Catalyst 4 Fitness

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Exercise and Pregnancy – Jen B

One of many examples that exercise and pregnancy can be congruent.

Tell us about yourself. I am 32 years old and I have been married to my husband Chris for 10 years. I worked for 10 years at Mercy Hospital Anderson as a labor and delivery nurse and for the past 2 years I have been working at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center in an OB clinic with the indigent population. I grew up in a family where eating healthy and exercise were considered important, yet I have never stuck with a particular exercise routine over the years.

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What exercise routine are you currently following? Currently, I do Boot Camp one day a week, Metabolic Explosion Training class one day a week and either the treadmill or elliptical 2-3 days a week.

You are pregnant right now. Is this your first? If not, how many children do you have? What are their ages? I have 2 children. My daughter Jillian is 7 and my son Logan is 4.

Did you exercise when you were pregnant before? I did not exercise during my other pregnancies. Unless you count busy 12 hour night shifts as exercise, which I don’t. 🙂 I also can’t provide any reasonable excuses as to why I didn’t exercise with my previous pregnancies.

Why are you choosing to exercise now? I’m choosing to exercise during this pregnancy because I felt I was in a good routine prior to getting pregnant and hope to stay in a routine until (and especially AFTER) baby arrives. My other main reason for exercising in pregnancy is in preparation for labor and delivery. You wouldn’t expect anyone to run a race without some conditioning first, and the laboring process is no different! I chose to not take any pain medication or an epidural with my last delivery and it was by far my best delivery of the 2 and I hope to go natural with this baby as well. I also remember taking care of a lot of patients after their epidurals wore off. It was common to hear them say “I feel like I got run over by a truck!” Often, that has little to do with the epidural itself, but rather, people forget that just because you lose sensation (feelings of your labor progressing), it doesn’t mean your body isn’t still experiencing them. Being physically fit will allow for more strength and stamina during the marathon of labor, regardless of my method of pain control. Of course, I’m also hoping to lose the pregnancy weight a little faster!!! I also enjoy seeing people’s reactions when they try to help me because “you’re pregnant,” and I tell them “I got this, I’m still doing Boot Camp!”

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What are your goals? In the short-term, just to get through each day. It sounds way too simple, but, trust me, the reality is that our bodies and minds can be so easily overwhelmed (hormones!) For sanity’s sake, it’s really important that I stay focused on the present- “Did I get my work out done today? Yes!” Doesn’t it feel good to be able to answer ONE question in the positive, one question that happens to be taking care of ME, when everything else seems so demanding, and (more to the point) about everyone else?! I can beat myself up about feeding the kids chicken nuggets 4 nights in a row, not getting all the laundry folded, forgetting to sign a field trip permission slip, and/or putting the remote in the fridge while I was grabbing milk (and then forgetting about it.) Each day, I can feel good that I got all sweaty and endorphinized!

On a scale of 1 – 10 with 1 being easy and 10 being hard, how hard has this been for you? I would say the first trimester was about a 7. It felt like enduring an overlong Reds game in mid-July. My nausea and exhaustion with this pregnancy was much worse than with my others. Now that I’m well into my second trimester, I would rate the difficulty about a 3 or 4 depending on the day and of course the exercises Sharon has planned for that day. I’ve started to notice I’m getting short of breath much quicker, but I pay attention to my body and slow down or modify if needed. I can definitely tell how much more energized I feel when I work out, as opposed to when I veg on the couch and I prefer feeling more energized!

What advice do you have for other women who are pregnant or who are considering starting a family? Take it one day at a time. There will be days of ups and downs, but try to get some type of exercise in most days of the week. Also, don’t beat yourself up if you miss a few days or even a week, there is always tomorrow or next week to look forward to feeling better. Remember, your little one is dependent on your health and well-being!

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