Thursday, January 30, 2014

my baby is my pull buoy

It’s week 26 of 40 now, and I thought we could continue our 40-Week Training Plan blogs with a little bit on maternity workout gear. The inspiration for this blog comes out frustration with trying to find maternity workout clothes as an already tall and oversized woman prior to pregnancy, as well as a little epiphany I had during a swim last week—my baby is my pull buoy. 

If you know me as a triathlete and as a person, you know that that statement comes totally out of love for my unborn baby girl, so don’t stop reading this blog post quite yet. The added fat tissue during pregnancy, the added fluid retention, and the growing belly/bump can make you feel heavy and big and like doing anything but exercise. That’s why swimming is such a magical experience during pregnancy. I’ve always found the pool rejuvenating, and I’m not going to lie, swimming with a pregnant body is a little weird- I went from being a trim triathlete fish to a buoyant Santa Claus with stick arms. But, I will say this, who needs a pull buoy when you carry your very own right on your torso? I still use paddles occasionally to break up the monotony of swimming without doing speed intervals, and this kind of swimming I’m doing is nothing like Ironman workouts, but it’s exercise, it’s good for my joints, and it’s good for my baby, so I’ll take it. Read on for more maternity workout gear solutions.

Swim gear
I'm super in love with this maternitybathing suit from Mermaid Maternity. It was a little big at first, but it’s fitting better and better each day now (haha), and it has a drawstring to secure it over an early-second-trimester belly but still leaves room for later on. The top is comfortable and fashionable and keeps the boobs in place and covered. I do backstroke and freestyle in it without issues. I think I'll be swimming even more in the third trimester. 

Cycling gear (indoor for me) –
We already talked about how indoor cycling is a much wiser and safer choice during pregnancy because outdoor cycling risks falling, abdominal trauma, and miscarriage or pre-term labor. So I have been on the trainer if I have been doing any biking at all. So far my regular cycling shorts still fit if I wear the waist band under my bump. And since I bike at home, I don’t really care what I look like, so I just pick a shirt that’s comfortable to go on top. I haven’t needed other cycling gear, but one way to deal with issues is to buy bigger sizes of the same brands you find comfortable. Also, you may find that recombinant stationary bicycle is a better choice than up-right biking during pregnancy just because your legs are going to be hitting your abdomen the whole time otherwise. This has made me reluctant to get on the trainer recently. My tri set-up is just too forward-positioned and not comfortable anymore, and running and swimming feel like better workouts anyway. But if biking is your thing, try re-positioning your handlebars or try a recombinant.

Staying warm and covered - Run gear
The one good thing about pregnant running during the winter is that you don't need as much warm gear as you would think. Summer or winter, the danger of exercise during pregnancy is the difficulty of staying cool and staying hydrated. Whether you are exercising in -2 or 92 degrees, you don't want to get overheated. So, less is more, clothing wise. I was really frustrated when I first started getting big because my Under Armour cold gear running pants didn't fit. I've found that my non-compression pants are better for providing that extra stretch that you need during pregnancy, and I just wear them folded down under my bump/belly. I'm running (haha) out of cold gear and other shirts that cover my belly fully even during the bouncing of runs, but I have a feeling that I'll venture into my husband's half of the closet soon for longer workout shirts. It's hard when you're already tall with a longer torso, but so far it's working out.

Tops like this Adidas one are great. I bought something similar but can’t find it online. Dick’s Sporting Goods has a nice variety of tops that look a little longer, and if you go up a size, it’s just the right fit. 

For pants, if you don't want to stretch out your compression running pants or other fitted gear, you can try running in yoga pants. I've never had very good luck with this in the past, since the waist slides down as you jog/run and you end up pulling them up repeatedly, which doesn't help you focus on your run at all. But, good news, a bigger belly and buying actual maternity workout pants means having a higher waist with hopefully enough elastic stay up over your bump and keep your pants in place. Gap makes some great yoga pants that run long, which is nice for tall pregnant women like me

I could write a whole blog on this, but I won't :-P Finding a bra to accommodate growing boobs was super challenging as an athlete who never really had that much to worry about in that department. A few good ones that are out there are Moving ComfortFreya ActivePanache Sport. I'm still a huge fan of Under Armour, what can I say? This is my favorite. The front closure is handy since I find most of the back closure ones difficult to secure because all of these things are made to be compressive and tight. Also, once you start getting bigger everywhere, it's a lot harder to get dressed than it used to be, a back-closing bra can be really frustrating when you are already trying to get yourself motivated to go workout in the first place. If you like back closures, I recommend this one. But honestly, it takes a lot of trial and error to find what works for you. When in doubt, find something that's bigger so you can use the smaller hook closures and go farther out as you grow. Same goes for regular non-sport maternity bras.

With clothes that fit, you don’t have to worry much about this unless you are doing longer endurance workouts. Triathletes know all about the weird places that wet trisuits rub and bike shorts irritate and many marathoners have learned the value of those Vaseline sticks that they hand out mid-race. Sometimes it is getting the right fit, and sometimes it just means you keep some chamois butter or Vaseline handy for longer rides and races. But, for those who haven’t experienced or don’t expect such issues during pregnancy workouts, a little word to the warning, ladies—your thighs are going to start rubbing together more, if they aren’t already. It makes for a nasty rash by the end of a long run. I bet you never thought you would need Body Glide for a 5-or-more-miler, but I am starting to consider it! 

If my running pants were made perfectly for my maternity body and not my older pants that I am scrunching down under my belly, this wouldn’t be a problem, but it is, and it makes for burning skin by the end of a longer run. 7 miles yesterday and I didn’t want to put on pants after showering post-workout. Remember, now more than ever is the time to pay attention to moisturizing you skin. A hot shower feels great on achy muscles and especially when you come in from a really cold outdoor workout, but remember that super-hot showers dry out the skin even more during the winter time, so try to limit the amount of time you’re under the water and the amount of soap you use. Pat dry and apply emollients/moisturizers while the skin is still moist to lock in the moisture. Go fragrance-free, since you need to do that for your baby anyway, as baby skin is very sensitive and can even react to perfumes you wear on your body, not just the baby shampoos and lotions you buy. If you can’t find pants that fit, and if Body Glide doesn’t work, at least take care of your skin after your workouts :)

Rubbing issues and changes in anatomy are why running form changes to more of a widened stance with a waddle during pregnancy, but we will talk about that in the next blog post!

How are things going?
It's the last week of the second trimester. I am still intermittently exhausted and sleeping and resting when I can and feel like I need to. I just re-read this Runner's World Article- The Truth About Motherhood that I found a long time ago when we were trying to get pregnant but also plan our athletic endeavors (my husband and I are both Ironman triathletes). I know I'm pregnant and emotional now, but it brings tears to my eyes when I read the woman's email that Coach Jenny sites. I feel like I too am transitioning into a period where I am thinking more about being a mom and about my growing baby than I am about training. I really have been training for the health of my baby more so than my own this whole time but especially even more so now when training for my baby sometimes means--taking a nap. O:-) The triathlete in me wants to plan for a post-partum race, but the Ironmom inside me wants to be a good mom first and an Ironman second. I guess we will see what the future brings! I am hoping that above all it brings us a healthy baby girl :)

Some more helpful info 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The 40-Week Training Plan - Phase II

Second trimester – week 14 to week 26

The second trimester seems to be the honeymoon of pregnancy for most women. Everything says it’s the time when you have the most energy, and for most women, the nausea also goes away. Sounds perfect, right? Well…there’s still indigestion, constipation/diarrhea, and the fact that none of your running clothes fit anymore to make this trimester still a bit of a challenge ;)

The guidelines that are out there for this trimester:
1. No exercises on your back.
2. No kettle bells or jerking movements (maybe).
3. No core exercises (maybe).

The Challenges:
1. Indigestion
2. Fatigue
3. Growing girth/weight gain

What I learned this trimester:
1. Listen to your body!
2. Rest is golden.
3. Triathlete GI symptoms get even worse when you're pregnant. You just have to roll with the punches and alter workouts accordingly.
4. Running is amazing...even when you're big.

*No exercises on your back*

Just reviewing those guidelines that I put for the second
Inferior Vena Cava Syndrome
trimester, I think we need to add some stipulations. No exercises on your back is true, and it relates to anatomy. In so-called Inferior Vena Cava Syndrome, the weight of the baby in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters compresses the inferior vena cava which supplies blood back to the maternal heart. For those cardio-phys enthusiasts out there, this decrease in venous return to the heart leads to decreased cardiac output and eventually decreased blood flow through the aorta and to the baby. Basically, lying on your back evenutally leads to decreased blood flow to the baby. The sudden rise in venous pressure can also cause placental separation (YIKES!) and decreased renal function (not good). Symptoms of inferior vena cava syndrome are intense pain on the right side of the body, muscle twitching, decreased blood pressure, and retention of fluid. 

So, maybe just listen to your doctor and don't lie on your back. Definitely don't do exercises on your back because during exercise you are already making valsalva maneuvers that increase internal abdominal pressure and working to increase your cardiac output. 

*No kettle bells or jerking movements (maybe)*
There is soooooo much info out there on kettle bell
workouts for pregnant women. Do your research,
listen to your body, and go with what you were doing
prior to long as it still feels right.
An uncredited source that I read mentioned no kettle bells after the first trimester. I think most MDs aren't very specific about the exercises that you're allowed to do other than the specifics of no exercises while lying on the back. The idea behind this concept of no kettle bells refers to the premise of doing more controlled movements. I have still done kettle bell swings during the second trimester, but I have not done any cleans. I'm sure elite athletes are still doing cleans while pregnant, but they have professionals to monitor their form, etc. Most pregnancy books recommend no heavy weights or power lifting. The most important thing is to breathe and perform your strength training movements in a controlled fashion. I think that's more important to keep in mind than to eliminate any one form of exercise.

Most workouts for pregnant women are made up of high repetitions and low weight. This is not necessary and often not effective depending on what certain women have been used to doing prior to pregnancy. A better idea is to lift lighter weights for a similar volume. Meaning, choose a weight at 65-70% of your 1 rep max and lift in a controlled fashion 3 sets of 10. Also possible is more sets of smaller reps, but controlled movements are key. 

*No core exercises (maybe)*
Okay, so my ACOG certified what-you-need-to-know-about-your-baby-and-pregnancy book says no core exercises during 2nd and 3rd trimesters. But, squats, lunges, running, sitting on a theraball, standing with good posture--these are all examples of "exercises" using core muscles. So, I think within reason, this is one of those flexible guidelines. It is true that performing core exercises that are extremely difficult (and they may not have been that difficult prior to pregnancy), that cause you to valsalva, or that strain abdominal muscles are not safe during pregnancy because they can worsen an abdominal diasthesis, or separation in the muscles of the abdominal wall. If you feel like your diasthesis is worsening, it is best to have your obstetrician check it at a visit before continuing with core exercises. Modified core exercises are great too. You don't have to do crazy abs when your belly is loosening up and preparing for carrying a baby! That comes after you give birth ;) 
Doing planks with a theraball may be more
comfortable and less strenuous during pregnancy.

It is always best to go with how your exercises make you feel. I was doing planks and push-ups into the early second trimester, but as my abdominal muscles started separating to make room for my growing uterus, it started feeling weird to me. I wasn't sure if it was uncomfortable, but it was enough to make me lay off planks and traditional floor push-ups. One of the reasons it was difficult and weird-feeling for me was probably because I wanted to plank for as long as I had pre-pregnancy, which isn't the best idea I suppose. You also have to keep in mind that any gravity exercise you are doing is now more weight than most women have ever carried in their lives. This is the case for me. I have never had to push up this much weight before, and it makes a difference. Obviously, bench press is out of the question because it is done while lying on the back. Incline press is questionable. TRX, light saddle-bag lunges and squats, and light kettle bells have been my strength training exercises of choice during the second trimester, and I've also added bar push-ups (they're easier). 

*Other General Considerations*
-avoid repetitive intense isometric exercises
-avoid heavy resistance weight lifting
-avoid any exercises that result in a marked pressor effect during pregnancy
-avoid or modify exercises that cause excessive joint stress (due to increased joint laxity during pregnancy)

And with what frequency?
This article from 2001 found that women who exercised greater than or equal to 5 times per week had lower birth weight infants compared with women who had exercised 3-4 x per week. Interestingly, they also found that women who exercised less than 2 times per week had lower birth weight infants but not as low as the excessive exercisers. But, what gives, ACOG? No new studies on this stuff since 2001? That was back when they were writing articles about whether VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean section) was safe or not. So I'm reluctant to lend any weight (HAHA...weight) to this article, structure my workouts around it, or recommend that others exercise only 3-4 x per week as well. I will say that later stages of pregnancy tend to make you cut back and slow down on workouts just naturally. So even people running 30 miles a week in the first trimester are running less mileage, jog-walking, and/or running fewer times per week by the end of the pregnancy. The same kind of seems to go for all forms of exercise. And now ACOG says 30 minutes of moderate activity a day, so doing something every day, if that's your thing pregnant mammas to be, go for it. Your body will tell you what is right for you. Isn't nature smart?

So, how's it going? 
24 weeks, 5 days, still running
So, this week marks week 25, and I'm not loving the second trimester as much as everyone said I would. And, be it pregnancy or residency exhaustion, I'm not feeling as good as I thought I would...on some days. I'm feeling more and more pregnant and definitely bigger than I have ever been in my life. I can feel my running form changing, but in a way, running is more comfortable than it was in the late first and early second trimesters when I wasn't used to running with a belly. Be it my bigger form or the work of growing a baby, my shifts working in the pediatric ICU and elsewhere are a lot more physically taxing than I feel like they should be, but I guess that's what being a pregnant resident is all about. The other surprise is that I'm not exercising as much as I thought I would. I'm averaging somewhere around 4 workouts per week, still with 10-15 miles of running total per week, some swimming, some biking. I feel super pregnant and gross some days with very little energy, and other days I think, "Wow, this is the energy people mentioned." That energy fades in like 1-2 hours, though. I will say that whenever I go for a run, as soon as I am moving, it feels like the best idea in the world that I decided to go for a run. It's the closest thing my pregnant cranky self gets to feeling human these days. So, in a way I think it would be helpful if I could do it every day, but that's just not feasible with my work schedule and with the extra rest I have realized that I need. The good news is that I am starting to appreciate more and more full-on rest days. They make me appreciate the days that I exercise even more, and they help me re-charge from work/pregnancy. That must be why my pregnancy app is always saying, "Make sure you are getting plenty of rest," and I always roll my eyes and think, "This totally wasn't written for residents." The best news is that our baby is doing well, and that makes me happy, no matter what O:-)

Stay tuned for
-maternity workout gear
-running form changes during pregnancy
-third trimester updates
-post-partum fitness

More Info:

On Strength Training

On kettle bells during pregnancy
There are a ton of workouts online, but I would be weary of just finding one if not put together by a certified trainer.

Uptodate Info on Exercise during Pregnancy:

Also see original "The 40-Week Training Plan" blog for further resources

Monday, January 6, 2014

The 40-Week Training Plan: Phase I

First trimester – week 1 to week 13

From “morning sickness” that can be any time of day to complete exhaustion, the first trimester can be a challenging time for many women to stay active and maintain a normal exercise routine. However, 30 minutes a day is still recommended by obstetricians, and most women find that even some light walking and fresh air do really help with the nausea and give you an added boost of energy during an otherwise really exhausting time during your pregnancy.

From a 1999 Addidas campaign for running, this lady is totally my hero.
She's probably in her second or early third trimester, but I like this photo so much
and find it so inspiring that we're just going to have it on this blog post anyway!
Guidelines for this trimester:
1. 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily; or continue your regular exercise routine but slow to a moderate exertion and be adaptable to slowing down or stopping if you experience warning signs
2. Hydrate!
3. Replenish calories. (The days of putting yourself in calorie deficit are over, for now. Enjoy it.)

The Challenges:

What I learned this trimester:
(I guess it comes as no surprise to most of you that my husband and I are indeed expecting, hence my research on this topic and this series of blogs!)
1. Be forgiving.
2. NAP.
3. A little exercise goes a long way!
4. Moderate is relative! (Listen to your body)

Every woman is different, and every pregnancy is different, but by week 6, I had "morning" sickness 24-7, and the ONLY time it went away was when I went for a run. The other issue for me starting out the first trimester was that I wasn't sure how much exercise I could do safely. I was so excited to be pregnant that I was also afraid to train too hard for fear of miscarriage. I’m not sure if there is any medical legitimacy to that, as most early miscarriages are due to chromosomal defects and nothing a pregnant woman does or doesn’t do, but I was worried about it. My first obstetrician said that I seemed like an active person, so I could do 45 minutes a day instead of the recommended 30. Most of what I’ve read since that first obstetric visit shows that you can basically keep going at whatever your regular amount of activity is, within reason. In a way, I wish I had realized this sooner in my pregnancy, but my work hours and being so nauseated and exhausted were hard to tackle with my goals to stay fit, so staying fit ended up being the bare minimum for the baby’s fitness/health, which makes me happy at this point. I think with future pregnancies, I might feel more comfortable to do more.

So, maybe I didn't need to slow down as quickly as I did during the first trimester, but I think pushing your body when you're already exhausted and also when you're carrying another person along with you isn't the best idea. Whatever your starting point, as the pregnancy progresses, and as your body gets bigger, you are going to slow down and you are going to cut mileage. That’s just the way it works. I think it happened sooner for me because I was worried about it and because I had already cut back from my regular amount of training just to get pregnant in the first place. I will say, though, that even when I felt so super exhausted and so nauseated, a short run was the only thing that cured me. I could feel like I was going to vomit and after the first 5-10 minutes of running, I felt amazing. Thank you, exercise endorphins. 

The most important thing that I have realized and started to learn how to do during my focus on staying fit and healthy during my pregnancy is that you really have to listen to your body. Listening to your body when you know you're really exhausted is also a good idea. A short workout when really exhausted can give you an extra pep in your step, and that definitely helped me. But long workouts (by the way, during pregnancy, all my "long workouts" have been 75-80 minutes or less, usually more like 60 minutes) are definitely for those days when you're feeling super well-rested and feel good during the first part of your workout. If you think you're well-rested and you set out for something long, but you don't feel well after the first 10-15 minutes, then slow down or stop; no harm done. This is not the time to be the die-hard athlete you normally are used to being…or at least that’s what I told myself, and it’s helped me stay healthy, function at work during pregnancy, and keep myself going these days. 

I originally wanted to do a 70.3 (half-ironman) during my first trimester, and while this is totally physically and medically possible, it just wasn’t worth it to me to race at 75% of my effort, and keeping up with endurance during my first trimester exhaustion wasn’t the easiest thing. As one of my old college buddies used to say, “If it’s not necessary, you don’t need it,” and believe me, racing wasn’t necessary, so I told myself I didn’t need it. By the way, cutting back to 75% effort is what is recommended for racing triathlon during pregnancy. If you have found other credited info out there, please post to this blog because I would definitely be interested!

Stay tuned for:
-2nd trimester guidelines/challenges/updates
-3rd trimester guidelines/challenges/updates
-gait and running form changes during pregnancy
-post-partum training circa May 2014

Friday, January 3, 2014

The 40-Week Training Plan

"I have my most intimate thoughts when I'm running. That's when I'm most honest with myself, and I think about what I want out of life. I've definitely had thoughts, especially in the last month like, Wow, my baby knows me better than anyone. He's the only person that's ever been behind that curtain. I mean, obviously, he's not really hearing my thoughts, but there's just that feeling that there's some connection that I could never have with another person." ~Kara Goucher, Elite American Marathoner (2:25:53)

In 2010, elite marathoners, Kara Goucher and Paula Radcliffe were both
expecting babies and still training and competing. Runner's World did a
great piece on them in October 2010. You can read it here:

It seems like everyone and their mother is expecting these days, even some of my most active friends, which has inspired these next few blogs. Whether you are an amateur, pro-athlete, or professional couch potato, welcome to a series of blogs on staying fit during pregnancy!

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily for all pregnant women. This can be anything from walking to yoga to jogging. They site general benefits such as controlled weight gain, less fatigue, and possibly even a shorter labor.

Even if you haven’t exercised prior to pregnancy, it’s okay to start an exercise plan after becoming pregnant. Doctors have changed their opinions about this. Women pregnant with multiples or those with high-risk pregnancies definitely should still first consult a physician before continuing or beginning an exercise routine.  It’s never a bad idea to speak with your doctor before you start any training regimen, but it is safe for pregnant women to slowly work up to that 30 minutes a day that ACOG recommends, even if you have been a couch potato prior to pregnancy.

Those used to morning workouts may have to adjust their normal workout routine during pregnancy due to morning sickness, pure exhaustion, or other issues. Exercise, no matter when it is done during the day, is always helpful. It helps you de-stress, it helps your muscles relieve tension, it helps with back pain, it helps with leg cramping, it helps with edema (swelling), and it helps you sleep better at night.

Interestingly enough, an article just came out about the effects of maternal prenatal exercise on the newborn brain. They looked at women who were not previously very active, had them start a training plan with just 20 minutes 3 times a week of moderate activity, and in the end, they found that the brains of these women’s babies were actually more mature than the control group. It’s just one study and could be entirely a coincidence, but, let’s face it folks, with all the good exercise can do for regular people, if it’s not only safe but recommended for pregnant women to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy newborn, then why not give it a whirl?

Things to try for those not-so-active prior to pregnancy:

This one is the easiest to do because it doesn't require any special equipment or preparation. We've already talked in other blogs about easy ways to add walking to your everyday routine as a way of incorporating exercise. Make sure you have a pair of comfortable but supportive shoes and some comfortable clothing that isn't going to rub or irritate your skin.

There are tons of prenatal yoga classes out there, especially if you live in a big city. If you don't, there are great DVDs. Going to classes can be a great way to meet other pregnant women also trying to stay fit :) If you are already into yoga and have your favorite class, or if you join a regular yoga class, be sure to tell your instructor that you are pregnant so that exercises can be modified appropriately.

Weightlessness during pregnancy? What a fantastic idea! Especially in the later months, swimming is the perfect cardiovascular exercise during pregnancy because it is relaxing and allows you to have low-impact exercise while not feeling as huge and swollen as you do the rest of the day ;) 

Preferrably stationary, since biking outdoors puts you at risk for falls that can lead to abdominal trauma and miscarriage. 

Low-impact gym cardio
Elliptical, Nordic Track, Stair Master - all low-impact exercise machines that you can find at your local gym that are safe to use during pregnancy.

Light Strength Training and Cardio
If you're in NYC, check out for Central Park classes!
Exhale Spa They have toning classes and specialize some workouts for pregnant women

Some tips for seasoned exercisers and athletes:

What does moderate mean?
Obstetricians used to tell patients not to exceed a heart rate of 140 during exercise. That is an easy level of exertion for some athletes. They no longer use this guideline and instead say, "You should be able to have a conversation while exercising." I still think this isn't the best guideline, but you DO need to listen to your body, which is hard for some die-hard athletes to understand, since we are used to pushing through pain. That's why I've listed warning signs below ;) For those more used to terms involved with intense conditioning, you should never be near your lactic threshold. Sprinting and all-out exercises are out. Enjoy the break! ;)

Warning signs to slow down or stop exercise:
-Chest pain (slow down to a slow walk, keep moving to ensure that your blood returns from your extremities back to your heart, call someone or seek medical care if symptoms do not resolve)
-Dizziness (stop, get horizontal and lay on your left side to ensure blood return to your brain and adequate blood flow to the baby)
-Fainting (stop, as above, hydrate, call someone)
-Abdominal cramping (STOP until it resolves - cramping can be a sign of decreased blood flow to your uterus and the baby and continuing exercise can worsen that decreased blood flow because your heart is pumping blood to your extremities)
-Vaginal bleeding (STOP and call your doctor)

Is triathlon safe during pregnancy?
Some say yes! The key to racing during pregnancy is that you have to be willing to commit to racing at 75% of your normal effort. For some, racing at 75% is the same as training, and you can do training without the added monetary expenses and health risks. But, like I said, folks do it. Barb Limberg raced Kona while pregnant (at 15 weeks).

Is cycling safe during pregnancy?
Yes. Outdoor cycling is even safe, if you can guarantee that you won't fall. Plenty of women ride during pregnancy, but you have to accept the risks and ride under the safest conditions possible (not in the snow, obviously, like today). You probably need to abandon your road bike or at least get some wider hybrid tires, and clipping in is for post-partum, ladies. Even the most experienced cyclists may have difficulty with the changes in center of gravity and balance that the later stages of pregnancy bring, and trying to un-clip at the last second to avoid a fall gets a little tricky the bigger your belly is. Mounting and dismounting can be challenging. So, ride outdoors if you must, but, honestly, what's wrong with the indoor trainer?

What about weight training?
If you've already been doing weights prior to pregnancy, it is safe to continue, especially during the first trimester. Lighter weights with controlled, non-jerky movements are best, and this will be more important as the pregnancy progresses. I've read some stuff by non-physicians saying no kettle bells after the first trimester. I think most MDs aren't get specific about the exercises you can and can't do other than general guidelines, so do what feels right for your body and be flexible to make changes as you and your baby grow.

Go for it. But be prepared for some changes in your swing. I'm interested to hear from readers who golf how pregnancy changed things for them, since back pain seems to come to mind.

Apparently Reese Witherspoon played tennis during pregnancy.
Go figure! (This is not the friend I was talking about.)
Some say to lay off tennis during pregnancy, due to the quick changes in direction and the predilection for falls, but one of my friends played tennis up until 7 months of pregnancy. At this point, she felt like her balance just wasn't there anymore. Again, listening to your body is the best thing.

Interestingly, this may be safer than other forms of running since you are supposed to be running slower during pregnancy anyway. However, this is not the time to PR when you are running and racing for two, just like we said with regard to triathlon. Keep in mind, too, that race-day and training nutrition and hydration become even more critical than usual. You really have to hydrate pre-, during, and post-workout, and you may find that you need to top of energy stores with sugar, protein, and fats earlier on in your workouts than you normally would. Yes, your body should be able to regulate glucose and use glycogen stores, but keep in mind that while you are doing whatever you are doing during the day--be it training or working or sleeping--your body is working hard at its number-one priority: making a new human being! Make sure you do plenty of test-runs for nutrition and hydration prior to attempting long races. Lastly, pay attention to all those warning signs listed above. 

Just a side note, Kara and Paula had world-renowned coaches and trainers helping them do all this stuff, and they also had anti-gravity treadmills for their workouts. I'm not saying the rest of us can't do what they did pregnant, but they have some crazy-awesome PR's while not pregnant, so maybe just keep that in mind ;) Here they are doing a race for fun :)

Contact sports?
Avoid. Sorry folks. But do you really want to worry about someone hitting your abdomen? Your baby is in there! ;)


The elite:

Some great blogs on staying fit during pregnancy:

This is my favorite one on running:

On cycling:

For triathletes:

Stay tuned for:
-the specifics by each trimester
-how pregnancy changes gait and running form
-post-partum training