Exercising and Pregnancy: My Personal Experience

Calming Pregnancy YogaPregnancy? Exercise?? Yes, I know. Those are two words some people really don’t want to put together! Some women think that a plus about being pregnant is that they don’t have to worry about what they weigh, how skinny they look in the mirror, or about prepping their summer beach bods. BUT… Exercising during pregnancy , like any other time, is very important to you and your baby’s health.

Exercise and Pregnancy

ACOG Guidelines

Moderate Intensity exercise such as brisk walking, lightweight strength training, and swimming are all forms of fitness workouts that can be adopted by pregnant women who have no known complications or high risks. In the Guidelines of the American College of obstetrician and Gynecologists posted, it states benefits and recommendations such as exercise being a possible prevention and management method of gestational diabetes. ACOG explains that pregnant women should try to partake in 30 minutes of moderate exercise most or all days of the week just like any other person

NOW… In my personal experience with pregnancy and maintaining exercise habits, some normal pregnancy obstacles/symptoms were definitely a factor in my inability to do ANYTHING! Having previously been very active and health conscious, there were many things out of my control when it came to staying fit and getting those “30 minutes a day moderate exercise in!” Here is a breakdown by trimester…

1st trimester:

The first month into my first trimester I had not yet felt any changes, my exercise routine of running every other day, weight lifting (arms, legs, abs), yoga, and any extra curricular activity such as slow pitch softball, frisbee, or rough housing “what-have-you”, all stayed the same…Then it hit, sleeplessness due to late night heaving sessions every night, sickness all day, work, and bedtime at 6:30…REPEAT! I found it impossible to lift my fingers to type much less go for a jog. My exercising ceased for the last two months of my 1st trimester until the wonderful and energy filled second trimester came around.Summer Days

2nd trimester:

 

Oh, how I loved my life again! I finally had my energy back along with the cessation of those long nights of heaving. I was happy again! I started my exercise back up, but a little different. My body had already started to change and so jogging became somewhat uncomfortable and caused an awkward tightness in my stomach. I altered my cardio to brisk walking with occasional short bursts of running and cut down strength training from full body to just maintaining my arms. I found it easy to keep up the recommended 30 minutes a day (although being human, I slacked sometimes). Yoga was also very easy to get back into with my energy level back up.

App

RunKeeper App

3rd trimester:

I am now in the final month of my third trimester (woohoo)! I am very excited to bring my little lady into this world! My energy level is not at its peak but I am keeping up with walking, although the distance has shortened. The tight feeling is stronger now that she is growing so much, so I only do what I feel comfortable doing with my walks. I have found that swimming (especially since we are in the dead heat of summer) is extremely enjoyable! It takes all the weight off and allows me to continue for a longer period of time!

A very important fact is to make sure your energy intake is keeping up with your energy output from your exercising. This is not a time for weight loss, just maintenance of health! To keep up with my exercise I use the RunKeeper app that is absolutely amazing! I set a goal of 40 miles at the beginning of my pregnancy (before the onset of “morning/night sickness) to be completed by the end of my pregnancy! I am pumped to say I have completed over half so far!

Like always….Questions and Comments are MORE than welcome! Thanks!

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Caffeine and Pregnancy

Okay ladies, I am going to share one of my biggest struggles during pregnancy! I am not one addicted to soft drinks, or MUST have coffeechocolate every day but, as you can tell from one of my previous posts, I am ADDICTED to my coffee. There is nothing I miss more than waking up in the morning, sitting outside with a book or magazine, sipping on my freshly brewed coffee. But, trumping my love for calming coffee mornings is my love for knowing that I am doing everything possible to ensure the optimal health of my growing child!

So, what effects does caffeine, whether from coffee, soft drinks, or that yummy chocolate bar, have on a pregnant woman and her soon-to-be sweet baby? How much is okay?

There are many reasons to avoid sources of caffeine while pregnant. Caffeine is a major stimulant and can increase heart rate in the mother as well as the child. Grabbing that soda or cup of coffee to give yourself an extra boost also crosses over the placenta to your baby causing similar effects. Although, you may be able to handle it, your baby cannot. (I know I noticed a BIG change in movement in Marley after even two or three sips of my Diet Mt. Dew craving!) If you’re already having trouble sleeping at night or her sleeping pattern doesn’t match up with yours, this could potentially cause even further difficulties. I have also had problems with extreme heartburn after drinking just the slightest bit of coffee…another reason I avoid it! If you take what was explained in my previous post on coffee (and tea) and its effects on iron, that is another reason consumption should be lowered during pregnancy. It lowers the absorption rate of iron in the body and iron is extremely important to maintain during pregnancy.

My HappyThere are many studies testing the true effects of caffeine on pre-term labor and low birth weight. Some that I have read resulted in inconclusive readings yet some showed an increased risk of low birth weight babies in women who consumed high amounts of caffeine during their pregnancy. In my opinion, if it is questionable just lay off it for nine months! Better to be safe than sorry!

Obviously, caffeine is found in many products so complete avoidance poses a problem for many. March of Dimes, National Health Service, and the American Dietetics Association, have recommendations between 150-300 mg per day limit for pregnant women.

To give you an idea of the caffeine content of some of the more popular items, here is a list according to the Mayo Clinic research:

  • 8oz mug of Brewed Coffee has anywhere between 95-200 mg of caffeine
  • 8oz cup of tea, depending on the kind ranges from 5-70 mg of caffeine
  • 12 oz sodas can range from 0-55 mg of caffeine
  • Hershey Chocolate bar ranges from 5-30 mg (the darker the chocolate the higher the caffeine content due to less processing)

And lastly, the one that shocked me the most:

Energy Drink

 

 

 If you want to read more about the science behind there are TONS of peer reviewed research articles out there on the topic! Here is a snapshot of one of the more recent studies I read over!

Article

 Questions and comments are COMPLETELY welcome!