By Sarah Caracciolo
DHAC Assistant Fitness Director
The official countdown has begun! 8 weeks until my due date and my world is filled with bottles, diapers, baby showers, and toys. That’s everything I’ll need to prepare, right? WRONG! You guessed it, EXERCISE!
I often get some of those “You are crazy” looks from people as I am rushing from TRX to BodyPump, to Spin, to Abs, but teaching and taking all of these classes is proving to be quite helpful during this tiring last trimester. There are a number of things to be careful of as I continue to exercise including heart rate, blood pressure, balance, etc.
But the bottom line is that exercise has and continues to be my saving grace during this pregnancy. My intensity levels have dropped since I first found out I was I was pregnant last November, but it’s not about intensity. It’s about movement.
I now see my obstetrician every two weeks and she couldn’t be happier with my resting heart rate, blood pressure, and almost a complete lack of swelling in my legs and ankles. Given that the swelling is a result of slow blood return from your legs from all the pressure on pelvic veins, it seems obvious to me that movement is key in preventing, or limiting the swelling. Movement needs to carefully timed though. Too much moving or too much sitting can both have a negative effect on your limbs swelling so I try to have a nice balance of doing desk work, training clients, and teaching classes.
With my belly extending further away from my body every day (it feels like it’s growing hourly sometimes!) my center of gravity and balance is challenged with every step I take. I have it pretty good because my uniform literally requires me to wear sneakers which are very supportive, but I also like to throw in a few balance exercises here and there. You won’t see me doing single leg squats on a bosu ball these days but small balance exercises are always helpful.
Given that my belly is getting so large, there is an obvious increase in pressure on my diaphragm and this makes breathing a bit more labored. Taking my time as I climb stairs (what’s the rush?), laying on an incline instead of a flat surface, and listening to my body when I need a break are all helpful when I feel I cannot catch my breath.
I plan on exercising right up until labor unless my doctor says otherwise, and I feel great doing it. I have enjoyed writing these blogs and I am excited to begin writing the next series; “Getting my pre-baby body back!” Thank you everyone for your continuous support and ongoing advice throughout my entire pregnancy. Stay tuned to the DHAC Facebook page in August for the first pictures of our son, Nico Caracciolo.