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Exercise in pregnancy when you feel terrible?

(68 Posts)
magnificatAnimaMea Fri 08-Apr-16 05:45:59

I know that lack of exercise is one of the main routes to feeling terrible.

But going running or cycling (even on the exercise bike) isn't particularly appealing with all-day nausea and heartburn, belting headache, and being incredibly tired. I'm only 7 weeks and I am already unfit and fat and can't fit into clothes properly. I'm walking about 7km a day, down & up a 200m-elevation hill and even that is feeling like way too much.

Any suggestions? Does it ever get any better or do I need to buy bigger jeans and wait until the kid's at school before i get fit again...?

FV45 Fri 08-Apr-16 06:27:33

Congratulations on your pregnancy.

Can you clarify?
You believe you've got fat and unfit just since you've become pregnant?
That's unlikely if pre-pregnant you were a healthy weight and fit.

You may feel bloated and awful, but that can be part of early pregnancy.

Are you anxious about your changing body shape?

Pregnancy is a time to listen to your body more than ever. If you feel crap exercising then don't do it. If you are fit and healthy, pregnancy may just stall that not undo it all.

You can get back to it when you feel better and certainly when you've got babies and young children - it just gets harder to juggle.

magnificatAnimaMea Fri 08-Apr-16 07:31:50

I had the flu for about the first 4 weeks of pregnancy. That always provides a massive fitness setback for me. But because I'm eating stuff like peanut butter toast all the time to try not to feel nauseated, I'm probably eating about twice the calorific intake I normally would, and I'm finding it really hard to do the exercise I normally would (running or cycling). Net result - feel like a whale and can't fit into clothes.

I'm not anxious about changing body shape per se, but I do think I feel better when I have done enough exercise, and I am currently so tired I just can't.

Runningupthathill82 Fri 08-Apr-16 08:08:49

It gets a bit better in the second trimester, in my experience - and then gets much harder!

I really would advise trying to keep up the exercise if you can, and if it's important to you. I mean,you could give up for the next few years, lots of people do.

But if you keep it up now, you're much more likely to keep it up into late pregnancy and then when you have a newborn (and are REALLY tired!)

Key is to listen to your body and stop when it feels too much. For me, that meant I stopped running at 16weeks in my first pregnancy and 25 in my second, but carried on with circuits/yoga/swimming/walking etc.

It was then much easier to start running again pretty soon after the birth, as I hadn't stopped for 8 or 9 months.

BikeRunSki Fri 08-Apr-16 08:13:56

I was very active pre pg, but could only manage swimming and walking whilst pg. first trimester sucks though.

Pinklily1 Fri 08-Apr-16 08:26:53

I was fit before pregnancy (running and classes) but have had awful morning sickness. For the first 15 weeks I did nothing but go on short walks. I've picked the gym and running back up again (but at a more gentle pace!) and I have to say it's been fine so far. I am definitely more tired than usual but didn't lose nearly as much fitness as I expected.

Maybe keep up your daily walks and as you feel better, reintroduce some gentle exercise of other forms?

FV45 Fri 08-Apr-16 09:11:59

I would focus mainly on the feel good factor of exercise rather than the fitness benefits (though I appreciate the two are interlinked). But for the meantime, just try and get out for some fresh air and a walk.

The thought of just bending down to tie my trainer laces was too much for me in early pregnancy.

The first trimester is hard. The bloating and whale feeling will give way to a proper bump and you'll probably most feel like doing exercise during the second and early part of the third trimester.

FWIW, I am a very keen runner, but gave up for YEARS with both pregnancies. I'm now running better and faster than I ever have (competitive runners will understand the meaning of my username!) and now that my spare time is more valuable I appreciate it more as well.

TheCake Fri 08-Apr-16 19:32:57

I agree with the other posters. If you are walking 7k a day you are doing really well anyway. I was also a runner before pregnancy and the 1st trimester was so hard I did very little exercise. I was advised not to run by my midwife (because of previous miscarriages) but I have started going back to the gym and feel fine exercising now (I'm 16 weeks). It does get easier. x

Missingcaffeine Fri 08-Apr-16 19:54:58

I was very fit pre-pregnancy - going to the gym regularly, running 10k's and playing other sports. The first clue I was pregnant was that I went for a run and had to stop after 100m as felt absolutely exhausted. I didn't even make 1km that run. This was before I'd even missed my period or taken a test.
I like you, felt very low about not exercising, and was so sick I had to eat loads of carbs to feel better and I think I gained loads of weight in the first trimester. By about 10 weeks, I did manage the occasional jog or gym workout, and kept this up until I was too big to jog (24 weeks), then it was just walking - though that did get my heart rate up!
I was able to eat more healthily in the second and third trimester, and I think I lost the excess fat I had gained. I was running again 6 weeks after the birth and back to good fitness within 6 months and my pre-pregnancy running speed within 9 months. I'm sure I could have got fitter again quicker, but my little one was not a good sleeper! Try not to get too upset about not exercising - you are growing a little person and it is taking a lot out of you!!

This pregnancy (my 2nd), I've just accepted that running is probably not going to happen, after I went for a really slow 5km jog and then felt absolutely rubbish all weekend after it. I was so exhausted I struggled to look after my toddler. I'm not getting the sleep I need second time round, so any proper exercise is just making me feel worse. I'm just doing a bit of yoga and pilates and walking know that I'll get my fitness back after baby arrives.

Sounds like what you're doing is great. Also, you may find you start feeling a lot better soon and are able to exercise and eat better.

magnificatAnimaMea Sat 09-Apr-16 08:06:54

Thanks to everyone, this is encouraging. I'll try to keep up the cycling at least (helps with back pain), as well as continuing to walk, and get back to gentle jogging when I feel less appalling. I woke up this morning in good time for Parkrun and considered doing it, but am glad I didn't as I then spent the next few hours feeling incredibly queasy...

LaraineSmith13 Sat 09-Apr-16 08:42:07

Good. Thanks for this thread. It was needful and will be always for some or the other too.

AyeAmarok Sat 09-Apr-16 08:51:51

I hear you OP. I'm similar to you.

This week I've been forcing myself to go out for a 20 minute run before work (unheard of!) rather than my usual after work, because I'm just exhausted by the evenings that I just vomit and pass out on the sofa.

Very weirdly, when I'm out running it's the only time I don't feel nauseous! I have noticed I'm a lot slower, but that's OK, I'm just trying to keep ticking over while I wait this bit out.

lljkk Sat 09-Apr-16 08:59:16

the 7km per day walk is great. You must know it's wildly more than most people (not pg or disabled) ever manage to do.
I suspect you could manage slow cycle rides, but really, just take it easy. Listen to your body is important rule in pregnancy.

I had horrible morning sickness. You're doing great if you can find something that you can eat reliably. The thing is, you're gonna feel queasy no matter what so might as well be active anyway. Makes the time pass faster!! Keep fluids up is important for taking the worse edge off, too.

malvinandhobbes Sat 09-Apr-16 09:35:39

It is just hard. I found I could do very little in the first trimester because I was very light headed and felt dizzy during exercise.

I started up again in the second trimester but found that I could exercise as before but it made me very tired for the rest of the day. I recently quit my regular exercise and and am walking and swimming. It is a hard transition, as exercise is an important part of my identity and important in keeping me cheerful.

However, there is a time for everything. For now, walking and swimming are what I need to be doing.

climbingcheesecake Sun 10-Apr-16 20:59:09

I also found this really hard. I was training sometimes 6 days a week before falling pregnant, and then I could barely do anything. Weeks 5-7 were the worst for me. I had to take a whole week off, and then completely change my approach. I'm now 15 weeks and starting to feel like I have energy again, so I have started doing more, but its more maintenance fitness rather than an actual workout.
I just do low intensity stuff, and if I train too hard, I will be super tired for a day or two after, so I know to take it easy again.
Don't be too hard on yourself, people have to take long breaks for injury and all sorts, and often, the rest does them good in the end.

SodaChick Mon 11-Apr-16 01:51:26

I have just taken nearly a week off the gym from pure fatigue at 7 weeks pregnant and I would say I am very fit. It was so hard going back today but the rest was really worth it as after an hour of exercise, my energy started to show signs of life and I feel confident about returning to my usual daily gym habit. If you really feel terrible...rest! If you feel you could manage something, try yoga. Drink lots of water and walk too, even if its only 20 mins smile And I agree, don't be too hard on yourself...growing a baby is hard work!

kiki22 Mon 11-Apr-16 09:04:51

I kept it up even when I felt awful but kept my sessions to 45 mins 3 times a week with breaks every 10 mins for 1 min I'm back up to my usual routine now. It was hard but I'm glad I did I'm 20 weeks have a neat bump and not gained a single lb. The first few weeks I was.really bloated and looked like shit but I soon started to look a nicer shape. My first pregnancy I didn't exercise I felt awful the whole way through and gained 3+ stone this time staying fit has made a huge difference.

AyeAmarok Mon 11-Apr-16 11:27:47

That's good advice Kiki, thanks.

riddles26 Mon 11-Apr-16 11:39:54

I've really struggled from week 6 onwards. I have a walk on both sides of the train journey when I commute and also am on my feet a lot at work - this alone has made me want to sleep from the moment I get home so adding any exercise on either end of the day has been impossible.

Like a few others, I've switched to swimming and made sure I go every weekend. When I do have the energy, it feels absolutely amazing to exercise. I'm getting to 12 weeks now and really hoping I am coming out the other end and can start exercising during the week too. Quite a few of the classes I did involved a lot of core work lying on my back so will switch them for things like Zumba and maintain long weekend swims too.

My advice would be keep walking lots and try do what you can on the weekend (if you don't work weekends) - energy levels will improve and you can increase the amount you do when that happens

magnificatAnimaMea Tue 12-Apr-16 07:54:57

I've got back to cycling hard 30 mins/day the last few days, as well as the daily 7km commute on foot. Suddenly feeling way better - really hope this isn't a bad sign, as it has been in the past!

Runningupthathill82 Tue 12-Apr-16 10:01:54

Great news, OP! Well done.

climbingcheesecake Tue 12-Apr-16 18:56:32

good to hear you are feeling better magnificat.

since there are a lot of active pregnant ladies on this thread - how hard do you push yourselves when you workout? I am cautious to push myself too hard, but I don't know why - would you say you exercise at the same intensity as you did before being pregnant?

Runningupthathill82 Tue 12-Apr-16 19:00:35

I definitely didn't, climbing - before I was pregnant I'd push myself hard, but once I found out I was upduffed I took my foot off the accelerator, so to speak.
As a basic rule of thumb, I tried to ensure I was never so out of breath that I couldn't carry on a conversation.
I still carried on with all my usual exercise, as long as I could - I just took it more slowly when running, used lighter weights in body pump and avoided ab stuff in my circuits classes.

Nottalotta Tue 12-Apr-16 19:08:34

I couldn't do any exercise in the first 20 weeks due the constant nausea and absolute exhaustion. I developed spd just as that wore off. I did walk as much as I could, and continued looking after my three ponies twice a day every day.

Just do what you can, your walking sound plenty tty.

kiki22 Tue 12-Apr-16 19:54:41

climbing A fitness instructor friend told me not to try to improve just to maintain my current level of fitness, generally I push myself a bit if its easy there is not much point to it but I have breaks more often, water more often and if I feel it's too much I will stop which I have had to do on 2 occasions. I think if you have been fit and have a routine prior to pregnancy you are find the biggest risk is hurting yourself so anything new or a new level isn't great for you.

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