Being pregnant is one of the most exciting times of my life. After a miscarriage, three IUIs, and two and a half rounds of IVF, I never thought getting pregnant after miscarriage was going to happen for me naturally.
Although we’re probably at the height of the body positivity era, my miscarriage and subsequent infertility made me feel shameful about my body. As a woman, I know my biological purpose is to create life. Obviously, this is far from my only purpose — but I couldn’t stop fixating on the fact that my body was made to do this. When that purpose was finally fulfilled, my confidence was restored. All of this being said, every way to become a mother, whether it’s through fertility treatments, donor eggs, or adoption are all valid.
The miscarriage and all the hormones I had to take during fertility treatments also changed the way my body looked. So, in addition to it not functioning the way it should, I could barely look at myself in the mirror without feeling disgusted. Even in the heat of Los Angeles, I’d avoid the super cute leggings and sports bra look everyone wore at the gym in favor of sweatshirts and big T-shirts.
Being pregnant after miscarriage hasn’t only changed the way I feel about my body, but it’s also changed my fitness routine for the better.
A new fitness routine
Prior to this pregnancy, I was a member of a studio that did intense 30-minute Power Plate classes. I love Power Plates (and boy, was I grateful this studio stayed open during the pandemic), but unfortunately, this type of exercise isn’t safe for pregnancy. I also felt like I was in a bit of a rut with my routine. Most of the time, I just didn’t have the inner strength to reach my full potential in class. It’s not that I didn’t go hard, it’s that I didn’t go as hard as I possibly could.
So, a few weeks before I learned I was pregnant, I decided to go back to Pilates after nearly two years. Getting back on the reformer was challenging. I forgot how hard it can be, but it felt so good. I was incredibly satisfied and proud after each 50-minute session.
All of this required newfound endurance. Whenever I started to feel like I couldn’t put on that extra spring, do that deep oblique twist, or hold a plank for another twenty seconds, instead of giving up, I remind myself that my body is literally capable of creating life, so there’s no reason why I can’t go the distance. I say to myself, “I can do this.” Or alternatively — perhaps in a less politically correct way — I think, “Your body made a fucking baby. Childbirth is harder than this. Stop being a wuss and go for it.”
I also recognize that I may not be able to exercise this way for the entirety of my pregnancy. So I push myself while it’s still possible. I also know that having a strong body (particularly a strong pelvic floor, which is a benefit of Pilates) will make birth and other things as a new mom much easier. It’s not about aesthetics anymore, it’s all about strength.
A few notes on exercising while pregnant
I can’t recommend discussing your fitness routine with your doctor enough. When it comes to Pilates as well as other classes and activities, some things (like squats and lunges) are okay to do when pregnant, while movements that require being on your stomach aren’t. Furthermore, some things may be fine for the first trimester but not safe for the second or third. You may also want to consult a trainer with some type of prenatal certification or expirence.
It’s also essential to tell fitness instructors you’re pregnant. I understand you might be superstitious about this, but it’s for your safety and the safety of your baby. My fitness instructors knew about my pregnancy before my sisters did (sorry!). Another reason why you need to share this information is that if you fall, pass out, or somehow become incapacitated, they can let medical professionals know.
Also, although I push myself in class, I exercise slightly less frequently than I did pre-pregnancy (four days a week instead of five) because I’ve been extremely tired. Balance is key and if you can’t push yourself, don’t. But when you can, do it — because you’ll feel like a super mom.