28 Mar 2012
What Motivated Me Throughout My Pregnancy?
Today is March 26th; my mother's birthday and also known as my Due Date. For a week now, I have been having painful contractions but they eventually stop. Trying to remain calm and patient at a time when my entire life is about to change, I am still staying active, although I have noticed a difference even in the past two weeks as to what exercises work best for me at this point. Rumor has it that being active could help induce labor; whether or not this is true, as I have worked out throughout my pregnancy, I do not see a reason to stop on D-Day and beyond, as long as I feel up for it.
People have asked me along the way: how did I stay motivated to keep working out and remain so active? It's time for me to answer that here on Baby Bump Fit Tips. So here are the TOP 5 things that kept me motivated and moving, and will do the same for you if you commit to them!
Tip #1: Energy Energy Energy!!!
I remember during my first trimester feeling tired and nauseous…a LOT! There were definitely mornings where spending an extra hour in bed felt preferable to a morning run, especially in the August heat. But I quickly noticed that, on the days when I ran or exercised, I actually had more energy. Sure, I still hit the "wall" every day at 2pm, when I would sit at my desk at work, forcing my eyes to stay open. This for me was especially challenging since I had decided to forgo my afternoon cup of joe. But the few hours after working out, I generally felt better.
During my second trimester, when I was suffering from unbearable insomnia, the exercise also helped me get through the day. For some reason my insomnia was better during the third trimester (probably because I was just more exhausted) but I would find myself again resisting the urge to fall asleep at my desk. Working out felt like the only way I would get more energy.
And, let's not forget about the adrenaline rush. I always feel so much better after a good workout.
Tip #2: Work Out Buddies and Trainers You Love
Advice: Find some!
Whether you choose to participate in strictly prenatal exercise classes, or continue to go to your pre-pregnancy classes, I cannot tell you how much having people "root for you" helps. I received so much motivation from my fellow warriors at Kira Stokes' Stoked 360 class on Monday nights as well as Stoked at the Barre on Thursday mornings. When you find workout buddies, you also start feeling "accountable"; I knew people in these group classes started to expect me there, which also motivated me to keep attending the class. It also helped having a trainer that I trusted and motivated me throughout my pregnancy; I found that with Kira.
Towards the end of my pregnancy, I started to go to a prenatal yoga class with Mary Barnes at Pure Yoga West. Mary is a fantastic instructor, who not only gets you moving throughout the practice, but also incorporates very helpful labor techniques. In the beginning of each class, we introduced ourselves, told everyone our due date, our doctor, and where we were delivering. Going week after week is a good way to get to know others who are going through a similar experience. You start wanting to see them each week. It is also fun to see someone say they are due in a few days and then go the next week and they are not there. I went last Saturday, two days before my due date. Let's see if I am there next Saturday!
Yes, Mary and Kira teach in New York and many of you are not in the New York area. But I am sure you could find your Mary and Kira where you live and a supportive group to go with them!
Tip #3: Body Image
Admit it. As much as we all know that gaining weight while pregnant is inevitable and very important, after a lifetime of watching the numbers on the scale, accepting their gradual (or sometimes drastic) incline is not an easy thing. For me, I was more forgiving on my food intake than my exercise regiment. While I did not sit around eating barrels of ice cream, throughout my pregnancy I have craved more "fattening" foods such as peanut butter and heavy doses of dairy rather than leafy vegetables. I accepted that my baby needs those nutrients provided by these heavier foods, and did not deprive myself.
Exercise was a much easier- and healthier- way for me to maintain some level of control over my weight gain and changing body. I also believe that, exercising while pregnant, helps moms transition back to their pre-pregnancy form.
Tip #4: The Health of My Baby
In my very first BBFT posting titled How To Figure Out the Right Workout Intensity During Your Pregnancy, I referenced a New York Times article from April 2011. The article discussed a study which concluded that babies who were born to mothers who worked out during their pregnancy were born with healthier hearts than those who were born to mothers that did not exercise. Not only that, but the study said that the healthiest hearts belonged to infants whose mothers exercised the most.
People talk about playing music to their baby in the womb. We know that babies recognize their mother and usually father's voices when they first enter the world, as they have grown accustomed to hearing them on a daily basis. And I have learned that babies who were exposed to certain foods in utero develop positive associations with those tastes once out of the womb. Based on all this information, it is not unreasonable to assume that babies who are exposed to workout out in the womb may be more inclined to adapt these behavors once they enter the real world.
Tip #5: The Quest of an (easier?) Labor!
No pain no gain. There is definitely truth in that when it comes to exercise. While exercise does provide the adrenaline high that i know I crave, there are times when the pain of that extra mile or that extra repetition feels, well, unbearable.
Here's hoping that the tolerance I have gained through pushing myself in exercise will translate into labor. No, i am not comparing anything I experience in the gym to childbirth, but I am cautiously optimistic that the ability to build tolerance during a workout and to "push" myself will guide me when I go into labor.
I have also spoken to friends of mine who worked out throughout their pregnancy. They swear that their exercise regiment helped them continue through the hours of pushing and labor. And countless trainers I have spoken with emphasize the importance of "pushing" with your abdominal muscles throughout labor and this is a big emphasis in many prenatal yoga classes.
But will it help me on D-Day? I will definitely report back to you.
I would love to hear what has motivated you to exercise throughout your pregnancy.
Leave me a comment. Who knows, I might be reading them with my little one right next to me. Thank you for having accompanied me on this amazing journey. I can't wait for the next stage of it to begin...
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