I documented the first 20 weeks in my blog article, Exercise During Pregnancy, now it’s time to talk about my last 20 weeks. I originally intended to publish this post closer to the end of my pregnancy, but circumstance delayed the post, and then our little miracle surprised us by arriving one week early.
Pregnancy Weeks 21-26
The end of my second trimester marked a few milestones; by week 20 I had “popped,” my pronounced belly received the nickname Bullet. Week 21 is when I started to feel the baby kick, it felt similar to when your eyebrow twitches except it was happening inside of me.
My exercise regime was consistent and enjoyable. I was teaching Indoor cycling class, but had stopped leaning toward the handle bars. I made sure to keep my intensity in a safe zone for both me and the baby, heart rate below 60% of max. (Beats per min.) I substituted my weekday runs with 30-40 minutes on the elliptical or step mill, I reserved running (actually fast walking) for weekends when I had more time to enjoy myself. I continued with weight training 3-4 times a week using light weights and high repetitions, being very contentious of my breathing.
pregnancy- Week 27-30:
During this time I started to suffer from insomnia, I suspected this was to prepare me for my future sleep deprivation. With the lower intensity workouts and lack of sleep I started to notice an increase in my anxiety.
The babies kicks got much stronger, and it’s the most active in the evening directly after dinner, and through the night when I am lying up awake. With the lack of sleep irritability became a constant, finding almost everything around me aggravating.
My exercise regime was pretty much the same as weeks 21 through 26. I continued to teach indoor cycling class, keeping my heart rate below 60% of max BPM(Beats per min), with 30-40 minutes on the elliptical or step mill, and light weight training 3-4 times a week.
Week 29 and 30: Christmas Holidays
During Christmas holidays I enjoyed some time off and started to prepare for baby.
Still exercising 4-5 days a week for 60 minutes a day, and continue to teach twice a week, but reducing my intensity to below 50% of max BPM (beats per min.)
During this time I stopped going to my usual gym each morning. Packing and lugging around a gym back became too much for me. Instead opting for shorter workouts at the community center by my house, providing the opportunity to get ready at home rather than lug around a heavy gym bag.
Week 31-33: Started Prenatal Yoga
Baby is moving around a lot more, not just kicks and pokes, now I feel the sensation of something actually moving around inside of me, sometimes it felt like something pulling on my bellybutton. Fortunately this doesn’t last for long.
Continuing to workout 4-5 days a week for 60 minutes a day, and teaching, keeping my heart rate below 50% max BPM (Beats per min.) I switched up my weight training from free weights to the machines, and added more mat work focusing on hips back, and stability exercise recommended for pregnancy. In addition to my normal routine I started to incorporate prenatal yoga once a week with Fit 4 Two- Richmond, I found it both challenging and relaxing.
Week 34: Cue the anxiety!
Week 34 was exhausting for me, I only made it to the gym once for one light workout and due to the long weekend I also missed yoga. I did manage to get out for a brisk morning walk on the weekend. This was the week that I also stopped teaching on the bike and started cueing the class from the sidelines.
Week 35: Milk Please!
The Doctor was concerned the baby was breach, so I went for my fourth ultrasound at 35 weeks. Much to my relief the baby was not breech and an estimated healthy 6 pounds 11 oz.
During this week I enjoyed some Pampering & Perspective to relieve some of the anxiety that had been building and helped provide some perspective for the last 4 weeks of pregnancy.
The process of continually going to the bathroom at night left me feeling like a zombie the next day, my personal record was 7 times in one night. In addition to the nocturnal bathroom breaks, rolling over in bed took on a whole new meaning, it became a herculean activity that involved all sorts of momentum and contorting. Poor Adrian was often woken-up as I change position like a physically challenged walrus.
I was back at the gym but reduced my time to 40 minutes a day and my heart rate to between 40-40% of max BPM. Continuing with my mat and yoga work and teaching off the bike.
Week 36: Calmer and confident
The pampering and perspective of the previous week, had me in a more positive mindset looking forward to the arrival of our little baby, and the start of a new stage of my life. Up until this point one of the the most significant life experience, something that changed the course of my life, was negative. This week I realized that with the birth of this baby a shift will take place within me, I will be able to draw from a positive . I am proud of what I have been able to overcome and accomplish with the negative, and I was excited about what the future would hold having something positive to draw from.
Exercise wise I switched up the cardio from elliptical to brisk walking on the treadmill, time and intensity have remained the same as last week and 40 minutes a day, 30-40% of max BPM. With Light weight training, mat work, 4 times a week, and yoga one a week.
Week 37: Slip & Fall
Week 37 started out the same as week 36 but ended with a fall. My slippers were wet and I slipped on the kitchen floor, I fell back spread eagle onto my bum. It didn’t hurt at the time, but being 37 weeks pregnant things slowly started to stiffen up. After resting for 45 minutes I woke up and was unable to lift lift up my legs or move them laterally. In addition to this there was an excruciating pain in my pelvis making it impossible for me to roll over. After careful assessment and considerable effort I managed to push myself up using upper body strength, I slipped my legs off the edge of the bed, once in sitting position I realized that our Ikea bed was too low and I wouldn’t be able to stand up from this position. Not being sure what was wrong I didn’t want to take the risk of pushing through the pain to stand up, what if I fell again…. didn’t want to risk hurting the baby. With the help of a neighbor I was able to make it out of bed, as the evening progressed my symptoms got worse. I could not sit down or stand up without a terrible wrenching pain in the front of my pelvis that felt like I was tearing it in half. In addition to this I couldn’t walk with the help of walls or another person. No amount of pressure could be placed on my legs, I was completely immobile.
The next morning despite a night of nocturnal movement from baby I wanted to go to the hospital. I was confident the baby was fine but I was positive I was not. I visited the emergency room, where they first confirmed the baby was OK, then assessed me. With no bruising or swelling that would indicate a break the Emergency room Doctor suspected that due to the pregnancy hormones in my body my pelvis has separated. This is called Symphysis pubis dysfunction, or SPD. He explained that there was nothing they could do for this, and my pelvis eventually need to separate for the birth anyways. He said with rest and Tylenol things should improve in a few days, he also encourage me to get a walker to help me move around and heal quicker.
week 38: Rest and recovery
Much to my surprise and relief Monday morning arrived with notable improvement, I was able to stand up and sit down without the terrible tearing pain. Plus with the help of a cane and other walls and objects I could get around much better, I was even able to pick up my feet slightly. Tuesday brought even more improvement, I could walk with just the cane no other support, and I was able to lift my legs higher, and extend them out. Each new day has brought improvements in mobility by Friday my obstetrician prescribed me a sacroiliac joint belt which helps to stabilize my pelvis.
Needless to say there we no exercise during this week, and there wouldn’t be any for the remainder of the pregnancy.
week 39: The End!
Week 39 was to be my last week of work before maternity leave, but as my last post detailed I went into labour early not reaching week 40.
I approached pregnancy like I would a half marathon. I treated the nine months of pregnancy as training for labour, incorporating exercises and stretches specific to pregnancy. I rationalized that when labour started It would be a mental battle much like that battle that takes place in my mind around 17km of a half marathon. Much like the race, once over I would be elated with feel good hormones helping to make the pain and discomfit a faint memory.
I intend to approach my recovery with the same focused dedication. I have attended a postnatal exercises education class, and I am seeing a pelvic floor specialist, I have lost 23 pounds with 5 more to go to reach my pre-baby weight. Currently my only form of exercise has been walking, and this week I intend to introduce my physiotherapy exercises. For the time time being Venus Fitness will be a bit more family and fun, with a gradual return to fitness.