Bump Friendly Fitness

Being pregnant with triplets didn’t seem like that much of a challenge until the last week or so. Suddenly as I finish 19 weeks, I am really starting to feel the aches, pains and heaviness of my growing belly. Early on, many people asked me if I would be able to keep up a regular fitness routine, if I would be on bed rest for a large portion of my pregnancy, even if it was safe to carry three babies at almost 47. My answers, with a couple caveats, are easy: yes, no (at least I hope not, and not so far), and yes, absolutely.

Let me start by saying I was super active before our transfer date. My normal workout routine was anywhere from 5-7 days a week, give or take, and was a mix of HIIT, walking, running, barre, yoga and circuit training. Up until the pandemic shut things down, I was regularly at classes at Orange Theory Fitness, Solidcore Pilates and a host of other studios through my ClassPass membership. I could usually be found at yoga on Sundays with my husband, our version of Sunday morning service. Once we had to move it all home, we set up circuits in our living room with a mish-mosh of equipment we put together, and moved to online streaming. OTF youtube videos, yoga on Facebook live and I went back to barre, one of my original fitness loves and something I used to teach, with the help of Monica Flores – she’s a Dallas local (and she choreographed our wedding dance) who offers both on demand videos and live Zoom classes.

On the day of our transfer, they put me on three days of bed rest and after that, no workouts were allowed at all through the first two weeks of the long wait to see if we were pregnant (though I knew on day four but more about that later). Then when the blood tests came back that I was very pregnant, they allowed me to go back to just walking. Only 30 minutes at a time. So I got moving in slow, short bursts, as I protected those tiny little embryos from too much jostling. But it was hard not to move my body. I’ve always been active. I co-owned and taught at a fitness studio for five years, and I rely on fitness to help keep me feeling young both mentally and physically. My whole first trimester I was only allowed to walk. Which gets really boring when you are a variety workout junkie. Fortunately, it’s been nice and cool here in Dallas so outdoor walks by the lake are lovely this time of year. If my first trimester had been in July, I would have had a problem. Even better, I have a handful of friends and family members who would keep me company so I wasn’t always by myself.

When I finally graduated to the second trimester and saw my OB for the first time, she said I could go back to a wider variety of low impact workouts as long as I paid attention to my heart rate and made sure not to overdue it. My MFM agreed a few weeks later and a good family friend who is the former head of the NICU at Baylor Dallas said recently that exercise is critical in a multiple pregnancy and I should work to always keep moving as much as possible. So for the last month and a half, I’ve been back at it 4-5 days a week. It’s not always easy, but it does help me feel better, and I think it’s been helping to make my pregnancy as easy as possible.

About to start class!

My favorite workout these days is Monica’s barre class. I can do it in my living room, and she has so many options in her on demand library, or I can jump on a live Zoom, which is the best when I can fit it in my schedule. And while you can do any of her barre classes while pregnant because she always gives no impact options, she has a special prenatal series that is broken up by trimester to give you workouts that are super specific to your stage of pregnancy. Monica is a mom of three, had her last little girl in her 40’s and is pregnant right along with you in the prenatal series. Check out my resources tab for more info on how to access her videos!

And now, the caveats. It’s not always easy to workout. It’s getting harder by the week. I am struggling with pain in my left hip and my left leg as a result of the damage done to it back in 2013, when I was ill with Necrotizing Fasciitis and had 11 surgeries on that leg to save it and to save my life. I just started seeing a chiropractor to see if that will help alleviate some of the discomfort I’m now feeling when I walk or stand too long. So that’s my big issue. For others it could be something else that causes them to either not be able to move well or to be in a position where it’s not safe for them or the baby to exercise. Always listen to your doctors first before you do any kind of workout. I was annoyed as heck when my fertility doc would only let me walk, but I followed the rules and I’ve got three healthy littles growing away so I’m glad I did. Also, always listen to your body. There have been days where I intend to do and hour and end up tapping out at 30 minutes, or I’m out on a walk and something aches or pulls and I have to remind myself that it’s not about walking fast, it’s just about walking and to just slow the heck down already. Some days, I need to just put my feet up and stay in bed. Finally, never listen to anyone who says you can’t, including yourself. Can’t because you’re too old, can’t because somebody else they knew couldn’t. Can’t because it’s hard. Of course it’s hard, but it’s also worth it.