Week 14: Finding my pregnancy zen
As the nausea and exhaustion of the first trimester very […]
As the nausea and exhaustion of the first trimester very slowly creep away, I’ve been feeling a little more like myself again. Of course those nuisances have been replaced by other fun little symptoms, like the aching hollow feeling I get in the pit of my stomach whenever my body decides it’s even the slightest bit hungry again. Even so, just as the pregnancy books promised, I do feel more energized and normal now that I’ve finally entered the second trimester. With that energy comes responsibility.
I’ve never been a natural fitness freak. I’ve always had to force myself to workout, but I will say that once I get into a routine and get a fitness rhythm going, I thoroughly enjoy it and the way it makes me feel. Well, now that I’ve been out of the fitness game for three-plus months, it’s been a little challenging to get myself back into that rhythm, especially with the unique challenges pregnancy brings to the table. I can’t help but feel totally out of shape and useless when a dozen squats is enough to make me stop for a water break. Nevertheless, pregnancy stamina and all, I’ve done my best to get back at it.
In an effort to stay consistent, I decided to give myself a goal of 30 minutes every day. It can be hiking up the trail behind my house with the dogs, some light weights and squats, or my favorite, yoga. It doesn’t matter, as long as I move every single day. Of course, on days where I feel really good, my little workouts last longer than 30 minutes, but I wanted to give myself a reasonable goal. After all, there are plenty of days where I much rather plop myself down on the couch and binge watch Netflix.
The doctors, the books, the smart phone apps, they all say that staying active during your pregnancy not only keeps you healthy, but better prepares your body for labor and postpartum recovery. Of course, this seems logical, so I have always took it to be true. It didn’t really hit me just how good it was for me to work out while pregnant until I actually started doing it. It was small things at first, like how I tend to have more energy overall if I work out, even if I’m a little exhausted immediately after, and I sleep much better after a day that included some healthy activity. One of the most interesting things I noticed was that on days where I came home from work and planted myself on the couch until bed, I actually felt more uncomfortable than on the days where I worked out, even just a little bit. I found that the standard aches and pains of pregnancy were much more present when I didn’t include some sort of fitness into my daily routine.
For those who aren’t fitness obsessed, it can be hard to get yourself back into that fitness routine, especially when pregnancy is, quite literally, weighing you down. I turned to prenatal yoga to get me back into the swing of a healthy lifestyle. I have done yoga on and off for years, and I’ve always loved it—not just for its fitness benefits, but for stress relief. When pure exhaustion and all-day nausea started to dissipate, I found some prenatal yoga videos on YouTube to ease me back in. I carefully chose an instructor of reputable knowledge and rolled out my mat on the living room floor. Let me just tell you, prenatal yoga is amazing. If you haven’t tried it, you should. It’s gentle, yet effective.
By adding prenatal yoga to my daily routine, my body feels so much better. As our babies grow, our bodies have to make room and thus, things are squished and out of place in there. Yoga can really help to stretch the body in a way that relieves some of those pregnancy aches and pains that come with the territory. It’s also a great way to gently tone your muscles and stay fit during pregnancy. I’ve also been told that the deep, long breathing techniques of yoga will come in handy during labor. I know I sound like a yoga spokesperson here, but I haven’t even told you the best part of yoga during pregnancy.
With a baby on the way, especially a first baby, your mind is racing 100 miles per hour. Stress is bound to wiggle its way in. Is the baby healthy? Will my labor be free of complications? Will I be a good mother? So on, and so on. Prenatal yoga can help with all that stress, too. When I’m on the mat, it doesn’t take long for the worry and the stress to just melt away. By the end of the session, even if it’s just 30 minutes, I feel calm and ready to conquer the rest of my pregnancy, labor and motherhood. That is, until the next stressful thing happens, but hey, I can always roll out my yoga mat again.