a 6-week series), trying to prepare for maternity leave, and finishing up home renovations!  Since I've been a bit quiet, I thought I'd take the opportunity with this blog post to share  what I've been up to, specifically as it regards my wellness during this period :)  I'm also going to share what I've been doing for workouts during my pregnancy.  My hope is you'll find this helpful if you are pregnant or planning to be pregnant.  

As of this blog post, I'm just over 29 weeks pregnant.  I'm astounded with how slow the 1st trimester and even most of the 2nd trimester went.  However, in a flash, I'm in the third trimester and realizing I only have 2.5 months left until this baby is due!  I also have suddenly "popped" and actually look pregnant. The first 5-6 months were rough, because I didn't truly look pregnant and I got many innocent questions about whether I was pregnant or not.  But now I'm finally receiving the confident statements such as, "Congratulations!", "How far along are you?", etc.  

But of course, as my belly gets bigger, there is a lot more pressure happening in the front of my body, so my mid-back has been experiencing some discomfort by the end of the day and sometimes, during the work day, when I'm dealing with Braxton Hicks contractions.  I also have to pee all of the time, which gets uncomfortable if I wait too long.  Not to mention, I'm dealing with the emotional challenge of not being able to do some of the things I used to be able to do physically.  Up until about 6 months pregnant, I was continuing to run with modifications: I cut down my mileage to just 2 miles, 3x/week and did intervals rather than continuous running or sprints.  However, around the 6-month mark, I felt my pelvic floor was not benefitting from my continued running (I would have the urge to pee throughout the run despite having just gone to the bathroom) and the risk of weakening my pelvic floor muscles even further outweighed the enjoyment I got from running.  So I turned to incline walking and the stairclimber for cardio. 

The list of what I can't do during my workouts is far shorter than what I can't do.  Below, I'll outline my typical workout routine (although it varies based on how I'm feeling). 

*Keep in mind, I did all of these things before I was pregnant.  So if you're planning to become pregnant or are currently pregnant and have not worked out before or done regular strength training, I highly recommend you speak with your doctor and a fitness professional prior to activity. 

The above pictures were taken during one of my strength workouts at 24 weeks pregnant.  Not much has changed at 29 weeks.   I start with 20 minutes of cardio, then do about 30 minutes of strength, and conclude with stretching.  I do this three times a week and then yoga on the weekends.  Here is a typical cardio and strength workout that I put myself through:

Cardio:

  • 5-6 minutes of incline walking on the treadmill at a speed of about 3.6-3.7 mph and an incline grade of 7.5-8.5%
  • 14-15 minutes of "rolling hills" on the stairmaster (speed increases and decreases at regular intervals)

Strength:

  • TRX (12 reps per exercise, 3 rounds):
    • Wide rows
    • Bicep curls
    • Chest press
    • Tricep extentions
  • Goblet Squat (12 reps, 3 rounds)
  • Lateral work with the mini band (see this post about how to use the mini band)
  • Hip bridges (20 reps, 2 rounds)
  • Side plank on forearm (30 sec. hold, 2 rounds/side)

Stretching:

  • Specifically targeting calf muscles, quads, outer hips, shoulders, and hip flexors

How does this workout differ from what I used to do before I was pregnant?  For starters, it is far less intense.  Before, I would work in high-intensity training (HIT) such as lunge jumps, squat jumps, maybe burpees.  I also did a lot more plank variations, where now I stick with side planks to work my obliques.  

Remember, I share this to hopefully send the message of how important it is to find a workout routine prior to becoming pregnant so that you can maintain your energy levels throughout your pregnancy.  Though, even if you didn't workout before pregnancy, there are major benefits to developing a routine that encourages movement to manage the inevitable discomfort of growing a baby.  Please reach out if you would like any guidance!