Wednesday, January 05, 2011

exercise in pregnancy

It's interesting when I look back at my previous three pregnancies to see the various approaches to fitness.  This is another thing I've been thinking about lately, because I always worry about whether I'm doing too much or too little, and then I end up Googling things like "x weeks pregnant exercise" and then I read that some people are running 7 miles a day and hiking the Alps, and some are saying, "do nothing or risk injuring your child!"  So here is mine, because this is my blog and it's something I'm interested in.  :-)

(1) Abigail:  exercise? what?  I was in my first year of grad school, teaching 3 classes and taking a full course load myself so that I would only have one class left after she was born.  CRAZINESS.  This is how I exercised:  I walked to campus and back.  In other words, I did not worry about it at all (although hiking up the hill to BYU is actually not bad exercise).  But at this stage of my life, I knew nothing about nutrition or exercise.

(2) Juliet: at the gym at least three times a week at 6 am, running on the elliptical and lifting weights.  Biking, swimming, hiking, etc. on all the other days. This was an awesome pregnancy and I felt AMAZING.  I exercised right up until the day I gave birth, then I started exercising again 6 days after she was born (with my doctor's permission).

(3) Isaac: my worst pregnancy yet.  I was SO sick all the time.  I'd never had morning sickness, but this pregnancy was constant sickness.  In retrospect, a lot of it was from the pain I was in from all of the issues with my veins letting the blood flow backwards and all of that awesomeness.  I had been running prior to the pregnancy, but I stopped pretty early on and just walked for about an hour a day because the pain was so horrible (I also spent a lot of time lying face-down on my bed with heating pads all over my body).  After I had surgery at 28 weeks, I felt a lot better, but I had been on bedrest and restricted activity for so long that when I tried to start running again, it was kind of disastrous.  (As in I had shin splints just from walking around my house after all the bedrest.)

(4) I must say that I haven't felt as great as I did while I was pregnant with Jules, but I think it's because I'm older and my body is starting to feel a little more patched-together (surgical site achiness, anyone?!). But running definitely helps me stave off the daily fatigue and ensure that I sleep soundly at night. I ran a 10K at 6 weeks and a half-marathon at 11 weeks (shaving 7 minutes off my PR!), then I was on bedrest off and on for about six weeks.  Right now, at 22 weeks, I'm running 4 miles three times a week (I would love to be running more frequently, but it just doesn't work with my schedule right now, especially since I've slowed down and I'm running about 9-minute miles).  I'm also doing yoga 2 times a week, since my mom's personal trainer told me that would help me run longer.  My goal is to still be running at 36 weeks, when I'm hoping to run my mom's first 5K with her (right, Mom?!).

What about you?  How does pregnancy change your normal exercise routine?


Meghan said...

Just finished the third day of the plan. I'm good with where I am now, but next week scares me.

Jolena said...

Here's to no time in first pregnancies while in grad school! I ran until about 20 weeks when I moved back to Provo from Las Vegas and the elevation killed me. First time that has ever happened and it was a weird experience. I switched to walking to school and that's definitely better exercise than nothing! Hopefully in my future pregnancies I'll be able to exercise more, but I definitely am impressed with how much walking can do even if it doesn't feel like much. These days it causes major braxton hicks, so that's fun times too. :) 2 weeks left!

Elise said...

hey. walking to school is GREAT exercise, especially when for some reason i take the stairs in the JFSB to the 4th floor and then when I'm panting my way up I realize i still have to take the RB stairs later today.....BYU campus was built for exercise.

Dani said...

I exercised religiously while pregnant with my first. I felt great and was able to withstand the three hours of pushing at the end of a long labor. I attribute that to all of the exercise. I also felt great (when I was exercising, puking when I wasn't). My second pregnancy I was too exhausted to do anything. I didn't feel horrible, but I didn't feel great either. Bedrest at 32 weeks pretty much put the end to any exercise (or normal activity). With my third I tried to exercise regularly, but got totally freaked out with some complications at 15 weeks and took it easy after that. With preterm labor at 28 weeks, and bedrest from that point on, I missed doing anything at all, let alone exercising. With my fourth pregnancy I've been running pretty regularly, although I've significantly decreased my mileage. I consider it a victory just to get out and run and I don't worry about pace or time or distance. I just run until I feel like it's time to stop. I've been doing yoga on most days and incorporating some strength training. I've learned that I really have to listen to my body so that I don't overdo it. Knowing that there's a good chance that I will end up on bedrest by 24 weeks, I'm enjoying it while I can. I hope I'll be able to continue, but I have realistic expectations. I do plan on continuing with my yoga even if they put me on bedrest. I think every woman and every pregnancy is different, but I know that exercise makes me feel great when I'm pregnant (and when I'm not).

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