My original aim at the start of my pregnancy was to still be bodypumping in some form at 20 weeks, and still managing to be relatively active into the final trimester. I have sailed past that milestone (you can read about the first and second trimesters and how I found them here), so now it’s onto my third trimester update.
Although I hit some problems towards the end of the second trimester I feel like the third trimester hasn’t been as difficult as I thought it was going to be in terms of my ability to exercise. I think I had an image that I w0uld get super massive very quickly, but instead I have just grown at a pretty steady pace. As you can see from the header image, my bump is pretty prominent now (complete with popped out belly button!), but somehow I seem to manage to work around it.
At 32 weeks we went on holiday to Cornwall and although doing lots of walking up and down hills was tough, I was determined not to let my pregnancy limit us and because of that I definitely overcame what could have been a point where I just stopped and put my feet up.
I still have a lot more weight I can drop in bodypump, and at the time of typing I am 36.5 weeks pregnant and still managing to get through the classes with the same weight as in my first trimester, which to me is a miracle. I am conscious that once baby is here I won’t be cleared to exercise for a few weeks anyway, and longer if I end up having a c-section, plus finding time for classes is tough with a newborn and not top of the priority list. So I am keen to keep going for as long as possible before baby arrives, as I know the absolute minimum gap I will have postpartum is 6 weeks.
The other thing is that in terms of bodypump, I now don’t think I will really drop my weight before baby is here. I think he will either arrive unexpectedly without giving me chance to drop it, or I will have to stop for medical reasonsor because it just isn’t feasible anymore. This week because baby is now so low in my pelvis I am getting lots of twinges in my hips, so if the class doesn’t feel comfortable then that will be that. As much as I want to carry on for as long as possible that has always been on the proviso that it’s still safe and I am 100% comfortable (well, as comfortable as you can be in a bodypump class, you know what I mean!).
The strange thing about pregnancy is that you never know how long you have left, which makes it very hard to pace yourself. If someone told me now I have two weeks left, I would probably do one more bodypump class and call it a day, as it is definitely getting tougher. But facing the prospect of a potential 5.5 weeks left if I go overdue has kept me motivated, even if it does mean I might end up not giving myself as much rest as I might have hoped for if the little one does decide to come early. I have found that mental pacing quite challenging, knowing I could go two weeks overdue, but similarly being aware he might appear at any moment and I would probably then wish I had taken it easier for a few days.
At 29 weeks the hot weather really hit, and just walking up the hill became very hard work in the sunshine. But I know we live in England and the chances of this weather becoming frequent are pretty slim! It was a stark reminder that being heavily pregnant in the summer months can be tough, and I imagine being overdue in the heat would be a nightmare, so fingers crossed the little one makes an appearance before 42 weeks is up.
I have definitely done less walking this trimester than I would have hoped, up until about 34 weeks I was walking to work and back pretty religiously, but the combination of having our kitchen re-done and so needing to be on hand to pop home quickly to see tradesmen, and a few warmer days, meant I started driving into work much more for ease and speed. I am still walking to work and back when I can now though, and given it’s my final week at work now I am hoping to walk there and back right up until the end.
Classes and swimming
My aim this trimester was also to introduce some swimming and maybe some aqua classes as well, as my bump has been getting bigger and there’s more pressure on my back and hips I keep thinking water is the way to go. The main issues here are what the hell I should wear, as I say I am close to 37 weeks pregnant and buying a maternity swimming costume at this stage seems a bit silly, but similarly I think baring the bump in my beach bikinis probably is a bit cruel to everyone in the pool… I think once my maternity leave starts and I can get to the gym pool in the day whilst it’s quieter I will give the swimming a go.
It’s always been my plan in the third trimester to sign up to a ‘Keep Mums Fit’ antenatal course which includes gentle exercise and also helps with meeting other mums-to-be. Yet somehow I seem to have made it this far and haven’t signed up yet, I just feel like time has absolutely flown, I have no handle on how quickly it’s going. I’m sure once I get closer to the due date that time will tick by painfully slowly, but for now I kind of feel I might have left it too late to go to these classes with less than four weeks until my due date. I mean seriously, how on earth did that happen?!
Finally, a word on weight gain. Some people might envisage that still being pretty active and making it to gym classes at this stage would mean my weight gain has been minimal. And in honesty, it hasn’t been excessive. I am pretty confident that most of the fat I am holding is just being stored up for baby and I can shed it afterwards without too much of a problem. But what I would say is that keeping active in pregnancy is important, and for me it wasn’t necessarily about avoiding weight gain as it’s natural to hold onto some fat in pregnancy, but instead I have been more focused on going into labour and postpartum as strong as possible.
But exercise isn’t the whole battle. I am definitely less toned than I was coming into pregnancy, and I have a way to go once baby is here to get back to my ideal weight and to feel truly confident.My diet has been pretty healthy on the whole, but definitely could have been more so. I have definitely cut myself a lot of slack and eaten more treats than I usually would, and maybe I will look at my body after birth and bitterly regret that, but for now I feel like it has contributed to making pregnancy an enjoyable experience for me. If I was permanently beating myself up about what I am eating I know I would be feeling stressed and that’s never good.
The final stretch
I’m trying really hard not to count my chickens, and to be grateful for what I am still able to do right now. I really hope I can keep doing some forms of exercise for as long as possible, but if my health won’t allow this then there isn’t much I can do, and I will just have to accept it and not get hung up on things not going how I hoped. Earlier in this trimester I found it so hard to imagine at any one point how I would feel in a week’s time. At 29 weeks the prospect of a further 13 weeks to go seemed ridiculous, and now at 36.5 the idea of having another 5.5 weeks left at the absolute maximum is equal parts exciting and scary to be honest!
So yes, here I am with a potential maximum 5.5 weeks left to go in pregnancy. I will leave my trimester exercise updates here, but I do have one more to come about my hopes for exercising once baby is here, mainly so I have something to look back on and laugh at how idealistic I was before I had a baby in my life! But seriously, I am not setting lofty aims for my months as a new mum but I think it helps to at least consider what you might want to do and how you might go about it.
How have you found exercising during pregnancy?
(Thank you to Fern from The All Night Listening Post for taking some pictures of me bodypumping, I was super nervous to have these images taken so thank you to her for doing such a great job capturing me!)