Everywhere I look there is information and advice recommending exercise while pregnant. This sounds good to me, until I read on and realize all the things that should be avoided: cycling, aerobatics, skiing, most sports because of course any and all of these things could lead to a fall which of course would hurt the baby. Even running/jogging is debatable because of the new centre of gravity in pregnant women which makes it increasingly difficult to maintain normal balance and therefore a fall is ever possible. Okay fine, that is all reasonable so what's left? Walking, prenatal yoga and swimming all come as the most recommend forms of exercise for pregnant women.
Now I am not hugely athletic but I have always considered myself to be relatively active and fit (to varying degrees, at different points in my life) but I would have never considered walking to be exercise...until now. At first I looked down on these restrictions. Once I got over morning sickness I was feeling great. I went to the gym, to dance fit classes and even did light jogging. Those days are over.
Walking is actual exercise to me these days. I walk to and from work (only about 15 minutes each way) and I try and walk during my lunch break three times a week. I will usually do at least some walking on the weekends with friends and while running errands. And yes, now that I am fast approaching my third trimester I can tell you that walking is exercise to me. It takes all I have to push myself to 'power walk' on lunch because my body just doesn't want to do it. Walking home up a hill brings on some serious panting. A few weeks ago I was out walking on the seawall enjoying the day and decided to call my mom for a chat, it didn't take long for her to ask; "where are you walking to?" She asked because she could hear my laboured breathing over the phone and I was slightly embarrassed to say that I was simply strolling on a very flat part of the seawall and that this was just how I was now. Carrying an extra pounds certainly makes a difference, I can suddenly relate to all the overweight people in the world struggling to get through the day.
Swimming has been interesting too. Pregnant women will often rave about how wonderful being in the water is because you become weightless; however, I beg to differ. As someone who swam twice a week last year and sometimes more I definitely do feel a difference. Where I was once swift and strong moving through the water, I am now slow and heavy. I can literally feel my belly pulling me down as I attempt to move forward. My body is fighting against 'exercise', through my laboured breathing, extra pounds and serious sleepiness which makes the most normal activity seems impossible.
Did I mention the swelling feet, the swelling everything? It's a whole new world and I do not feel brave. But I do try, I try and eat well, I try and keep on moving and stretching and isn't that all we can do, is try?