Pregnancy Fitness the 7th Time Around...

I live in a split level home with stairs everywhere. There's even a little step leading from the kitchen to the living room which is weird and deadly but something we've learned to live with. To be honest with you, I've come to embrace all of our stairs for the simple fact that in the midst of bustling large family homeschooling life, they are my Stairmaster.

By the end of the day, I'm usually tanked. Nothin' left. At almost 8 months pregnant, I have entered into the it's-time-to-have-the-baby-now phase. The final lap. A loooong lap.

Be that as it may, I am well aware of the need for some kind of exercise and no, even heavy housework doesn't seem to be enough. I am talking about exercise that deliberately prepares the muscles to handle increased baby weight, softening joints, and the significantly athletic event of labor. Housework is not worthless but more often than not, it is the vehicle by which I am made aware that my level of fitness is abysmal. It is the painful reminder that my back needs abdominal muscles in order to remain in the correct position. It is the visible assessment of my pitiful endurance level. I had a load of clean load of laundry to carry upstairs yesterday and I just stood in the basement and stared at it miserably. Then, like an angel of mercy, the Chief appeared at the foot of the stairs. Oh happy, happy moment! My knight in shining armor! PLEASE darling... carry this basket up for me?

When I was the mother of two, I thought it would be fun to become a certified prenatal fitness instructor. I grew a rather impressive collection of prenatal workout videos over the years. Where are they now? The VHS tapes are useless and donated. The DVD's swapped or sold. As the mother of 6 born children... well, I am just trying not to throw my back out doing the dishes, know what I'm saying?

Every once in a while I pick up some hand weights. And now that the weather is nice I have been forcing myself to walk. With my last pregnancy, the Chief and I were walking 4 to 5 (miserable) miles a day for the last 3 months and this time I'm barely able to eek out three. I was also able to maintain a little muscle while coaching volleyball during the last trimester. This time... well... I tried to rub out a muscle cramp the other night and I realized I had no muscle to rub. I couldn't figure out where the pain was originating. It's very sad.

Labor and delivery with my last baby was only about an hour and left us 8 minutes to spare for delivery after getting to the hospital. It was crazy fast and I would prefer a little more time (for the red lights) but I have to think that all those miles and miles of steps helped with labor efficiency. As much as I would not like to relive the last stressful experience of labor, I have to admit that there are some advantages to being quick.

My thoughts also tend keep jumping ahead to the future and how I'm going to turn things around after I have the baby. That's fine. I can do that. But it simply isn't true that a pregnant woman cannot increase her level of fitness. I have done it. It isn't pretty and it isn't dramatic but it's possible. At this point, anything I do will be an increase... and a blessing to my family. They deserve to have me at my best, not weak and injured and utterly tapped out at the smallest efforts due to my own negligence of bodily health. Not to mention the fact that I'll have a baby to carry around pretty soon.

Weights and walking. That's my prescription. A little at a time. Sometimes a very little. For the greater glory of God... in service to His children.

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Posted on May 22, 2013 and filed under "exercise", "pregnancy fitness", "pregnancy", "prenatal fitness".