So I’m now 6 months into my second pregnancy and the bump is starting to get seriously bigger but whilst on my summer holidays I’m keen to keep as active as possible. My gynaecologist is an immensely pragmatic lady who’s motto is “it’s not an illness, you’re pregnant” and as such she advocates that you can pretty much do whatever you did pre-pregnancy without of course exaggerating. But it’s funny how others react when they see a pregnant lady steaming past power walking or trekking a mountain trail.
Most years we come up to the Italian Dolomites for a week or two as we’re self-confessed mountain lovers. In the past we’d trek from rifugio to rifugio carrying heavy packs and getting drunk on the spectacular scenery. Now we trek the more frequently trodden family friendly paths with 12kgs of 2-year old in ergo carrier and, this year, a 6 1/2 month bump of baby in tow. Has it lessened our enjoyment? No. We’ve simply adapted our love of the mountains to the needs of our family.
But it seems that seeing a pregnant lady out exercising splits opinions! From muttered ‘wows’ and ‘bravos’ to shocked faces and judgmental comments I’ve seen and heard it all. My neighbour frequently tells me I walk too much when I set out for my usual power walk. And maybe I do. For the other pregnant women I’ve seen so far in the mountains are all taking it easy pottering around the village whilst I am out doing 12km trails and testing my new running trainers!
But on a serious note, I am taking it easy too. Each trek is punctuated by picnics and plenty of time relaxing in meadows and playing games with my husband and daughter. I am on holiday after all not on an army march!
The thing that perhaps many fail to grasp is that keeping fit helps both psychologically as well as physically and can be a major boost to a pregnant lady. On the physical side I ask plenty of advice from experts and came on holiday after seeing a sports physio for a recurring back pain to be sure that I was doing the right kind of exercises to protect both my back and growing baby. And my yoga instructor gave me a special set of pregnancy yoga moves to ensure the same thing.
Whilst I’ve conveniently forgotten much of the birth of my first daughter, my one resounding memory is that it was physically demanding! It was hard work. And I was younger and fitter. So for me, maintaining a fitness regime whilst pregnant is all about preparing for round two!
But, more than that, it provides time (often precious time alone) to mentally relax and break away from the everyday routine. There is nothing I love more than plugging my music in and striding off for a good power walk. This morning I trekked a 6km mountain trail and felt invigorated and full of life breathing in the fresh mountain air. And it gave me a chance to take stock of things and think through all the stuff I need to do in the coming months. Time to think is a valuable gift when you have a 2 year old!
But I haven’t forgotten that I’m on holiday and I finished up by meeting my husband and daughter for a delicious plate of Pasta and Kaisserschmarn (a mountain pancake-like dish) in one of the mountain huts close to home.
And tomorrow I’ll be taking it easy and having a mummy- daughter day whilst my husband goes off climbing. I may squeeze in a bit of light yoga but luckily the sight of a pregnant woman sitting and stretching is considered fair game!
So whatever you do or don’t do during your own pregnancies, take advice and stay safe but don’t be pressured into believing that you can’t have a bump and still go……