heart on belly

Thanks for all your well wishes last week on my big announcement! It was incredibly special to hear from so many past clients. It made me feel better knowing I have you all (and all your collective experience and wisdom) on this journey.

I wanted to share some about the first few weeks of my pregnancy. I know this can be a really isolating, strange time, and my experience was no different. Because I’ve seen so many women and clients miscarry, I knew that this was a real risk. Jon and I both took a very intentional “wait and see” approach to the pregnancy—we celebrated for one day, but even then we said we were celebrating the fact that we knew we could get pregnant, and weren’t counting on this one “sticking.”

This made for an odd situation that I know so many of you have been in—those first few weeks of not telling anyone and not being sure if the good news is going to “stick” while all the while feeling physically pretty crummy. I didn’t have serious nausea or morning sickness until around week 9, but from the very beginning I felt extremely fatigued and extremely cramp-y. I was lucky enough to a have a great doctor who saw me early to be sure that the cramping wasn’t a sign of an ectopic pregnancy.

But still, for a few weeks I was feeling crummy, feeling scared, and feeling like I KNEW I should be exercising (after all, this is my job!) but that it was the last thing I wanted to do. Even as an instructor, I was so shocked that within a week or two of that positive test, all I wanted to do was lie around. (Though I will say the first thing I did after getting that positive test was go to the gym—I remember thinking, ”Oh my god! What are we going to do! Oh wait—I know, exercise is supposed to help!”) There were some things though that I found helped- some ways to exercise in those first few weeks when I felt like I had a perpetual case of the flu with a serious side of mono. Here’s what helped:

Exercising first thing in the morning or last thing at night. I had the opposite of morning sickness—the more the day went on, the worse I felt. Some days I tricked myself into exercising by doing it first thing in the morning before the gross, uncomfortable feelings set in. Other days, I’d find that some stretching or yoga at the very end of the day, when I was feeling most cramp-y and barf-y, was helpful. Sometimes moving last thing before bed seemed to settle my stomach and calm me down. I didn’t exercise during the day hardly at all though, which is unusual for me.

Online workout subscriptions. Because I wasn’t ready to share the news of my pregnancy, I didn’t feel comfortable attending an Oh Baby! class. I wanted to work out in the privacy of my home, where I knew no one could see me, and where I knew I could stop at any point. I found two online programs were really helpful- Barre3 and yogisanonymous. These both offer tons of videos at differing intensity levels for a subscription fee. Both are gentle exercise- Barre3 is a Pilates/yoga/ballet workout, and yogisananymous is yoga. They also both offer short workouts—I could do a 30 minute workout and feel like I’d gotten a workout in without committing to a whole hour.

I get emails every week from women asking what kind of exercise is safe to do in the first trimester. Like me, so many women are scared of miscarriage and want to be sure that what they are doing is safe. I want to be clear that just because gentle, limited exercise is what physically felt best to me, doesn’t mean it’s the only way to move in the first trimester. Running, weight lifting, and higher intensity exercise are totally appropriate if they feel good to you. I was very very surprised that they didn’t feel right to me (that’s how I normally exercise) but studies show they are safe.

Next week I’ll share more about those first few weeks, in particular what my biggest challenge and surprise was in the first trimester. I’d love to hear what kind of exercise you did at the beginning of your pregnancy- what felt good? Did anything help with morning sickness?

Kathleen Donahoe

Co-owner & Senior Instructor, Oh Baby! Fitness


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2 thoughts on “The first few weeks- What I did when I first found out I was pregnant

  • July 22, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    Not sure how but I some made it through your fitness class my first trimester… Not sure i made it through without puking though cause that’s all I did during those first few months!

  • July 29, 2013 at 9:04 am

    I mainly walked my first trimester and did yoga. Like you I preferred the late evening class and the walking just had to happen because I was keeping up with a 2 year old!
    To help with the nausea I tried to keep something on my stomach, but more surprisingly, I found that a sweet/sour combination helped… lemonade, sweet and sour chicken/pork, 4-5 sour patch kids, etc.
    Hope your nausea doesn’t last too long!


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