I had to be largely off my feet while pregnant with my first two kids. That was tough. Although I’ve never considered myself an athlete, my body and my brain had grown accustomed to an active lifestyle. Being forced to slow down was a bummer. So it was a real blessing when I was able (and encouraged) to stay active to a much greater degree while expecting our third child. Every pregnancy truly is different.
Staying active while pregnant wasn’t fancy. Our garage has accumulated quite an array of sports equipment over the years—bikes, scooters, in-line skates, ice skates, running shoes, cross county skis, snowshoes, even a four-person toboggan that doubles as a make-shift snowboard—all of which gathered dust during my pregnancy.
I had no regimented workout routine, gym membership, orspecialized equipment. Rather, the core of my daily activity was walking my eldest to and from school – about two miles in all. I added distance on some days and got outside with my family on weekends once the fatigue of the first trimester diminished. But how far I walked was never the point. The most important thing was to get outside and do SOMETHING.
I benefited a lot from staying active. I was able to face the physical and mental rigors of pregnancy with greater strength and stamina. My lower back hurt less. I slept better. Fresh air lessened my nausea somewhat. I recovered faster from delivery. Through walking, I learned to listen to my body. I never “glowed,” but I coped better. But the greatest benefit, and the most unexpected, was the amazing connection I made with neighbors and others in my community.
Each day while walking my regular route I was greeted with smiles and waves from people passing by in cars, riding their bikes, or walking their dogs. The smiles and waves kept me going and seemed to increase as my due date approached. And now, when I am out walking the girls to school, I am stopped regularly by those same people who smiled and waved wanting to meet the baby they’d been rooting for. Having a new baby can be somewhat isolating, and making those unexpected connections helped take the edge off.