Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Life as a pregnant athlete

Maternity leave before the baby is born!

One thing that's really odd - though there are many things! - is that I'm taking my "maternity leave" before our baby is born. I'm not racing and I'm also not training in the sense of structured interval type stuff. My only aim at the moment is to stay active everyday so I've been cycling, hiking and doing prenatal yoga. I'm riding both my road bike and my MTB on quiet roads and nontechnical trails, each time it's just an easy endurance pace (I get out of breath quite easily!) for between 2-3 hours and I always try to climb at least 1000m (just a strange habit I've fallen into!!!). I generally hike for around 3-4 hours with a lunch stop. That's just what seems right for me. There aren't really any clear-cut guidelines. Perhaps I was overcautious during the first trimester but after previous miscarriages I didn't want to take any risks, though I've been told time and time again that the miscarriages were not caused by exercise.

A break from racing and hard training is good for me after so many years. Now I'm exercising for personal well-being. I'm an athlete and I don't think I could ever stop excising outdoors! If I did then I don't think I'd be very nice to be around!!!! It's my release, my way of clearing my head and coming home feeling mentally and physically relaxed. If I can stay as fit as possible then hopefully it'll help me in childbirth and make returning to racing next year a little easier. This will be my next big challenge but I'm excited about training and racing again.

Getting bigger

I'm now almost 17 weeks and another scan yesterday showed our little baby kicking and moving around. I can also occasionally feel him now too. I'm already wearing maternity clothes which I wasn't expecting so soon! Fortunately lycra is forgiving and my team cycling clothes still fit but I've had to pack away a lot of my favourite clothes.

Nausea and food aversions

I also wasn't expecting the weird change in appetite and diet. I didn't think it'd happen to me. Anyone who knows me knows I love to eat vegetables, salad and lots of healthy stuff. I'm also normally pretty grumpy without my morning coffee and an afternoon cappuccino. At about 6 weeks I couldn't stand even the thought of coffee (though I'd been drinking decaffeinated since before we conceived). Any food green in colour was off the menu and any white/yellow food was most definitely on, including milk, omelettes, cheese, salty chips, salt and vinegar crisps, cornflakes (1kg per day usually consumed between 1am-3am!) and pancakes. Oddly the only fruit I could eat were bananas! All very, very weird and totally out of character. I even wanted to go to McDonalds (somewhere I haven't eaten for over 20 years) for chips and chocolate milkshake, though I did resist this temptation!

Fortunately the nausea (which I had almost all day, everyday) eased at about 12-13 weeks but I still can't eat courgettes or broccoli!!!! Coffee remains off the menu! I proudly ate spinach the other day. I no longer consume bumper packs of cornflakes.

16 weeks

13 weeks