Tag Archives: pregnant

Tips, running throughout your pregnancy.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  Running throughout your WHOLE pregnancy can be done.  Here are some learned pointers that ended up helping me along the way…
Please bear in mind, these worked for me!  It doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll work for everyone.
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1) First and foremost, BEFORE you become pregnant be able to carry out the exercise routine you wish to perform WHILE you are pregnant.  If you want to run three miles every day from conception to birth, you should be able to run three miles every day before the sperm meets the egg!

Pregnancy, in a sense, makes you feel more out of shape then you really are.
Look at it this way:

Being in shape x pregnancy (feel out of shape) = hard

Being out of shape x pregnancy (feel out of shape) = 2x as hard

Planning to combat being out of shape and pregnancy at the same time is not safe for you or your baby AND would blow a$$!  Think about it…As your growing BABY puts all these new, crazy strains on your body, YOU also plan on putting crazy strains on your body via new work out regiment? Girl, you cray!

2) Don’t take too many days off in a row.  When your pregnant your body is changing rapidly (although it may not seem like it, pregnancy is a quick change for the human body.  Hence, stretch marks) on a DAILY basis, you need to adapt your ‘active body’ right along with it.

Say you take a week off and in that week you also gain 5lbs.  After your 7 days of rest you go out for a jog.  Not only has your belly grown, but you’ve also gained weight- both of which will change your gait and put extra strain on your muscles and joints.  It probably won’t kill your running game but it will definitely leave you sore in places you didn’t realize existed.

I never went more than two days in a row without doing some form of a workout.

3) Listen to your body.  Remember it’s no longer just about you. Walk if your body is screaming at you to slow down.  Quit if your body is screaming at you to stop.  You are not trying to win any medals or get that six pack you always wanted (ha).  You are trying to stay active because of the numerous benefits it brings to you and your babes not only throughout your pregnancy but also your labor and your health post labor!

There were days when I was tired. So. Dang. Gone. Tired.  I would tell myself, “Just do one mile.” Sometimes I would get started and only do that one mile, other times I would get cruising, start feeling good and end up doing five.

4) Pregnancy is not a free pass to eat anything and everything you want.  I’m not here to formulate a diet plan for you, but just be smart.  Most Americans with access to an Internet (you) know the basics to healthy eating habits.  If you really are clueless, google it. Google knows everything.

You have so called cravings, you say?  Cravings are, to be brutally honest, bullshit.  Craving pickles?  You need more salt.  Craving sweets? You need more protein.  Craving meat?  You need more fat and protein.

I’m a decent eater. Sweets and beer (that was obviously not an issue) are my biggest vices. Sweets go to my belly and beers go to my ass– if I don’t practice moderation.  I’ve attempted to cut sweets out of my diet but that always leads to a Baskin Robbins 3 scoop sundae with caramel, marshmallow, hot fudge, cookie dough chunks, and whip cream on top, hold the cherry, please, at the end of my sweet-less week.  Decidedly so, I do better allowing myself one small treat a day!

5) Cross train!  I’m not writing this blog to promote running and running alone.  Before I became pregnant I was playing in a soccer league twice a week, lifting once a week and running in between. Once I became pregnant I could no longer play soccer but I lifted until the day I gave birth. Like literally, the day I went into labor I ran 3.5 miles and got a good lift in. When you’re pregnant it is SO beneficial to be STRONG.

6) Set goals. Sign up for races.  If you don’t you may burn out or give up.

My “long” runs while I was pregnant were 5-6.5 miles. I promised my husband I wouldn’t run further than 6.5, except for one run during the 7th month, in which I would jog 7, one during the 8th month in which I would jog 8 and lastly one run during the 9th month in which I would jog 9!

7) Call me Captain Obvious, but bring a dang cell phone.  Whether you are 5 weeks pregnant or 35 weeks pregnant, anything can happen at anytime regardless of what you’re doing.

Along with emergencies, cell phones are great to GPS your runs (I use the Map My Run app) and to document your progress along the way.

8) Record your mileage!  Take photos of your routes, belly included! Even now when I am running and pushing my 5 month old son in the Bob I get to tell him, “You know, you’ve actually been here lots of times previously. But last time you were here, you were in my tummy.” Or “We ran over a 1,000 miles together, Thatcher Bishop.”

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Labor and Post Birth Tid-Bits

So,
After running on average 6 days/week (accumulating close to 35 miles/week) and lifting 2-3 days/week throughout my pregnancy, what was the result?

My labor was text book.  My water broke at 5:30 PM on Oct 26, 2013 (37 weeks, 6 days). I started contracting 30 minutes later. When I got to the hospital I was 2-3 cm dilated (“take that!” to the nurse who told me I had probably just peed my pants because I was only 37 weeks) I had an epidural at 5 cm.  No pitocin.  Pushing was more painful than exhausting.  I pushed on pretty much every friggin contraction. And no, I was not one of the lucky ones who only pushed 3 times.  My son was born at 6:35 AM.  Thirty minutes later I walked from labor and delivery to our hospital room.  The nurse told my husband it was one of the smoothest labors she’s seen.  Whether or not she tells everyone that, we’ll never know but I like to believe my husband and I, as a team, did a damn good job (He was such an amazing support.)

Daddy
Daddy
My pre-pregnancy weight was 155. When I delivered I weighed 171. That’s a 16lb weight gain.

My baby boy weighed 7lbs, was 20 inches long and was/is as healthy as can be.

Thatcher Bishop
Thatcher Bishop
I chose to breastfeed and had very few issues.  The beginning WAS a learning experience for me and my baby boy.  Though I would say we crossed the beginner to intermediate to advanced thresholds quickly.  My supply was never an issue.  Some scrutinize that exercising decreases supply– they cray.  In my experience this is absolutely false. When I was pumping I get 5-6 oz…out of each boobie!

My pelvic floor is as strong as ever! I do not leak and do not have to sprint to the bathroom unexpectedly.  A lot of my friends told me my bathroom habits would never be the same after birth, especially SINCE I was running so much.  Not true.  I believe running (and especially lifting) helped STRENGTHEN my pelvic floor.  Lets be honest here, during runs in the later months you’re basically doing one long Kegel exercise the entire duration!

I went on my first post pregnancy run 7 days postpartum. Did it hurt?  No.  Feel a little funny?  Yes.

I ran 6.5 miles 2 weeks postpartum and also started developing iStroll workouts.

After my first long-ish run post partum
After my first long-ish run postpartum
I was down to my pre-pregnancy weight the same day I went on my first run,  7 days postpartum.  A week later I weighed 7 lbs less, which is pretty much where I have stayed- 143-148.

Throughout my pregnancy I never got “swollen”.  Water weight was never ever an issue. My wedding bands always fit and I never once got sausage toes or ankles! That idea is still so foreign to me.

My resting heart rate while I was pregnant was always around 58. My blood pressure was always in the 115-110 over 70 range.

8 months!
8 months!
I never purchased maternity pants. Most (some were too high waisted) of my jeans would button beneath my bump.

& Lastly, 5 months later I still feel great!

Update: 1.5 years later and with the development of iStroll I’m in the best shape ever and do not doubt that I could do it all again! 

  

Third Trimester Running

“So close, yet so far” was my third trimester mantra.

big ol belly awaiting pancakes
big ol belly after destroying pancakes

The last three months were inevitably the toughest.  It was around this time that I realized my belly growth, the amount of energy I had, and the quality of my runs ebbed and flowed in 2-3 week cycles. I would have a super, super shitty week; dragged ass throughout the day and was simply tiiired on my runs.  Like could have finished running, laid on the road and fallen into a deep sleep. The next week or so I would feel great, but my belly would be bigger!  My near and dear friend and (at the time) pregnant running partner Megyn, experienced the same cycle.  I’m positive it correlates with baby growth spurts.  Your body is using up all your energy one week to manufacture your little one inside of you and the next week, your baby and belly has clearly grown. Tune into your body- your energy, your weight and your belly growth and see if you encounter the same thing.  I imagine you don’t have to run while you’re pregnant to experience this ebb and flow and exercising just accentuates it.

The bigger I got, the longer my post run recovery time lengthened. After a long run I would be mildly sore and tired for a few hours. Usually sitting down and relaxing and having a big, healthy meal did the trick.

The WORST part of running (or even walking for that matter ) during the third trimester was having to pee ALL the time.  With every damn stride, I had to pee!  I would be running and feel like I had the world’s worst UTI and could stop and stand still and no longer feel like I had to go.  I FEARED going on walks or runs without knowing where the nearest restroom was.  The ‘having to pee 24/7’ urge hit me at 29 weeks pregnant.  I remember it plain as day because I practically peed my pants on a popular boardwalk in NY.  I was visiting family in Long Beach and while out for a jog had to dive into a squat behind a bench because I started peeing my pants OUT OF NO WHERE.  One minute I would be fine and the next I felt the ‘crossing my legs, holding my crotch, bouncing up and down, waiting in the bathroom line’ urge to pee- the absolute worse!

I tried everything to subdue the peeing urge.  I tried not drinking water before my early AM runs.  I made sure I peed 45893274985 times before walking out the door.  I tried holding it because “maybe its psychological.” (It’s not!).  I even caved, went against my intuition and tried a belly band.  None of it worked.

A couple things that DID help were accepting it and planning routes with bathrooms, whether it was a port a potty, gas station or restaurant, I made sure there was a place to stop, drop and pee  on my route!  On some 5 mile runs, I would stop 5 times.  No joke- the WORST (my poor running partner too!). Next was cutting out coffee before I ran. The caffeine in coffee has a strong diuretic affect and the caffeine itself stimulates our little bladders making the urge to have to go, even worse!

Hubby and me after the Wormsloe 10k
Hubby and me after the Wormsloe 10k

Since I mentioned it, I’ll touch on the belly band.  A belly band never seemed like a good idea to me.  First and foremost, god created women to carry babies.  We 100% capable of doing so.  The moment you introduce a crutch, aka a belly support band, you are making yourself dependent on the crutch.  As your belly and baby grow, your body will adapt and strengthen itself in the places that need strengthening.  The moment you introduce a support band is the moment your body will stop fully adapting in the ways it needs to adapt because it has an external support.

So after that rant, why did it I try it? I tried EVERYTHING to help with the peeing issue, but the belly band too did not help. On top of not relieving my urge to pee with every. single. step, it chaffed me and was hot! I did not like it, not one bit.

Our dog did nine too!
Our dog did nine too!

My 3rd trimester miles, notice I did cut back towards the end… sort of.

28 weeks Aug 20, 7 Aug 21, 5 +lift Aug 22, 5.5 Aug 23, 6 Aug 24, 4.5 + lift Aug 25 off Aug 26, 5
29 weeks Aug 27, 7 Aug 28, 5.5 Aug 29, 6 Aug 30, 5 Aug 31, 5 Sept 1, off Sept 2, 5.5 Sept 3, 6.5
30 weeks Sept 4, 5.5 Sept 5, 3.5–lift Sept 6, 5 Sept 7, 5.5 Sept 8, off Sept 9, 4 + lift Sept 10, 6.5
31 weeks Sept 11, off Sept 12,  5 Sept 13, 6 Sept 14, 5 Sept 15, off Sept 16, 5.5 Sept 17, 5.5 
32 weeks Sept 18, 4 Sept 19, 6 Sept 20, 3.5 Sept 21, 8 Sept 22, off Sept 23, 5 Sept 24, 3.5 + lift
33 weeks Sept 25, 6 Sept 26, 5.5 Sept 27, 4.5 Sept 28, off Sept 29, 5.5 Sept 30, 6 Oct 1, 4 + lift
34 weeks Oct 2, 5 Oct 3, 4 Oct 4, 6 Oct 5, 5.5 Oct 6, off Oct 7, 5.5 Oct 8, 5.5
35 weeks Oct 9, 6 Oct 10, 5.5 Oct 11, off Oct 12, 4 Oct 13, off Oct 14, 6 Oct 15, 4 + lift
36 weeks Oct 16, 5 Oct 17, 3.5 Oct 19, 9 Oct 20, off Oct 21, 5.5 Oct 22, off
37 weeks Oct 23, 5.5 Oct 24, 6 Oct 25, 7 Oct 26, 3.5 + lift Oct 27, gave birth at 6:35AM

Getting started, First Trimester Running

One of my biggest regrets as I begin this blog is that I did not start tracking my mileage until the 2nd trimester.  Thus, I don’t have numbers to share reflecting my first trimester runs, but I do have a good recollection of my experience.

For starters, I have to throw this out there- I didn’t have a lick of morning sickness.  Toss it up to good luck, good genes, healthy eating habits or working out daily (I have heard working out helps with morning sickness!).  I didn’t get sick– not once.   With that, I cannot, at all, compare my experience to the mama’s out there who are strung over the toilet, spewing out their guts multiple times a day in the first, and sometimes second and third, trimester.

6 weeks pregnant
6 weeks pregnant

So I got lucky and dodged morning sickness, but I sure as hell felt tired; literally could have slept All. Day. Every. Day. Fatigue was definitely my biggest pregnancy-symptom-culprit, second being the drastic decline in my running pace.

(Side note: I did also get some weird skin tag on my neck and a freckly face!)

To put it into perspective, the week before I got pregnant I ran a half marathon.  Around 4 weeks after baby boy’s conception before I knew I was pregnant, I THOUGHT I had hit a weird running wall.  My average training pace on a, say 4 mile run, went from 7:00:00-7:15:00 mile to 9:00:00-9:30:00/mile.  Low and behold, I was not somehow regressing, I was just preggers!

When I found out I was pregnant I was 6 weeks along.  I quickly dove into any information (There’s some, but not enough!) I could find on running/exercising while pregnant.  One of the first things I looked into was  why I was dragging ass on my runs…

Broken down into a very simple summary, this is what I found:
When you become pregnant your body’s hormones change to support your growing belly and the little baby inside.  One of these hormonal changes causes an increase in blood PLASMA (Note plasma, not cells).  So the volume of the fluid that your red blood cells float around in increases, but (very generally speaking) the number of cells in the fluid remains the same.  One of the main jobs of a red blood cells is to transport oxygen to muscles.

Got all that? So- When you exercise (use your muscles at a greater rate and with more force) your muscles need more oxygen.  But now that you’re pregnant your heart has to pump quicker and you have to breathe harder to push oxygen (attached to all the cells) to your muscles through your extra blood plasma (fluid).  All in all, exercising DOES become more difficult and in a sense you DO regress; you’re having to breathe harder to get more oxygen than before and your heart has to pump quicker to get the same amount of oxygen to your muscles as it was prior to pregnancy.

Confusing right? Let me draw you a picture.

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Pumping heart to get O2 to muscles. Left- not pregnant; Right- pregnant
Besides fatigue, my symptoms were minimal. I had mild round ligament in pain in my pelvis and groin-ish area that often felt worse after a run. I’ve read journals and googled to the days end and haven’t found any research on running while pregnant and the affects on the ligaments supporting your belly. I truly believe running strengthened every muscle, ligament, tendon and joint that partook in carrying my unborn son. My scientific two cents is that if the ligaments supporting your belly are like everything else in your body, they’ll adapt to keep up with your daily activity. I held baby boy super high and super tight (My belly didn’t “pop” until 8 months.) so I assure you my ligaments were nice and strong– perhaps due to running every day.

During the first trimester definitely don’t over consume. Your babes is still the size of a tube of lipstick therefore when you gain 10 lbs in the first three months, you can’t blame it on your new addition! Yes you’re working out and yes you’re pregnant so you DO need more calories than the average shmo. BUT we’re not talking a banana split after breakfast lunch and dinner. Be mindful. Be smart.

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Remember, he’s the size of your Chapstick tube!
If you can over come first trimester fatigue as well as the blow to your running ego, you should be able to keep chugging right along to the second trimester- the most pleasant time frame of your pregnancy!