Saturday, December 15, 2012
Confessions of a Pregnant Woman: Running While Pregnant
Writer's Note: I felt the need to write this post to reach out to other pregnant mothers and those who are TTC and let them know pregnancy does not always go as planned. Also, I have really enjoyed reading other blogs and their experiences throughout pregnancy so I plan on documenting a few of mine throughout this pregnancy. It is reassuring knowing you are not the only one going through certain situations and kind of fun to read what other pregnant women are experiencing. So here it goes...
I remember when Andrew and I first started TTC (Trying to Conceive... just trying to help you all get caught up with the lingo if you are not already up to date with it! ;) ) I always imagined myself being pregnant. It was so exciting to imagine how this entire pregnancy would go (yes there were rainbows and unicorns in my daydreams as well). I pictured a smooth and easy pregnancy, eating healthy the ENTIRE time, only gaining the appropriate weight in my belly, oh, and running marathons! Yes, that's right. I planned on keeping up with my training (they say that you can stay in the same fitness state you were in before you were pregnant and it should be perfectly fine for the baby). I read article after article about pregnant women who ran marathons and/or kept up their running during pregnancy. I was so inspired and I just knew I would be THAT pregnant woman--healthy, fit and running marathons. In my perfect pregnant fantasy world, pregnancy was going to be a breeze and I was going to glow. After hearing all the horror stories about raging hormones and morning sickness from friends and reading about them on blogs, I remember telling Andrew I would never be like that. I would have the ideal pregnancy, and he would enjoy being around me 24/7. HA! Now that I am 17 week into this pregnancy, the reality of it all is that you don't have control over how your body will react. The way you imagined it would be doesn't always go as planned. I guess that is the body's way of preparing the mother to be flexible and ready for anything.
When we found out I was pregnant, this plan was still in full effect. One week in, I had to completely alter my plan. There was absolutely no way I could muster up the energy to get outside and run, nor did I have the time to. I was working a full-time unpaid internship teaching, working part-time for my dad in the afternoons, 2-3 times a week I had Junior League obligations in the evenings and on Wednesday nights bible study. Not to forget, I felt like I had been run over by a car and nauseous 24-7. I felt like a walking zombie and was lucky if I could manage to get two runs in a week (which only happened on weekends). Some weeks I couldn't even run once because of other weekend commitments and lack of motivation and energy. Anyone who knows me knows that is not my normal self. Before being pregnant I would have considered it a bad week if I didn't get a minimum of 5 runs during the week. The weird thing was, I was perfectly okay with not running that much during my first trimester. With all the other horror stories I heard about miscarriages during the first trimester and the link to overworking the body made the lack of interest in running alright for me.
Eating healthy pretty much went out of the window too. All I wanted was red meat and carbs... oh LOTS of carbs. I have pretty much been eating whatever I want and not really caring about it.
About a week ago I was sitting with my friend, Julie, at the movies waiting for the movie to start and she asked me "Doesn't it feel weird running while pregnant?" Without hesitation I responded "No, not really. It just feels like I have a few extra pounds I'm carrying." The weird thing is, if she asked me that exact question less than a week later today, I would reply, "It ABSOLUTELY feels weird!". I am not sure what changed within this past week but I do know something has. Maybe Riley has grown quite a bit, maybe its the fact that I have run more this week than I did in the last five weeks combined.
Let me break it down for you...
First of all, my shirts are getting a lot more "snug" and almost not covering my belly. I only have about three running shirts left that are long enough to make me feel comfortable enough to run outside and not have to worry about my bouncing belly showing. Insecurity while running is definitely not a fun feeling. I am still at this awkward point in my pregnancy where I just look chubby and not quite pregnant yet. I know in the next few weeks it will change, but I would like for that to happen sooner than later. My snug shirt shows my growing belly extended a little past my shorts and it is definitely not a motivating factor to go out and run in public and show it off.
The newest feeling I have experienced while running is Riley doing summersaults the entire time I am running. (I am not really sure if she is actually doing summersaults, but I can tell she is very active while I run.) I hope that she gets used to the bouncing rhythm and it will put her to sleep. (Wishful thinking I know). I am sure I will feel her more and more as she grows, so I suppose I better get used to the feeling.
Did I mention I am already feeling her pushing on my bladder? I am 17 weeks and this girl sits right on it. From the second I leave the house I feel like I have to go to the bathroom BAD! I have made sure to go to the bathroom right before I leave the house to reassure myself that I do not actually have to go and that its just Riley pushing on my bladder. The feeling does not let up the ENTIRE run. Talk about uncomfortable.
The most important thing is that I listen to my body and not over do it. I want to reassure you all that I am doing just that. Now that I am finished with my internship and into my second trimester, I have a lot more time to take care of my health and have a lot more energy. I have a feeling that I wont be able to keep running throughout the entire pregnancy, but I plan to try to run as long as Riley will let me. I never feel like I am putting her in danger while running and have been given the "okay" by my doctor to do so. I am just running three miles at a time and do not plan to increase the distance at all during this pregnancy.
My hope is that my desire to keep running while pregnant will not only pay off for my health, but Riley's health and future, too. You know the only reason I run is so she will be an olympic runner one day right?