Fitness in pregnancy – Part 1

I have been thinking quite a lot about the past few months and how fast really they have whisked by. It is something that surprises me. I would say that I had higher expectations from myself during all this time, especially in terms of keeping fit and active and in shape.

I don’t want to beat up myself here at all, but somehow the whole fitness in pregnancy experience ended up being a bit different than I expected.

I had my running pregnancy books picked out, ready and waiting for me, namely Runner’s World Guide to Running and Pregnancy, and Exercising through your pregnancy (a much-welcome gift from fellow sports activist and partner-in-crime Christina, currently at the beginning of this wonderful journey into pregnancy herself).

And I did keep running at the beginning, even if it meant doing the Oxford Town & Gown 10K on the15th May (a week after that the Stratford marathon that was never meant to be) in about 55min (and that included speeding up in the end, simply because I could not take the cautious running any more).

That was early on in the pregnancy.

After that I did keep up running, mostly half hour runs around Oxford University Parks, and I did do some of the easier HRR Thursday club runs.

But I was not enjoying it much. I was constantly aware of my body temperature changing, the niggles and pains around my growing bump, and worried about how baby was taking the bumping around.

Maybe I worried too much. Perhaps I did. But when it is the first time you are experiencing a pregnancy, you are perhaps a bit more cautious than the next time (s) round? I am not sure.

Photo courtesy of Tiverylucky at
Photo courtesy of Tiverylucky at

Given that an elevated body temperature (102.5 F or 39.2 C or higher) can damage the fetus and increase the risk of birth defects of the brain and spine, I was always conscious and sceptical. And then, the anemia kicked in and I saw my hemoglobin levels so low for the first time ever (9 gm/dl!!) that I was actually scared.

In early July, I ran for the last time, 30 min on grass around the cricket fields near our house. On top of everything else, the side stiches were so intense and uncomfortable that I had to stop and walk a few times.  It was the last straw, more or less. I was five months pregnant and I had had enough.

Walking, swimming and cycling have been my staple fitness diet since then. I am so envious when I see other runners, being able to gliss through the streets of Oxford, some more gracefully than others. I already know that my post-pregnancy present to myself is going to a brand new pair of running shoes – and I can’t wait!

It will be interesting to see how I recover from the C-section (with baby being breech, at the moment this is the way to go) and see how I feel when I start running again. The when, I am keeping pretty much open as well. We will see how things go.

First things first. Boy must arrive, healthy and happy. Then everything else will follow. Including the running, that has set my mind free for so many years and hopefully will continue to do so for many more years to come.

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4 thoughts on “Fitness in pregnancy – Part 1

  1. I felt the same way. Didn't enjoy running, but LOVED swimming throughout & yoga only in last trimester. Bowling once in the 2nd-3rd month was highly unpleasant – too much twisting. But I think you say it all about pregnancy & much of motherhood so far: "somehow the whole experience ended up being a bit different than I expected." We are all fed these ideas about how it all is, but it's different for each person & each body. And in pregnancy your body speaks to you so clearly about what it wants & doesn't want.

  2. Thanks for the tip on motherhood!
    It is so true that we have preconceptions about all these issues, how things are or aren't, should or shouldn't be.
    Sometimes, among all those voices, it is a struggle finding your own. But we need to keep trying.

  3. I am sure once you start running again it is going to be even more fulfilling than before. It will take a little bit more planning and you will have more on your mind, but I think you will appreciate more the time you take for yourself. Don't worry about anything Natasha mou, you will have a healthy, beautiful boy, you are going to fall in love will him totally and after a little (or a lot of) turmoil life will set on its new course. You have already done it once so you know you can do it again.

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