As a reminder up front: I am not a doctor nor do I pretend to be one. I simply wanted to share my experience during this crazy pregnancy roller coaster and trying to stay strong. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, make sure you discuss your exercise options with your doctor.
Ahh, the “magical” second trimester: where you’re supposed to have more energy, less nausea and overall feel less like you’re always ready for a nap and more like your everyday self.
…”supposed to” being the operative word there. Overall, yes, I have a little more energy and a little less nausea. However, I seem to be one of the lucky few that will have regular nausea and vomiting until the end. That being said, I’ve managed to remain active on most days.
So what’s changed on the workout front?
Took my squat and deadlift working maxes down about 10%. This is mostly to compensate for not wearing a belt on my heavier lifts. I’m also continuing to not go above 85% and even that is only one day toward the end of my current high-volume cycle. I’ve been able to slowly and consistently add to my deadlift max (5lbs at a time) but not my squat max – I chalk that up to moving more (steadily increasing) body weight in a squat position versus a deadlift.
Sumo stance deadlift. Deadlifting still feels good but my belly was quickly getting in the way of my legs when I set up in a conventional stance. Therefore I changed to a sumo stance before it truly became a problem to give me time to get used to it. It took me the better part of 6 or so weeks to adjust to the new feeling and am now comfortable and just as strong as I was in a conventional stance with plenty of room for the growing belly.
Cutting out a lot of conditioning and most really high intensity stuff. You know that whole nausea and vomiting thing? Well that comes back with a vengeance (and hangs on) when I’m exhausted. I’ve noticed the days when I do a lot of conditioning or something particularly high intensity, it can easily wreck me for the rest of the day. So, with many things pregnancy-related, I take it day-by-day and adjust. Many times that means I don’t do any sort of conditioning; occasionally I have enough energy to do it all but I bring the intensity down.
Having ample, available snacks. At any given time, I have a few different snack options with me depending on the day. I learned during the first trimester that if I became hungry during a workout, things were going to quickly go downhill. I usually have something to eat before the workout and a piece of fruit in the middle as needed and something immediately after. This usually keeps my blood sugar up, my energy up and my nausea at bay.
Including more hip and back foam rolling (and extra stretching as needed). I’ve noticed as I’ve gained weight that my hips and back need more attention. I tend to be more tight and achy than usual so I’ve started spending more time foam rolling and stretching my glutes and back, even in the evenings when I’m not about to work out. I also take my time with warm up sets – if I have to do a couple sets with just the bar to get things moving, that’s okay!
No more doing (or demonstrating!) pushups and very limited Olympic lifting. Now that the belly is officially in the way, it is QUITE uncomfortable to lay prone so pushups and related exercises are out. In regards to Olympic lifting, one of the main goals of the bar path is to keep it in very close to your body. I can’t do that anymore unless I hit myself in the stomach or do some weird out-and-around the belly move which is just asking for trouble. Those lifts will be there after the baby is born, I don’t need to do them now. Also, the hormone Relaxin is in full force and that relaxes the ligaments and tendons throughout the body. As someone who tends to be a bit hyper-mobile to begin with, I don’t need to increase my risk of injury further. That is NOT my current goal!
Slowly my limitations are increasing but that’s okay for now. I’m trying to keep my main goal of maintaining strength and feeling good a priority while doing what I can. My body tells me when something doesn’t feel right or when I’ve done too much; I’ve learned to listen. I’m hoping my fitness will aid me in labor and delivery and the many weeks of recovery afterward. All those pushups, Olympic lifts, PR’s and competitions will be waiting for me on the other side.