"Faith, you are expecting your first child! How important do you think exercise has been during your trimesters?"
Faith Hsu NP:
"Having a child is an amazing experience! I have cared for women during their pregnancies and watched them give birth, but this did not prepare me for what the process is really like! While there is unspeakable joy the first time you hear your little one’s heart beat, the first time you see them on their ultrasound, the first time you feel them move, there are also a few uncomfortable moments along the way...
My first trimester I experienced every symptom in the book - from the expected nausea to the rare mastitis! Although I was fatigued, part of my morning pre-pregnancy routine included an hour workout 4-5 times weekly. I continued this even though I wasn’t feeling the best. Coincidentally, the week I found out I was pregnant was the week we picked up our new puppy, Sebastian. To help use up some of his endless puppy energy, we got in the habit of going on a 2-3 mile walk in the afternoon.
My fatigue and nausea lessened in my second trimester and I started Virtual Pilates with Francine. I knew that my window of feeling good might be short, so I wanted to maximize the time I had to get my body prepared for my new baby. I continued my daily trips to the gym and my walks with Sebastian. During this time, my husband and I took a trip to Hawaii. I was amazing that despite being 5 months pregnant I was able to go on long hikes, kayak, and snorkel.
I am currently half way through my third trimester. The third trimester brought back the fatigue. Although I have been getting plenty of exercise, I am surprised by how significantly my body has changed. I get short of breath easier, get fatigued quicker, and feel surprisingly weak. I can’t imagine how deconditioned I would have become if I had not been exercising! Although my daily trips to the gym are now sporadic, I have continued Pilates twice a week in addition to almost daily walks with my dog."
"Have you noticed a difference between your physical aches and pains of pregnancy and those of your peers?"
"I have four friends that are currently pregnant and I feel very fortunate to have avoided many symptoms that I hear them complain about. I think in large part it is due to the exercise I have gotten throughout my pregnancy. I sleep well at night (with the exception of the increasingly frequent trips to the bathroom). I do not have any leg cramps. I have gained the recommended amount of weight during my pregnancy. I have had on going problems with sciatica and as my baby gets heavier I am experiencing back pain, but Pilates gives me tools to effectively relieve these symptoms."
"Some people are nervous about starting an exercise program like Pilates during their pregnancy if they have never done it before. What is your opinion on this?"
"Even if you are new to exercise, I highly recommend starting an exercise program if you are pregnant. I do recommend consulting with your doctor before starting any exercise program and ensuring that you are working with someone who is trained in prenatal exercise. There are special things to consider as your body changes during pregnancy and an expert can help guide you through the process. Some people think they cannot try something new if they are pregnant, but this is not true. I had never done Pilates before I started it in my second trimester. It has been great way to help my body remain strong during my pregnancy and get prepared for delivery."
If you want to learn more about exercise during pregnancy, please follow this link.