The Vain Body Journal: How gyming while pregnant saved my life

As you might know if you are a follower of this blog, I work out regularly, even since my single days.

After I got married and became pregnant with my first child, I continued working out. At about 6 weeks pregnant, morning sickness kicked in full time and I was feeling terribly nauseous. I had been doing water therapy since 2011 but after about 2 or 3 occasions of vomiting the water, I gave up on water therapy and on working out. My mornings were filled with lying in bed and feeling depressed and resentful of my husband for not experiencing the same pain I was experiencing. Some weeks later, I was hit with red degeneration of fibroid which kept coming and going until my first trimester was over

If only I had known

I resumed workouts lightly when I was 35 weeks pregnant, and continued till I delivered

Then I resumed workout 2 weeks postpartum, in form of running. By the time I came back to Nigeria, it was hard to continue because I needed to adapt to my new life.

For about 9 months, I kept jumping off and on my workout radar. It was very hard to be consistent and motivated. So I tried controlling my diet and making sure I eat healthy.

One day, I looked at my hands and thighs, and just disliked myself. I hated what I saw so much that it almost made me puke. I wasn’t fat or big but my body wasn’t toned, and my thighs and arms were full and flabby. Immediately, I sent my husband a Whatsapp message saying “I’m signing up for the gym tomorrow.” With a tone of finality. He told me not to stress too much and that he doesn’t have a problem with the way I looked. I told him I wasn’t happy with myself, and that’s what mattered. When it comes to a woman’s postpartum body, everyone has different opinions, but ultimately, I must come to the point where I am confident in the body I carry.

Prior to this period, I had never registered at a gym before. I did all my own workout routines, as a single lady and after I got married, at home. I assumed gym was a waste of money for me since I was disciplined enough to do my own workouts. But now, I had to admit that this new phase of my life required a different approach.

The next day, I signed up for the gym and in two weeks, I was toned everywhere and back to my pre pregnancy size. A month later, my son was 1 year old, and six weeks after I started working out at the gym, I found out I was one month pregnant. I did not do any pregnancy test but my period was regular enough for me to know that if I miss it, I must be pregnant. It meant I was pregnant 2 weeks after I started gyming.

When I found out I was pregnant, I resolved to do things differently this time around. So when the morning sickness hit at 6 weeks pregnant, I continued going to the gym. My stomach was as flat as a drawing board but my I was not alright at all. I was sick, depressed and very tired but I kept up with my intense workouts. In fact, the only time I felt like a human being and was actually happy was when I was working out. As soon as I leave the gym, the sickness and depression came back full force. It confirmed to me that working out was really beneficial, even in sickness

Also the second time around, I never stopped my water therapy. I drank my 1.5L dutifully every morning no matter how funny my tongue tasted

... and I never had red degeneration of fibroid, thereby saving my life and saving my baby’s life. This wasn’t a surprise to me as I had prayed against it and had enough fluid in my body to guard against it.

I kept working out all through my first trimester. A few times, I felt really tired and dizzy and had to lie down on the bench in the changing room. Apart from that, there were no serious incidents.I pushed and pushed myself because I knew that if I could see it through till the end of the first trimester, I will be the one to reap the benefits. And if I gave up in the first trimester, it would be very hard for me to resume in the second trimester

It wasn’t until I was about 4 months pregnant that my stomach started showing and my gym colleagues knew I was pregnant. By then, I was already in second trimester and my energy had tripled.

I did heavy and intense workouts till 32 weeks. I didn’t go all the way to 40 weeks like I planned because I didn’t want to be too fit and have my baby come out before my trip or on the plane since I had a little hitch in my travel plans, and had to stay in Nigeria longer than expected.

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Guess how many weeks pregnant i was here? .. Don't mind my serious face. I was having mad fun, .. All through my pregnancy, I worked out heavily, till almost the end, when I had to start mentally and physically preoare for my trip .. I did everything I could do, heavy skips, super circuits, treadmills, curcuit selection, zumba, spinning .. This was me at 30 weeks ( I know I don't look it) at an intensive zumba class, following my instructor @sandraosaigbovo .. I'm glad I was able to keep fit all through my pregnancy journey and even lost weight in third trimester, though that was not the goal. I believe I inspired many ladies at the gym cos they always told me that they kept going on with their fitness journey because of a heavily pregnant lady like me could do it, who were they to give up? The guys at the gym just always looked at me and my growing stomach in awe 😀 .. I travelled at almost 39 weeks, and looked about 25-28 weeks pregnant, if at all, that i wasn't even asked for fit to fly or medical report. .. The downside of this is that my husband always called me “strong pregnant woman” so I couldn’t even form “damsel in distress” 😔 .. What is your opinion about heavy workouts while pregnant? Yay or nay? #pregnancy #pregnantlife #fitpregnancyjourney #fitpregnancy #pregnantbelly #rebellingagainstculture #mumofboys #twoundertwo #mumoftwo #30weekspregnant
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Above is me at 30 weeks pregnant

I was very fit throughout my pregnancy, and didn’t gain a single weight apart from baby weight. In fact, I lost body weight in my third trimester.

My delivery was uneventful. I healed pretty fast, in about 3 days. I snapped back pretty fast, in about 2 weeks. Although my stomach is not completely flat as I am 9 weeks postpartum but it is a million times flatter than what it was at 4 months postpartum in my first pregnancy. In fact, everyone says I don’t look like I just had a baby.

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And that was how we resumed gym at 6 weeks postpartum 😁. Was challenging the first day, but the body quickly got the message . It’s okay if you want to give your body some months to rest after pregnancy, cos as they say “it just pushed out a whole human being 🙄”. Also it’s okay if you are in the “quick snap back” category. Do whatever you want to do, and don’t let anyone make you feel bad for your choice, as long as your health is not jeopardized . As for me, I’m in the “snap back immediately” category, cos that’s what makes ME happy, and that’s what I will do. I don’t have a big body or a big stomach, so this is not the time for me to start fitting into society’s expectations of what a new mummy’s body should look like . Beach body, here we come 😁. #fitness #sixweekspostpartum #fitmom #rebellingagainstculture #healthylifestyle #momofboys #momoftwo
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Above is me at 6 weeks postpartum

My baby is very strong and came out as an athlete, lol. His shoulders and neck have been very strong even as a newborn. He had been lifting himself since 4 weeks and people are attributing it my workout, lol

I resumed gym at 6 weeks postpartum and I have been consistent. To be honest, I could have resumed the next week if I wanted to because I didn’t feel like someone who went through labour. I’m working on regaining my core and restoring it to pre pregnancy.

I’m glad I chose to do things differently the second time around. I’m glad I pushed myself. I definitely reaped the benefits.

The gym saved my life because

  • It saved me and my baby’s life from red degeneration of fibroid 
  • The daily boost of oxytocin helped me mentally, emotionally and physically
  • I maintained my weight all through
  • I had a hitch free delivery
  • I snapped back immediately after delivery
  • My baby’s bones are very strong

Did you work out while pregnant? If not, are you open to the idea of doing it? What is your general opinion on working out while pregnant?

P.S: I will not advise anyone to workout heavily while pregnant if you have not been doing it before pregnancy. I was able to keep up that lifestyle because it was what my body was already used to. This is also what doctors and fitness experts will advise you. If in doubt, please consult your doctor.

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