I’ve been active my entire life. I did gymnastics and rode horses as a small child, played soccer, volleyball and ran track as an adolescent and young adult, and started dancing competitively in my 30’s.
Right up until I got pregnant, I was dancing about 10 hours per week and running an/or lifting weights 1-2 times per week. I also played soccer on the weekends.
After doing a bit of internet research and speaking to my OB and nurse, I really had no concerns about training during pregnancy except for any activities that involved contact. The only thing I stopped doing was playing soccer to avoid the risk of getting hit. I continued dancing and running hills, mowing lawns, and playing occasional sports such as volleyball, tennis, I even did the Warrior Dash when I was 16 weeks pregnant.
Throughout my pregnancy, I felt that I knew my body well enough to adjust my activity level as I went along based on how I was feeling. My bottom line, if anything hurt or became abnormally uncomfortable, I wouldn’t do it. My cardio fitness went first, I felt short of breath often during aerobic exercise.
By the time I got to about 6 months pregnant, I could no longer run. It was too uncomfortable and sometimes painful with the pressure of my growing belly. I could still dance and lift weights and walk, so I did as much as I could comfortably do. I walked everyday and lifted light weights a few times per week. I never worked with a fitness professional, I just did my own thing. My main goal was to keep my weight gain to the recommended amount and keep my energy and fitness level up. I continued doing all of these things right up until the birth of my son. In fact, during the final week of my pregnancy, I was trudging through the deep snow for 2 hours per day, trying to encourage labor to start.
I had a tough labor and delivery, I truly feel that if I was not in good physical shape, my birth story would have had a different ending. My fitness level and core strength were huge factors in the birth of my son. My physical fitness gave me confidence in myself and enabled me to keep a positive attitude throughout my long and challenging labor and birth.
I attribute the speed of my post partum recovery partially to the level of fitness I maintained throughout my pregnancy. I used the same principals for going back to training. I listened to my body and only did what felt right. Being able to exercise again was a big relief for me. I followed the general rule which is to wait until your 6 week check-up at the doctor. All went well, and I was cleared to exercise again. I began walking daily 1 week post partum, started running and dancing 6 weeks post partum and doing CrossFit classes 12 weeks post partum. I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight/size after 5 months.
Most people around me were very encouraging and positive about my activity level. Sometimes I felt like I was not cautious enough because many of my friends felt that they were putting their babies at risk if they exercised. My husband was very encouraging as well,. He supported me throughout the entire process. One of my role models is my mom, she told me to do whatever I was doing before I was pregnant. She rode her horse when she was pregnant with her 3 daughters. She’s a free spirit, to say the least.