Sunday, 12 November 2017

Life as a pregnant athlete: third trimester

The changes in pregnancy have been so gradual that I haven't noticed many things. The comments of strangers, or people I've not seen for a while, take me by surprise. I find myself initially thinking "how do they know I'm pregnant!" and then I look down at my watermelon-sized bump and smile. I look at my reflection in shop windows with wonder - is that really me! Since we moved house 2 months ago we haven't had a full-length mirror so when I do catch a glimpse of myself it's quite amusing. I love my baby bump.

So, what's changed since my last blog and what hasn't?

Things that have changed:
  • All of my old clothes are packed away and I wear Dave's cycling clothes. It's neither cool nor a fashion statement but it works and gets me comfortably out on the bike. Squeezing into my old clothes became a wrestling match and started to restrict my breathing. 
  • I've started swimming in preparation of a time towards the end of pregnancy when I might no longer be able to cycle - and also in preparation of bad weather days when cycling might be too hazardous or simply too horrible. The first time back in the pool for years saw me floundering and almost being rescued by the lifeguard. Changes in buoyancy meant my entry into the water was a little less elegant than intended and a poor breathing technique had me clinging to the lane rope spluttering. With perseverance however I can now swim for 45minutes, which is enough for me - it's nowhere near as much fun as cycling. 
  • Slow has been redefined. Weighing 10kg more than pre-pregnancy means that my climbing prowess has been somewhat hampered. It's akin to riding with another bike strapped around my waist. Dave is most definitely faster and has started riding circles around me. How the tables have turned! 
  • I've become familiar with the term 'symphysis pubis dysfunction' which in simple terms means pelvic pain especially when turning and getting in and out of bed, as well as pain standing on one leg and walking. It soon became apparent that this was caused by long hikes and for a short time I thought I might have to stop the hikes completely. However a support belt  has allowed me to resume 3 hour hikes without crippling side-effects. This comes as a relief as I was starting to resemble a centenarian requiring help to prise myself off the sofa and hobble around. 
  • My bedtime routine now involves a complicated procedure involving a huge snake-like maternity pillow which I spend several minutes adjusting into the correct position. I then remain on my left-hand-side for the entire night. Attempting to get out of bed, rearrange the pillow and lie on my right-hand-side is fruitless because Little P doesn't tolerate it for more than a few minutes before he starts inflicting side-swipes with his little, but no less powerful, feet. It seems he's happier when I'm lying on my left-hand side because he can stretch his feet out and practice his rib-tackle (catching his feet under my lower right rib). 

Things that have not changed:
  • I still love being pregnant. I feel great and have loads of energy. Perhaps this is because I've been fortunate enough to be able to continue exercising and eating healthily. Other than the pelvic pain, I have no unpleasant side-effects of pregnancy: no swelling (shoe size is unchanged and I can still wear my wedding ring), no heart burn or other complaints. 
  • Spending time cycling is brilliant. I feel really comfortable on the bike - more so than off it sometimes! I'm very slow and only ride for an average of 2 hours (occasionally a little less or more), nevertheless it's so nice to get outside and breathe in fresh air. It really is amazing therapy for body and mind. Most of the time I'm riding on quiet roads but occasionally on smooth fire roads or fields. No trails or technical stuff. It's all very sedate. I'm still riding according to feel and keeping my heart rate between 130-150bpm. 
  • Pre-natal yoga still feels good and I love to stretch and keep flexible. 
  • I'm not plagued by unusual food craving or aversions, though I still don't drink coffee. This is now more to do with avoiding caffeine rather than a revulsion. On the contrary, I love the smell and I look forward to a post-pregnancy flat white - though breastfeeding would certainly delay this.

I'm curious to see how things will change during the finals weeks of pregnancy but I hope to stay active throughout (and during labour, though I'll not be taking the indoor trainer to the hospital. Hahaha!). 

Stay active. Have fun.
Sal :)