Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Pregnancy + Fitness = HUGE Payoff

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I'll admit, 6 years ago, when my wonderful son, Caleb, made me a mother, I had the stereotypical pregnancy. You know, the one where you eat EVERYTHING in sight, gain monstrous weight, and chalk it up to "you're only pregnant once!"

Then 6 months later, to my shock and horror, I was pregnant again. Still holding onto the 35 lbs I had gained (minus the 7 lbs. 10.5 oz Caleb helped me shed at delivery), sleep deprived, unmotivated and downright depressed. I only gained 17 lbs with Lily, only because I was SO sick during that pregnancy and battling postpartum depression in a bad way. It took me over 2 years after Lily to finally lose all the weight. Let's just say, that sucked.

I was sure I would never have more kids when my ex husband and I split. I was somewhat jaded with how everything worked out, and as much as I adore babies, I was convinced that would be it for me.
Then I married Jerrod. Unlike everything I had told myself regarding guys wanting kids, to my surprise, he was thrilled at the idea of having a baby. After weighing it out, we decided it would be best to have a baby while the kids were still young, instead of having the baby grow up without siblings somewhat close in age.
I had been training for years at this point, down to my maintenance weight, and I'll be honest in saying that I was a bit petrified at the idea of ballooning up years after having my perfect work-out routine.
During my pregnancy, people constantly asked how I was managing to stay so small, and especially after I had her I have gotten the question: "How did you bounce back so fast?!?" while their eyes pan down to my stomach... Well, there is no secret here: hard work, watching my calories, and research! There's no other way around it, I wanted to be prepared as soon as possible to make sure I'd be making sound/healthy choices for me and the baby.
While I was dying resting during the awful weeks of morning sickness and trying to reserve my lost energy for sewing for my store, I dug into my plan.
I immediately bought the book, "How to Exercise when you're pregnant," by Lindsay Brin. She goes over your caloric intake goals for your height/weight, workout plans (if you aren't already established with a routine), exercises to avoid, exercises to do throughout as well as exercises by trimester. She even offers menu ideas, which came in handy! I highly recommend this book if you're interested in getting sound advice from a trained professional! This book became my workout bible. And no one is paying me to say that, so that should speak volumes!
A bit of a breakdown:
I was extremely sick weeks 6-11, so I took that time to do cardio (which surprisingly helped! After I would step off the treadmill/elliptical I was usually guaranteed a couple hours of relief. I know, I don't get it either.)
The rest of my first trimester I was able to return to my normal workout routine, with a few alterations (nothing major.) I did monitor my heart rate to make sure I wasn't overdoing it, and doubled the water breaks I would normally take.
In the second trimester, I tried to avoid laying on my back doing weight training as much as possible. Other than that, I basically did the same work out as before, including running several miles a week.
In the third trimester, especially towards the end, I really monitored how vigorously I worked out. I used the elliptical or walked hills on the treadmill instead of running, and I avoided any legs exercises that over exerted my pelvic bones. When my round ligament pain acted up, I did yoga. I listened to my body and didn't try to test it. The night I went into labor, I walked 2 miles on the treadmill, so I literally worked out until the very bitter end.
18 Weeks^
24 Weeks^
28 Weeks ^
My maternity photos: 35 Weeks^
35 Weeks ^
And finally some post partum photos! Although I did have Everly 3 weeks early, I had all 3 of my kids at 37 weeks. I don't want my early delivery to dissuade people from working out during pregnancy, as that is just how long my body is able to hold a pregnancy. Her early delivery, as well as her NICU stay had absolutely nothing to do with my work out routine.
She was in the NICU for 8 (terrible!) days due to having a little stubborn fluid in her lungs. Between coming home empty handed from the hospital (except the HUGE hospital grade breastpump I was given in lieu of my precious girl), round the clock pumping and 3 hospital visits during the day for what they called "touch time" (when I got to change her diaper or watch her get a spongebath outside of her isolette), I literally didn't even notice the crazy tummy shrinking going on. Before I knew it, we were bringing her home and everyone we encountered would say "You did NOT just have a baby!"
I'll take that one to the bank, anyday.
So this is me at 36 weeks pregnant wearing the same outfit as me at 3 weeks postpartum.
There is so much to be said about healthy nutrition, a sensible work out plan and will power during pregnancy. I was far from perfect during my pregnancy, but being open to maintaining self control and moderation with indulging truly made all the difference. I only gained 14 lbs, my doctor was in full support and I was able to lose all the weight within a week of delivery, without dieting or exercising. I am dying to get back to my gym routine, but until then, I'm enjoying all this newborn goodness!

Here are some of my key tips:
1. Talk to your doctor before you decide to get active or for help on gauging calories. I'm definitely not an expert, and your doctor will be able to give you a personalized game plan!
2. Be realistic. If you've never worked out, start super slow! Now is not the time to decide to overhaul your body.
3. Indulge! Don't be obsessed with the scale, enjoy your pregnancy, but keep perspective.
4. Listen to your body, if you're hurting, stop. There's no use in injuring yourself when you'll need to be in your best condition come labor time!
5. Exercise the abdominal floor. EVERYDAY. It will save you so much effort during delivery, AND help you bounce back way faster!
6. Post pregnancy wrap: Put it on as SOON as you can after the baby, it seems archaic and primitive, but it really works. My wrap help me shrink in DAYS. You will thank me later, I promise. (EDITED TO ADD: I got TONS of emails about this:
I got my wrap at Babies R Us (I think it was their store brand). I'm pretty sure any wrap that wraps around you will work, so long as it long enough to compress your entire uterus. I've heard there are pros and cons to all of them, and I used mine religiously the first 8 days, then when I slept for another week after that. That's it. So I wouldn't recommend spending a ton on it. I loved how everyday it got bigger and bigger on me.
7. Breastfeed! The baby is literally eating my calories daily, it's pretty much amazing. Your body is made to breastfeed for more than meeting the baby's diet and bonding needs, it actually sends a hormone through YOUR body that contracts your uterus to encourage it to get back to normal size. (Thank you, Creator!)

I will be adding my work out routines for you to use as a reference, or adopt if you feel so inclined, so keep an eye out for those. If you have any questions, feel free to comment!

EDITED: November 19, 2014
I've written a blog post about my weightloss/gym-life journey, which you can read here!


  1. What an informative and exciting post. I will be sharing this with a friend who is expecting. I'm happy for you!

  2. Thank you so much for this. I do not have children yet, but am super scared for my body. This post was very down to earth and informational!! There's hope ;) Thanks again

    1. I'm glad to help! I was so overwhelmed at the idea that after working so hard to get my body back after 2 kids I was going to lose it again. I'm glad to say with a little work and being mindful of what I was eating that is so not the case! Good luck to you!!

  3. yay! so glad I found this blog! I have a 10 month old son and am expecting a girl in July!! I was put on bedrest with my first pregnancy and gained a TON! I thankfully lost most of it before I got pregnant again, and haven't gained much with this pregnancy! You look incredible! I have high hopes that after this child, i'll get back to pre baby weight! Can't wait to follow your blog!

    1. That is so awesome, welcome! I will start posting some easy lunch/dinner ideas as I make them, I eat exactly how I did while pregnant right now as maintenance, so I'm sure I can give you some new creative ideas!

  4. I'm SO happy I found this post. I'm 5 weeks preggo, and yesterday my family doctor (who has never had a child as he's a man) told me that I couldn't work out...only walking allowed (for no good reason...I was working out hard before I got pregnant!) I think I'm going to keep up what I was doing, for the first two trimesters, with some modifications if I get too tired. I refuse to let myself go and use pregnancy as an excuse to become a blob. I know I definitely can't lose weight during this time, but I want to keep weight gain to a minimum. Thanks for sharing your story - it gave me a lot of clarification and hope!

  5. Hello! How do I get to your blog to see your workout schedule? Thank you!

  6. Hi! Curious, did you ever post your workout routines? I'd love to see what you did. I'm looking for some help! Thanks!

  7. I'm hoping you still check the comments :)

  8. Hello! I was wondering if you could share your pregnancy workout out regime? I'm having a hard time finding it on your blog. I would greatly appreciate it if you would share! (So would baby AND husband, lol!)

  9. It's been good to see your blog when I always look for such type of blogs. Thanks for your sharing. I have been really impressed by going through this awesome info. Recently i have read a very good online review about Fast Weight Loss Program. I hope that it will equally help you people in loosing weight.

  10. Your story is very encouraging. I used to be in great shape and then had 3 babies in 5 years. I didn't lose any weight after the last baby and I am now pregnant again. There's more to it than that but I am 15 weeks and have been back in the gym for 3 weeks. I'm just walking and strength training. I would love to find some motivational experiences from women who've begun exercising during pregnancy and what benefits they noticed throughout and after delivery. If you could point me to any that'd be great!

  11. Your story is very encouraging. I used to be in great shape and then had 3 babies in 5 years. I didn't lose any weight after the last baby and I am now pregnant again. There's more to it than that but I am 15 weeks and have been back in the gym for 3 weeks. I'm just walking and strength training. I would love to find some motivational experiences from women who've begun exercising during pregnancy and what benefits they noticed throughout and after delivery. If you could point me to any that'd be great!

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  15. And it was, until about 5 years ago. In 2007, my mother was diagnosed with brain cancer and turned my life upside down. I quickly lost interest in many of my normal activities including fitness. Eser Fitness