During the 13th week of my ACL recovery, I was able to confirm that I was in week 5 of pregnancy. We’d been seriously considering starting a family in recent years and once we had dates for the ACL op and had gotten to a point in my recovery when it was well underway we agreed to start trying and I’m now in my 18th week and we’re expecting a baby in early September. This seemed like an opportune time to get this cooking as we felt ready and willing and, personally, I was slowed down by the rehab and the recommended exertion levels for pregnancy harmonise well with working the recovery.
While it can be safe to do quite a wide range of activities, it may be not the time when you feel at your best. ~ Rosi Sexton on training and pregnancy
During my first trimester, Rosi’s words resonated with me on a daily basis. In weeks 5 and 6 I trained BJJ, including some modified sparring with trusted partners. However, from around week 7 I felt far too sick and tired to train. I was lucky enough to never actually vomit, but I had an incessant feeling of nausea alongside an intransigent fatigue. Not the sort of tired that you push through and go to the gym and feel better in the end, the sort of tired where you crash out for the night at 8PM.
For the remainder of the first trimester I sought to keep my activity levels ticking over, and was able to maintain the bare minimum of knee recovery work. In particular, weights machines, some free weights, treadmill (mostly walking) and swimming. This represented pure will and was joyless working out at a very low level of exertion. However, maintaining activity during pregnancy is very important for momma and baby and if one stops exercising at some point during pregnancy it is recommended to build up much more slowly than if one keeps it rolling as much as possible. So, I dragged myself to the gym 3 times a week (mostly consistently), did my conditioning and hopped on the treadmill or cycle for light cardio. While it was very difficult to motivate a couple things helped:
- Hitting the gym earlier in the day. My BJJ classes and gym training normally takes place in the evenings after work, however I was far too tired for this. I’m in the position of running my own business, so I used the flexibility to visit the gym in the early afternoons when I had a relatively high level of energy.
- Good goggles. I mentioned in a recent discussion of my ACL rehab that quality goggles have made swimming much more enjoyable and as front crawl is set to be one of my main activities for the medium term, investing in a pair of good fitting, anti-fog goggles has made a huge difference in the fun of doing laps.
- Remembering that during the actual workout I didn’t feel sick. The only other time I didn’t feel like boaging was when actually eating – not when full, just the act of masticating! But, though I couldn’t push myself and felt underpar, when I was doing my best in the gym I didn’t have any nausea.
By weeks 15/16, as I settled into the early part of the second trimester, I felt much better in terms of energy levels, wakefulness and no more nausea. Of course, this doesn’t mean I am pushing myself at pre-preggo levels, but it does mean it is easier to motivate to hit the gym and more enjoyable when I am there as I feel more up for it. My exercise is modified – no heavy cardio, lighter weights and lots of swimming – but I am keen to keep it moving so that I’m in decent condition for the birth and afterwards. In terms of ‘getting back to normal’, well that’s not going to happen as our family changes and I will be extending my hiatus from regular BJJ training until I finish my maternity leave in March of next year. However, my husband is very supportive of me regaining my health and fitness and of having space for BJJ in my life and after maternity leave the goal is to hit the Saturday class on the reg and build from there. As with my first trimester I will make notes during the upcoming weeks and report on my experience at the end of the trimester.
5 Apr 2012 @ 1:28 pm
I did not know! Congratulations mummy Meg…
5 Apr 2012 @ 4:05 pm
Cheers, Colin. I did not know that you read my BJJ blog 😀
5 Apr 2012 @ 1:34 pm
5 Apr 2012 @ 4:09 pm
Much obliged, Katie!
5 Apr 2012 @ 2:11 pm
I found your blog after looking for other female BJJ-ers and it’s been really helpful. Congratulations on your news! And thanks for blogging about it – it’s great to hear how you can evolve and grow your family but not lose your BJJ or the rest of ‘what came before.’
5 Apr 2012 @ 4:13 pm
Hi Sarah, thanks so much for your comment. Love hearing that you like the blog, that’s always great to hear!
Well, it remains to be seen as far as how well I can balance work/family/BJJ, but I’m up for it. My expectations of how much I will be training in the early years are very different than previously and if I can get 2 session (a class and a home sparring session) a week pretty much on the reg and 1-2 gym sessions, that would be ideal. Let’s get past this birth and breast feeding before we count our chickens LOL! Though, it is important for me and my family that I get my health and fitness and energy back up and don’t just let myself go and I believe that I will have the support to do that. We’ll soon find out! XD
5 Apr 2012 @ 3:10 pm
I was wondering how your training was going! I’m glad you’re coping. My sister had the same issue about not feeling nauseated unless she was eating, so her husband packed her a big pack of raw veggies (carrots, peppers, celery, sugar snaps) so she could much on them during the day.
Good luck on your second trimester momma! xx
5 Apr 2012 @ 4:18 pm
Hi Kat, thanks so much for your comment! Well, I’m just back from 60 laps in the pool and doing my best to keep active for the health of me and the little dude/dudette. It isn’t as fun as beating up boys in BJJ, but it does help with my state of mind and sense of well being as much as anything else and it is mega important to stay active in the right way during pregnancy.
Oh man – sugar snaps make me almost puke, literally! I used to love them, but any of the dark green veggies just taste like metal, dirt and bitter to me at the moment, and while I do my best to choke down my daily portions, I am worse than a child about it HAHA! A helpful hubby/partner is a blessing and mine has been trying to facilitate healthy snacking too. I find clementines a good option, though they are more sugary than your sister’s saintly snacks, and sparkling water really helps too!
11 Apr 2012 @ 5:09 pm
It’s good to listen to your appetites. I’ll sound like a hippie saying this but I do believe that your body tells you what it needs, ever so subtly =p
Congratulations! All the best for you and your growing family!
12 Apr 2012 @ 5:22 am
Hi Christine, thanks! Yes, that’s what some folk say and while very early on I did crave chickpeas which are high in folic acid, I don’t really buy this theory, wholesale. I’m pretty sure my body and the unborn wouldn’t benefit from a diet of no veggies and highly refined and processed foods. What I want to eat is pure crap and have to work hard to eat in a balanced way, as I did pre-pregnancy. So, while I can accept and have heard tell of many ‘sensible cravings’ that represent essential nutrients for mom and baby, it seems to me more of a case cravings *can* be helpful, rather than *are*. Then again, I’m pretty much an anti-hippy rationalist 😉
12 Apr 2012 @ 9:47 pm
Sounds like your body is after high-calorie noms x) My sis is having her first baby any minute now and she only gained roughly the weight of the baby, which seems odd, but there you go.
I personally feel healthy having a bit of everything within the span of a week or two. Sometimes I go for that long with only very little veg (say, bits of salad on sandwiches) and then have a massive rainbow coloured stir fry. That long without any fruit at all, and then three or four pieces a day also happens regularly. Everybody and every body works differently though (mine seems to work slowly and in bouts), and I’ve never been preggers myself.
My point was that if certain foods taste horrible to you, it might not be what your body needs at the moment. Anti-cravings..? And although humans can make do with a fairly restricted diet for some time, obviously an overall balanced diet is key at any stage in life. I’d be shocked at any Mom-with-a-bun who wouldn’t try to do her very best for her own little cell clump.
PS: I’m a lover of reason and science myself.
13 Apr 2012 @ 7:56 am
I’m gaining just fine, don’t you worry about that – LOL! Think it is much more to do with the lack of flavour and texture of processed and refined foods as my smell/taste are heightened at the moment .
I hear where you’re coming from and as mentioned in my earlier comment that I don’t disagree to a limited extent, but I’m not buying wholesale craving mythology. While folk can certainly function and survive a lifetime on restricted diets – preggers or otherwise – that’s not nearly equivalent to being closer to optimum levels of nutritional health and well being and the benefits that brings; as noted it is possible to ‘make do’, but that’s not really the bar we’re at. In those places where lower levels of nutrition are widespread developmental issues are much more prevalent among babies; this one of the main drivers behind fortifying the primary food stuffs in developing nations as those diets are often very narrow. Indeed, anthropological evidence suggests that before the development of farming, our hunter gather ancestors had much higher levels of nutritional well being as determined, in part, from bone and teeth samples, due to their much more varied diet than settled, farming populations. I suppose that’s behind a lot of the paleo diet hype…
During pregnancy it is especially important for mother and baby as the baby takes what it needs and can leave the mother depleted, while if some nutrients are not available in high enough quantities, developmental issues can occur; happily there are pre-natal vitamins and fortified cereals to help with those things! So while many women find it especially problematic to eat well during pregnancy for any number of reasons, supplements do a lot to help broaden our daily nutrients and I am very glad for that!
Anyhow, like I say, I understand what you’re saying and I don’t disagree with your pov, but I do diverge.
5 Apr 2012 @ 4:54 pm
Meg!! Fantastic news!! Congratulations to you both!! I am looking forward to reading your BJJing and general fitness throughout your pregnancy! <3
5 Apr 2012 @ 5:11 pm
Thanks, Stephanie! Have talked to Coach about some self defence drills that it would be totally fine for me to drill; no contact stuff from standing, primarily. We’ll see how it goes and I will keep the blog updated!
5 Apr 2012 @ 6:02 pm
I had no idea…congrats Meg!!
6 Apr 2012 @ 7:03 am
Hee hee, thanks, we’ve been keeping it pretty quiet but ‘coming out’ recently. 😀
5 Apr 2012 @ 10:37 pm
Congratulations! What awesome news.
6 Apr 2012 @ 7:26 am
Many thanks, Steve!
5 Apr 2012 @ 10:46 pm
I’m so happy for you! Congratulations!
6 Apr 2012 @ 7:26 am
Cheers, Jen, we’re happy too 😀
6 Apr 2012 @ 12:13 pm
6 Apr 2012 @ 3:19 pm
10 Apr 2012 @ 6:16 am
CONGRATS! That’s great news. 🙂
10 Apr 2012 @ 8:29 am
Many thanks, Sonia, we’re excited 😀
11 Apr 2012 @ 3:41 pm
I was so happy to read your joyous news on your latest gi review post 🙂 And I look forward to your further discussions about fitness during pregnancy. Mitch and I have been trying ever since my knee issues last summer, without success, so we’re moving on to IVF this summer and fall, hoping for embryo transfer in late fall! So keep on forging ahead, you’re my trailblazer and advisor! Hope to follow in your footsteps soon! 🙂 🙂
11 Apr 2012 @ 4:02 pm
Thank you, Georgette! We are very happy, though being pregnant does kinda suck, especially when you’re used to having a body that is a powerful tool, though I suppose gestating and birthing absolutely fits that description! 😉
We were very lucky and got it on the first go. When we set out trying we almost assumed that we’d have trouble as so many we know have struggled and we’re a bit older than our parent’s generation. It seems terribly unfair and random how easy it is for some and how difficult for others. However, there are options these days and it is terribly exciting to hear you guys are starting IVF!!! You must keep us updated on your blog. That’s a big deal and pulling for success! x
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