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6 Lessons Learned From My Fit and Healthy Pregnancy

Six Lessons Learned From My Fit And Healthy Pregnancy | Fit to Be PregnantNow that I’m a couple of months out from being pregnant, I can look back at the entire experience and share what I learned from those 9 months. Here are the biggest lessons I took away from my fit and healthy pregnancy. (For a more comprehensive guide to fit and healthy pregnancy, make sure to pick up a copy of my ebook – Fit To Be Pregnant: 12 Steps to the Healthy, Comfortable, and Fit Pregnancy of Your Dreams.

1. Pregnancy is the ultimate conditioning.

I worked out until the last week of pregnancy. I remember the first time I tried jump rope again 5 weeks post-partum, I was expecting it to be really difficult. The last time I had jump-roped I had been 7 months along and HUGE. What I found instead was that I felt like I was bouncing on springs!! Jumping up and down 25 pounds lighter was, duh, certainly easier! Running and other endurance activities felt much easier as well. In fact, studies have shown that women who exercise during pregnancy actually are healthier and fitter throughout the rest of their lives (lowered risk of heart disease and osteoporosis) than women who give up exercise while pregnant [1].


2. Speaking of jumping, don’t do it.

Around 35 weeks I was sluggishly still jumping away through my workouts, hopping on step-benches, performing broad jump burpees, and feeling pretty great until nighttime, when my hips and back would have this horrible, dull ache that kept me awake all night. I just thought it was part of the pregnancy, until my chiropractor set me straight (literally, ha). Because of all the relaxin in my body, when I was jumping my hip and pelvic joints were all getting knocked around like crazy, and nighttime was when it was catching up with me. Once I stopped, the nighttime aches and pains went away almost immediately. In hindsight, I wish I would have removed all jumping exercise when I hit the third trimester, if not sooner.

3. A fit and healthy pregnancy is a comfortable one.

Other than what I mentioned above, I am still absolutely DUMBFOUNDED at the differences in my first three pregnancies from my last. I never had the majority of the pregnancy woes with this guy that I had with all the other kids. I had energy, I slept well, I had very few mood swings, and generally felt like myself up until the day of delivery. In my second trimester, we took a 5 1/2 week road trip that involved hiking and camping for the majority of the trip, and I never felt like I wasn’t up for it – I felt great! I felt so regretful for having sentenced myself to discomfort in my past pregnancies with my unhealthy lifestyle. Read my comparison of my healthiest and unhealthiest pregnancies here.

4. You are not as in control of your body as you think.

When I did discover health and fitness several years ago, I absolutely loved knowing that I could manipulate certain things to make my body do what I wanted. If I wanted to get lean fast for an upcoming event or vacation, I knew just what to eat and how to exercise. If I just wanted to stay in my same size clothes but relax my eating, I knew just how far I could take it without overdoing it. If I wanted to run a faster 5K, I knew how to do that too. Once those pregnancy hormones hit, my body went into autopilot somewhat. I was certainly still in control of how I felt, but my body put the fat on that it needed to, and I lost muscle regardless of what exercises I performed. I was sad about this at first but as I have learned to do, I trusted my body that it was doing what it needed to nourish my baby. It’s a lesson I’m using even now as my body refuses to drop fat while I breastfeed.

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5. Healthy diet = healthy placenta = healthy baby

This might be gross, but my midwife was so thoroughly impressed with my placenta. She raved about it to her assistant, “Look at this placenta! That’s one of the biggest I’ve seen! You must be a really healthy eater!” I had never thought I’d say this, but I couldn’t help be proud of that placenta with all that praise! I knew I was eating for my baby, giving him as many nutrients as possible with a very strategically planned diet, but it was really rewarding to see the culmination of that dedication: a 9 pound 7 ounce bowling ball of a baby, and a placenta that made my midwife proud. 🙂 Read here for the foods I made sure to eat lots of, and that you should try to eat during pregnancy, too.

6. A fit and healthy pregnancy does not guarantee an easy birth.

Now, it may stack the odds for an *intervention-free* delivery, which I still had, but this was a far cry from an easy birth. Austin had a giant head (holding a big brain, thanks!!) and linebacker shoulders (like his daddy!), was posterior AND had shoulder dystocia. I was surprised at all of it, because as fit as I had been, I expected to push a little and be done, not the movie-quality scene that actually went down, complete with my screaming at the midwife to JUST GET HIM OUT.  Had I known this, I wouldn’t have done anything different except to not have my children and parents waiting downstairs where all could be heard. I’m not sure either of my daughters will ever want to give birth now ;).

What lessons did you learn from your own fit (or not) pregnancies? Share in the comments!

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  1. Robin

    February 20th, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    This is so great! I’m 22 weeks pregnant now and really appreciate you sharing your experiences, especially about the jumping!

  2. Deanna Schober

    February 20th, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    Actually, someone left a comment here on my blog that clued me in, I’m so glad they did! Thanks for coming by 🙂

  3. Natalia

    February 20th, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    I agree with everything here. I have never felt better and can’t believe I’m this comfortable at six months along. I never felt like this with my first pregnancy, I felt horrible all the time. Thank you for sharing this. I love all of your blog, it has helped me in so many ways. You are an inspiration!

  4. Deanna Schober

    February 20th, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    Thanks Natalia! I’m glad you are feeling so great 🙂

  5. Brittany Williams

    February 20th, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    I love reading all of your blog post and seeing your pics on instagram. Thanks for sharing your journey. You help keep things in prospective for me. Well long story short (maybe lol). I am 4 weeks (24, 1st pregnancy) and I purchased the Carlson Cod liver oil and have been taking the prenatal you suggested for the past couple months. I love them. My OB told me not to take the Cod liver oil because of the Vitamin A content. Ugh! I know I need to find a midwife who has the same views as me. Maryland is very limited for that, but I’m not giving up for the pregnancy I want! Thanks again.

  6. Deanna Schober

    February 20th, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    The fish oil thing is pretty controversial from what I could tell, so make sure you research it too 🙂 you must have just found out you were pregnant, congrats!!

  7. Ashley

    February 21st, 2014 at 7:22 am

    Did you have any issues with abdominal separation? Despite catering my workouts to avoid it, I’m at 26weeks and have begun to see the slight bulge that indicates separation. Was interested if you’ve ever dealt it. Great write up! Keeps me motivated to stay on top of it 🙂

  8. Deanna Schober

    February 21st, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    I had it with every pregnancy (this was my 4th). I have never really taken any steps to correct it completely, but it’s already fixing itself naturally this time around. I know that there are ways to rehab the separation post-partum but I’ve never tried, maybe I should look into it 🙂

  9. Jackie

    March 3rd, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    I enjoy reading your blog. Thank you for sharing! I was just wondering if you’ve had any issues with postpartum hair loss? Did you have hair loss with your other pregnancies? Do you think being fit, and eating clean helped prevent hair loss? Just curious. 🙂

  10. Deanna Schober

    March 3rd, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    Hi Jackie! I haven’t noticed anything different with my hair this time, but my hair is so thick anyways that I never have paid much attention. From what I understand though, the hair loss (and lack of during pregnancy) are hormonal and probably not affected much by diet.

  11. RNmax

    March 20th, 2014 at 10:21 am

    I have been following ur blog for a while during my pregnancy and now postpartum. I just had my third child 2 months ago and the difference between the pregnancies and postpartum is amazing. With my first 2 children i started off their pregnancies about 30 lbs overweight, then gained another 32 lbs. I did not do much exercise either. This last pregnancy I started off at a healthy weight and at a good fitness level as well. I continued to watch what i ate and i worked out 30 min 4-5 days a week up until 39 weeks. I only gained the recommended 25 lbs and despite my huge belly i look fit and toned. I felt great most of my pregnancy. I also had the fastest labor, 4 hrs from first contraction, barely made it to the hospital in time, while my other 2 kids i had 18-20 hr labors. I had a healthy 8 lb baby completely naturally with no medical intervention. Now postpartum I have bounced back fairly well. I am a nursing student and had to be back in school at 1 week postpartum so i have been walking and taking stairs from the start. Now for the last 2 weeks i have started working out again. I definitely have some muscle to regain but the cardio is not so hard. Thanx for your blog, you are an inspiration!

  12. Deanna Schober

    March 24th, 2014 at 8:08 am

    Good luck with school and all of it, YOU are an inspiration!

  13. Mary

    December 19th, 2014 at 2:59 am

    Wow, it’s great to hear that staying fit in pregnancy would be an advantage. I am a polish girl, pregnant (13th week, 1st baby) and I did some research in polish-language sites. As far as I know a lot of people encourage future mommies to exercises, but the training should be slow, generally focused on breathing, totally without “hard” sports like cycling, jogging, jumping. I do pilates, but I really would like to add some stronger exercises. Thank you for your advises and sharing your knowledge!

  14. Deanna Schober

    December 19th, 2014 at 9:51 am

    Good luck Mary!!

  15. Chelsea King

    March 22nd, 2017 at 10:23 am

    I’m 4 weeks pregnant, just found out but I want to stay active. I was wondering do you know if it’s about to do jump rope exercises within the first few weeks. I know your post said to stop jumping excerises during the thiRd trimes terms but is it complete save during the first trimester?


  16. Deanna Schober

    March 22nd, 2017 at 1:39 pm

    According to the research I did (here) the baby itself is always protected within the water sac, it’s like being surrounded by shock absorbers, so in theory it’s safe for the baby (but of course ask your own OB first). The problem wasn’t necessarily safety but comfort for me and this is why I stopped.

  17. Jini

    March 9th, 2018 at 5:34 pm

    I am on my third and decided that I’m not going to take this one sitting down. The first pregnancy I worked out until about midway through the second trimester, my second, I quit working out as soon as I found out because I was feeling nauseous all the time and now, I’m about 8 weeks. I’m very sick but workout out through it because I’ve realized how difficult it is to bounce back from NOT working out. Excited to see how staying active and working out as long as possible will help my weight and this pregnancy go smoothly. One question: Did you run through 39 weeks as well? Right now I’ve toned down the running in my workouts to jogging because if I do sprints, I feel like I’m going to throw up, but I’d like to return to running, as soon as the morning sickness stops.

  18. Deanna Schober

    March 9th, 2018 at 5:59 pm

    Hi – I was able to run through my second trimester, and then switched to just walking. It was just too uncomfortable and I kept getting stuck miles from home with nowhere to pee!! 🙂 But I was able to return to running pretty quickly after birth!

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