In this series, Fit To Be Pregnant is highlighting inspirational mamas from around the globe and how they made their pregnancies fit, comfortable, and healthy. If you’d like to be be featured, get in touch! We’d love to have you!
Today’s Fit Pregnancy Profile is Sara, a marathon runner whose baby boy and first child just turned one in September.
What was your diet like during your pregnancy?
I tried to stick to a healthy diet while allowing myself to enjoy my cravings. I never restricted what I ate but I tried to keep it around 2000 calories a day. My pregnancy eating habits weren’t all that different from my pre-pregnancy food choices. I made certain to eat tons of veggies as well as lots of different flavors and spices.
What was your exercise routine like during pregnancy?
I became pregnant 8 weeks after running my first marathon. I continued to run throughout my whole pregnancy and added in other cardio on days I didn’t feel like running. As I neared the middle and end of the third trimester, I incorporated prenatal yoga and walking. Running gradually became more sporadic towards the end and I treated each run as if it could be my last.
What was your greatest obstacle to staying healthy during your pregnancy, and how did you overcome it?
The greatest obstacle is the idea that we should treat ourselves with delicacy during pregnancy. While it is a time filled with growth (physical and emotional), it does not leave us disabled. I pushed through my exhaustion on many days and it was worth it. Even if it was a short workout or a home cooked meal, I knew it was important for my baby and I pushed through it. The benefits of staying fit and active are so tremendous and that thought helped to push me through.
What motivated you to exercise and eat healthy food during your pregnancy? How did you manage when you didn’t feel motivated?
Motivation is a struggle for me (pregnant or not). As I said earlier, the motivation to try to have a healthy pregnancy was so strong. I did give in on some days to the desire to nap after work rather than doing something active but I tried to stick to my pre-pregnancy routine of 4-5 days per week of some sort of activity. Some days were better than others and I tried not to beat myself up. I always felt better when I workout out during pregnancy so that kept me going.
Did/Have you allowed yourself to give in to any cravings?
I did have cravings and I definitely gave in. Some frequent foods were twizzlers, cooked sushi, and banana peppers.
How did you feel about your body during pregnancy? Were you excited about the changes, or was it difficult for you to deal with? How did you manage those feelings?
Like all things pregnancy related, my relationship with my body was very dynamic and ever changing. I loved the way I looked with my growing belly but with that being said, I had moments of panic where I would catch a glimpse of myself and feel a moment of “where did that arm flab come from”. I was always able to talk myself down as those thoughts occurred but they still happened. I think staying strong and active helped combat the negative thinking. At other times, I would be out and just absolutely thrilled with my appearance and loved the visible evidence that I was growing a baby. I showed off my bump in form fitting clothing and enjoyed talking about the physical changes with other moms and moms to be.
Overall as I reflect back on my pregnancy, I enjoyed the changes my body endured and am proud of the amazing and beautiful baby I grew. When I was pregnant, It was exciting to see my belly expand and grow each day. I would run my hands over my belly each morning when I awoke and see if there was any growth. I couldn’t wait to be visibly pregnant and relished the moments when people I didn’t know first noticed my belly.
When I look in the mirror today I see stretch marks and loose skin but I also see strength and femininity. I know that I may always have those reminders of pregnancy but it doesn’t bother me (much). And if I start the negative self talk monologue, I have a wonderful support system to bring me back down to earth and remind me of what is truly important.
How did birth go? Do you feel that your healthy pregnancy helped in any way with birth? Did you have any interventions?
Unfortunately I did not have the birth I “planned” for. I was 11 days overdue and was induced which led to a cascade of medical interventions leading to an emergency c-section.
How long did it take you to bounce back after birth?
Recovering from a c-section was not what I anticipated having to do, but unfortunately that was what was necessary. I felt good enough to take a few steps (albeit slow and with assistance) within a few hours post surgery. Each day was an improvement on the day before. At 5 days post-partum we took our first family walk. By 5 weeks I went on my first run with the running stroller. And at 7 weeks I pushed the stroller while I ran a (slow) 5k.
Were you leading a healthy lifestyle before pregnancy, or did pregnancy inspire you to become healthier?
I was leading a healthy lifestyle pre-pregnancy. I certainly indulged in delicious food but for the most part I made pretty healthy choices.
What was your favorite thing to eat during pregnancy?
Hmmm that’s a hard question!! There was no one particular food that I ate all the time but if someone mentioned a food, it set off an instant craving.
What is your proudest accomplishment of your pregnancy?
I think my proudest pregnancy accomplishment is staying active for 41+ weeks.
What advice do you have for other moms who want to have a fit and healthy pregnancy?
Best advice is to try and meet other pregnant women who are also trying to stay active. It helps to have a connection and can make staying fit an important social activity. Prenatal yoga was awesome for this.
What book, website, person inspired you to stay fit and healthy during pregnancy, or did you find useful?
I read tons of blogs but one of my favorites was runinspired.wordpress.com which chronicled (amongst many other things) the blogger’s fit pregnancy.
What was your favorite product that helped you stay fit and healthy during your pregnancy?
Belly band for support and stretchy workout gear. Someone to help tie your shoes 🙂
Did anyone judge you or say anything negative about your exercise routine during pregnancy?
No judgment that I was aware of. Got some looks but I think it’s because people aren’t used to seeing pregnant women staying fit. A few high fives and thumbs ups from other runners.
What was the one thing you did for yourself during pregnancy that you would recommend to anyone else who is expecting?
Pamper yourself- run/workout on your own schedule. Sleep in. Go out with your partner or friends. Enjoy the time you have!