Once you get pregnant there are so many questions and concerns and what ifs that just cross your mind all the time. Now that this is my second baby I know the gist of how things go but this go around I have been much more interested in exactly how much exercise I can do, at what intensity level and a few other things. I am by no means looking to spend hours in the gym or even attempt to get there daily. All I want is to keep active as long as this kiddo and this body let me. It really helps my day! Before I got pregnant this time I was working out regularly. I love to lift heavy weights and do a bit of cardio here and there. Heck, I burned the same amount of calories from weights as a cardio session so I loved it. I have an active bug in me and I love to push myself. I have found that the midwifes I see tend to give me very blanket answers when it comes to how much I can do activity wise while pregnant. They say to keep my heart rate at 140 or lower and make sure I can carry on a conversation. They said to do a lot of walking as well. For my first pregnancy I did a lot of walking and was scared to do anything more than light cardio and a stroll. I think with the 45lb weight gain I had with kid #1 my body could have greatly benefited along the way from more lower body workouts to support my legs with all that weight to carry. I had many back problems and although walking and swimming helped a bit I just don’t think my muscles were strong enough to handle the constant change and weight gain of pregnancy.With that said, for this pregnancy walking and light cardio just didn’t seem like it fit me because I had been doing so much before and now I was suppose to drop to just walking for exercise?! Hmm, nope. So this led me to look online a lot and do my own research as to what our bodies can really do while pregnant. In my opinion I feel like my midwifes are fantastic in many ways in the baby/mother department. But when it comes to advising someone who likes to workout and has done it basically all her life, they seem to be ancient on what to advise. I know they mean well but each person is different and as big as my pregnancies get, I needed some more answers. So here is what I have been doing:
I am making it a goal to get at least 3-5 workouts in a week. If I do any cardio or even weights I wear my polar watch. I do like to see my heart rate and know I don’t need to be in a full on dripping sweat kind of workout or get my heart rate to high. No need to overheat or exhaust myself. Not good for baby or I. I use more of how I am feeling as a guide. Am I dizzy? Am I feeling tired or exhausted? Am I panting? Most of the time my heart rate seems to stay between 140-160 and I think that is okay because I can still talk and I feel good. I don’t keep my heart rate high for long periods and the heart rate monitor helps me along the way. I am not lifting as heavy of weights but I haven’t dropped to 5lb dumbbells for bicep curls either. I am finding my balance as time goes on as to what works and what doesn’t.
In my first pregnancy I was so fearful to sleep on my belly as soon as I got pregnant. I thought it would harm the baby so I gave it up quick..and have I mentioned I am a belly sleeper! Then, once I heard laying on your back to long can interfere with blood flow to the placenta I was gave up laying on my back as well. Well, being the second pregnancy I dug deeper and I am still sleeping on my belly and laying on my back so far. The midwife said I would know when I could no longer sleep on my belly because it would affect me long before it affected the baby. As for my back, I know to not lay there forever but know unless I feel dizzy or am further along, it’s totally okay now. Not that I am sleeping great but getting to lay on my belly here and there during the night as needed is wonderful!!
The eating for two thing is old news and I am pretty sure a lot of us say that when we scarf down a huge meal but really it’s not necessary to consume that many calories. Yes, I have received the guide as to how many extra calories I need per trimester but again I am going by how I feel. I don’t want to be stressed out by calories or numbers a day and frankly I don’t have the time right now. I tend to eat every few hours anyways so this has been especially important while pregnant and if I don’t keep fuel in my body, my body tells me ASAP! I am making healthy eating choices but I am not concerned with having some sweets or treats or whatever looks good that day. Currently, I consume at least one soft pretzel a day with cheese and it makes my day so much better so I am not giving it up. I don’t think pregnancy is a time to down pints of ice cream each night and blame it on “baby wanted it”. But I also don’t think you need to eat so healthy you are depriving yourself of the yummy things in life that have no nutritional value but just taste so darn good. Why live life on one extreme or the other?! I want it all! I am going to enjoy this pregnancy as much as I can.
I think we focus to much on the scale a lot of time to measure our progress. While this is one indicator there are many others like how our clothes fit, how we feel energy wise, and even measuring inches. This picture from my pregnancy now and my pregnancy in 2011 show just how deceiving a scale can be. At 15 weeks now, I weigh 133lbs and the photo from 2011 is 140 lbs. To me, I look bigger now at a lesser weight than in 2011!