I’m definitely getting slower and it’s taking more energy to move this growing body. I learned that I cannot do unassisted pullups anymore! I’ve noticed the biggest change throughout this pregnancy in my upper body strength and stamina; my arms get fatigued even washing my hair! I’ve also had to modify more abdominal work as my belly has grown; it gets a very pointy shape to it whenever I do anything overly ab-intensive. Back extensions on the GHD have been a great substitute for anything that isolates the abdominals. I’ve also limited my running; my belly is getting more and more uncomfortable with jostling as it had gotten bigger. It’s more tolerable to warm up with jump roping rather than a jog with the rest of the class.
The hardest aspect of my third trimester has been getting the motivation to work out. The old fatigue of the first trimester has returned, although instead of hitting like a sudden coma, it’s a gradual, aching feet, I’m-too-exhausted-to-move kind of tired. Working out three times a week with plenty of rest and recovery time has been a good schedule for me. I’ve noticed that I’m getting more and more sore from less intense and lighter movements. This must be a combination of the physical and hormonal changes in my body (especially my pelvic area) as well as the stress of moving more body weight around in my workouts (at 33 weeks, I’m at a total weight gain of 28 pounds).
We made a big change at 28 weeks and decided that working with a midwife would be a better fit for us than continuing with my OB. My biggest concern for labor and delivery was to avoid c-section and, with c-section rates around 1 in 3 women with most hospitals/practices, I was increasingly nervous about limiting interventions that might lead to complications and a potentially unnecessary c-section. I started doing more reading and talking with Jeff about our options. The more I compared the philosophical model of care that you can find with midwives, the more I realized that it perfectly matched the other aspects of how we live our lives: the human body is a well-oiled machine and, rather than working against our natural processes or trying to improve on what Mother Nature has already perfected, we should trust our own ability and keep it simple! After all, we focus on natural, compound movements in the gym that are safer than isolation movements and we eat real food rather than something that can sit in your pantry for a year without expiring. I eventually came to realize that I needed to trust that my body knows what to do even if I’m not aware of it and, in the very rare case that I do need medical or even surgical intervention, I live about four miles from some of the best hospitals in the country. Once I became comfortable with that thought, we decided to hire a midwife and plan for a home birth (including a birthing pool, a.k.a. the midwife’s epidural).
Other than getting tired much more easily and difficulty sleeping, my only other development in the last few weeks has been some swelling. At 32 weeks, I flew to St. Louis to visit my parents and ride with them to Lexington, KY for a car show and my baby shower over that weekend. I had worked out a couple times that week before traveling, but I definitely noticed some side effects of being more sedentary than normal. In a 5 day trip, I spent about 4 hours sitting on a plane and approximately 15 hours sitting in a car with no workouts in the mix. I noticed a great deal of swelling in my calves, ankles, and feet that kept getting worse over the course of the long weekend. By Sunday evening as we were driving back to St. Louis, I had gigantic sausages for toes that were really uncomfortable (lots of pressure and tingling). When I got home Monday, I tried on a new pair of Inov-8’s that Jeff had picked up for me at the Games the week prior. My swollen feet couldn’t even fit in my new shoes! (I was heartbroken because they were they special CrossFit Games edition purple/lime green 155’s and I wouldn’t be able to exchange them!) I got back into the gym the day I came home and tried to get my blood flowing as best as possible. After a few workouts that week, my feet recovered and I was able to wear my new Inov-8’s (I know y’all were really worried about my shoes!). It really did take about a week to fully recover from my trip and start feeling back to normal.
At 37 weeks, this baby is officially full term and can be born at home anytime between now and 42 weeks; I’m hoping to make it to 40 weeks, but praying not to go past 41 weeks! The Houston heat and humidity is pretty rough, so I’ve transitioned to getting my workouts in mid-morning rather than my usual 5:30pm class. My big concern with working out during the summer months was maintaining a good body temperature. While I can sweat if I get too hot, this little one does not have the ability to regulate his or her own temperature. It’s important to monitor your core body temperature to avoid overheating. I read some other pregnancy/working out resources online and discovered that some people use an anal thermometer to monitor their core body temperature. I talked with one of our members who is an OB and he said that was probably overkill. I decided that being really aware of my temperature, how much I was sweating, and making sure that I was well-hydrated would be sufficient. I drink at least 1-1.5 gallons of water a day, so I made sure that I had plenty of water in my body prior to working out (this might mean waking up a little earlier to drink extra water before a morning workout). When working out, I just stayed mindful about how hot I was, how fast my heart was beating, how heavily I was breathing, etc. When in doubt, I erred on the side of caution. After all, now isn’t the time to PR on my workouts or lifts, it’s simply the time to stay active and mobile to get me and the baby all set up for the ultimate WOD of birth. (I’m mentally preparing myself for a 45 hour Murph; 45 hours seems to be the longest period of time that I can really conceptualize and the grind of Murph is just one of those things that you know your body is capable of completing, but it just sucks so bad for so long that your mind has plenty of time to tell you to quit. For those of you who have never had the pleasure of doing Murph: http://www.crossfit.com/mt-archive2/000881.html)