I always imagined that I’d be this kick-ass fit mom, who wore short denim shorts and ran til 6 months pregnant. I always imagined that I’d carry neatly at the front, would wiz through pregnancy and wouldn’t dare even think of things like stretch marks.
This sounds arrogant now but it was merely my worldview. I have always been fit, so seeing other young moms keeping their bodies in shape through pregnancy seemed the most likely option for me too.
That was until I actually fell pregnant (You can read all about our journey to falling preggers here). There are magazines, series and gossip sessions that tell you so much about pregnancy but, like much of life, there is nothing quite like the actual THING.
It’s as if one day everything is about you and the very next, the only thing that matters is this life within you. In a flash, everything changes, and SO much of it is outside of your control.
This is a short series (3 posts) on my story. How I have managed to stay fit, but how different this looked to what I imagined & then some tips on how we, as preggie moms to be, can learn to listen to our bodies & keep moving til our bub arrives!
Just this morning, a lady stopped me at gym and said how lucky I was to be carrying so ‘neatly’. To which I responded with a resounding, “I know. Thank you. But yes – it really is ‘just luck’.” You see prior to pregnancy, I thought I’d get to call the shots – where I put on weight, what exercise I continue doing, etc, but the truth is that your bub will tell you. And it’s beautiful, and scary and out of your control but worth every bit of listening.
My first trimester was a muddle of emotion, gradual weight gain and lots of feeling ‘bleh’. At our very first scan (6 weeks), my gynea made the call that it would be wise to stop running immediately in fear that we may lose our bub. So just like that, my plans of 6 months in my running shoes went out the window. I am fortunate to enjoy other exercise too though, so I quickly took up swimming (at that stage 3 times a week), and continued gyming too. Your first trimester is hard though – you don’t feel great, you bloat, you are tired (constantly) and there is this innate fear that you may lose your baby, so all-in-all – exercise continued for me at least 4 days a week, but definitely nothing like it had looked before falling preggers.
Nearing the end of my 1st Trimester – we chartered a catamaran in the Seychelles for 2 weeks and this was the perfect break for me to rest, recuperate and to embrace the beautiful ocean & get my body moving. We swam and snorkelled for hours each day, and even hired bikes one day and did a full day cycle around a gorgeous island. I felt great, and loved that my nausea was gradually subsiding.
Tips for staying fit during Trimester 1
Don’t do anything new
This was one of the best pieces of advice I was given but in saying that – don’t let it limit you. Do what comes naturally for you – but in the same breathe, don’t deny your body the moving it deserves. Get out more – a walk is not ‘new’ for your body 🙂
Listen to your body
This is one of the hardest lessons to learn, especially in your 1st tri, as you are not yet showing and can’t feel your baby move, but none-the-less…your body will speak. Listen!!
I often found myself swimming a quick 10 lengths of the pool, and then breathing deeply and trying to discern what my body wanted for today. There were days (still are) when that was enough and others when I could push on to a kilometer or 2. Your body is designed to carry this life & God is doing what only He can to develop this bub, but don’t deny your discernment a voice. You are this beautiful little life’s mom & you WILL know best!! Also remember that each of our journeys is MEANT to look different – choose to deny comparison a voice & to rather embrace this beautiful journey.
While staying fit through pregnancy is amazing, rest is equally, if not more, important. Prioritize sleep and get those feet up. If, like us, you are keeping your bub’s arrival a secret (apart from your besties & fam) for the first 3 months, then use this rest time to really connect with your bub. It’s strange not telling people that you’re pregnant as you feel, at times, that you are denying her/his existence – so make time to connect with your baby. It can’t hear anything just yet but chat away…this little life is about to take over your world 🙂
Habits can be delightful OR evil
Remember that while listening to your body, you are also creating habits that are likely to stick for the remainder of your pregnancy. If you’re not dreadfully morning sick, then try to prioritize at least 3 days exercise a week – even a short walk around the block will do. Trust me, you will be so grateful when your next trimester arrives that you have established a positive exercise habit already.
You are beautiful
I’m not going to sugarcoat it; first trimester is not your sexiest one. You feel ‘hung-over’ most of the day, and the bloating is not for the faint hearted. Exercise is one way to encourage the production of happy hormones, as well as giving you extra energy which is very welcome in Tri 1.
One final insight
I have had so many people ask me, while preggers, how I have coped with no running. I’ll make a little comment on this per trimester (blogpost) but for Tri 1, I must say that I missed it plenty. I didn’t feel pregnant apart from the nausea so running would have ‘likely’ been okay, but in saying that – I didn’t break the rule once…and looking back now, I am so glad I stuck to my conviction. More on this to come…
Now, I’d LOVE LOVE LOVE to hear your thoughts or tips for staying fit in Trimester 1…