Sunday, April 28, 2013

Adventures with babybison- first week at home

Zooey, almost two days old
Our Zooey has been home now for a week. Today she is 10 days old. Here are some of the adventures we've been on with her thus far:

Baby meets Elly.
You all remember how much I love my convertible, Elly. I love her so much there was never any question that we would be keeping this admittedly impractical baby car. I certainly will have days without the baby in tow where I can still enjoy top down, yes? (For example, yesterday Adam and I ran to Target sans baby with the top down, thank you Grandma!) But getting her in and out will be what I call the "car seat shimmy". Won't be easy, but we'll get it done! Generally speaking I plan to hop into the backseat with babybison and get her in the seat. But the hospital likes to see the baby properly in the carseat before you leave so we had to put the top down in order to get carseat with baby already loaded into the back. Quite the sight. Glad we have documentation! (Btw, the valet said this was NOT the craziest thing he had seen- apparently some family tried but failed to get their newborn into an Aston Martin on his watch!)

We look so worried!

Putting the top back up

Tour of the apartment.
One of the baby books I read (Secrets of the Baby Whisperer) noted the importance of giving your newborn a tour of her new home. So after staring blankly at the baby for a couple minutes, we did just that....

Staring blankly at baby...."what do we do with her??"

Break for a feed mid-tour

Happy new Daddy.

Time for a nap in my awesome crib!

Meeting the grandparents....multiple times.
Babybison is lucky to have her grandparents nearby and has already spent quality time with all four of them. Here's proof. (Don't worry- pics of grandfathers to follow in future post!)

Grandma Lilly

Grandma Nelson aka Grandma Bison

Getting in dailymiles with Mom, Dad and Grandma
No running for mom or baby quite yet but since I have been getting in my dailymile by walking Dad, babybison and Grandma have been joining me weather permitting. Thank goodness spring is starting to arrive in Chicago! At less than 5 lbs soaking wet, it's important to keep babybison warm so she doesn't burn excess calories trying to keep herself warm. To emphasize how small she is, look how totally ridiculous she looks in the stroller! Thankfully, loving friends and relatives have provided some preemie and smaller newborn sizes she has a sufficient wardrobe until she fits into all her newborn gear.

Is she even in there??

First (and second) bath
Babybison tolerated her first bath remarkably well. As she gains energy and strength, however, she makes her opinions known a bit more frequently and her opinion of her 2nd bath was "thumbs down" or at least that's what I took her screams to mean. She calms remarkably well- she really only cries when we've insulted her by undressing her, getting her wet, or not feeding her frequently (or quickly) enough. She still is an A+ on the good baby chart. We all hope she stays that way!

After her first bath at home, 7 days old.

Umbilical cord falling off
When I asked Adam what I should include in this post, he mentioned the umbilical cord falling off. I initially thought, no that's not very interesting, it happens to every baby and I don't have a cute picture to go with it. But then I said, "Oh, by the way, what did you do with the cord when it fell off?", to which Adam looked at me confused and said "I thought you had it!". The cord fell off during breastfeeding practice (Zooey is still working on strength for full feedings) so she was upset, we were otherwise occupied, neither of us had picked it up. So we have no idea where it is. Under the couch? Did the cleaning lady find it and toss it? Suddenly little Zooey's umbilical cord falling off story becomes a bit more blog-worthy, if unceremonial;)

Favorite quote:
Adam was feeding Zooey in the hospital on day 2 of her life. Before I head into the hall for my laps to walk my mile, I asked him if he needed anything. His response: "Just a box to hold all this cuteness". Love.

Mom and Zooey (2.5 days old)

Friday, April 26, 2013

Pregnancy Wardrobe Solutions

Warning: This post will only be of interest to pregnant woman and their partners.

I had three pregnancy wardrobe challenges, likely similar to many pregnant ladies. First off, I knew I didn't want to "go public" with the pregnancy for quite a while. Being a bit older (I turned 35 mid-pregnancy) we had lots of extra tests we needed to "pass" prior to being confident that things were okay with our girl. By the time everything was okay test wise it was already November so we figured we might as well wait until Christmas to tell the family in person. Which meant my colleagues, who I see daily, wouldn't find out until January which would be already half way- 22 weeks to be exact! So my first wardrobe challenge was to keep things hidden until past week 22. I'm generally in decent shape and always have a flat stomach so anything visible in that region would arise suspicion. 

My 2nd challenge was work-out gear. Since I knew I'd be staying active right up to the delivery room door (I literally walked extra distance from clinic to the hospital triage on the day of delivery to ensure I got my mile in that day), well fitting and highly functional work-out wear was a MUST. These are items I'd be wearing daily for at least my mile run and on most days also for weights, spinning or hill climbing. 

My 3rd challenge was probably the most universal- clothes that are still flattering yet accommodate the growing belly. Believe it or not most regular clothes are NOT flattering during pregnancy and there are plenty of so-called maternity clothes that are no better. And if I'm going to all the trouble to workout consistently during pregnancy and control my weight gain, I might as well let my maternity clothes show that off, right? No blobby men's t-shirts or muumuus here.

At the same time, however, I am practical and did not want to spend tons of money on clothes I would only wear for a few months. Additionally, I don't love shopping. So how to put this all together? This post is a quick summary of what I did clothes-wise and I think it might be helpful to other active, fit women, willing to purchase a few high quality items (read: expensive) but also willing to repeat the same outfits over and over for a few months! I'd rather wear good clothes repetitively rather than crappy clothes with tons of variety. If you are like me, read on! (Spouses and partners too- Adam was integral in finding a lot of these resources!)

1. Tip #1. Stay away (or only VERY SELECTIVELY buy) from Pea in the Pod, Destination Maternity, and other "discount" maternity stores. While they do have some nice items, particularly a few dresses worth considering, their basics- T shirts and leggings- are cheap in every sense of the word and don't fit that well. I returned >50% of what I bought from this store. I would NOT on-line shop at these places- go to the store and actually try things on if you feel compelled to buy from here. Some items are fine - I have 2 dresses and one sweater top that I really like, but many other items are ill-fitting or just poorly made.

2. Tip #2. Consider Isabella Oliver for your staple items. It's a British maternity and nursing clothes company with very high quality, stylish options. They utilize empire waists, ties, and ruching  in all the right ways so the clothes are form fitting and flattering. I love the three items below. I also would suggest the plain black leggings. I've been very pleased with these items from before I was showing, to the end of my pregnancy (week 36). Now that baby girl is here, I've actually found the Emily dress and the jersey shirt to be great postpartum with easy access for pumping/breastfeeding, so certainly worth the investment. To be honest, they are nice clothes in their own right- you don't need to be peri-partum to get use from them. (Note: I did NOT like the Everyday Maternity dress- not very flattering.)

Emily dress- 32 weeks

Emily dress- DAY OF DELIVERY,
though didn't know it at the time, 36 weeks 5 days

Layering Scoop Neck Top-  31 weeks

The relaxed jersey maternity

3. Tip #3: Liz Lange maternity makes a quality V-neck T-shirt. I can't speak for their other items but I got a black shirt as a gift and it has served me very well. Very reasonably priced for a basic item- worth getting one or two for under layers with sweaters. Will continue to wear postpartum as well.

4. Tip #4: Live in tights, leggings and jeggings with dresses and long sweaters/shirts. I never bought a pair of maternity jeans- I really didn't see the point in buying a 100-200 pair of designer jeans that I would never wear post-pregnancy. Plus they didn't sound comfortable. Plus when you work 5-7 days a week, there are few opportunities to wear jeans. So I lived in tights with dresses and outfits with jeggings. I LOVE the Athleta Bettona Jegging. I loved them before pregnancy and so I bought an additional pair one size up during pregnancy. To be honest, I worse the pre-pregnancy pair throughout as well- they are stretchy enough that they were still comfortable. And, while $79 may seem like a lot for jeggings, I wore them multiple times a week and will continue to wear them postpartum and beyond. So totally worth it.

Bettona jeggings- 24 weeks

5. Tip #5: Work-out gear. Since I exercise every single day it was very important to find fitness gear that was comfortable and flattering. I perused the various maternity fitness brands on-line but ended up going with Lululemon pants and shirts, which worked great and again, I'll be able to keep wearing for years to come. I bought all purpose black pants and barre pants one size higher than my usual to keep them comfortable, but they should still do now that I'm nearly back to my pre-pregnancy weight. I bought my usual size shirt- the two I choose I highly recommend- the 'No Limits Tank' and the 'Back on Track' tank. Both have plenty of extra fabric in front to expand with a growing belly, both have enough support for running for the modest chested, and both are totally flattering postpartum (or pre-pregnancy) as well. Additional bonus- they hide the bump when it's small, thus avoiding that awkward looking fat vs looking pregnant phase in the 2nd trimester.

I swam until week 34 when I became concerned about diathesis recti and/or not noticing my water breaking, so I stopped. I just used a regular swimsuit I already had knowing it would get stretched out and I'd probably need a new one postpartum. I did actually buy a maternity tankini at Target but found I much preferred the additional belly support that a one piece provided.

Lastly, I did purchase an Ammon maternity band for spinning after week 34, again out of concern for diathesis recti. Not sure it made a difference but was certainly comfortable enough.
No Limits Tank- 31 weeks
Back on Track Tank- 34 weeks

6. Tip #6. Lastly, since baby girl arrived before I posted this, I might as well add on my recommendation for nursing bras. So far I've been very happy with Boob Design bras and their night nursing cami. Jury is still out on the shirts. I have one that is pretty good, waiting on a 2nd, will let you know!

Hope this helps! I was a bit lost until my husband pushed me to order high quality, designer pieces despite the expense and he was right. I literally only bought 15 items that I was able to mix and match throughout. They served to 1) hide the bump until month 5 when I went public, 2) show off the bump in a flattering and fun way as it grew and 3) remain reasonable postpartum wardrobe pieces. Win, win, win!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Babybison has arrived!

Happy Birthday Zooey Marie!

One week ago today we welcomed our baby girl into the world- Zooey Marie arrived at 7:41 pm on April 17, 2013. She was a bit earlier than we expected at only 36 weeks and 5 days and a bit smaller than average at 4 lbs, 10 oz but she is 19 inches long so we think she's just built like a marathoner, that's all! She's very healthy and required no extra care at the hospital despite her size. To quote a dear friend of mine who also had her baby girl a bit early, she is "small, but mighty".  Zooey and I (and Adam!) were home within 72 hours.

How have we spent the last week? Well as those of you who have cared for a newborn know, your life becomes a 3 hour cycle with feeding and diapering the centerpieces of activity. Luckily there is a LOT of sleeping that goes on particularly with our very content little one so we've been able to spend time mastering the logistics of Operation Newborn with relative ease. This has also been aided by three crucial elements: 1) preparedness, 2) teamwork, and 3) my mom.

1) Preparedness: We insisted on being completely baby ready one month before her due date thus by April 10th we were set in terms of supplies. Thank god we did that. I can't image running around trying to buy last minute items. It was enough to have to get preemie diapers and some preemie clothes- two things we didn't have on hand. I can't recommend enough being ready early- you just never know!!

2) Teamwork: My husband has been incredible. Absolutely incredible. So good with Zooey, so good with organizing and so good at demanding I rest so this c-section business heals completely as fast as possible.

3) My mom: My parents dropped everything and came in the minute they heard Zooey was on the way. Given that we didn't have our hospital bag with us (it was packed, just not in the car) and again, the preemie stuff, it was so, so helpful to have them on hand. My mom then came back for the transition home and will be around throughout the next few weeks. This extra set of adoring hands for Zooey gives Adam and I just the bandwidth we need to be able to maintain our relationship and personal lives as well as maintain our energy so we can give our all to little Zooey!

Oh, and don't worry- we haven't missed our daily mile(s). I did my first postpartum mile within 20 hours of the delivery. I walked. But I covered a mile. 17 laps around the hospital floor. Yup- I made sure to know the distance ahead of time. And Adam had to run in circles in our triage room to get his 3 miles in the day of delivery. True story- I have video to prove it. We're giving little Zooey a pass on daily work-outs; she'll become a little runner, or triathlete, or soccer player soon enough.

Getting in my first daily mile as a Mom, 20 hours post c-section.

Happy (belated) Birthday Dad!

Last weekend my Dad had a big birthday. This post was all written and ready for submission last week but since someone else had a big birthday on April 17th (more on that later) I wasn't able to get it posted on time. I'm sure my Dad understands:) Anyway, I suppose it's not polite to say how old (or young) he turned but let's just say it ain't 50 and it ain't 70. Get my drift? In reality, however, I don't know a single person who thinks he looks or acts his age- he is extremely fit, active and goofy- much younger than his chronologic years.

To celebrate, my Mom and I planned a surprise birthday party. Beyond coming up with the surprise idea and creating the invite, I must admit and give full credit to my Mom for putting together most of the details. Adam also had a key role in keeping Dad out of the house while Anna-Lisa, Jason, Mom and I got everything prepped. Turns out tricking my Dad into leaving the house wasn't all that hard. And he definitely had no idea about the party! We told him Adam and I wanted to come out to watch March Madness. When we arrived at 11 am (for a first game that doesn't start until 5) I said I was tired and needed a nap and Adam suggested lunch and a beer at Olympic Tavern. My Dad said sure. Luckily he didn't think anything of the fact that we drove all the way to Cherry Valley just for me to take a nap!

A-L and Jason arrived a few minutes later and the rush to get prepped was on! Decorations, food, we ran around and got everything done no problem. I think 4 people is the right number of people to prep a house in 1.5 hours for a surprise party. Might not have worked out with just two!

The guests started arriving and everyone did a great job of hiding their cars. Adam kept giving me the play-by-play of what they were up to (he had to ad lib a bit- they got a brewery tour to kill some time) and when Dad arrived we were all in our positions, hidden so we could surprise him en masse. It was almost too easy!

Excellent hiding spot!

As you can see from the photo, he was definitely surprised!

Dad totally shocked, Mom thrilled that we pulled it off!

In lieu of gifts, I thought it would be more fun and much more memorable to have a 'Rick Roast' where we tell stories about my Dad, preferably stories that make fun of my Dad. He's quite the jokester and there are no shortage of stories about ways he's tricked others or funny things he's done and he's quite able to laugh at/with himself, a very admirable trait that I like to think I've acquired! I think he enjoyed the gentle ribbing and reminders of good times over the past "x" number of years. He certainly was a good sport about it!

Dad trying to correct his friend Mike's story. Sure, Dad, whatever you say;)

Dad with Mom, sisters and brother

Happy Birthday Dad!! I love you!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Babybison's Running Themed Shower

On Easter, my family threw a shower for babybison, with the most appropriate theme of running. From the invites, to the decorations, to the gifts, the focus was on the active life babybison and her parents are going to have. It was ADORABLE! I was absolutely blown away by the cuteness of it all and the work my family put into making the day special for us parents-to-be. Here are a few highlights from this amazing day:

1. The invite. For a few years, I was the only runner in the family. Then Adam got into it, then my Dad picked running up again, then my Mom, then my cousin Anna-Lisa introduced us to her great boyfriend Jason who is the fastest by far of us all and at this point Anna-Lisa and her sister Karin have become runners in their own rights as well. My sister-in-law, Jill and my niece Gwyn recently did their first race down in the Carolinas. So it's fair to say we are a running family at this point, so the shower theme was absolutely perfect!

2. The decor. When I walked into my Uncle Scott and Aunt Kelly's house I was rendered speechless by all the cute items they had set up. First was the diaper cake that my Aunt Donna made. This thing is too cute! A three tired cake make of diapers with shoes and socks on every level as well as a race medal. It's proudly displayed in our living room so babybison's first visitors can see it as well:) Other neat activities included a bib making station and a family tree where each family member made a green leaf on the tree with their thumbprints.

Diaper cake!

First steps today, marathon tomorrow!

Even the water was themed!

3. The games. A few weeks prior to the shower my Aunt Kelly emailed me to ask how many miles babybison had run this far. I thought it was a really fun question and I almost immediately set about doing the calculations (using my dailymile log) to see how many miles she had run, biked, and swum. The totals at the time of the shower were 521 miles run, 224 miles biked and 24 miles swum. I'll be sure to post her final stats after delivery. The game was to guess these answers, with the additional hint of candy jars with the number of candy pieces equalling the number of miles. So fun!

4. The scavenger hunt. Next, we headed out on an Easter and running themed scavenger hunt. With my cousin, Braden, happily helping me with the clues, I was able to find all of the eggs with adorable and useful baby gifts inside. The clues were carefully crafted- I'm actually not 100% sure I'd have found them all without Braden's not-so-subtle clues (like "this way" or "not that way"). The hunt ended with a run to the finish line where all of the extended Monson side family members, including those who live too far away to make it to the shower, were outlined in chalk drawings.

Me, Braden, Aly and the Boomer-dog

Braden leads the charge. Jason helpfully carried a box to hold the loot!

Much needed bottles!

Egg retrieval is a two person job!

Garrett, Jill, Gwyn and Karin here in spirit!

5. The gifts. The gifts ranged from adorable to running themed to useful to all 3 at once! In the spirit of this being a running blog, I must give special mention to Anna-Lisa and Jason for finding this hilarious book on running called "C is for Chafing". It's an alphabet book but each letter is running themed. For example, "D is for DNF" and shows a picture of a guy in the bushes with the caption "his GI tract is churning". I look forward to having Adam explaining GI tract distress to babybison! "O is for 'oh,no'" with a picture of a guy losing his breakfast at the finish line with the caption "this means you ran too hard!" It's hilarious.

The whole shower was absolutely incredible. The time and thought my aunts and cousins put into the theme, the activities, and everyone's thoughtful and cute gifts- it was really touching. My family's excitement about babybison's arrival really reminded me to step back and spend some time being excited- with all the various physical aspects of actually being pregnant (exercise and eating modifications, etc)  and the preparations for babybison's arrival it's easy to forget we're actually going to meet this little person in just a few weeks. Or really, any day! With me being 36 weeks and 2 days, we should be living each day knowing it could be the day! Crazy.

I'm so grateful to have such a great group of people to call my family. Adam, babybison, and I are very lucky indeed.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Exercise During Pregnancy....In General

Just back from the gym, Week 35.
Phew! What a huge title! Unless I feel like writing a book or an incredibly long essay I will do a woefully inadequate job of addressing this topic. But I have to start somewhere and obviously this topic is near and dear to my heart given that most of my blog posts over the past few months have been about me exercising during pregnancy! But writing something is probably better than nothing so I will divide this into three posts:

Exercise During Pregnancy.
(1) In General
(2) What I've Done (already posted)
(3) What I Wish I Did

Clearly pregnancy is a time of dramatic anatomic change for all women. But which changes become most physically significant and noticable, and when are vastly different depending on genetics, a woman's baseline level of health and fitness, and the work each woman continues to put in to maintain her fitness during pregnancy. No wonder a one size fits all approach doesn't work!

The American College of Ob/Gyn (ACOG) used to promote a one size fits all approach saying that pregnant women should avoid allowing their heart rate to exceed 140-150 bpm while exercising. That was the main guideline. Many fit women found that they were barely breaking a sweat with a heart rate of 140 and felt extremely limited by this arbitrary cut off. In recent years, the guideline has changed to a more subjective recommendation to keep your exertion level such that you could carry on a conversation while exercising. This guideline acknowledges that this cut off will be different for every woman. For some, this may be a brisk walk on a flat surface even in the first trimester. For others, it may mean continuing endurance endeavors such as marathons but reducing intensity (speed) up until even the third trimester. My personal bias is that even this guideline is probably a bit conservative, but when you are talking about maintaining the health of a completely helpless fetus, it seems reasonable to be conservative. What do I mean by a bit conservative?

Even staying conversational is not much of a work-out for most fit women. Better than being limited to 140 bpm, but still not all that hard. I liked a description I saw indicating that a conversation in full sentences may mean you are not working hard enough (to improve/maintain fitness), but only being able to utter one word sentences indicates one is working too hard (to be safe for fetus). So somewhere in between (3-5 word sentences?) is probably the sweet spot b/t exerting oneself and not risking any degree of fetal harm. I do wonder though if short intervals at a slightly higher intensity might be reasonable? The US Department of Health and Human services in their 2008 physical activity guidelines for pregnant women note that "vigorous intensity aerobic exercise in pregnant women has not been studied carefully and that women who have not been exercising before pregnancy should not begin vigorous exercise". But what of those who were exercising vigorously and regularly prior to pregnancy?

Again, every woman needs to make her own decisions and I am not an obstetrician or exercise physiologist. This is not medical advice. But my personal belief (which I assume you care about, otherwise you wouldn't be reading this) is that there is no need for woman to freak out if they have slightly increased intensity (even a bit of huffing and puffing, but not breathlessness) for short (30s-1 min) intervals in the midst of an otherwise "conversational" cardio session. There is some data to support this, but the studies are small, so it's hard to draw firm conclusions.

 2012 Sep;207(3):179.e1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2012.07.021. Epub 2012 Jul 20.

Strenuous exercise during pregnancy: is there a limit?

For example, a 2012 study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology evaluated 45 healthy, normal weight women with uncomplicated pregnancies (15 non-exercises, 15 "regularly active" and 15 "highly active") with a peak treadmill test b/t 28-32 weeks gestation. Interestingly, the mean age of the women was between 32-34, slightly older than the average pregnant lady. Regularly active women were defined as those who exercised at mild to moderate intensity 20 minutes per session at least 3 days weekly and highly active women were defined as those who vigorously exerted themselves at least 4 days weekly- the vast majority of these women were runners. The women then essentially underwent the equivalent of a cardiac stress test on the treadmill- they started on the treadmill at 3.0 mph with 0% grade and the incline was increased by 2% every 2 minutes until it reached 12%. Then- for the women who were ready for more- the speed was increased by 0.2 mph every 2 minutes. Women stopped when they reached "volitional fatigue", a clearly subjective measure defined as the "limit beyond which a participant no longer desired to continue the protocol". While subjective measures have their short-comings, I actually like this measure in this instance. It takes into account the variability from woman to woman- what is "hard" for one person may not be "hard" for another based on physical and mental stamina/endurance. The "keep it conversational" measure of exercise during pregnancy in general, is similarly subjective, which I think is fine.

They measured the women's peak heart rates, ratings of perceived exertion, and EKGs. They measured fetal well being at rest and immediately after exercise with uterine and umbilical artery Doppler data, fetal heart tracings, fetal heart rates and biophysical profiles. Interestingly, there were no differences in perceived exertion by the women in the different groups- they all felt they were strenuously exerting themselves and peak heart rates were similar- but not surprising the highly active group exercised an average of 22 minutes as opposed to 12 minutes in the non-exercising group (meaning they got to higher inclines and paces). Without going into too much detail (please feel free to read the paper), 5 of the women in the "highly active"group had transient fetal heart rate decelerations and mild alterations in uterine and umbilical artery Doppler indices immediately after exercise. However, fetal well being was reassuring in all the woman (exercisers and non-exercsers) as measured by fetal heart tracings and overall biophysical profile. The authors conclusion is that the findings of decelerations and changes in umbilical and uterine artery measurements in the 5 highly active women might be concerning, though it is hard to say given the small numbers and the fact that the more clinically relevant findings of biophysical profile- likely a better indication of fetal well being- were still normal. Note that these woman were nearly maximally exerting themselves- much more exertion that traditionally recommended during pregnancy- thus my takeaway is that intense but nowhere near maximal exertion is likely totally fine. While this was not specifically tested, I suspect these ladies were well beyond conversational when they called uncle on the treadmill test- the fact that they were estimated to be near 80% max heart rate supports this.

The authors reference a similar study in 6 Olympic caliber pregnant (23-29 week) athletes, showing fetal bradycardia when exertion exceeded 90% of max heart rate (Br Journal Sports Med, 2012). Again, this exertion is SIGNIFICANTLY more than recommended during pregnancy, and for most athletes significantly beyond what they usually achieve in non-pregnant max training. Again, for me this validates the idea that moderate and even intermittently vigorous exercise during pregnancy has no untoward consequences for fetus and certainly is good for mother. Very intense exercise approaching 80-90% max heart rate should be saved for postpartum.

So, those are some thoughts on exertion level, from a strictly cardio perspective. But what about other....sensations? How do you know when a sensation is new "pregnancy normal" vs a reason to stop exercising? Pregnancy is wrought with new sensations that the female athelete- generally in tune to her body- will notice starting as early as week 5. The female athlete will not be one of those (crazy) ladies who don't know they are pregnant until the third trimester or even delivery (how someone could be so out of touch with their body is beyond me!). I personally felt all kinds of non-painful, non-bothersome, but totally new to me sensations b/t week 6-9. I didn't think much of them but then they stopped one day. I called my doc who informed me I was probably feeling increased blood flow in the ovary and uterus, normal to feel it, and normal to stop feeling it at some point. Crazy!

Then of course, at some point the sensations come back in other forms- pressures, whooshes, mild discomforts- goodness knows what all of these feelings represent. It takes weeks and weeks before there are any clear cut fetal movement type sensations but eventually there are clear cut kicks, punches and other discrete fetal movements, and then (still relatively new to me) the uterine contractions! And hiccups, the crazy fetal hiccups! With all these sensations, that change from week to week, how on earth does a woman know whether it is okay to keep exercising?

I made up my own rule that I didn't read anywhere, but it has served me well thus far and I plan to continue to follow it. I decided early on that any sensation or mild discomfort that I feel during my every day activities when I'm NOT exerting myself is fine to have while I AM exerting myself. Braxton-Hicks contractions occur with some frequency when I'm walking, therefore I don't worry if they happen when I'm running or biking.

Beyond fall risk activities, which are obvious no-nos (horseback riding, downhill skiing), are there other specific activities that need to be carefully considered or even flat-out avoided? As far as I can tell there are two broad categories of activities that probably should be avoided in the 2nd and 3rd trimester as baby gets bigger 1) activities that require you to be flat on your back for extended periods of time (can decrease fetal blood flow due to positioning of uterus and the vena cava) and 2) activities that increase intra-abdominal pressure and can cause/worsen diathesis recti. I believe diathesis recti deserves its own post which I will get to eventually. This became a huge concern for me for a few weeks and there is a serious lack of resources about this topic. So stay tuned for that.

I think this post is long enough. I'll leave you with a couple Exercise During Pregnancy Resources:

1. Helpful book on the (scant) data on exercising during pregnancy.

Good website with educational blog posts and weight training ideas for the pregnant woman.