During the year leading up to pregnancy, I worked really hard to get into the best shape of my life.
We were not sure exactly when we would start trying to get pregnant, but ever the planner, I wanted to make sure I was as healthy as possible to set myself up for a healthy pregnancy and set our baby up for healthy growth. This consisted of lifting a lot and more weight than I ever had, as well as running, and working on my core strength. I was convinced that all of this hard work would ensure a breezy pregnancy and quick recovery to better care for our baby.
For the first twelve weeks of my pregnancy I was able to mostly maintain my normal level of activity.
I was running about 16 miles per week and lifting five or six days per week, with longer rests between sets. I had eliminated any exercise requiring jumping, such as box jumps, burpees, and jump rope.
At the end of my twelfth week I received a call from my doctor’s office informing me that I had placenta previa. Much of my research indicates that this is typically a non-issue until the end of the second trimester or the third trimester; however, my doctor’s office advised me not to run, swim, lift anything over ten pounds, or generally “exert” myself. This was a complete 180 from my activity level until that point, but I knew I could overcome this obstacle.
Here are three things I did under such limitations:
- Walking – I made sure to walk at least four times per week. This is typically where I would catch up on phone calls. If anyone asked to go for a walk my answer was always yes. I was able to maintain through walking the same mileage I had been running. Some days I would take to the elliptical on the lowest setting and get in a little exercise that way.
- Body weight exercises – Though I was advised not to lift more than the weight of a vacuum, I would do circuits at home involving simply my body. This included squats, push-ups, tricep dips, and bridges. I may not have been throwing around weight, but I was keeping my muscle memory in check.
- Eat healthy – I am not going to lie, eating pre-pregnancy healthy once I became pregnant was difficult for me. I had a lot of food aversions and I was so exhausted all the time that cooking was the last thing I was motivated to do. I still did my best to eat well, not only for the baby, but also in the hopes that it would lift my energy levels. Sometime around week 16 I regained some of my energy, lost some of my food aversions, and was able to prepare meals ahead of time again. The idea here was simply to be as healthy as possible for baby and me so that once he is born I can recover quickly enough to give him the best care possible.
At week 19 I went in for my mid-pregnancy ultrasound followed by a visit with my OB.
This doctor (I go to a group practice) told us that many of the precautions taken for placenta previa detected early are unnecessary. He informed us that there is no science to back the claim that any of those activities have a negative or positive impact on the placenta or the fetus when placenta previa is present that early. He lifted my restrictions with the condition that I listen to my body and stop activity if anything feels uncomfortable or off.
Though I was disappointed to have taken over six weeks off from my usual activity due to overly cautious policies, I am happy to know that our baby is still healthy and thriving. Despite pregnancy not turning out to be the rainbows and unicorns I had anticipated, I did not let obstacles derail my goal of being my healthiest self for baby and me.
Our baby is safe, and I have maintained my health. I could not ask for more!
Kristen Durnan is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Nutrition Specialist. She maintains a weekly blog about the progression of her healthy pregnancy and works as a trainer, mostly with online clients. She is also author of the ebook, Lean Body: The Four Month Workout Plan To Your Healthiest Body.
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