Exercise during pregnancy is scary. Yes that’s a statement not a question. I’m sure that’s not something you expect to hear from a Personal Trainer but for me it was the truth. Becoming a parent is so full of emotion and when things don’t go to plan it’s easy to create links to things that have no impact on your health. I have had to work on overcoming the fear of exercise during pregnancy.
Over three years ago now, I was pregnant for the first time. I was pretty fit and healthy. I was training with a Personal Trainer at a local gym in Campbelltown. I was studying my PT qualification and then it happened. I fell pregnant. It was the first time I had ever fallen pregnant and had no idea what to do or who to tell. I knew it was early days so I kept quiet. I didn’t even tell my Personal Trainer.
One Saturday morning we did another tough session together. While I was conscious of what was happening inside my body, I continued without sharing the news. He was not someone I was comfortable speaking to about pregnancy, which was my feeling and nothing against him personally. In my mind it was all happy times ahead. Until it started. I started to get pain in my lower abdomen and bleeding. I knew what this meant but had read all of the online forums that this could be normal as someone’s sister’s aunt’s first cousin had had this happen before.
I went to work on Monday with the thought still on my mind of what was happening. I called my doctor to make an urgent appointment and went in the next day. From there it was a blur with 2 days of scans, blood test, hospital visits, injections and emotions. The scans confirmed there was no more baby and due to my negative blood type I had to have an anti-D injection to ensure that if my baby’s blood type was positive, I wouldn’t get sick. I had miscarried.
I was devastated as we had already dreamed up life with a baby. I had calculated when I would be 12 weeks and it fell on my 30th birthday party. Perfect timing to announce. Then it was all over, so now what? I began to get very upset and angry. I started to retrace my days and I remembered that I exercised. It had to be that workout that did it. I went too hard and lost my baby. The connection was there and my mind focused on that.
I didn’t share what we had lost with many people, not even my family. It took me ages to be able to share. I felt stupid to be so upset when it was so early in my pregnancy. It wasn’t a real baby so why was I so upset. My logic was fighting with my emotions. Even talking about it today it’s tough to share because I think people have been through so much worse.
Luckily I fell pregnant about 3 months later, just after my 30th birthday. I waited to go to the doctor to confirm as l was waiting for the worst. I hadn’t been able to bring myself to exercise and was fast putting on weight. I slowly made it to 12 weeks and it was time to share. In the back of my mind I was still thinking nothing was safe with pregnancy.
I refused to return to exercise to make sure my baby was safe. I occasionally went to the gym and felt better for it but was always a gentle workout. I should mention that early in my career I had completed further studies around pregnancy massage and exercise. Despite this knowledge, when it’s your body, your emotions take over.
With all these thoughts in my mind and my actions on the day of my own miscarriage, I was scared to exercise. Now that I have my baby here, I do thinkabout how much easier my pregnancy could have been if I hadn’t let fear get in my way. The benefits of the correct prenatal exercise can manage the weight you gain, how strong your body is to carry the extra weight and assists in a faster recovery after birth.
At 15 weeks pregnant I finished my Personal Training Qualification and once my son was born I decided I wanted to be there for women during pregnancy. I wanted to be there when someone thought they might be pregnant and make sure that they were encouraged to continue to exercise and educate them on what was safe.
I know that if I have the chance again, I recognise that there is a safe way to participate in exercise during pregnancy. I am ready to share my story to show other women that need support that there are people here to help. If you share my fears, I would love to be able to be there for you. Whether it’s as you prepare for pregnancy, throughout your pregnancy or to help you have a safe recovery after birth, you can contact me to create a plan to achieve your goal of having a family.
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