Monday, June 2, 2008

Pregnancy

When I got pregnant (I know I’m supposed to say when we got pregnant) I could almost hear a collective sigh of relief from parents on both sides. Opinions and advice flowed freely from friends, family and total strangers: “Maybe now they’ll slow down (well, they’re going to have to).” “No more triathlons for them.” “Having a baby is a life changer,” (true, but usually said with a slightly ominous tone). “Enjoy it while you can.” “When are you going to buy a house?” “You shouldn’t run/bike because your ligaments are loose/it makes your heart work too hard/ your body temperature will get too high/ your centre of gravity is different/ you might fall / it’s hard on your joints / you need to rest up for the delivery. And so on.

Luckily, being new parents-to-be, we didn’t have much concept of what we were supposed to do and kept up our running, swimming and biking, albeit at a much lower intensity on my part, and we had to do workouts separately more often as I could no longer keep up with my husband.

Eventually I almost felt I had to sneak in to work on my bike because the pressure to ‘take it easy’ was increasing. Looking back on my diary, my last run was at 32 weeks (a walk-run) but I continued biking regularly (if not quickly) until 38 weeks, swimming until 41 weeks (one week over-due), hiking the local “Grouse Grind” weekly until 4 days over-due, walking and upper body weights. Still, I felt like I wasn’t doing enough. The curse of a triathlete, I suppose.

In the end, keeping relatively fit during pregnancy (except the first trimester, which was a complete write-off) kept me sane, and set me up for labour. Although I had to have an emergency C-section when Hannah wouldn’t tolerate the contractions, I believe staying fit helped me recover from the surgery much faster than I would have otherwise.

19 comments:

  1. Hi there, I was wondering about doing a triathlon one month after giving birth. How soon after you gave birth were you back to competing?

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  2. I'm also curious about how soon one can return to active training and events. assuming an uncomplicated birth. I'm due June 18 - does that mean my summer is a write-off?

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  3. To Jill...everyone obviously is different, but I had an uncomplicated birth with my first child and was back to swimming and biking a week after (my daughter was born on 6/14/07). As for competing, I easily could have competed that summer, but I was having a difficult time keeping up my milk supply and actually had to back off more from my training for that reason alone. So, depending how your delivery goes and if you're nursing or bottle feeding, do what you feel is right.

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  4. Hi Jill, I am an almost 40 mother of 5 and just found out I am expecting, the tricky part is that I am training for a half iron man in April. I am also doing my 3rd half marathon on Sunday...my question to you have found any great prenatal vitamins that make you feel great, or any other tips???

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  5. Rick - congrats and I wish I could help, but I don't have any tips. I had awful morning sickness for 3 months - all day and to the point where I couldn't even walk the dog without throwing up several times along the way. Prenatal vitamins would not stay down, period. Thankfully that is over now and I'm getting back into my exercise routine (and keeping the horse pills down). But, I'm out of shape now and my doctor has advised me not to train for any events. Good luck with yours, though! I'd love to hear how the training goes now that you're pregnant.

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  6. Hi Rick - wow, you've taken motherhood and training to a whole new level. I'm not sure I could even have 5 kids so hats off to you. I'm not sure any tips I had would be new to you - as I think you will have employed all of them just to get where you are. But, here are the tips I can offer (humbly):
    1. If it is an option, have someone come in to give you a break so you can train without distractions for an hour or so at least, more as the training volume increases.
    2. Use an indoor bike trainer and leave it set up, ready to go for when you get a chance to use it.
    3. Schedule swims (or runs) for before the household wakes up. Or, maybe you could swim while Dad takes others to swim lessons (?)
    4. None of the prenatal vitamins made me feel different, but smoothies were a time saver because you can eat them on the run. Put frozen fruit, milk/yogourt/soy milk, banana, protein powder, and maybe some flax seed or other Omega 3 rich food in, and blend.
    5. Keep a yoga mat and weights handy so you can get your stretching or strength training in whenever you can - even when playing on the floor with the kids.

    Anyone else have some tips?

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  7. I am 5 months pregnant and in my 2nd trimester and just started my own business a month before getting pregnant...just wanted to let you know that it was refreshing to "google" "triathalon after pregnancy" and find your blog. I am able to workout (not to my normal capacity) but I am itching to get back into it. "Slowing down" is a difficult concept for me and I chuckled a bit when I read your sentiments in your blog. I am a novice at motherhood but hopefully nature and any God-given nature/nurturing will kick in when the time is right. :)

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  8. I am unexpectedly 5 weeks pregnant with my 3rd and trying to decide if it is safe to do a sprint tri in about 5 weeks (I will be 10 weeks when I do it. Has anyone else done this? Did you just wear regular triathlon clothing? Wetsuit thoughts? The race is in Aurora CO. and I am from IL, so altitude will also come into play.

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  9. I am 5 weeks pregnant and will be 7 weeks with my 3rd pregnancy for a sprint tri in Ackworth, GA. I am a bit nervous about the heat and humidity as it had been unusually chilly here in Minnesota where I live. Is it not smart to plan on doing the tri being so early in the pregnancy? I really want to do it, but not so much as to risk the healthy of my baby. Any suggestions or advice? This is going to be my first real outdoor triathlon. Should I do it or wait until after my pregnancy when heat/humidity won't matter?

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  10. Hi all -

    Thanks for sharing. I've just started browsing around even though I am not yet pregnant. My husband is ready to go but I'm the one who keeps pushing it off for very selfish reasons - hoping to place this season. I'm a diehard triathlete and can't imagine slowing down. I've started reading to hopefully find some sort of inspiration from all you incredible triathlete moms. Perhaps I just don't have that innate "mom gene" where you are supposed to love being pregnant. Help!

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  11. Hi Mon - thanks for your comment. I wrote a new blog entry (see post Nov 29 2009) to help address your question. You inspired me!

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  12. I am 43,just started doing tris this summer and pretty sure I am pregnant. I am a doula (which is a trained labor coach) as well as a pilates and functional fitness trainer that specializes in pre and postnatal fitness. My point for bringing all that up is that the ACOG guidlines sugest pregnant women not train over 140 beats per minute, Dr. Clap in his co-authored book "Fit for mom" I think, said athletes can work higher. No high for the heart rate has really been established, but it seems in my opinion, that competition does not provide the ultimate baby growing environment. Do you want the blood pumping to your arms and legs or to your baby?

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  13. I'm a mother of two and a competitive marathon runner and Ironman triathlete. While pregnant, I modified my workouts to lower my heart rate, training volume, and did not compete in any triathlons. The risk of crashing on the bike and/or restricting blood flow to the baby is not worth it. However, I did continue to run half marathons and other shorter distance run races at a reduced speed. All of my cycling was done indoors on either the CycleOps or the Computrainer to ensure I would have no possibility of crashing. I gained a healthy 25 pounds (all of which was gone 4-5 weeks post-partum with breastfeeding). My babies were completely healthy, and I did a marathon 5 months post-partum. Every athlete is different. Remember, elites are generally able to tolerate more training than the average athlete. Do not use my results as a base for your own journey. Consult your physician. The baby should be your first priority.

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  14. Hello Ladies! I'm a first time pregnant (7weeks) and a marathon runnuer & triathlete. My doctor advice me to take Children's Chewable Multivitamins (2=1prenatal pill) because the prenatal pills were causing drawsiness/sick. He also recomend me to keep up with my training with the exception of lowering my heart rate under 130. Reading your post keeps me motivated to continue my training and actually feel more confident i can defenatly do some short runs meanwhile... thanks girls!

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  15. We are trying for a baby and I'm planning on a half ironman in October...if I was 3-4 months pregnant would I be able to complete this? I know I will be tired and all, but is it even possible?

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  16. Thank you all for posting your thoughts. It is wonderful to know that so many awsome women feel the way I do I am 7 weeks along, mother of a 2 year old beautiful and energetic boy, and a triathlete (besides another handful of adjetives that describe other responsibilities )
    For the upcoming Tri in august, I will be doing a relay - me doing the swim portion. That way I can keep motivated, continue to have wonderful experiences, and continue to celebrate all of the amazing things my body can do!
    Best wishes to all!

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  17. Hi I am 40 years old training for my first tri in November, (a sprint). I have been a runner all my life but bike and swim are new. I now found out I am 4 weeks pregnant with my third child, and am at a loss what should I do can I go ahead with my first Tri ( I would be around 18 weeks by then). Also I never trainied with my 2 first pregnancies due to working (now I dont work), so please any tips, advice all welcome, Tracy

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  18. I did a half IM when I was about 5 weeks pregant. I was careful on the swim, so I didn't get kicked. Then, after that, I decided to do a triathlon every month until the weather changed. I had the baby in March 2010, and I did sprints through October 2009. Then, I did 5Ks each month through the 7th month. I was fairly fit, but not some super workout person. After the baby, I started working out again about 2 months after her birth, and I was able to run a marathon and do halfs when she was just four or five months old. And, I did a full IM when she was 14 months at 12 hours 1 minute. Now, I'm pregnant with 2nd and will be doing a half at 10 weeks pregnant. However, I can already feel my body changing with this baby, so we'll see how slow that race does :)

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  19. IM anonymous & all you other super mUM"S - i am 2 weeks away from my 1st half IM, all trained , every thing paid for & a 12 month old to cheer me on - and I have just found out I am 6 weeks preggy! my midwife says it's no prob as I am fit & strong & my 1st pregnancy was a breeze - but worried about my heart rate as it will sit at about 165 - 175 bpm for the race!! thoughts???

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