COVID-19 Pandemic

Hi Everyone, I know these can be very scary times. There is a lot of uncertainty and false information. I want to make sure that everyone is safe and properly following the self isolation protocols. Start looking into online grocery deliveries, and focusing on hygienic practices.

The hygiene practices that need to be implemented are washing your hands, covering your mouth when you sneeze or cough with your long sleeve shirt on your elbow, and making sure you wear a face mask if you are sick. These seem like common sense, but are over looked. The small gestures in the world are going to have a bigger impact than you think.

Let’s talk about boosting your immune system during this time. The best advice I can give you right now is making sure your respiratory system is fully supported. Contrast showers are a must right now. They are wonderful at boosting immunity. The second piece of advice I have for you is taking probiotics, eating 3-4 raw garlic cloves a day, and adding in some Vitamin C or better yet Zinc.

More and more research is coming out on natural treatments for COV-19 but nothing that I would say is definitive. I am suggesting that a good offense is going to be better right now than playing defense. We need to make sure that our body is prepped to make an immune response if needed. I am not claiming that this is going to prevent you from getting COV-19 or cure it. Please stay inside and do these simple additions to your routine, and we will all get through this!

My Pregnant Athlete Story- Part 2

I am going to try and keep this shorter than the last post. I want to cover the post-partum period and getting your body back.

My post-partum period was a whirlwind of emotions. I was adjusting to being a new mom, learning how to get out of bed in under a 3 minutes to attend to my baby, breast feeding, not knowing if I am feeding Theo enough and adjusting to hormonal surges. It’s is a lot to handle, and I feel that a lot of people never talked about adjusting into motherhood. Being an A type and an athlete I had very high expectations of what I was going to be able to accomplish and do. I set myself up for a hard fail. I felt as a mom that I should be able to do a lot more than I was able to. I was supposed to be able to give birth naturally, somehow I failed at that. I was supposed to be able to breast feed my baby, and I didn’t do that, and I am supposed to be automatically bonded with this little crying small human, and that took time. I think I was so exhausted from birthing Theo that my emotional status to bond with him was diminished. My bond with Theo grew more and more every day. I did not receive that instant OMG feeling. I still am getting my head around being a mom and it has basically been a year.

The transition into motherhood was hard. I had many learning lessons. I was so caught up on learning how to pump and feed Theo, while being able to sleep, I forgot to eat. I started throwing up in the mornings when I had gone too long between meals. After a lot of research I found that this happens when you are sleep deprived, stressed, and not eating regularly. My mindset while I was pregnant was that I am not going to try and be supermom, I am going to take care of myself first so I can take care of my baby and partner. It was so much harder than I expected. I needed so much more love and understanding for myself than I could have imagined. I remember being weepy every day for almost 3 weeks after giving birth. I thought I was experiencing post-partum depression. After talking to my midwife she told me that it is normal. Who knew that after your child is born it is not rainbows and sunshine all the time?

I want to set the record straight on pumping/breast feeding and losing weight. It is not a guarantee that you are going to lose the weight. You still have to watch what and how much you eat. I lost about 20 lbs right off the bat with Theo, the afterbirth (which was large), and some water weight.  The last 37 pounds did not just shed off, even when I produced double the amount of milk a normal female produce. It took time and discipline. I had to watch what I ate and how much I ate. I started my post-partum journey on the anti-inflammatory diet with chicken broth 2x/day. I was taking my prenatals, collagen and homeopathic arnica and intensive probiotics; to offset the IV antibiotics I was on during labour and after when I had to clear an infection for my membranes being open for too long.  I gradually started to eat all different types of foods to expose Theo to that in my breast milk. He had no reactions and loves spicy, even now. I was very careful and stayed away from a lot of supplements and herbs to make sure he was going to be fine. Theo was thriving, but little did I know that I was not keeping up with myself care and I was starting to deplete more than I should be.

I was cleared to start running about 2.5- 3 months after birth. My pelvic floor physiotherapist was the one that cleared me, and told me not to use the MUTU system since my pelvic floor was still very tight. I did not stretch the pelvic floor since I had a c-section. I still had to work on loosening it. I found that having a C-section allowed me to get back to cardio faster, but abdominal work was a slow and steady climb. After my C-section I remember thinking how often we use our abs and never even think about it. Standing was hard. Getting onto all fours was horrible. Try lying on your back and keeping your knees at 90 degrees…. It was tough. I was determined. I was going to get my pre- pregnancy body back, and weigh the same if not a little less. This is still a goal I am trying to achieve. I am about 5 lbs away 11 months later.

I worked hard and thought I was going slowly. I remember I ran my first 5 Km 4 months after giving birth and my first 10 km 5.5 months after giving birth. I though running and doing weights on alternating days was a good way to start. It wasn’t intense. I made sure to keep up my exercise throughout pregnancy and I walked every day and did my ab work to make sure I would get back into shape quickly.  After being cleared at 3 months to run and work out, 2.5 months later was not a smart Idea to be running 10 KM. My athletic mommas, it will come, but you have to be more realistic. It is possible to do, but it took its toll and I didn’t see it until I my son was 11 months old and I could not clear a cold. My face started to swell and my lymph nodes were the size of small tennis balls. I did too much for too long.

Take your time to get your body back. I mean your goals need to be gentle. I know you are more than capable of achieving those impressive goals where on the outside it seems very impressive. In the long run it isn’t worth taking your time to build properly. The analogy of lifting too much too quickly comes to mind. You think you’re ready and all you are doing is setting yourself up to get hurt. My mentality should have been, I’m going to get there, but I am going to give myself a year. You will get there before a year, but how hard you push is going to be different. I hated looking at my post-partum body and I wanted my body back. I pushed to accomplished goals, but my body took its time to get back to normal no matter how hard I pushed. I had to stop breast feeding to get my waist line to narrow, and get rid of all the water weight. Even then it is 3 months after you stop breast feeding where your hormones will regulate better. Your brain is going to take 2 years to go back, but that is a whole different story.

In general your strength is going to still be there. Your body mechanics are going to be off. Your body is morphing back to pre-pregnancy and your tendons/ligaments are still more flexible than they were before. So start at a weight you know is going to be safe and adjust accordingly. I really recommend doing Yin yoga and sprints first compared to distances and heaving weights. The more you honour your body the better your body will build. The faster you will get the results you are looking for. It takes a different mentality that most athletes have. Your body has been through so much and if you are breast feeding, not sleeping and maybe going to go back to work, you’re body does not need that extra push at the gym. It needs nourishment through movement. Incorporate this longer than you think you need. Trust me, the athlete mentality was not my friend right off the bat. I am having to rebuild all over again so I can sustain my results for the years to come. It is about longer term gains not short term wins that athletic momma’s need to focus on.

Now I am back at work, no longer pumping and 5 lbs away from my goals. I’m going to tell you, when I was trying really hard to lose the extra 7-8 lbs at the gym, the scale did not budge. I was thrown a health set back where I needed to readjust my mentality and the weight is shedding off. Your body is going to hold onto whatever it needs to. If you are too depleted, your body is going to hold onto the extra weight. I started honouring yin and nourishment and I feel better. I am losing the weight I was desperately trying to shed and my skin colour is starting to come back. Please use my story as encouragement to be nicer to yourself. I know athletes have high expectations and a give it all mentality. Motherhood is going to teach you many lessons, and balance is key. At least this is what it has taught me.

Thank you for following my Pregnant Athlete Blog series. I hope you enjoyed it, and as always if you have any questions, or comments please feel free to comment below or email me at

My Pregnant Athlete Story- Part 1

I thought that is was a great bonus blog.  I’m would share about my pregnancy, birth story and journey back to my body. I have kept most of the details pretty vague and focused on the learnings I found. It is sometimes better to hear about the struggles so people can relate.

I had no trouble getting pregnant, and found out by surprise after moving into my brand new condo. I was ripping out carpet, laying hardwood, designing built ins and painting 10 foot walls when I found that I was disproportionally tired. I did a pregnancy test and congrats to me! I was having a baby.

Over my pregnancy I found that I was very lucky. I maybe threw up 4 times and didn’t have lots of symptoms in my first trimester. As you have seen in my photos I didn’t show into more than half way through my second trimester, and ballooned out in my third. I gained mostly just baby, and I was active until the day before I went into the hospital. Honestly… I disliked being pregnant. I did have some nausea in the first trimester, and I ended up losing weight. My thyroid went into hyper drive and I have to visit an endocrinologist and make sure that I didn’t have to take very damaging medication to my thyroid and my baby. Fortunately, this can happen in the first trimester. The fetus will help the thyroid out and your body will adjust for it throughout pregnancy. I was cleared by the endocrinologist and was assured that the weight loss was ok. They look for weight gain more in the third trimester.

Extreme fatigue seemed to be a constant throughout my pregnancy. The first trimester was the worst, it did get a little better in the second trimester but did return in the third trimester. Fatigue has not left my life since and I am 11 months postpartum right now.

Diet wise I decided to bring everything in my diet. I was previously gluten and soy free.I ate everything. I did not avoid spicy cuisine, and I went out of my way to eat different types of foods that I wouldn’t have previously. I made sure to bring back carbs. My body was craving carbs actually.  I do not recommend a keto pregnancy. Your body needs to feed you and the baby. Fetus feeds of glucose not ketones… please keep that in mind.  No weird or interesting cravings. I was pretty stable and did not over eat. I was not overly hungry during pregnancy. That comes with breast feeding.

My exercise seemed like a chore during my first trimester. I felt like I was forcing myself to go to the gym or go for a run. I found that running was very hard on my back and I was not showing. I was able to run 5 Km 5 times a week for the first 5 months. I did weights 6 days a week and rested one day a week. My weight routine drastically changed. I found that I was not able to lift as heavy earlier than I expected. My 5 km runs took about 35 to 40 mins to complete. By the end of 20 weeks pregnant my back was on fire and I decided to switch to sprints. I loved sprints, but I had to get used to running slower than my endurance liked just for comfort on my abdominal ligaments. I got too big to sprint about 8 months pregnant and switched to different types of ellipticals. My weights changed as I got bigger as well. I found that I liked pleaea squats and lunges. Pec flys, curls, and midback rows were all great. Low back strengthening started to be really hard the bigger I got. It was comical at the gym, I was pretty big when I stopped sprinting. Many people probably wanted to tell me that I should sit down and relax, but no one came up to me, they just stared anxiously.

I decided to go with midwives. My advice is apply early. I applied to midwives when I was 7 weeks pregnant and I was still waitlisted for a few weeks. I loved the fact midwives see you more often and spend a lot of time educating you. They have wonderful resources for you to read and use. I did find that not all midwives are the same. Thankfully on of my midwives was able to help navigate what was safe to do during pregnancy and what was not.  I did have to deal with a little weight gain shame. I was told to gain 15 pounds max based on my pre pregnancy BMI… That did not happen and I gained 57 pounds, mostly in the third trimester. Mostly water weight.

Come my third trimester I found that I was not hungry and I was ready for Theo to get out. I had a scare once with his heart beat when he was 37 weeks. I was taking some nettles and taraxacum tea for the swelling and water weight gain. After that scare I stopped them. No one could explain that, because those are pretty safe in pregnancy. I had peace of mind not taking them, but the ankle swelling and water weight gain was out of control after that. Either way Theo was not going to stay in my womb too much longer.

People say that your first baby will be overdue… Theo decided that he wanted to come out 38 weeks and 5 days. My water broke 38 days and 4 days at 8 AM in the morning. I waited for 12 hours to go into labour only to have to go to the hospital and be induced. Needless to say, 25 hours after being admitted to the hospital my son was born via C-section My C-section lasted 2.5 hours and was described by the anesthesiologist as one of the most traumatic C-sections he has seen. My birth story did not go as planned, and I found it really hard to make the decision to have the C-section rather than waiting another 12 hours to see if I would pass 5 cm dilated. What got me through was healthy baby and healthy momma. Anything could have happened in those extra 12 hours and I wasn’t going to take that chance. I was exhausted and tried everything under the sun. Looking back on that memory I am happy that I chose that option. It helped afterwards in a lot of ways.

Theo was born 9 lbs and 22 inches long. His shoulders were the widest part of his body and I was relieved that I did not have to get stuck on his shoulders. I found that his head was not in the proper position to push dilation. It didn’t matter. For some reason I felt like a failure. I was not able to birth my son. I remember thinking that I would have been one of the women that died in child birth back in the day. It took me a while to snap out of this mentality and honestly Arnica 200C.  I was weepy and a mess after birth. I was pale, and weak. After a C-section they take out the catheter, give you a very painful abdominal exam, and make you stand up. That was the worst part of being in the hospital. Stand up 4 hours after your major abdominal surgery….. It hurt, and sucked. This was only the beginning of motherhood.

Breastfeeding hurt. C-Sections can sometime delay your milk from coming in. Passing the baby through the vaginal canal will stimulate prolactin release and you will have colostrum (first type of breast milk) production more readily than C-section mommas. Fortunately I was producing colostrum days before I went into the hospital and was ok with milk supply. I ended up producing over 2L/day of breast milk, and the average is 800 mL to 1L/day. I had the worst time breast feeding. Theo wouldn’t latch… later on I found out I was basically drowning him with my milk overproduction. That led him to bite down to stop the flow, compared to sucking the breast properly and driving a feed. My advice get a lactation consult ASAP they are wonderful. Mine was too late and I had already committed to pumping.

Pumping was a liberating decision. Everyone says that being on the breast is the only way to bond with your child. It is not. You are going to get plenty of skin to skin contact with your little one. Do what works for both you and baby. I hated Theo being on my breast and I wanted to have a postitve feeding experience with him. I chose what was right for me. Pumping comes with its challenges. You have to be religious with the schedule. I was pumping every 2.5-3 hours night or day. Theo Ate every 3 hours without fail. So I would get 1.5 hours of a break between rounds if I was lucky. I was able to stop pumping early because I developed quite frozen milk supply, and I again was happy with my choice. Controversial or not. If you plan on pumping there is a lot a research on losing your milk supply early. I did not suffer from this, but I already said in terms of supply I was not the average. If you are considering this option talk to your midwife or doctor and look into options to keep your flow up.

So far if you have any questions please comment or email me at This blog post is a lot longer than I thought it was going to be, and I am going to split the rest of the recovery part up into another post. I don’t want to overwhelm or lose anyone with too long blogging. Until next week!

The Pregnant Athlete Series: Getting your Body Back

You are no longer pregnant, and you have gone into your post-partum phase. Your body has gone through a number of changes and it is still going to change. Your belly is not flat yet and is slowly starting to come in. Your hips are starting to come back to normal. Your ligaments aren’t as flexible as they were before. You may be breast feeding, pumping, or you could be using formula. Your body is going to be different. This is something I need my new mommas to understand. Compassion for yourself and your body is a must in the post-partum phase.

If you are like me and wanted to get your body back ASAP. You are just waiting to be told you can go for a run and lift some weights. I had this preconceived notion that I was going to lose all my baby weight after 3 or 4 months. That was a naïve and unrealistic goal. Do not search Pintrest and think those post-partum photos are true. The time frame is not right on those photos. Your Body is going to take 9 months plus to get back to the same size and relative shape. Now your body is never going to be the same, and from one day to the next things shift and change, so why would pregnancy be any different?

Let’s talk about how to get your body back:

  • Start walking a week or two after giving birth. It may not be far or fast, but get up and start being active. This is going to be minimal exercise and that is all you need. The first few months are about buiding up your body and repairing. Anything too rigorous is going to go against your end goal and can cause a lot of damage.
  • Once you have been medically cleared you are going to need to create a workout plan that gradually gets you back to your old workout routine. Your body is very different than you remember. Not only for the last 2 months have you had to avoid the gym, before that you had an altered workout. Build slowly and know that it is going to get better soon. Don’t get frustrated, have compassion and understanding for yourself.
  • Focus on your low abs and pelvic floor. You are going to have to put extra effort into your pelvic floor and low abs. If you ignore either of these you are putting yourself at risk for incontinence, organ prolapse and pain. The Zipper technique taught in Pilates is a really good visual for properly engaging your core. It should be zipped up, or engaged, from the bottom up. Most people will engage their top abs and then their middle abs and completely forget about the bottom abs. Start from the pelvic floor, low abs, mid abs, Transverse abdominis and then upper abs.
  • Make sure to incorporate weight bearing exercises. This is going to tone you and bring back your shape faster than cardio alone.
  • Keep in mind that breast feeding is going to affect your shape and how quickly you go slim down. It is a myth that it will cause weight loss. In some women it is true, but not all. It may keep your abdomen thicker and people tend to over eat while breast feeding which prevents weight loss. On average, if you produce between 800 and 1000 mL of breast milk you will only need 300 Extra calories.
  • Give yourself the year to get your body back. Your routine is going to have to be flexible. A baby is going to keep you on your toes, and you are going to have to be ok with a short workout or skipping one because you are too tired. Listen to those fatigue signs. You are going to be more prone to injuries and burnout. You will not be sleeping well, and your nutrition may suffer. It will get better, but remember it won’t happen overnight.

I hope this series has been informative. It was nice to reminisce about my experience last year. I am very proud to say that this momma is back at work, and trying to balance athletics, diet, family, and my baby. I will let you know when I learn balance!

The Pregnant Athlete Series: The 4th Trimester (First 3 months postpartum)

The fourth trimester is not recognized by most healthcare providers. Anyone who has given birth will agree that there is such a thing. The fourth trimester is the first 3 months after you give birth. Everyone is focused on the baby, including yourself. In North American culture we forget that the mothers just went through an extraordinary event that has left your body weakened. North American culture promotes the delusion of a super mom, who does everything effortlessly. We need to understand, that is the opposite of reality and mothers need to stop striving for that ideal. In Indian culture all the “aunties” come over to the new mother’s house and pamper her. They realize how much stress you have just put your body through.

The first few weeks after having a baby end up being a blur. You are tired from having given birth, and that is only the beginning. If you decide to breast feed there are many stressors that come with that. The baby latching, how painful it is, is the baby getting enough food? How do I know that I am making the right decision? What if breast feeding isn’t for me, does that make me a horrible mom that puts her baby on formula? The list of self-doubt and questions goes on.

Now that we are moms, we are magically supposed to be morph into a superhuman. We can do it all, even if we are in the most depleted state we have ever been. I must get through this with a smile! One of my favourite comments is, “Everyone else has done it, you should be able to too!” My advice is block it out. You are going develop your own style of parenting and it is going to take time. The fourth trimester is about bonding with your baby, getting your milk supply up, and trying to sleep as much as possible. Do not think there is anything more important than healing yourself. You will not be able to take care of anyone for any length of time if you have not taken care of yourself first. The analogy of putting on your own oxygen mask before helping anyone else on a plane holds true. You are not going to be sustainably available if you do not make your own health a priority.

Now we should talk about the fun hormones, and mental health issues that will appear after you give birth. Eighty-five percent of women will experience mood disturbances after giving birth[1]. We typically hear about postpartum depression, but there are other mental health issues that you should be aware of.

  • Postpartum blues: Typically considered normal where you are more tearful irritable, have mood swings and feel more anxious. This should randomly disappear after the first 2 weeks1.
  • Postpartum Depression: happens after the first 2-3 months after giving birth. It is clinically indistinguishable between regular depression.
  • Postpartum Anxiety or OCD: You can develop panic attacks or hypochondriasis (needing everything to be clean). Little has been researched on the anxiety aspect because there are a lot of overlap symptoms with Depression. Further study needs to be done in this area1.
  • Postpartum Psychosis: This rare and the onset happens 48-72 hours after birth. Symptoms are; rapidly shifting depressed or elated mood, disorientation or confusion, and erratic or disorganized behavior. Delusional beliefs are common and about the baby. Hearing voices that tell the mother to harm herself or her baby can happen. Risk for infanticide, as well as suicide, is significant in this population.1

It is important to make sure that you get out of the house every day and try to go outside. With or without the baby. This has been shown to help with mood in the fourth trimester. Always keep an eye out on your mood, and know that it is normal to have mood swings. It is not normal to be thinking about suicide or harming the baby. You are going to feel overwhelmed. You have been thrown into a situation that you really couldn’t have prepared for. You need to be gentle to yourself.

My Athlete mommas… they key here is be gentle to yourself. You will need to heal. If you do not give yourself the proper time to heal, You will cause long term harm to your body. Your pelvic floor will be weaker, organ prolapse and incontinence happen. There are a few tricks to help you heal:

  • Wear a belly wrap for the first 8 weeks after giving birth to support your abdomen.
  • Check out the Mutu System. This is going to tone the pelvic floor
  • Go back to your pelvic floor physio therapist to help you heal. They will also tell you how to rehab your belly. If you had a C-section, they are going to give you techniques so you will not develop the post C-section shelf.
    • They will also tell you when you are ready to go back to running and heavier weights.
  • No intense physical exercise for at least the first 8 weeks. C sections can be longer.

Next week we will talk about getting your body back and realistically what to expect.

[1] Post partum psychiatric disorders. MGH center for women’s mental health. Retrieved Nov 16, 2019. Updated 2019.

The Pregnant Athlete Series: Birth and Pain Management

It is finally time to get your baby out. By the end of the third trimester you are going to be more than ready to have your baby in your arms and not in your belly anymore. I want you to use one mantra above everything else. “As long as my baby and myself are healthy”. This mantra is going to serve you well in the chaos that happens when birthing a baby.

Some women have made birth plans and visualized exactly how they want their birth to go. That is amazing and a wonderful exercise I encourage everyone to do. Just be ok and know that your birth plan is most likely going to be thrown out the window. I did not have a set birth plan, I had events and goals in mind for my birthing process. None of them happened and I ended up in labour for 36 hours and in a 2.5 hour C-section with IV Ab and hemorrhaging. I did have an elective C-section and I know that was hard to come to terms with. I went through months of prep and visualizations. I did all the midwife appointments, pelvic physiotherapist appointments, meditations and epi-no exercises. The result was the last case scenario I wanted. At the end of the day I have a happy thriving little boy, and it didn’t matter how he came into the world. This mentality happened a few months after the traumatic delivery. I will be talking about the 4th trimester in my next blog post, and will give advice about healing on a physical, mental/emotional and spiritual level.

Athletes tend to have a wonderful mentality during labour. The “no pain no gain” mentality really helps to focus and persevere through hours of pushing. Knowing you are going to get through this, and focusing on those deep belly breaths are going to be the key to dilating and pushing through the pain.

We should talk about pain here. There are numerous different pain management types: Getting in the a warm water bath, Pressure on the pelvis, Movement, Deep breathing, Tens Machine, Laughing Gas and an epidural.

Let’s start with getting into a warm bath. This is an option if you water hasn’t broken. The warm water is soothing and helps to relax the intense contractions as you dilate. This is a great place to start your pain management during labour. Walking around will also help you dilate and get out your nervous energy. Dancing has become and internet sensation and has lots of research on it for pain during labour and stimulating labour. Bouncing on a yoga ball is another form of movement that helps you relax and uses gravity to bring the baby downwards. I loved being on the yoga ball and having my husband push with very firm pressure on my pelvis during an active contraction. It seemed to be the best form of pain management in my case.

Deep breathing is always going to be encouraged through an active contraction. It will help you open and stop tensing your body. When you tense your body you are fighting against dilation, and this will prolong your labour. Put on some meditative music and focus on your breath. Just keep telling yourself to open like a flower and visualize it. It does really help.

Tens machine can he attached to your back or belly (wherever you are experiencing labour pains). This will significantly decrease pain. Make sure to bring one with you, or ask your midwife/Obgyn to have one available for you during your birth. I highly recommend this method of pain management. The laughing gas is good. You have to pace yourself and take deep breaths. It will minimize the pain for a little bit, and it will not harm the baby. It is a great additive to your pain management regime. You can use all of these techniques together and progress. You can do multiple at the same time. Just make sure you talk to the people who are helping to deliver your baby and get the comfort that you need.

Some people who can’t relax will be suggested to have an epidural. This is typically a safe option. Keep in mind that an epidural too early can prolong labour by slowing down your dilation. If you want an epidural try and last to about 5-6 cm before you get one. If your body can’t relax and isn’t dilating an epidural maybe a good option. It does allow you to rest and take away the pain before having to push. Don’t rule an epidural out if you feel you need one. You will know if you want one when you go into labour. Remember your birth plan is going to have to be flexible.

Most women will be pushing for an average of 3 hours. So remember you have to save energy to push. No matter what your birth plan is, or your pain management plan, remember healthy baby and healthy mama. Everything in between will become a blur, I promise!

The Pregnant Athlete Series: The Third Trimester

The Third trimester is a big one… pun intended. By now 95% of women are starting to show. There are a few exception if you are tall or suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum (chronically throwing up). This is when you are going to want to start preparing the nurseries and having your baby showers. I want you to add in meal prep for months after you give birth. Start freezing meals because you are not going to have the time or energy to make a nutritious nourishing meal that you will need to properly recover. Every time you make meal double the batch and freeze half. You will be thanking yourself later.

We are going to talk about the pelvic floor again. This is the final stages to get your pelvic floor moving again. Focusing on belly breathing and mediation. Gentle stretches in frog pose and downward dog are also going to open and stretch the pelvic floor. I said this before you will need the pelvic floor to have full range of motion to have an effective contraction. The more effective the contraction the less time you will be pushing.

I also suggest investigating the Epi-NO is it a device that will help the tissues in the vagina to open. This device significantly reduces the risk of tearing during delivery. You use the inflator to gradually open the vaginal canal. This device can also be used to strength the pelvic floor and vaginal canal muscles after delivery. You will start incorporating perianal massages to help decrease tearing, and you will start evening primrose oil to soften the cervix. This is a glorious month of preparation for the big delivery day.

Exercise is going to be very modified by this stage. You are going to find that running distances is not feasible. Sprinting can be ok up until the point your abdomen pulls too much on the front of you. You should continue to do different cardio machines. Try the elliptical or the arc trainer. These are a great way to get your heart rate up and stay healthy. Speaking of heart rate to elevate your heart rate during pregnancy can be stressful on the baby. Your body is going to tell you what you can and can’t do. If you start to feel sensations in your chest, shortness of breath and anxiety you have gone too far. These are signs of a heart attack which does not mean you are going into cardiac arrest, it just means to rest and not be as intense. Try and keep your heart rate during cardio exercise in the 160 bpm. Most athletes are used to going above the recommended heart rate during exercise, your body can handle it. A lot less cardio exercise is going to get your heart rate in that range than you are used to.

Weight gain is another topic that is going to come up during this trimester. This is where most of the weight gain I going to occur as the baby rapidly grows in your uterus. A lot of doctors and midwives are going to use your BMI to predict the safe amount of weight you should gain during pregnancy. BMI is not made for athletes and most people are going to gain more than 15 lbs in their pregnancy. I use common sense when interpreting this chart.

See the source image

Most athletes fall into the normal weight category, and should gain between 25-35 lbs. This being said your body is going to do what it needs to do. I gained 57 pounds during my pregnancy. I took on a lot of water weight. My ankles were swollen and the rest of my body was puffy, especially in the third trimester. Try and not obsess about weight gain. As long as your baby and vitals are fine, you shouldn’t stress.

At the end of this trimester you are going to have your little bundle of joy. Next week I am going to talk about delivery. We will cover C sections, natural births, epidurals, laughing gas, tens machine, mantras, you name it and we will cover it.

The Pregnant Athlete Series- Second Trimester

The second trimester of pregnancy is the easiest trimester in my opinion. Most of the time all the pregnancy symptoms disappear, the baby bump grows, and the risk of spontaneous abortion has dropped significantly. Your energy starts to return and you will get some of your sanity back. For athletes specifically this is where you are going to have modify your exercise routine, and really start to incorporate other stress management techniques that do not revolve around exercise. This is the trimester where you are going to have to start working on our pelvic floor.

Let’s start with the pelvic floor exercises. I think a pelvic floor physiotherapist is an absolute asset during pregnancy. This is going to save you a lot of trouble for years to come. They will do a personal assessment and work with you individually to optimize your pelvic floor. Key points for athletes and their pelvic floor:

  • Your pelvic floor is most likely going to be too tight. This is going to cause issues with delivery. You need to make sure your pelvic floor is moving properly. You need to have a full contraction, which means your pelvic floor has to completely relax as well as tighten.
  • Pelvic floor is really effected by breathing exercises and meditation. Make sure to start incorporate belly breathing and relaxation into your routine.

Exercise routine changes are going to drastically change towards the end of this trimester. Exercise is going to work with your shape. If you are like me and didn’t have a true baby bump until 6.5 months, you are going to have to adjust more later on. When the baby bump comes through we want to avoid crunches and focusing on the abdominal muscles. Your abs are supposed to stretch around the baby. You will have to let go of the notion of a flat stomach. My pelvic floor physiotherapist told me that I needed to stop working on my abs so I would start to show. “if you don’t allow them to stretch they are going to rip”. She was completely right. Focus on a flat abdomen after you give birth and have recovered. So the main point here is relax on core exercises.

In terms of lifting weights …. Do as much as you can without causing strain during the exercise. This means your body is going to tell you if that is too much. It will fatigue faster, and I swear the dumbbells will feel heavier than they were. It is unrealistic to think that you are going to be lifting the same amount of weight for the same reps and sets as you did before pregnancy. This is frustrating but your body is going through some drastic changes. Be patient with yourself. Still go to the gym as many days you were going before, and know that the workouts will not be as intense, but they will still be challenging with being pregnant. Do what you can. You are going to thank yourself for putting in the effort to exercise. Some midwives will say 50 lbs max, and will not apply to an athlete working out for an hour. Fifty lbs refers to how much weight you can carry safely during your pregnancy all day if you work in a warehouse.

Stress Management is going to have to start happening in any way that is not exercising. Your body is changing, your hormones are fluctuating and you are not yourself. You are starting to transition into another phase of your life. You are going to be stressed about the unknown, being a good mom, what to do with this new child, and how do I keep my relationships up. It is a lot to handle. Starting to journal, or meditate. Get outside and be in nature, no matter the time of year. Colour in an adult colouring book, or start painting. Find something that you can channel your stress into and help you release it. Keep trying out different stress management techniques until you find something that resonates with you.

Next week we are going to over the third trimester! The baby is coming and we are going to go over what to have done before baby gets here, further changes to your exercise routine, and weight gain expectations. Stay tuned!

The Pregnant Athlete Series- The First Trimester

The first trimester is always a stressful one. You are unaware you are pregnant for the first month or so and you experience the most symptoms. We worry about spontaneous abortion rates and extreme fatigue. The first trimester has been described by numerous women, as the trimester from Hell. Personally I was one of the lucky women who had minimal side effects. I had never felt this level of fatigue, but I wasn’t nauseous, craving any foods, and I only experienced 2 bouts of morning sickness. Every female and every pregnancy is going to be different. The focus on the first trimester is to listen to your body. Every craving, every ache or pain, and every sensitivity.

Now this does not mean over eat and think that you are eating for two and you can stop exercising. Diet and portion control is still very important while you are pregnant. Nutrition for pregnant athletes is going to change from your previous diet. You need to incorporate more complex carbs and decrease the amount of protein you are eating. You will need the energy with whole grains throughout your entire pregnancy and you will need to back off the protein for your kidney health. Your poor kidneys are going to be working extra hard for the next 40 weeks, let’s not bog them down more with too much protein.

Athletes are prone to the regular pregnancy symptoms, and you will need to have some symptom relief. I will not being going over the regular pregnancy symptoms. I am going to focus on the aspects of pregnancy that the athlete is going to experience differently. That being said, an app that I really loved and appreciated is “What to Expect”. It is a life saver, and will give you advice and information on each week of gestation. You will feel very informed and prepared. I think it is important to note that miscarriage rates will decrease after 12 weeks, and pushing yourself too hard is going to stress your body and fetus. Athletes are going to have to learn balance in their routine.

Exercise is going to be hit or miss during this trimester. Fatigue, morning sickness, or nausea are going to dictate how often you hit the gym or go for a run. You are going to need to honour your body. Don’t push too hard. The general rule for exercise is keep the same level of activity and this is going to be challenging. Don’t worry too much about avoiding certain exercises or limiting your cardio in the first trimester. Do what you were doing before as long as you can. Every female is going to be different about when they need to drop their cardio. This means if you were doing a 5 KM run in 25 mins, expect to do a 5 KM run slower. You will gradually see your 5 KM time increase. This is normal, cherish the fact you are still able to run.

The second and third trimester is where exercise is going to be altered more. Your belly and the way your body changed shape will dictate which exercises you can do. The key is to keep working out as much as possible. You will thank yourself after you have given birth. Trust me the first trimester is going to pass. Listening to your body. Focus on the connection with the little one in your belly. It goes faster than you think.

Pregnant Athlete Series: Fertility

I am going to take the next 2 months to go over what I learned as a pregnant Athlete. This is near and dear to my heart because my baby boy Theo is turning 1 at the end of the year. I was pretty big last December and I am going to share my insights with everyone.

This series is going to go through the different stages of pregnancy and getting pregnant. I will go over what to look for, how to change your workout routine for each stage of pregnancy and some of the myths that surround pregnancy.

This week I am going to start with fertility in Female athletes. Fertility in female athletes can be a sensitive topic. Athletes are fit, we eat and exercise right. We are perfect speicimens….. Just not always for getting pregnant. Each athlete is different and will have different challenges in their health, I am going to address the main challenge that I see in female athletes who are trying to conceive.


Now depending on your body fat percentage you are going to find it easier than other athletes to conceive. The optimal body fat percentage for a woman is 22-25%[1]. Most athletes just shuttered there. The minimum body fat percentage that Toni Weschler, the author of Taking Charge of your Fertility, recommends is 18%1. Fat in the body helps to produce Estrogen. Women need the estrogen and progesterone in proper concentrations to maintain a pregnancy and even conceive.

If you are wondering if your body fat is too low go see your local Naturopath or Medical Doctor to find out. Generally if you are having regular periods you most likely don’t have to worry about your body fat percentage to conceive.

I need to address BMI and athletes.  BMI is not the same body fat percentage and BMI is not going to apply to athletes. They are going to tell you that you are obese with a BMI of around 30. If the doctor uses BMI they are going to try and get you to lose weight which is going to be counter intuitive to getting pregnant. BMI is also going to be important when your midwife or OBGYN try to tell you how much weight to gain. I will come back to this topic. You will not be following the BMI Standards of weight gain during pregnancy.


In general take your pre-natal, fish oils, probiotics, eliminate alcohol and smoking any substances. If you are over 30 and have been trying to get pregnant for a year, get your medical doctor to give you a referral to a specialist. There is absolutely no harm in getting the specialized testing done to find out what is going on in your specific case. Once that is done try getting some acupuncture and focus on positives of life. Adding stress to this situation is not going to make a baby. It is just going to stress you out.

Next week I will be going through the first trimester for the Female athlete. Stay tuned.

[1] Body Fat Percentage. You need Body fat for conception. Fertility Authority. Retrieved Oct 9, 2019. Updated 2019.