Before I got pregnant with my oldest daughter I was teaching between 16 to 30 classes a week. That means I was cycling, jumping, dancing, lifting, and -- this was before yoga teacher training so -- barely stretching for 30 hours a WEEK.
And I wasn’t even one of the really crazy ones…
I come from a world where health and fitness is not only a way of life, it’s also a point of pride. You’d think that was a good thing when planning to become pregnant, right? And usually it is! But for lots of people just like me, so much of our identity gets tied up in being able to “push through” or “keep going” even when our bodies are screaming to take it easy and that isn’t healthy during pregnancy.
Around 14 weeks pregnant with my oldest daughter I nearly passed out while teaching a 6am class. It was a cold morning and the gym had just turned the heat on. I picked a killer lunge track and I knew my class needed the encouragement to get through so even though my legs were screaming and my heart was pounding and my head was swimming… I kept going.
We finished the track and I couldn’t quite catch my breath. I couldn’t recover. I felt black creeping in from the corners of my eyes. I sat down and said I was OK, but I was scared. My class opened the door and helped me sit outside. My legs were shaky (maybe because I was nervous or maybe because my body was trying to recover), but I could finally catch my breath and I finally came around.
When I finally made it home, I called my doctor to let her know what had happened. She reassured me that everything was fine and I probably overheated. She told me to hydrate, rest, and to call if I felt like anything was off or if I wanted to come in. So I canceled the rest of my classes for the day (because I had three more to teach that day… crazy remember?), watched Gilmore Girls, drank water, and relaxed.
I didn’t stop teaching or exercising, but I finally stopped ignoring my body’s pleas for a break. I stopped caring about the #fitmom on Instagram doing pull-ups at 36 weeks pregnant (please don’t do this btw… we’ll talk about why in another post, but just don’t). I stopped worrying about what my classes would think if I coached more than taught along with them (spoiler… my classes got better). I stopped thinking that a “healthy” pregnancy meant continuing my same workout routine and ignoring my insatiable cravings for soft pretzels and bean quesadillas.
So what does a REAL healthy pregnancy look like?
Honestly, it’ll be different for everyone so it all comes down to knowing and listening to your body.
Are you hitting the gym twice a day even though all you want to do is go home and sleep because that’s what you did before? GO HOME AND SLEEP!
Are you fretting every time you eat a piece of bread because “carbs are bad” (no they’re not), but you can’t stomach the thought of eggs or anything remotely green (except a Shamrock Shake)? EAT THE CARBS!
Sure, sitting on your couch and eating cheeseburgers all day probably isn’t the answer either, but you already know that.
A healthy pregnancy isn’t PRs or pushing your limits. It’s not the time to overheat or overexert. It isn’t the time to “push through” (unless you mean push through the sensation to get your baby here… then yes, push push push!).
A healthy pregnancy is YOUR happy balance of eating nutrient dense foods and what you can actually stomach, exercise and rest, quiet meditation and letting your mind wander on about all the things that are happening and all the things that are yet to be.
A healthy pregnancy is all about balance.