Staying Active While Pregnant

So I just got back from one of the first “runs” (shuffles) that has felt somewhat decent since I found out I was pregnant back at the end of December.

I promise you, before I got pregnant, I had all of these fantastic mental plans to be the fittest mom ever.  My reasoning was that hey, I’m super fit now, what would change, right?

The first trimester Kicked. My. Ass.  And not because I was so sick, but because I was so incredibly tired.  Even before finding out I was pregnant, I remember running while I was listening to an episode of Serial, and just dragging myself around, not exactly knowing why I felt that way, but resolving to sign up for a race or something to get my butt back in gear.  Woops!

Since finding out, I’ve continued teaching my classes, run a little bit, and supplemented some of my longer, bigger runs throughout the weeks with some time on the treadmill and on the elliptical.  I struggle with feeling like I’m not doing enough, but I can only do what I can, and not a whole lot more, so I’ve just stuck to that.

If you’re struggling with any of the same, I don’t know that I can offer a whole lot of wisdom, just what I’ve found to sort of help keep me from laying on the couch for days at at time.

Staying Active While Pregnant

  1. Decide that staying active will be a priority.  This could mean that you might have to redefine what “active” means.  It may not be 6 miles in Umstead on Sunday mornings.  But it might be hiking, biking, shorter runs, or whatever.  But reworking your priorities and making nutrition and staying active will be huge.
  2. Listen to your body. Admittedly, I still struggle with figuring out if I just suck, or if I’m really worn out because of what’s going on.  But I work up sweat without hurting myself.  For me, some light cardio and weights have been really good for me.  Body Pump feels AWESOME.  Running, not so much.  So I do what I feel that I can.
  3. Track it.  I don’t know how anyone, let alone the newly-pregnant, did anything without tracking their activity/steps, but my Fitbit has been one of the only things that has kept me on track, especially during those weeks when I could barely muster the energy to get off the couch.  The numbers can motivate you to get outside, or hop on a treadmill and…
  4. Just walk.  This is hard to hear for marathoners/ultra runners/crossfitters, but walking is fine.  It’s good.  It’s okay.  And really good when you have a buddy.  So take a friend, take your husband, or take some headphones (be careful with them)!

Fit moms, did you/how did you stay active while pregnant?

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10 thoughts on “Staying Active While Pregnant

  1. THANK YOU for writing this in a sensitive and non-preachy way! Some really useful advice here! When I was pregnant before Christmas (lost the baby, but I’m mostly ok now) I suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum (extreme pregnancy sickness up to 50 times a day) which was exhausting, and I was trying to follow all the advice on keeping active but exercise was making the sickness worse, but then I stressed so much about the fact that I wasn’t exercising because that’s what the advice said.
    I think you’ve absolutely hit the nail on the head with “listen to your body” … as someone who likes to stay fit, I was horrified by the idea of not exercising but eventually due to the hyperemesis I ended up in hospital for ages because I just couldn’t get enough food or drink to stay in me, even with all the tablets they can give you for it. I agree that pregnant women do need to stay active if they can, and we shouldn’t beat ourselves up for having to stay still and get well when we’re tired or sick.

    1. First off, thank you for sharing your loss.

      Second, it is SO easy when you have never felt what it feels like to be pregnant to preach and swear that you will run marathons when you’re pregnant – but that’s SO not always the case. I am doing the best I can, and really maintaining my fitness well, but will I run a marathon anytime soon? Probably not. And I’m coming to terms with the fact that that is NOT a horrible thing, or doesn’t mean I will be an out-of-shape mom!

      1. I was convinced I was going to carry on as normal for the first six months!
        I laugh at myself now when I think about that.
        I’m sure even if you have to take it easier at the moment, that you’ll get it back once you’re not carrying an extra person around. 🙂

  2. I thought I would eat super healthy and work out a lot. I was exhausted and nauseous until halfway through month four. I was barely able to get through anything resembling a workout until a month ago, and my recovery (always slow) now takes most of the week. Fast food tasted good, and here we are. I’m embracing “what I can, when I can” and reminding myself that plenty of people live average and have healthy kids. Hopefully I’m not screwing this one up too badly!

  3. I was exhausted during my first trimester with both of my pregnancies. I think it’s because your body is working so hard on the development of all the vital organs of the baby. I continued running as usual, but found that I had to eat and sleep a TON! I had morning (no, all day) sickness with both babies but I assure you, the fatigue should let up as you enter the second trimester.

    I remember running a marathon a few years ago and chatting with a woman who said she found out she was pregnant and continued to put in a LOT of miles. I will never forget when she told me how she lost that baby sitting in a porta potty just minutes before starting a race.

    I don’t want to scare you, or anybody but I think it’s really important to not over do it during your first and second trimester.

    love and hugs 🙂

    1. Oh man, sad about that poor woman 😦

      The way I sort of have had it explained to me is that your body just dumps hormones and more hormones into you so the pregnancy will “stick” so to speak, leading to all of those fun symptoms. Some women get horrible symptoms, and some don’t. The exhaustion is RIDICULOUS!

  4. I really lucked out while pregnant and felt pretty darn great. Don’t hate me! 🙂 I was able to finish training for a half marathon and completed the race at 12 weeks along. I never felt exhaustion or anything, just nausea which I discovered went away while I was running. My OB did freak out when I told her how high my HR was while running (I would go to about 170 during steady state runs before being pregnant) and she made me super paranoid that I’d kill the baby if it went to high which was ridiculous as I wasn’t going super hard when I’d have a high heart rate. I think some people just have a higher HR than others. I ended up walking a ton of the half marathon I did even though I didn’t feel tired at all due to my HR. After that I ditched the HR monitor and just went by feel. On a scale of 1-10 I tried not to go about around 7 for a long period of time. I guarantee my HR went high during workouts and my baby was just fine! I even did a sprint triathlon at 24 weeks pregnant. Got some strange looks but mostly people being impressed. Keep up your workouts, it will make birth SO much easier and your recovery will be smoother.

    1. Yes, definitely keeping up with what feels good. As of right now, running doesn’t feel great to me – but weightlifting, the elliptical, and cycling feel really really good, and I’m still teaching, and plan to for the foreseeable future.

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