I feel compelled to write something after reading Presley’s post this weekend and Ashley’s subsequent follow-up. Read both of theirs too to understand what prompted this post from me 🙂 You’re also getting a “twofer” from me today! Shocker. If you missed it, I posed my 20 week pregnancy update and gender revel this morning 🙂
As I have said over the last 4 months one of my biggest goals this pregnancy, besides grow a healthy baby, is to maintain a Fit Pregnancy. I was really lucky to be able to work out with Emmalyne until the day I delivered and hope to do the same this time around.
There are so many benefits to exercising during pregnancy that are important (source):
- Increase your mood and energy
- Helps reduce constipation, back pain, bloating, and swelling
- Improves your posture
- Promotes muscle strength, tone, and endurance (<-important for labor!)
- May help prevent or gestational diabetes
- Improves your sleep
- May help with your ability to cope with labor and make it easier to get back into shape after baby is born
What a “Fit Pregnancy” looks like for me isn’t going to be what it looks like for someone else. It’s based on what you were doing before you got pregnant, medical limitations, and your personal comfort levels. Only you and your medical provider can determine what is best for your pregnancy. Sometimes being “fit” during pregnancy means taking it easy because your body needs the rest to grow your miracle. Sometimes it means being able to run a half-marathon in your third trimester. Everyone is different.
The real complication is what happens after delivery. We as women feel like we have to get our bodies back to pre-pregnancy shape as quickly as possible, often forgetting that the process to grow the baby took 9 months. Are immediate results realistic? Probably not. There are thew few who are able to maintain their fitness and are blessed with truly awesome genetics that DO bounce back almost immediately. I wasn’t one of them.
It took me nearly 6 months to be able to wear my pre-pregnancy jeans again. My hips alone expanded 4 inches during pregnancy and time was the only thing that would let them shrink again. I struggled to find the right amount of calories to eat to support both breastfeeding and weight loss (It ended up being ~2500 a day – my post on counting calories is HERE). I learned to love my mom body. It was a journey and I chose to share it with all of you … all the triumphs and struggles included. And to be honest? I am damn proud of how everything turned out. I worked hard for my successes and before getting pregnant again was in close to the best shape of my life. My entire postpartum journey is HERE.
While having a fit pregnancy probably played a contributing factor in my ultimate success, it doesn’t get the award for being the end-all-be-all of a post-baby body. Hard work, dedication, and a balanced life does. Heck, I would have had way better abs if I was willing to give up buffalo wings and beer but I wasn’t. Now? I just wish I HAD abs … I kid, I kid.
Looking back do I cringe a little on the negative self-image I had those first few months? YOU BET. But I had Emmalyne at the beginning of the blogger baby boom and my issues weren’t because of reading about other people’s successes. I wasn’t comparing myself to others – I was dealing with my own insecurities. It was a lesson learned. And this time around I am excited about my postpartum journey and I have the tools to make it successful. Now I am sure there will be new challenges – IE: having two small children, potentially starting grad school, and so much more. But I have a bring it attitude when it comes to these things and I am ready for it. What I am getting at, is I think that reading about how other women bounce back after baby is interesting to me … as long as I don’t put myself into a comparison trap. I know what is going to work for me and that may not be what works for you but gathering perspective from others can help you find your own way.
I don’t define fitness by a picture. A picture is worth a thousand unsaid words. There are so many factors that come into play when discussing postpartum progress. Are they blessed with awesome genetics? Did they have a c-section (can prolong recovery)? Are they nursing (NO – nursing does NOT guarantee you to lose weight. I held on to 5 lbs until Em weaned)? Etc. Just take everything you see, and read, with a grain of salt.
I define fit as feeling your best. Are you able to beat your kid to the street when they make a beeline for it? Can you carry around a 30lb toddler all day like it aint no thang? Do you feel confident in your body and what it can do? Then to me, that’s what fitness is.
What are your thoughts on a Fit Pregnancy? How do you define “fit”?