I was so relieved when I learned that I could continue working out through my pregnancy. Prior to becoming pregnant I was an avid weight lifter. Working out was my sanity. I always had a new goal in mind, squat over 200lbs, do a chin up (or two!) and always grow that booty!
The first thing I asked my doctor was how I needed to modify my workouts. She advised me to listen to my body, and continue doing what I was already doing. I also did some research online and learned about Relaxin, the hormone that loosens ligaments to allow a woman’s pelvis to expand for the growth and passage of her little babe. This means that you have to be careful with weights and stretches, but like my doctor said, listen to your body! Some women have issues with their pelvis and symphysis pubis dysfunction from the start, and some have no issues at all. I personally started having some sacral-iliac pain at around 9 weeks. I don’t think this is any coincidence that it occurred around the same time I traveled across the country to announce my pregnancy to my family and as a result had to spend a lot of time sitting on airplanes.
When I returned home, I eased back into my workouts and my pain went away. I found the pain would return every time I slacked off, which was motivation for me to keep going. I didn’t have any trouble continuing to squat, deadlift and do other weight training until the week before I delivered. Of course by the end my weights had significantly decreased, but squatting an extra 35lbs of bodyweight made up for it! In fact the night before my water broke I did a full body workout and went for a 45 minute walk! I like to think this contributed to me going into labour, but no one will ever really know for sure. I think this also helped me maintain my stamina through labour, as I did 50+ flights of stairs that day in hopes of getting things going!
I strongly believe that my avid workout regimen and maintaining good posture and alignment helped Nugget be head down from 20 weeks and present occiput anterior (read:perfectly!) in labour. I credit a lot of my knowledge about working out in when I was pregnant to Lorraine Scapens of pregnancyexercise.co.nz. At 12 weeks pregnant I purchased her Fit2Birth and Birth2Fit Mum programs and learned so much from her videos about Diastasis Recti, pelvic floor health and dysfunction and how to best prepare my body for labour.
Later on in this blog I will share the workouts I followed in addition to the Fit2Birth program and strategies I used to prepare myself for labour. I will also share my labour story and how I now know that being able to move in labour is absolutely essential to a intervention free birth.