Thinking about hiring a Doula? We did. At 30 weeks it dawned on us during our Amma birth class, if Ryan were to be at work for 9 hours after already getting up and going to the gym at 4:30 am, he may not be the best support person for me that evening, or night. And certainly not the next day when the pushing begins. With that in mind, I went home and feverishly began emailing Doulas around the Twin Cities. At 30 weeks pregnant I was seriously concerned we wouldn't find anyone. While several women did tell me they were already booked for our guess date, one sent me the most helpful website, doulamatch.net. It's practically a dating site for pregnant women and doulas! By searching for someone with a known opening around your guess date, you skip the hassle of getting rejected over and over. Plus you can read brief bios and compare credentials easily before contacting anyone.
Our doula Rachel, works for Karma Doula which is a small collaborative of 5 doulas who are also part of Everyday Miracles. Everyday Miracles offers doula support, prenatal yoga, childbirth and breastfeeding education, and a welcoming community for families from underserved communities. Because all women should have access to prenatal and labor support such as yoga and doula care, not just the wealthy. Are you thinking, "I don't need a doula, the nurses and doctor will take care of me." Yes they will, but they probably won't stay with you 100% of the time while your partner takes a nap or gets something to eat. They have other patients to take care of. Your doula is yours, and will give your partner or support person time to take a break, especially if you end up having a marathon labor. Even if you are planning to be induced and have an epidural; or have a scheduled C-section, doula's can support you through those labors as well.
After just 1 meeting with Rachel I knew we made the right choice. She gave us handouts on creating a birth plan (which I'm calling our Birth Intention), as well as a postpartum plan worksheet. Both are super helpful, and along with our Amma class have prompted Ryan and I to contemplate several things we hadn't initially thought of. Even if you aren't 100% sold on the idea of hiring a doula, I challenge you to at least contact one and see if their services are right for you.
There are plenty of sites with information about why it's important or beneficial to exercise during pregnancy and how to do it safely, but what most fail to mention is how your exercise experience might change from one trimester to the next. Or from one day/week to the next. While every woman's experience is different, here is what I have noticed over the past 30 weeks.
As someone who has enjoyed exercising (running) since 7th grade, and in the past 6-8 years moved to more weight lifting, it was a bit of a challenge when I had to stop doing anything but walking for the first 12 weeks. This was due to a uterine hematoma and then ofcourse morning sickness. I'm usually a get-up-and-go to the gym kinda gal, but for about 10 weeks the thought of moving my body before 9 or 10am was not happening. There were many mornings when I would wake up, make Ryan's lunch and then take a nap before work. If the first trimester has you feeling sluggish, nauseous, or generally crummy, just go with it. For most women it gets better. Do what you can to stay physically active even if it is just walking or very gentle stretching.
By 12 weeks there was a definite shift and all of a sudden I had ENERGY! I wanted to lift and was able to go back to my 1-2x week morning yoga class. HURRAY! For the next several months I followed the weight lifting protocol from the 'Your Fit Pregnancy: Nutrition & Exercise Handbook.' As a dietitian I ignored all their nutrition advice which continues to tout the low fat recommendations on the 1990s and includes almost exclusively chicken and turkey which I found repulsive until about 15-16 weeks. But the workout plans have been great. I also found that I really enjoyed doing intervals on the elliptical to get my heart rate up, but around weeks 29-30 I no longer enjoy this. It just doesn't feel good anymore. .
As I enter the 3rd trimester I'm continuing to change my workout routine. Walking feels really good in the morning when it's cool out. However, I do have make sure there is a bathroom along the way. When Ryan and I walk at night my belly just feels really heavy and it's harder to breathe. I'm also very particular about making sure my shorts are long enough the my thighs don't rub together. This is not about vanity! Its just not enjoyable to have your upper thighs rubbing together when it's hot and humid and you are walking more than a block or two. Lifting weights is still enjoyable, but I'm really having to make changes to my yoga practice since there are so many poses that just don't work this far into pregnancy. As you can see from my picture, even at 27 weeks I was able to do inversions at yoga, this past week I stuck with the headstand machine since I no longer trust myself to actually get into the position correctly. It's amazing how much heavier my body feels. While doing step ups the other day, I was amazed at how hard they felt with 15# dumb bells when in the past I would have used 20#. The past two weeks I've re-discovered the TRX and have found it to be very conducive to my changing body shape, weight, and function.
What to Wear
Not only will your workouts change during pregnancy, but your workout clothes probably will too. I've been able to wear a lot of my old stuff, but now my old 5K t-shirts ride up and my sports bras haven't fit since the end of the first trimester. My old Lululemon tank tops have lots of stretch to them, and still fit. I currently love these maternity active capris from Target. These shorts from Old Navy are also really nice now that it's hot and humid out. Even though the high waist/belly covering looks kinda silly, the small amount of support it offers is really nice. Theses yoga nursing bras by Bravado have been great for the kinds of exercise I do. I love how they fit, and will probably try some of their other styles once Baby T arrives. If I were still running or doing lots of bouncing...I'd want something with more support.
Would love to hear from people on what their favorite maternity exercise clothes are and what exercises work for them and make them feel good.
I'm a dietitian with a passion for good nutrition, bold flavors, playing in the dirt, and being with my family.