With all the information available, it can be overwhelming and difficult to know whats legitimate and what isn't when it comes to exercising during pregnancy. As a certified prenatal yoga teacher and a mother of three, I am hyperaware of exercise safety while pregnant. I stayed within safety guidelines in my first pregnancy but I was defiantly quite liberal, still doing as much as safely possible. Round two, pregnant with twins, I became much more conservative though I still pushed the limits with what was safe for a twin pregnancy. Are you sensing a theme? I like to physically push the boundaries. That being said, take it from a woman who did her last headstand at almost 37 weeks pregnant with twins, just days before delivering them.... if I say something isn't safe, IT'S NOT SAFE, don't do it.
Number one rule, above all else, even if the "guidelines" and your doctor both say something is safe, if it hurts or doesn't feel good, DON'T DO IT.
Each trimester will bring it's own unique challenges that may worsen, change or even subside as pregnancy progresses. In some ways the first trimester is the most delicate despite there being very minimal if any visible changes to the mother's body.
In traditional Ashtanga yoga, all asana (the physical practice/poses of yoga) is to be completely avoided in the first trimester. This is because the fetus needs that time to securely lodge itself in the uterus without any bouncing or moving about and all the mother's energy should be going towards developing a secure, nourishing womb as well as growing the baby's major body parts and organs. If that sounds good to you then I 100% respect that choice to abstain from yoga and other exercise during the first trimester. I personally believe that a complete avoidance is unnecessary for most women but the extreme fatigue that comes in the first trimester should be respected and if a woman doesn't feel up for exercising, she shouldn't push herself to do much.
First Trimester (Conception through 12 weeks):
Most exercises and movements are still totally OK for a mother to preform in the first trimester. The first obvious thing that almost all mothers will recognize and discontinue is laying on the stomach. Once she can feel a certain fullness of the enlarging uterus as it expands and moves up out of the pelvis (normally around week 12 but it can be earlier or later), she should stop preforming any activity that puts pressure on the abdomen.
Less obvious things that should be avoided are:
Second trimester (13-28 weeks):
The second trimester is normally when most mom's feel their best during pregnancy though for me this was only true in my twin pregnancy and I actually felt my best in the third trimester with my first baby. The energy that is drained in the first trimester returns as does the appetite and most women start to show a little. With that growing baby bump, mothers should be ware that her posture will start to subtly shift and there will be changes to her ability to balance. Blood vessels dilate and cause changes to to her blood pressure which can lead to light headedness or becoming dizzy when she stands too quickly.
Changes to her exercise routine include:
Third Trimester (28 weeks- Birth):
The third trimester is when exercise modifications become the most personalized to accommodate the unique needs of the mother. All of the guidelines from the previous trimesters should continue being followed and she should be paying extra close attention to the individual needs of her body and even feedback from baby!
Special considerations for the last trimester:
These guidelines are geared towards healthy, previously active mothers who are doing yoga and other bodyweight exercises during her pregnancy. Again, if anything feels "off" or hurts, please don't continue doing that exercise. Pregnancy is not the time to be pushing through the pain (except in labor!!!).
I was certified as a prenatal yoga teacher by Om Births, a prenatal yoga studio in the Boston area. They have hands down the best prenatal yoga and if you live in that area and are a pregnant mama, I highly recommend you attend some classes there. I am very knowledgeable about fitness and pregnancy, I have experienced two very healthy pregnancies and followed these guidelines but you should ALWAYS communicate with your doctor about the exercises you are doing during pregnancy.
I wish you all healthy, joyful pregnancies! It is an absolutely beautiful, magical time; not without it's aches and pains and stress but it is special none-the -less.
I got my glucose test results back. The office called and informed me that I had passed my test. Big sigh of relief although I eat very healthy, its just always nerve wracking and anything can happen in pregnancy. A few days later I went in for my 30 week check up and told my doctor about my nausea and migraines. He looked through my chart and noted that my blood glucose had come back really strange. I was suddenly upset that maybe the nurse had told me wrong and I hadn’t actually passed. He proceeded to tell me that technically I passed, but my blood sugar was extremely low.
My blood sugar was 31. To put this in perspective, with Sterling, my first son, my glucose test came back with a result of 88 and I was told my results were, “beautiful!” The low blood sugar was likely the cause of my migraines. He said, “If you think you have a headache, those babies aren’t growing because you’re not feeding them.” He told me that though I was not a diabetic patient, he want to treat me like one in that my diet should be primarily consisting of protein and fat.
Thankfully, my diet is already mostly fat and protein so I didn’t have do to a whole nutritional makeover. I just needed to eat more frequently and really push the calories to get myself and the babies gaining weight. I think in some ways that’s every pregnant woman’s fantasy; her doctor telling her to “gain more weight.”
Over the next few days I went to town eating as much as I could. It was a lot harder than I expected. I was incredibly nauseous and sick feeling . I felt like food just sat in my stomach and didn't digest. I was determined to eat a lot though, I was worried about my little baby A who was still measuring small. Baby A was falling behind more and more each week and after my recent blood sugar results, I felt incredibly guilty. It wasn't like I was purposely not eating or trying to prevent weight gain. I was trusting my body to tell me when I was hungry and eat at those times which is what I try to always do.
I felt like I was doing really well eating more consistently and larger amounts then I got the flu. At first, I thought it was just a bad day with the third trimester nausea but it just kept increasing as the day went on and was accompanied by and intense migraine. With my doctor's words echoing in my head, I tried to force down a high protein smoothie before laying down for a nap. I wanted to attempt to sleep off this awful headache. When I woke up it actually felt slightly better but soon returned.
By evening, it had increased in intensity so much that I grabbed a giant mixing bowl from the kitchen to have next to me as I sat in bed reading. I've only thrown up a handful of times in my entire life so I have a hard time telling how close I actually am to the real thing. I didn't trust myself to be able to make it to the bathroom if I suddenly thought I was actually going to throw up.
Good thing I decided to take it because I did end up throwing up into that bowl in bed and I filled it to the brim. I felt pretty traumatized by that experience but my stomach felt so much better after that I was actually relieved. I know most people say that you feel better after throwing up but I normally just don't care. I'm so scared of throwing up that I would rather feel super sick than experience puking.
I threw up two more times at home within the next few hours and although I was drinking warm water between episodes to try and stay hydrated, I didn't know when it was going to stop and I was scared of getting dehydrated. I'd already been in labor and delivery with preterm labor contractions just six weeks ago due to dehydration. I called my OB and told him the situation and he told me to go in to triage and he would order me a few bags of fluids to make sure I stayed hydrated and healthy.
To my horror, I violently threw up again in triage right as the two nurses walked in to take my vitals. I spent about five hours getting two bags of fluid and nausea meds before being discharged and sent home. So much for trying to gain weight. I barely ate at all in the days following this awful night with the flu.
I feel awful.
That really sums up my week unfortunately. I feel like all the pregnancy symptoms decided to hit me all at once. I mean, they do say, “when it rains, it pours…” What symptoms am I talking about? Nausea, fatigue and migraines pretty much every single day.
I also finally got it together and went in for my gestational diabetes test. I botched the attempt last week because I didn’t give myself enough time to fast between when I started fasting until when the lab closed. I talked to my doctor about how I was going to do the test at my last appointment. I initially wanted to use honey as my 50 grams of sugar. It makes perfect sense to me that it would work out using honey. It’s a completely pure source of sugar with nothing else. It was my ideal way of making this test a little more natural.
My OB didn’t really love that idea… he gave me two options: drink the orange drink that is provided by his office or eat jellybeans. Neither of those two options eliminates the food dyes or artificial flavors that I was trying to avoid, but if given the option between a nasty sugary drink or jellybeans (which I was never fond of even as a kid), I’ll take the semi-enjoyable route with the candy.
I called my brother; king of fast food, candy, soft drinks and all things unhealthy and asked him if I could have some jellybeans. He came right over with a big bag to loan me a little handful. I had to look at the nutrition label and do that math on how many beans would equal 50 grams of sugar. Takes me back to my college nutrition lab days when I had to do these calculations! I decided the most accurate way to determine how much I would need, would be to weigh them on my food scale. The amount of jellybeans that made 50 grams of sugar was something like 1/3 cup or so.
I fasted overnight, which is the preferred way of doing the test according to my doctor. When I woke up in the morning I ate the premeasured jellybeans and headed to the lab to have my blood drawn exactly one hour after consuming the jellybeans. Starting my day off with 50 grams of sugar and nothing else in my stomach made me feel awful. I thought I might puke before I even got to the lab!
I know its just coincidence, but ever since that test, I haven’t been able to shake the nausea and its extreme nausea. I have had zero appetite and the nausea doesn’t stop. It’s accompanied by a headache that starts out as an ache then quickly becomes this paralyzing, brain freeze on the side of my head. Normally, it seizes one side of my head/face at a time but its so intense that I feel like my eye and face are going to start twitching from the pain.
I got these cluster headaches/migraines with my last pregnancy also. It is my least favorite part about pregnancy. I never get headaches outside of pregnancy and pregnancy is the only time I’ve ever had migraines. I definitely have a newfound sympathy and compassion for people who live with them chronically.
I also seem to have caught the first trimester fatigue again now that I’m in the third! This past week I’ve suddenly just been absolutely exhausted. I’m sleeping good hours of rest at night and taking a nap during the day when Sterling naps but its just not enough. I was feeling pretty good during my second trimester and all of this came out of nowhere so suddenly!
No bump pictures this week, I felt so awful I was just trying to survive. I know it sounds lame but I just had nothing left and setting up my camera for two quick photos was just too much. THATS how bad I have felt all week.
I got my first hint of a stretch mark right at 28 weeks. I was crossing my fingers that I could avoid getting any stretch marks again this pregnancy. I had my doubts because this time I have two babies in my belly, but I was hopeful because I didn’t get any last time.
I noticed them in the mirror after a shower and they were super faint. I had to strain to try and see what was going on under there in the mirror. There’s no way I can see the underside of my belly at this point so the mirror was the only option I had and that was difficult. I was still crossing my fingers that maybe it was just a few broken blood vessels or something.
Last week I’d looked at some pictures from my previous pregnancy and was comparing belly size. I was pretty sure that my belly was indeed bigger now than it was at delivery (almost 41 weeks) last time but its hard to tell in pictures sometimes. Now that I’ve confirmed these are indeed the dreaded stretch marks, I am positive that my belly is bigger now than it has ever been before.
I’m bummed at this new development but I’m letting it go. It’s only a superficial problem and there are much bigger things to be concerned about. It was a nice thought to think I could maybe make it out of this pregnancy mar free, but I’m not going to loose sleep over it. The pic below is the day I noticed it and yes, I agree they don't look bad at all yet. However, remember that I still have 8-10 weeks of pregnancy left!!!
Twin Mom, Yogi, and Health Nut!