My Journey as a Pregnant Exerciser: First Trimester
Hello! I’m Jennifer, perinatal exercise specialist and founder of Fit for Expecting. Perinatal exercise is my career, but now I get to experience personally what my clients experience, since I’m pregnant with my first child. I’d like to share my journey with you, as I experience first-hand what it’s like to exercise during pregnancy.
Prior to becoming pregnant, my life and my career revolved around being active. Exercise has always been freeing for me…the only time during the day where my mind is completely clear. I would categorize my pre-pregnancy self as a high intensity exerciser. I enjoyed spinning, jogging, high intensity intervals…pretty much anything that would get my heart rate up and the sweat flowing. I would always push myself through tough workouts.
It’s safe to say that I know quite a bit about exercising during pregnancy. I know what’s safe and what’s not. But a funny thing happened right after I found out that I was pregnant – a little voice inside of me questioned whether it was okay to workout. I KNEW it was, but a voice was telling me otherwise. Honestly, I did not expect that to happen. I was surprised and still am that I had those thoughts. My solution at the time was to tone down the intensity of my workouts. I took long walks and did total body workouts with dumbbells, allowing myself to rest when I needed to, instead of pushing myself like I did before. For me, this solution proved to be a good one. It gave me the chance to sort of rediscover exercise in my new body. I slowly picked up my workouts until I came to an intensity and schedule that I could sustain.
Then, from about 7-11 weeks, the nausea hit. Fortunately, I never had any vomiting, but the nausea lasted all day and night. Instead of abandoning exercise altogether, I focused on walking. Walking outside in the fresh air truly does help relieve morning sickness. Even if I could only manage to walk around the block, I still walked. Something IS better than nothing.
Funny thing about pregnancy is that when one symptom goes, another one comes. So when the nausea subsided, the fatigue started getting pretty bad. I literally was tired all of the time. I knew that my body needed to rest, so I allowed myself to nap during the day when I could. Sleeping and eating healthfully were my top priorities, but exercise was still a part of my routine. At that time, I only had the energy for three workouts a week, so that’s what I did. This schedule continued until the end of my first trimester. It wasn’t as much as I was used to doing, but it was something and as I said before, something is better than nothing.
Lessons learned during my first trimester:
- Stay committed to exercise but be flexible in what that looks like
- Listen to your body and do what makes you feel good
- Never underestimate to power of a walk
- Trust that exercise improves the health of both you and your baby