My fitness journey to motherhood...
I am a 40 year old, active fitness fanatic who was pregnant and delivered a beautiful baby girl on March 5th, 2015. I am sharing my journey for a few reasons. First, my age. Second, my level of activity during pregnancy. Additionally, how far into my pregnancy I continued my fitness classes and finally, my recovery after giving birth.
As a pregnant 40 year old, you are immediately branded high risk due to 'Advanced Maternal Age'. A three word label that you are constantly reminded of for 40 weeks. I never thought much about my age until at each appointment I was reminded about it and that I was not considered a 'normal' pregnancy. Hmmm, I thought. I will show them! In my mind, age is just a number.
I have always been healthy and due to a very flexible schedule, have been able to be extremely focused on my fitness/workouts. I was able to attend 2-3 different fitness classes a day. I vary my workouts to include Pilates reformer, Cycling class, Barre class, Pilates mat class and TRX class. They are each unique workouts, as are the various teachers I take classes from. I enjoy challenging my mind and body. I was not going to let my commitment to fitness change during pregnancy. I did not want to gain excessive weight, which I was very capable of doing. What's a few bites (or pints) of Ben & Jerry's here and there?!?
I felt relatively good my first trimester (weeks 1-13). I did have morning sickness, but would not consider it severe. I was able to put the morning sickness to rest with working out. I remember feeling very sick one morning, but getting over to the fitness studio for TRX. I told Sonja I was there with the intention of taking class, but may not be able to finish class. She understood, but encouraged me to do what I could, pace myself and stay the course. I managed to do all 3 and felt so much better after class. The sick feeling was gone and I had my energy back! I promised myself from this point on that I would take each day of working out one day at a time and listen to my body.
My body continued to allow me to take the classes I love and that challenge me. Of course there were days that I was tired and didn't feel 'well'. Luckily, the next day I would wake up feeling great and ready to go. I credit my overall fitness to how well my pregnancy went. I did not have high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, and other pregnancy related health issues.
When delivery time came along, it went very smoothly and it was fairly easy. The doctor commented that I did not have the body of a 40 year old and did better than most patients in their 20s. Because I trained for this major body stress up until the day before delivery, my body responded well to the challenge of birth and the recovery from birth. I was surprised how strong I felt, minus the soreness in my lady parts and internal plumbing stoppage associated with birth. I was in a barre class 8 days after giving birth. It felt great to move around and experience a new body awareness after not being pregnant. 8 days is too soon for most, but I felt strong enough to go to class and knew my limits. I did not push myself beyond what I thought was reasonable. As a result, I went to TRX the next day, then Pilates mat the next and slowly resumed physical activity. I feel great and can't believe I gave birth 3 weeks ago.
This is my unique journey. I encourage all pregnant women, women who are trying to conceive and women thinking about conceiving to stay active and keep moving. Your body knows its limits, it will appreciate the movement and activity even during pregnancy!