I just reached 3 months pp and am somewhere between 2 & 3.
My time in 0 and 1 were luckily very smooth.
For the first few weeks after the positive test I was still really tentative! (Later reading seemed to indicate you mainly need to take it easy in the couple days around implantation.) Other than gentle movement, I didn’t do too much. After the 6 week ultrasound I had more confidence in the pregnancy and started exercising again.
I had 3 great resources that helped. First, a 3-time mom friend said that whatever you want to do throughout, start early – you don’t want to take a big break and then come back when your body has changed a ton. For her it was yoga and walking. For me it was bikes (I haven’t gone into specifics in the past but my sport is bike racing, dabbled in almost every type but most of my more intensive racing time was on the velodrome). I took this to heart and even on days that I felt too sleep deprived or barfy, gave myself permission to just go through the motions. Sometimes I would warm up for 20 mins, decide I wasn’t feeling it (often because I hadn’t slept and felt my reaction time was too slow), and go home – which a counted as a success because some movement is better than none!
Second, the book “Exercising Through Your Pregnancy” by Clam & Clapp. There’s very little peer reviewed research on this topic but this book summarizes just about all of it! There’s a lot of info about the metabolic & cardiovascular adaptations of pregnancy which got me very excited about these new superpowers. The biggest risks are falling/impact and overheating/oxygen deprivation, but (1) the pelvis does a good job of protecting the uterus especially in first trimester and (2) it’s only at the VO2 max level that oxygen deprivation happens; anaerobic/threshold zone is generally ok. Once I read this book I felt much more liberated to continue.
Third, having 2 teammates/sport friends who were also pregnant and a super supportive partner.
I felt so good in months 4-6 despite the bump! Month 7 wasn’t too bad early on, but I felt bulky by the end. Overall, for most of my pregnancy I probably averaged about half my usual training volume at half the intensity.
This also was relatively easy. The suggestions in the Random Questions, Postpartum Edition were so helpful. Bleeding stopped by 2 weeks. The only thing was puffy ankles and legs from all that IV fluid which I thought could only get better. I was actually riding a mile on the bike by the second week, just to skip traffic & parking & waiting in lines on my daily commute to the NICU. Sitting back on my actual sit bones meant there was no pressure at all on my perineum, and therefore no pain.
Stage 2 has proven to be tricky. About a month after delivery I had built up some stabbing pain in my wrist and heel, and a duller ache in my back. I could barely walk to the bathroom without stabbing pain. I thought you were supposed to feel better a month postpartum, not worse! I finally went to the PT that you wonderful forum people urged me to. As a pelvic floor specialist she had lots of experience with postpartum people, even if I didn’t need that help specifically.
They did an evaluation that lasted almost an hour and identified 4 things to work on:
- Wrist tendinitis from holding up a floppy newborn head
- Plantar fasciitis and arch tendinitis probably from too much relaxin
- Tight hip flexors from hunching over to breastfeed
- Weak core. My back never bothered me during pregnancy and the PT said often the bump provides some tension & stabilization, but when the bubble “bursts” things get floppy again.
I ended on a program of weekly paraffin, heat, & ultrasound therapy, plus strengthening exercises at home. They also recommended replacing my house slippers with Hoka recovery shoes that had great arch support. After about 6 weeks of this I am feeling MUCH better. I can go on short walks again, though if I go longer my foot will ache that night. But, the baby loves walks. He calms down and naps during walks. So I tend to push it and walk too much.
It’s amazing how uneven my recovery is. A 3-hour hilly ride felt good. But I can barely walk more than a mile. So I’m trying not to get ahead of myself, and need to prioritize PT. I think for the next 2 months I’ll aim for 1 longer and 2 short rides a week, and PT exercises every other day. I’ve also had some milk production struggles so don’t want to go too hard and risk my supply before… 6 months? 9 months?