After I found out I was determined to still continue with my running. After all I am the girl always telling my friends and other people that it’s completely ridiculous to think that now that you are pregnant you can’t or should stop exercising. But what I found out was not that I don’t need to, but that it’s all just so much harder.
I’m in my second trimester now, so I’m starting to feel better. Below you can have a read how I would describe my first trimester whilst running.
Tired, No Exhausted!
So I was tired all the time, like I’ve never felt this exhausted in my life. It was the strangest feeling for me and although it gets a little better, I have a feeling the tiredness is gonna stick. Thinking about it now, it does make sense – I mean you are making another HUMAN!
I tried really hard to get up early in the mornings for my run, but I was just too tired, and involuntarily ended up oversleeping, like I had no control over my routine!
After work I was also just tired, I hate to admit this, but I could barely keep my eyes open as I was driving home in traffic! And at night I just wanted to eat and then sleep. I had no energy for running. Over the weekends I would go to bed really early Friday and Saturday night just so I could be fresh for my much anticipated run in the morning, hahaha, after my run I would have breakfast and then take a nap! It was very relaxing I might add!
I stopped feeling guilty about not running now, I rather started to concentrate on getting good quality sleep and then a good quality run, and if I only managed two runs a week then that was ok. You have to give yourself a break, the exercise won’t be worth it if you’re not well rested, and you’ll just be a cranky-tired hormonal B and your poor partner will suffer for it!
But when I did run I found that I felt completely unfit, and out of breath. It was like I had to put in double the effort to move that I previously had to. I kept trying to stay to my normal pace but it was too hard. The doctor recommended that I run at an "conversational pace" , as long as I could run and talk comfortably then I was doing good. The other 2 important things are to not overheat and to not get dehydrated. as long as I sicked to that it worked.
So when I could run, here was my trick – I cut down on my pace, got slower music on my I-pod to help me run slower. I made the decision to run shorter distances and slower pace. My pace actually went from an average of 5:00min/km to 7:00min/km. In the beginning I felt a little like a failure, but I made peace with it and accepted my situation, and after two weeks my body adjusted and I can now almost run at my old normal pace.
So don't worry, you're not broken! You'll get back into things soon enough!
How I counter Exhaustion:
- Do 2-3 good runs a week, and rest well inbetween
- Eat well. Make sure your nutrition is up to scratch, eat high in Iron foods.
- Adjust your training - and learn to accept that things are changing. the sooner you do this, the sooner you can get back to quality running.
So from what I have heard from other mothers, this feeling will never ever go away again!
Your constantly scared, “am I running to fast?”, “Is everything ok in there?!”, “am I being selfish?”
I literally ran some days just praying to God as I ran - “Please, please, please don’t take my present away, please” , repeating it the whole distance. I think I even like zoned out of listening to music, I was so afraid. But after our first doctors visit I actually started running more.
I actually fell at 9 weeks pregnant at a trail race, about 13Km into the race. I wasn’t running too fast, but I was very tired, and I lost concentration bumped my foot and fell really fast face and upper body first. I couldn’t push my hands out fast enough so I basically fell on my chest and tummy. Two Ladies helped me up fast and dusted of my face and everything, I was in complete shock. Actually terrified because I had no way of knowing if anything was wrong. Unfortunately until the little feet are here, I'll be sticking to the road from now on.
I’m very happy to say that nothing happened, but it did put a few things in perspective for me, I would have to slow down and be more careful. So all you can do is take care and pray, and hold onto the next appointment date to see if everything is ok. Most of the time it will be ok, but it’s just such a big unknown!
How I counter the Fear:
- This is hard, like I said it never really goes away. Know that you are doing the best you can, and ensure that you are taking the necessary steps to keep your body in an optimum condition to take care of baby.
- Pray, allot, and have faith. God made our Bodies much stronger than we realize, you have all the tools to take care even if your a little unsure in the beginning.
- If there is ever a doubt - stop and reassess the Situation, and decide if what you want to do is necessary, how it will help you and if it is good for you both.
Hunger vs Weight gain:
Now you’ve heard of the saying “eating for two” it’s actually a saying I hate! Such a lie, but what I have found is that although you might not have to eat for two, it feels like you have to!!
OH MY GOODNESS, I’m hungry all the time!
In actual fact you shouldn’t up you calorie intake too much below is what they say on What to Expect:
First trimester: You actually won't likely need any additional calories during your first trimester. Instead, you should focus on choosing nutritious foods that keep your energy up while supporting your baby's development.
Second trimester: Up your daily calorie intake by 300 to 350 calories per day — that's the equivalent of, say, two glasses of skim milk and a bowl of oatmeal (not the all-you-can-eat sundae bar you were envisioning).
Third trimester: You'll need about an extra 500 calories per day.
If you're carrying multiples: Add an additional 300 calories per day for each baby.
But you have to work according to your body and see what works for you, in the first trimester I upped my calorie intake by 500 calories, like you don’t understand how hungry I am. I picked up about 3.6km at 11weeks, and this will probably continue and it should, in the end its good for Baby.
Also remember if you’re running you also burning calories so it’s important to ensure that you’re both getting what you need. If you sugar drops then you will feel tired, light headed and just awful and you won’t be able to function normally, never mind run at least 5km!
I also found that if did not keep hunger pangs at bay I would get nauseous! My number one rule now for keeping morning sickness (or anytime of the day sickness for that matter) away is keeping my tummy full.
This is what I would eat on a normal work day:
4:00 am - Apple – then I would go Run either in the morning or just after 17:00pm
5:00-6:00 am - 400ml of Full cream milk with 100g serving of Future Life
8:00 am – 100g full cream Yogurt
10:00 am – 5 cups of slated popcorn (NOT MICROWAVE POPCORN)
11:00-12:00 pm – Lunch
13:00-14:00 pm – 3 Fruits
15:00 pm - 2nd lunch
18:00-19:30 pm – Dinner (I was usually so bloated that I had to divide my dinner in two)
20:30-21:00 pm – I’d eat the Rest of my dinner, 100g Yogurt + Tea before bed.
I also found that if I ate just before bed then I would not feel sick the next morning. On weekends when I get up much later than in the week, I found my morning sickness is quite bad. I truly believe it is because my body waits longer for food, for example I would eat breakfast maybe only at 8:00am-9:00am on a weekend where as in the week I would already start eating at 4:00am
So work out your meal plan per day and stick to it. It’s also important to be prepared to prevent yourself from getting so hungry that you just end up eating take-always and other crap, this will cause you to spend unnecessary amounts of money and it will cause you to gain weight that is unnecessary.
Think about every unplanned meal and money spent on take-always as money taken from cute baby clothes! (Hahaha, works for me!)
How I counter the Hunger:
- Always be in control. Always plan your meals and be ready for anything, I stash oranges in my handbag along with peanuts and non perishables. Just be prepared for anything.
- Think of what your eating is not only for you, its for Baby too, and its unfair feeding baby crap when they are at the mercy of your choices.
- Make peace with weight gain, Embrace it, but don't over do it, make good choices.
Uncomfortable, Bloating and Constipation:
Unfortunately these are the three things that have been really bad for me so far.
I’m sure all woman carry differently and will feel differently in their pregnancies, but this is how I feel so far.
At about 12 weeks I’m uncomfortable, and really bloated, I cannot believe that his baby is already pushing out like this.
Week 4-5 belly measured: 70-75cm, pretty flat
Week 7-9 belly measured: 80-85cm, looked like I just had a little pooch
Week 9-12 belly Measured: 87-90cm, I feel like I look 5 Months pregnant
I get very bloated and uncomfortable after I have eaten, this is a bit of an adjustment for me. It reminds me of how uncomfortable I felt when I was overweight, but at least this is not a food baby – Yay! It’s a real one! So that is a bit of a consolation prize I guess.
This has at least not affected my running – but this does make you feel like you just want to sit or lay down but this won’t make you feel better. I found that going for a run,walk or for a swim really helped me to just get comfortable and to get things working so that I could deal with the constipation.
So constipation: When you’re pregnant your body increases the hormone progesterone, which relaxes smooth muscles, including your digestive tract. This means that food passes through your intestines more slowly. Iron supplements, especially in high doses, can make constipation worse.
I found that drinking lots of water and moving around regularly helped with the constipation. You can also drink high fibre fruit juices to help get things going.
Otherwise, I think it’s just something you must work out a routine around and figure out what works for you, because from what I’ve read so far it’s just going to continue!
Constipation rarely is a sign of something that is wrong but occasionally constipation during pregnancy can be a symptom of another problem. If you have severe constipation that's accompanied by abdominal pain, alternates with diarrhea, or you pass mucus or blood, call your doctor or midwife immediately.
How I counter the C+B+U:
- Drink lots of water
- Do not stop excersising
- Figure out what food helps and make it worse - Like i love eating carrots and beet, only to find out that my body now doesn't like it...
- Don't sit for long periods of time, move around at least once an hour
- Don't wear tight fitting clothes
- Don't get discouraged, some days are good and others bad, but they get better again.
Otherwise than the above I’m very happy to be in the second Trimester, My energy is going up and my head is becoming clearer again, so hopefully I get to run more!
Follow me here and on JBRobinblog.com on what the Second trimester is like!
Jani du Toit
Mother, Blogger and Pattern maker from Pretoria
Age group: 30
Club: ASICS FrontRunner
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