Well I have officially reached my third trimester, and just like that, are ever closer to meeting our little one! My due date is still set for August 12, so wish me luck during the hot Kentucky summer… We are busy setting up the nursery and getting everything ready for baby C’s arrival. Once the nursery is complete, I will make sure to do a post on here with lots of pictures!
In the meantime, I thought I would do a general health and wellness pregnancy update, sharing some things that have made it easier for me so far, and a bit about my fitness routine. I have been fortunate to have a very easy and low key pregnancy so far, and have been able to continue with most activities with no issue.
I have actually been taking prenatal vitamins since before I got pregnant. As soon as James and I decided the time was right for our family, I began switching over from a regular multi vitamin to a prenatal. I have switched back and forth between two different ones, the first being the Rainbow Light Prenatal, and the second the MegaFood Baby & Me 2. I like the formula of the MegaFood better, but found sometimes it could make my stomach a bit upset if I was already nauseous, so I would switch to the Rainbow Light formula during those times. Nausea hasn’t been an issue for me since about week 18, so for now I am still taking the MegaFood formula. There are two different formulas from that company- the Baby & Me, and the Baby & Me 2. The main difference is that the Baby & Me 2 does not contain their herbal blend. Not that there is anything wrong with the herbal blend (it is raspberry leaf, ginger, chamomile, and dandelion), but I already drink a fair amount of herbal tea daily that contain some of those ingredients, and didn’t want to risk over-ingesting any.
The second supplement I take daily is a prenatal DHA. I was already taking an omega supplement, but switched to the prenatal formula once I got pregnant. I personally like the one from Nordic Naturals, found here. It seems to always sit well with my stomach, and never left any fishy taste. I also try and eat as much fish as possible, but since we moved to Kentucky I find I don’t eat nearly as much as I did when we lived on the coast in North Carolina, or when we were in Seattle. Thankfully my parent shipped us a bunch of fresh Alaskan salmon to which I am incredibly grateful!
The final supplement that I take is a liquid Calcium-Magnesium. I would have never thought to incorporate this into my diet, but I had a few really bad leg cramps in my second trimester (which I had never gotten prior to being pregnant), and when I asked my midwife about them, she recommended taking a liquid calcium supplement. I have never felt like I was lacking in calcium in my diet, since we are a whole milk, yogurt, cheese, all things dairy household (I did used to work on a dairy farm…), but apparently the baby wanted it all for themselves. Since I started taking this daily, I can happily say I have not gotten a single cramp, despite maintaining a pretty vigorous workout schedule.
Since I was already quite active before conceiving (I ran my first full marathon only a few weeks before!) and my pregnancy is very low risk and has remained so, I have thankfully been able to keep up with my workout schedule with few modifications.
While I take multiple walks daily (I have two labradors- they would drive me crazy if I didn’t walk them!), the two main things I have been happy I have been able to continue are CrossFit and horseback riding. I am sure some out there will think I am crazy for doing either of those while pregnant, but both keep me 1) happy and sane 2) in shape and 3) were okayed by my medical professionals.
I don’t think pregnancy is the time to start up anything new strenuous physical activities, but neither of these activities were new for me. I have been horseback riding on and off since I was about 12 years old, and since moving to Kentucky took it up again in earnest. While mainstream medical practice will tell you that horseback riding is one of those “do not do while pregnant” activities, there is little to no evidence to support this claim. While yes, riding can be dangerous, so can driving a car, and to me the benefits far outweighed the risks. The only modifications I made were no jumping (so just walk, trot, canter), and no riding horses that were unknown to me. While I was (and will be post partum) in the market for a horse, I recognized that while I was pregnant was not the time to be riding multiple horses that I didn’t know. So far riding has continued to feel great physically, and actually feels like one of the better exercises for my hips and pelvis. I suppose if you have horse with a bouncy gait you may disagree, so I am thankful for warmbloods and comfy dressage saddles! It is also an activity that brings me great joy, and to me your mental state is important in pregnancy as well. Just a word to the wise, they don’t make maternity riding breeches. Thankfully some ladies at the tack shop gave me tips on how to alter exiting ones for the bump!
My midwife has had multiple patients that horseback rode throughout their pregnancy, and her main gripe with them was that she found horseback riders had very tight inner thigh muscles. Great for riding, but too tense for labor. She suggested I pick up prenatal yoga to loosen them up if I wanted to continue riding. I try and go about once a week to yoga, and have really enjoyed the classes at Baby Moon in Lexington, if there are any local mommies looking for recommendations. They also offer lots of birth prep classes.
My main source of exercise, pregnant or not, is CrossFit. While we were in North Carolina, I only occasionally worked out at affiliated gyms since the gym on base was so well equipped, and already set up like CrossFit gym (and free!). Once we moved to Kentucky, however, we joined a local affiliate. I am currently at CrossFit Maximus in Lexington, and have been very happy with their facilities, programming, and their instructors. On average I go about 3 days a week. The instructors have been really helpful when I need a modification, but so far I have not had to adjust too much. I am still doing all of the Olympic lifts, but have scaled some on weight. As my bump has gotten bigger, my bar path has had to change, so I found dropping back on weight some has prevented my form from completely going to $#*!. Almost everything else I have been able to do- running, lifting, jump rope, box jumps, etc. The few moves I can think of off the top of my head that I have modified are burpees (I use the parallette bars so I can still get the full range of movement without flopping down on my belly), and toes to bars (which now just look like the idea of toes to bars). We had a workout that called for rope climbs the other day, and instead of risking a fall, I modified for rope pull ups from the floor.
I have also found that I get more out of breath pregnant, and when I asked my midwife, she said it was due to the extra amount of blood my body was having to pump, and the uterus pushing on my diaphragm as it has gotten much larger. During very cardio focused workouts, I do try and scale back some, as I find I just can’t do quite as much, quite as heavy, or quite as fast as I used to.
While nothing has ever caused me pain during a workout (and I would stop if it did!), I have noticed on days where the workout called for lots of bouncy/jumpy movements, like running, jump rope, box jumps, burpees, etc., that later that night or the next day I would have a fair amount of round ligament fatigue. There are two round ligaments that help support your uterus, and the larger your baby gets, the more strain and pressure is placed on them. I think that doing those extra bouncy movements put more than normal pressure on them, but thankfully I have found some relief. Both my midwife and the OB at my clinic said it was ok to keep going with CrossFit, and the OB even suggested a belly band later in my pregnancy if I found I needed extra support. During my research into her suggestion, I came across other pregnant crossfitters who found that using KT tape to support their belly during workout to be very effective. Now, if I know a workout has a combination of those movements, I tape each side of my bump at the start of the ligament, and then pull the tape up to provide additional support. Since I started doing this, not only do I feel better during the workout, but have not had any of the round ligament fatigue and soreness after. If you are interested in different taping techniques for pregnancy, Diary of a Fit Mommy has a great post here. Overall, I have been fortunate that baby and I have remained very healthy, and have had the support of my husband and midwife in my continuance of these activities.
Pregnant or not, one of my favorite indulgences is a good massage. I have to confess I have been using pregnancy as an excuse to get lots of massages, but thankfully they are covered by our insurance plan, so I don’t feel that bad… I have been going to the Massage Center in Lexington, and getting a prenatal massage about once a month. They have been wonderful in helping to workout out any pregnancy or fitness related aches and pains I may have, so if you are ever looking for a gift to get a pregnant woman, I suggest a gift card for a massage.
I will make sure to do another update as the due date gets closer, but in the meantime, I’ll be sweating for two this summer.