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Family Fitness: Working out during pregnancy

Posted by Bert on 10/17/2013 to Family Fitness
All the way back in January I wrote about working out during your first trimester. I asked the question, can you exercise during your first trimester? The unanimous answer from everything I read was yes, you can exercise during your first trimester and you should fitness,pregnancy,exercise still keep up a workout habit even after you see that positive pregnancy sign. I'm going to level with you...this is far easier said than done!

About a month ago I found out that I was expecting. It happened faster than I thought it would so I was a little surprised but not completely unprepared. I maintained my same workout regime of cross-training and running through weeks four and five. Then the dreaded six weeks mark came and all of those nasty pregnancy symptoms kicked themselves into high gear. I was nauseous 95% of the time and the only thing that helped me was eating. I was also exhausted. This happened during my second pregnancy with my daughter; I only had one child and he still napped at the time so for the most part I was able to get in an hour and a half nap every day. Now that same oldest child that used to nap is long past the trusty reliable nap phase during my second pregnancy. I'm exhausted and I just feel like I cannot make up for any sleep loss that I have.

All of those things being said, I've been able to workout since hitting the six week mark every other day. Most days it takes every ounce of energy inside of me to just get up and make lunch for the kids so when I tell you that I have to force myself to workout I'm not exaggerating. The doctor that I'm seeing specializes in exercise during pregnancy so when I went to my appointment this past Monday I had a whole slew of questions for her about how I was feeling.

Why does it feel like I can't catch my breath when I try to run? Am I just that out of shape all of a sudden? The answer is no, I'm not out of shape. Your body produces progesterone during pregnancy and that hormone is the cause in the first trimester for feeling short of breath. It aids in your lungs expanding so that more oxygen can inhabit them, however, it also makes you feel like you're in a state of warm-up that you cannot get out of when you're working out.

I don't have a baby bump so why can't I work out the way I used to? The culprit of this and something I didn't think about is how prone your body is to injury now that I'm pregnant. Sure I don't have a baby bump that's getting in the way, however, the joints in my body are loosening. Relaxin is the culprit for this pesky side effect. Sure it's perfect when you're in labor and delivery, it's job is to loosen the cervix and pelvis so that you can meet your baby on the outside world. Unfortunately, it also loosens other joints in your body which is why you're now more prone to injury than you were before.

My doctor's advice for me was to continue working out but to understand that I have to adjust and modify my workouts now. I probably won't be able to go out and run four miles at the pace I could eight weeks ago. If I want to run for long distances I need to slow my pace down and I need to be okay with that.

The key to working out during pregnancy I've learned now that I'm pregnant is to continue doing it and be open to change your routine. Have you worked out consistently during your pregnancy? If so, what were your favorite workouts?