Moving through pregnancy- my story
Moving through Pregnancy- my story
While I was pregnant with my first child it quickly became apparent to me that my body was no longer mine in fact it became public property! Strangers would comment on my shape and offer advice around what I should or shouldn’t do, say, eat and some even strongly encouraged me to stop exercising telling me it was time to stop and look after the baby. Meanwhile I felt like I was being taken over by an alien who was sapping my energy and quickly changing my shape- while creating the perfect baby human.
I already had some great knowledge and qualifications in health and fitness but decided I needed more than YouTube for guidelines on pregnancy. I signed up for a pre and post natal course as well as attended as many different pre natal exercise classes as I could- Barre, Pilates, Yoga and even Pregibellies ™ (a specific program designed for pregnant ladies) I found that I gained benefit from each of these styles and sometimes just the moving made me feel good.
My goal was to keep fit and healthy making sure the baby was well taken care of and growing how she should be.
Coincidence or not I had a relatively smooth pregnancy only suffering through some restless legs at night and a dreadful ear infection.
Every pregnancy is different and women suffer from many issues each with their own challenge;
Nausea, pelvic instability, insomnia- often while caring for other children, managing work and other responsibilities.
Having said this I would also like to say that there is not a one style of activity will suit all pregnant women and the trick is finding what suits you. For me I found walking fantastic and would often pound the streets with my little dog and then when baby number two was on her way we included my toddler in the pram. I also practiced what felt like thousands of push ups, millions of squats and hundreds of dead lifts which helped me feel I was doing my best and most of the time I felt good.
I enrolled in my Yoga teaching training and not long after this discovered I was pregnant with my second baby. Along this journey I discovered some beneficial meditation practices and I cannot share enough with you the benefits I felt from a simple short practice each day particularly when my 18 month old toddler was asleep. I also attended a sound healing workshop and not sure if all of this chill out time resulted in a very calm, sleepy happy baby!
I don’t know if I was just lucky or not but I was able to exercise most days right up until the day before I gave birth. I felt strong, fit and healthy. So you could say I was fairly shocked when my healthy strong body didn’t have a magical labour and birth experience and I ended up with emergency caesareans for both of my babies. I’m not saying this wasn’t magical but my idea of perfect at the time was really challenged.
I recovered quite well from both pregnancies although my body didn’t zip back into shape before I left hospital as I first expected it would and I quickly learned to accept, enjoy and be patient.
Here are some of my tips which I practiced during my pregnancies;
Move every day- I did something every day even if it was a few yoga moves or a gentle walk to the shops. Some days I felt really tired but there is something about getting out in the fresh air and sunshine which makes us feel so much better.
Listen to your body- you are your best teacher so listen to what she is telling you. Of course your medical support team will advise sometimes what is best for you and your baby and you must listen but generally you know best. Do what you feel rather than what you think you should do.
Your tummy will (and should) grow- learn to love your bump and no amount of crunches will stop this so don’t go there. I found combining pelvic floor exercises with breath work was really effective for me as well as gentle activation of the belly muscles.
Meditate- find some time every day to sit or lay in stillness and listen to your breathing. I found this daily practice calming and enabled me to focus- particularly useful during labour.
Eat well – not for two! I usually eat a really balanced and healthy diet however during my pregnancies I was really mindful of the quality and quantity of food I ate and made sure I was well nourished rather than just full.
Rest- rest when you feel like it and sleep while you can! I don’t think you can store sleep credits for when the baby arrives but I reckon we should try! I would often have a rest in the afternoons for even 15 minutes which helped boost my energy levels.
This all worked for me during my pregnancies and while some of these tips might be useful for you it is important to listen to your doctor and be your own guide as well.