Training, Nutrition and Pregnancy
I first became pregnant in 2007. As soon as I discovered I was pregnant I began to change my lifestyle to be “healthy”.
I stopped drinking alcohol, changed my diet (began eating brown bread, and having breakfast in the morning…cereals like Weetabix)
for the first trimester I was desperately ill with morning sickness. Unfortunately Morning sickness cannot be prevented, scientist are not completely sure why we get morning sickness. They have concluded that due to it starting around the first 6 weeks it is due to the increase of HPV (pregnancy hormone) so there is not much you can do until this hormone balances out around the 2nd trimester. After my 8 weeks of torture my morning sickness settled I was back to normal, eating “healthy” again and I began walking to get my daily exercise!
As the months progressed I began to get all the normal pregnancy symptoms. Exhaustion, I was so tired I could literally sleep day and night. I had no energy at all; I was so moody because I was so tired. My iron levels were so low I was constantly on iron supplements throughout the pregnancy. Heart burn (acid reflux) was torture I lived on rennies for months. Finally the leg cramps they were unbearable, again scientist are unsure of the cause of leg cramps in pregnancy, they think it’s a lack of calcium. The leg cramps were Absolute torture at night, they would wake me up from my sleep and where unbearable, sometimes so bad I was crying from the pain!
The cravings I would sit and eat glasses of ice all day, But this is apparently associated with a deficiency in Iron.
My first son was born 10 days over 8lb 6oz with a few problems, I had an epidural and was in labour for a total of about 28 hours. The problems that occurred during labour led to him being in ICU for a few days. He was ok and home from hospital a week later!
In 2010 I was introduced to the ABS gym by Jay. He had started working there with Bryan and Ian. I read the Athletic Body System e-book and became interested in their training and nutrition ideas so began weight training in December 2010. I completely changed my lifestyle and 1 year later I was working as a trainer and training clients. In the same year I competed in Fitness Star Model search in Canada and NIFMA in Belfast where I won The Open bikini Championship.
In December 2012 I discovered I was pregnant. So the alcohol was gone out of my life again for the 40 weeks of pregnancy! My diet was good anyway so I did not have much to change regarding healthy eating. I rarely eat bread or pasta any gluten or wheat based foods as Gluten causes inflammation, and has other negative affects on the body.
I did suffer with morning sickness again from my 5th to 13th week. Once the sickness was gone I got back on track. I continued my training eliminating a few exercises like overhead pressing as my centre of gravity was off and felt unsafe. I also avoided lying flat on my back in the initial stages of pregnancy as it may interfere with the flow of blood and nutrients to the placenta. I did however continue deadlifting, squatting, step ups and various other exercises.
As my months progressed I noticed a big difference in both pregnancies. I was not tired at all in fact I actually felt more energetic! I had no heart burn at all, as for the leg cramps, not one…. Thank god! I had no cravings at all.
My second son was born in 2013. I was in labour for 2 hours, I had no epidural he was born with no problems 8lb 2oz and we left the hospital the next day!
Now I know everyone will automatically say “every pregnancy is different” but I have to say I completely disagree. I 100% believe that with the right nutrition and training all of these pregnancy problems can be avoided.
Allot of people assumed I would cease training straight away as I’m “not supposed to lift anything heavy while pregnant”. I have been training for 3 years seriously…. I’m pregnant; I have not suddenly become paralysed from the neck down!
There is the main concern that if we lift anything heavy it may cause problems some as serious as miscarrying. Over 60% of women miscarry in the first trimester and these are assumed to be genetic reasons and even that is not certain. Unfortunately there is not much that can be done to prevent it happening. Accidents typically do not cause a miscarriage. The baby is well protected in its amniotic sac, surrounded by fluid, and even a hard blow to the abdomen will likely only rock it. Most women who have a car accident, even with a certain amount of trauma, have their baby’s just fine.
(I was in 3 car accidents while pregnant… Not my fault!)
So I’m sure lifting a shopping bag is ok!
It was also assumed that I would start eating “normal” again. I’d have to eat a ham sandwich every day as it is essential for the growth of my child. As I mentioned earlier gluten causes inflammation. The effect in the gut causes intestinal cells to die prematurely and causes oxidation on those cells. This effect creates a leaky gut and a leaky gut can allow bacterial proteins and other toxic compounds to get in the blood stream, which can also lead to autoimmune attacks on the body.
So needless to say I avoided this just like I avoided alcohol and passive smoking
Now I did have some chocolate and ate rice and potato and of course meat, fish, chicken and veg, at no point did I under eat, In fact I put on 20kg when I was pregnant!
Although there are a few things to avoid when training, overall weight training is actually good for you. You risk Fewer problems during childbirth
Enhanced post natal recovery
Decrease in backaches
Enhance body image
Increase energy levels
Increase aerobic capacity
Better circulation of blood
Greater muscle strength and coordination, which helps with adjusting to increased bodyweight and changes in balance.
If you are considering training while pregnant you should seek the guidance of someone that knows what they are doing and can assist you with the correct technique and program to suit you.