I am happy to say that I am 17 weeks pregnant with a baby boy.
Yes, I am a pelvic health physical therapist, and yes, my mom is an OBGYN and I grew up at her office, as well as watching 25+ vaginal and surgical deliveries…. but NO…I wasn’t prepared for pregnancy. I will be honest in saying that I had this idea that I would exercise everyday and eat so healthy and it was going to be simple…..but, I was WRONG! Fatigue has been the symptom that has affected me the most. In my first trimester I had nausea and food aversions which affected my nutrition. I was basically eating cereal, pop tarts, peanut butter and bread.
Rule of thumb: exercise similarly to how you were exercising prior to pregnancy. The latest research says if you were exercising at higher intensity prior to getting pregnant you can continue to.* I use the talk test, basically if I can say a sentence while exercising, then I am good. I tell my clients to exercise daily during pregnancy but I was only been able to fit in about 3 days a week of planned exercise due to fatigue and not feeling great during my first trimester. So, do as say, not as a I do! I was asleep by 8pm daily and the weekends were spent napping and preparing for the following week.
However, my second trimester I have had oodles of energy. I am back at my normal exercise routine and feeling great! (Now if I could just stop eating chips… )
Luckily, Orange Theory has been great for me because it is a scheduled exercise class that includes cardiovascular training and strength training together in an hour. They have been great about giving me exercises that will keep me safe during my first and second trimester. The heart rate monitor allows me to make sure I am not going over 170 which was suggested by my provider.
My first trimester exercise regimen:
Orange Theory 2x/week
Elliptical or walking 2-3 x/week about 3 miles
Spin bike 1x/week
Strength training 2x/week
The benefits of exercise during pregnancy are huge. Yes, there were many days that I could not get myself off the couch to go exercise so I would look down at my dog and grab the leash and at least try to walk around the neighborhood.
What are the benefits of exercise during pregnancy? (ACOG)
Regular exercise during pregnancy benefits you and your fetus in these key ways:
- Reduces back pain
- Eases constipation
- May decrease your risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and cesarean delivery
- Promotes healthy weight gain during pregnancy
- Improves your overall general fitness and strengthens your heart and blood vessels
- Helps you to lose the baby weight after your baby is born
What are warning signs that I should stop exercising? (ACOG)
Stop exercising and call your obstetrician or other member of your health care team if you have any of these signs or symptoms:
- Bleeding from the vagina
- Feeling dizzy or faint
- Shortness of breath before starting exercise
- Chest pain
- Muscle weakness
- Calf pain or swelling
- Regular, painful contractions of the uterus
- Fluid leaking from the vagina
Stay tuned for more updates regarding my pregnancy journey on this blog and on Facebook (Functionize Health & Physical Therapy)
*If you are healthy and your pregnancy is normal, it is safe to continue or start most types of exercise, but you may need to make a few changes. Physical activity does not increase your risk of miscarriage, low birth weight, or early delivery. However, it is important to discuss exercise with your obstetrician or other member of your health care team during your early prenatal visits. If your health care professional gives you the OK to exercise, you can decide together on an exercise routine that fits your needs and is safe during pregnancy.