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Exercise in pregnancy....

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#1 TheGub

Posted 30 November 2012 - 05:59 AM

Morning All,

I recently hijacked another thread on this topic.  Being new and all, I've got some learning to do.  Bear with me!!

I wanted to find out all of your views on exercise and pregnancy and see how you are / were coping with the struggles of the first trimester and maintaining fitness around it?

I'm 10 weeks pregnant now, had a viability scan at 6 weeks and my wee pup is where it should and it has a little ripper of a heart beat and all that.  So I'm waiting for the NT scan etc at 12 weeks and am very comfortable that this pregnancy will just progress as it should.

In my pre-preggas life, I was an athlete (distance runner). So my body is used to being physically pushed, and doing a lot a lot of training.  Since becoming pregnant, I've pulled back the intensity and the duration by about 40%, but I'm still running (jogging) 6 days a week and doing 3 or so gym sessions.

The doc has OK'd this in light of my physiological base and capacity, and it is really helping me manage the nausea and the moods that I've been hitting. It's also important for me to maintain a base during this pregnancy, as I intend to hit the marathons back in 2014.  And I am very much a big believer that happy mum = happy baby.

I wanted to find out from you guys how you are travelling on this front, and what you are doing to keep fit and balanced during this uncomfy initial trimester?

Happy Friday ladies!  We are in for a stinker here in Sydney today and over the weekend.  I hope the weather will be kind to you all.


#2 kate_123

Posted 30 November 2012 - 06:34 AM

Hi TheGub,
I was an elite athlete but have had chronic fatigue for the last 5yrs so 'proper' exercise is now not really an option for me. I do have a friend tho who is a fitness finatic and drilled her OB on what she can and can't do. Just be mindful of not over heating and that ur heart rate will be a lot higher than usual. Also as the baby gets bigger I'm not sure of the safety of running, maybe do some cross training swimming or something? As for me I was hoping to continue walking (was doing about 8k walks 4 times a week before pregnancy) but morning sickness and fatigue has put a grinding holt to anything other than lying on the couch at every opportunity! I hope to get back to walking in the second trimester health permitting. I do know a couple of the other girls mentioned that they were still exercising somewhat - think it all depends on how morning sickness is treating you and for me its been real mean!

#3 MrsR87

Posted 30 November 2012 - 06:55 AM

I was going to the gym at the start before I found out, then the exhaustion hit and I haven't really been back since. I put my membership on hold until I was 12 weeks. It is active again now so I really should go back and do light cardio (the OH is bugging me about doing it) but I really just can't be bothered.

I should give it a go next week, it will probably make me feel better.

#4 Atticus_Smith

Posted 30 November 2012 - 07:54 AM

Hi TheGub

Good question!

I was fairly into exercise before finding out I was pregnant, I was doing Functional Fitness about 4 times a week (similar to crossfit, with weightlifting etc.), Muay Thai (kickboxing) around 3 times a week and riding/mountain biking once/twice a week. I've managed to keep up the Functional fitness but had to stop doing kickboxing as I've been so tired, and riding a lot less (no mountain biking on doctors orders - too bumpy!)

I'm in two minds about the whole thing. Part of me really dislikes how exhausted exercising makes me feel, and I don't think that's a good thing. At the same time, I tend to sleep better after a workout and I know it's good for me to be doing some form of exercise.

I'm thinking of taking up swimming, especially now that it's getting hot. I used to swim competitively, so I think I'll enjoy doing it again.

The other thing that's getting me about training is, as it's getting hotter, the gym is turning into a sauna (no air-conditioning), and I usually go at about 4-5pm, when it's really hot in there. I figure that can't be a good thing. I'm missing my session today cause I don't think I'll handle the heat. I'll take the dog for a big long walk once it gets cool instead!

Looking forward to 12 weeks when I (hopefully) get my energy back, ose the ms, and can start kickboxing again cause I can tell people!

#5 TheGub

Posted 30 November 2012 - 08:21 AM

I do like the different approaches that people have to exercise and its intensity during pregnancy.

Kate_123, like you, I was an elite athlete. I ultimately couldn't handle the load and ran into overtraining, chronic fatigue and hip / pelvis injuries galore, which put an end to my goals.  I'm good with that now, and it's really nice to enjoy my sport for what it is again and without having to care about race outcomes.

Alongside that, though, I still have a resting HR of about 50 and I am very in tune with my body - I knew I was pregnant about a week after conception and can feel all the micro changes in my breathing, rate of exertion, pelvic alignment and all that.  I choose not to go off the 140HR regulation, as (similar to the BMI charts) it's ultimately not a good indicator when you factor in differing heart rates and base fitness levels as a starting point.  There is that scale of exertion, which suggests that you keep it at moderate (level 7  on a 1-10 scale), which is what I have been doing, and I find pulling back the intensity has also given me more enjoyment of the sport and the ability just to keep going.

Having said that, as I start to pop, I'll no doubt increase the cross training and swimming and reduce the running - that will happen intuitively as my body lets me know how I am travelling I think.

Woyapp, I hear you re the exhaustion.  But do you not think that the exhaustion is just part and parcel of the pregnancy?  In my mind, I know that I will hit 3.30 and in will come the nausea and the exhaustion and all the fun stuff - but getting out for some exercise in the morning seems to help lessen that, and I've not noticed it actually ADDING to the tiredness at all??  I'm also surprised that your doc didn't say no to the kickboxing as well as the bike riding.  I'd be freaked about a kick to the guts!!


Edited by TheGub, 30 November 2012 - 08:21 AM.

#6 Clare L

Posted 30 November 2012 - 09:34 AM

Hi ladies,

Well, pre pregnancy I was running a couple of times a week, weight training a couple of times of week and also going to spin classes. Relatively fit, but still room for improvement.

Since finding out, I've switched running for swimming, added yoga and stopped weight training and spin - but to be clear, that's because I've had three m/c and at the back of my mind was the worry about doing something 'wrong' to cause another one. The logical part of me knows that's not how m/c usually works, but heh, you can't control your emotions all the time!

I've had the 12 week scan now though, and bubs is looking good and strong, so I'm going back to weight training tomorrow. My trainer is a star - knows I'm pregnant, has heaps of experience training pregnant women, so I'm really confident he'll look after me. For me, it's important to go back as I want to stay strong and fit throughout - it can only help with labour and recovery.

He's very strict about the heart rate thing too, so he monitors me constantly...


#7 Atticus_Smith

Posted 30 November 2012 - 09:58 AM

TheGub I guess I've noticed a marked increase in exhaustion after a workout. Like you, I'm pretty in tune with my body. My first indication that I was pregnant was a slight increase in fat around my midsection. As I was maintaining such a strict diet (I wish that was still the case!) and exercise regime I knew it had to be something else. I was so certain I was pregnant, but tests were showing up negative until about 1 week after my period was late.

It's hard to know what is and isn't adding to the exhaustion, what with the increase in heat lately (so I'm sleeping worse), change in diet and change in exercise regime, plus all the hormones. Because my diet's changed so much in the past 6 weeks, I'm sure that has to be making a difference. On night' when I train I am just so much more exhausted than on nights I don't.

My exhaustion and nausea are much worse around mid morning-lunchtime. My nausea seems to have a huge amount to do with eating (not so much what I'm eating, but when). So, I often find that come time for training, I have more energy than I've had all day (that was always the case for me though). But then once I'm exercising, I just fatigue so quickly. I guess it's just a bit of a mental battle for me, being so used to intense exercise before being pregnant, and now, not only finding it impossible to get to the same intensity as before (which I know is normal), but also not knowing how intense to make it.

I had a miscarriage earlier this year, and while I don't believe my level of exercise had anything to do with it, It;s still ever so slightly in the back of my mind. Plus everyone around me is very opinionated about what I should and shouldn't be doing exercise wise. My mum and sister are continually telling me not to exercise so much and take it easy. 'I'm not an invalid' I keep telling them!

As for the kickboxing, my Dr knows I stopped sparring as soon as I found out I was pregnant, but the classes are much more about technique and fitness than just kicking people. Plus my trainer knows, so he's very cautious and always partners up with me in any partner exercises. She's a good Dr, she obviously has faith in me doing what I know is best, and not doing anything sill.

Sorry for the long post, I've been dying to talk to people about exercise and pregnancy!

#8 Clare L

Posted 30 November 2012 - 10:37 AM

QUOTE (Woyapp @ 30/11/2012, 10:58 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I had a miscarriage earlier this year, and while I don't believe my level of exercise had anything to do with it, It;s still ever so slightly in the back of my mind. Plus everyone around me is very opinionated about what I should and shouldn't be doing exercise wise. My mum and sister are continually telling me not to exercise so much and take it easy. 'I'm not an invalid' I keep telling them!

Woyapp - I've been getting the same pressure from my sister. I keep reminding myself they're just worried about me, but it can be frustrating when they won't stop!


#9 key_gal

Posted 30 November 2012 - 11:51 AM

I have the other end of the problem.

I am not really into exercises. I did jog and walk before pregnancy and have continued to walk daily into pregnancy.

However, husband think im being too sloppy with exercised and want me to go back to gym to run and do weights as well as start on kick boxing to get into shape more.

I am not so sure about weights and kickboxing since the weights means some lifting of 3-5kg each hand etc and kick boxing is something I have not done b4.

Running is probably ok now that i am out of 1st trimester and my bleeding problem has stopped. I was hoping i can get away with walking and swimming tho. Might think about yoga too.

#10 key_gal

Posted 30 November 2012 - 11:51 AM

I have the other end of the problem.

I am not really into exercises. I did jog and walk before pregnancy and have continued to walk daily into pregnancy.

However, husband think im being too sloppy with exercised and want me to go back to gym to run and do weights as well as start on kick boxing to get into shape more.

I am not so sure about weights and kickboxing since the weights means some lifting of 3-5kg each hand etc and kick boxing is something I have not done b4.

Running is probably ok now that i am out of 1st trimester and my bleeding problem has stopped. I was hoping i can get away with walking and swimming tho. Might think about yoga too.

#11 TheGub

Posted 30 November 2012 - 11:54 AM

Great post Woyapp!

It sounds like both you and Clare L get a bit of pressure from those around you re fitness?  I guess I do too, but more along the lines of "so, are you going to slow down now you are pregnant" without follow up or judgment afterwards.

Ultimately though, I think that you are the master of your body and no-one knows it better than you. So, if you are training and getting tired, then regulate the training so that you feel better in it.  If your head is freaking out at certain intensities or doing certain activites, I'd just bin them and find something else (some days I'll wake up and just not not feel like running, so I'll do something gentle on the elliptical instead for e.g.).

But is it also maybe that you are feeling a little guilty for not doing as much exercise as you are used to pre-pregnancy and then not sure of the intensity you should be hitting around this?  I know that sometimes I feel guilty that I am not doing what I "should" be in terms of training, and then I have to check that thought and let myself know that it is just OK to be taking it easy and to enjoy the balance of this time.  Adopting this head space, I'm not stressing out about what I am or am not doing, and am just doing what my body is capable of each day.

With running, I've pulled right back (I am just shuffling!), and I've kept myself in check with the pace by starting up groups at work with my colleagues who are not runners and want to be out there and just get a bit fitter.  It's social and it's gentle for me and I can manage it without stress.  I enjoy it!  My workmates that don't know I'm pregnant yet are a bit baffled as to why I'm recruiting a bunch of older males to go out on slow shufles with at this stage, but all will become clear in time original.gif

Anyhoo, there are some really good references on a bodybuilding website I've found from women who are figure builders / aerobically trained and what they have done through pregnancy. I find it really useful to see different training and eating patterns and what has worked for those before me.  I'll find the links and pop them up if you are interested. I figure it's all good information to pop in the arsenal.


#12 Atticus_Smith

Posted 30 November 2012 - 03:41 PM

Key_gal, I wouldn't worry too much about what your husband is saying. I think yoga us a good idea, but I wouldn't suggest starting kickboxing while you're pregnant. Depends on the type you're doing, but it might be too high intensity if you're used to walking/jogging.

Thanks TheGub!

I do get the less judgmental pressure too, often from my partner or friends. I know my family are just concerned about me.
The thing about the training I do, is that it's mostly about strength and technique/mobility, so it's really not something I want to give up. When it comes to cardio I tend to be on the same page as you, and often if I don't feel up to something intense, I'll just go for a long walk instead.

I agree with your statement re: feeling guilty. I do often have the same thought processes as you, and that definitely helps. But I think the m/c thing from earlier in the year isn't so easy to analyse. I haven't quote gotten there yet. To be honest though, I think I'm feeling much worse about food, just trying to justify it to myself, in that I'm finding it so hard to eat healthily at the moment.

It's great that you're running (shuffling) with workmates, that's really nice. I'm sure it'll all make sense once they know you're pregnant.

ClareL, right there with you with the m/c in the back of the mind thing.

Edited by Woyapp, 30 November 2012 - 03:45 PM.

#13 kahm

Posted 01 December 2012 - 10:13 PM

Me and exercise.  Hmmm.
I was a national level athlete five years ago - not elite international level or anything but serious enough to run into chronic overuse injuries.  A nasty case of glandular fever, post viral syndrome and four years of hand/wrist RSI put an end to that.  I'm more into adventure sports these days, fewer ITB problems wink.gif

Anyway, I still like to stay in shape, although my ability to keep going all day under any circumstances doesn't exist any more (mostly because I couldn't go anaerobic any more or the RSI got worse).

Normally I cycle commute (so, an hour a day), I love love love to swim, so I'll usually do a few sessions in the pool too.  My RSI is just this year good enough to allow more than just paddling in the pool, so was building back up to pre RSI times and distances.  I was also able to some weights training again; previously anything more than a tin of beans had them going anaerobic in 5 seconds, which was really really bad for the RSI.

Anyway, I was just getting back to a level of fitness I really enjoyed when I got knocked up (yay) and all of a sudden I just couldn't.  Well, we went on a 60k MTB ride the day after we got the BFP but I took it easy going up the hills wink.gif

What my GP said to me was that it's fine to keep doing what you've always done, because you know what it ought to feel like and if it feels wrong you'll know pretty early on to stop or ease up.  Unfortunately for me, that's meant dropping down on intensity with just about everything, giving up most of it entirely for the last month and giving the weights a rest on physio's advice because my hypermobile-joints-on-relaxin weren't happy (I got a lecture about lifting things too after putting a hip out while moving some shelves, of all things)

The worst part about it has been that exercise has made my morning sickness much much worse, but not until the day *afterwards*.  It took us a while to spot the pattern, but a relatively active Saturday was always followed by a BYO bucket puke party on Sunday.  I'm on the mend from the MS now (I hope!) but I don't trust my energy levels.  I spent the day shifting furniture and I'll just have to see what tomorrow brings.

I feel like I've lost a lot of muscle tone over the last 4-6 weeks and, even though I've been losing weight from morning sickness, I'm feeling all flabby.  I was having a moan to DP last night and he said that, yes, I did have a bit of a tyre around my middle at the moment (before you all flame him, the way he said it was fine, it's totally ok for him to say that since I said it first and I'd have been more p*ssed off if he'd try to lie to me!!!)  Some of that tyre is a thickening waist from bub but some of it isn't.  I'm 12 weeks on Wednesday so I'm hoping to get back in the pool this week, work, fatigue and sickness permitting.  I'm just hoping to stay fit enough to feel physically and mentally well for the next year and then I'll start thinking about climbing mountains again!

#14 Atticus_Smith

Posted 04 December 2012 - 08:42 AM

Thanks Kahm that was a really good post. You made me feel much better ,as this is pretty much what I'm going through.

I'm not feeling like going to training in the afternoons and find myself making excuses. I think partly because I don't feel like I've got the energy, partly because of the heat and partly because most of the people there still don't know that I'm pregnant and keep saying things to me like 'You're going to smash this workout'. When, realistically, I'm not going to. And that's fine, cause I have a good reason, but I just can't tell them! Finding it quite frustrating to be honest...

I'd really love to be doing some more swimming, and will hopefully start soon. Just need to find the motivation to leave the office in the middle of the day to walk to the pool.

And as for bike commuting; pretty much as soon as I found out I struggled to ride to work, even once. Just too fatigued and eaily puffed. I'm hoping come 12 weeks I might be able to make a couple of commutes to work a week.

Glad to hear others are going through similar things, and that I'm not alone. It makes a big difference.

#15 TheGub

Posted 06 December 2012 - 10:53 AM

Kahm and Woyapp, are you both trying to exercise  primarily in the afternoons and the evenings?  I'm finding that I'm pretty good to go in the mornings....I always feel like 'normal' me....I can go out for a shuffle or to the gym, I've got balanced energy and my mood is generally positive and easy.

AND THEN....the afternoon hits and with it comes a really annoying headache and that fatigue.  I'm at 11 weeks now and it is definitely on the improve, but the exhaustion is probably the most difficult symptom to manage...and is seriously the result of my no shows at the gym or pool at least 85% of the times!

I've been lucky because I've been able to maintain the morning training without issue and at this new gentle pace (this may also be because I'm physiologically used to running in exhausted states when training at full loads, so feeling like cr*p being pregnant isn't really that far off the radar of what I'm used to??), but the afternoon weights sessions or swims I've been seriously dismal at.  My waist is getting thicker too, - I'm not looking pregnant yet, but more like I've been eating a few too many pies of late!  I'm OK with this as I know there's only one way we are all going to be going from here!

Here's hoping that the second trimester brings much more energy and balance for us all, and then an easy return after birth to whatever level of fitness it is that brings balance to our respective lives original.gif

Happy Thursday!!


Edited by TheGub, 06 December 2012 - 10:55 AM.

#16 kahm

Posted 07 December 2012 - 08:44 AM

And Happy Happy Friday!  

No, we're all in this together.  Pregnancy has turned my life into a series of noes, don'ts, can'ts, and never's.  Or at least it feels that way on a bad day.

Gub, I do have more energy in the mornings but the problem has been that if I burn that energy in the morning too quickly, then I have nothing left in the tank that afternoon and then the next day turns into a puke-fest.  I'm finding it quite frustrating but I figure it'll pass eventually.  I'm not going to be pregnant for ever (seriously, after this introduction to gestation I'm only ever having two kids!) and it's such a short time out of my life in the long run.  

The benefit is that I'm really learning to listen to my body in a way I haven't given myself permission to do before.  Rather than being driven by guilt (you know, the "I'm just being lazy, I *should* get out there and go for a swim/ride/whatever") I'm operating on a much more authentic assessment of what I want to do and what I feel I can do.

I figure I'll need this sort of awareness to take care of my kids initially (ie avoiding overtired blowouts on outings) and eventually to teach them about dancing for the joy of it, rather than because they feel obliged, or because they think they have a weight problem, or because they feel guilty if they don't.

Just looking on the bright side this morning...

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