Pregnancy Blog: 30 Weeks

Relaxin

Now it’s all making sense.  So much that I had read about pregnancy and relaxin is finally happening in my body. Relaxin is the hormone that softens a woman’s ligaments so that the pelvis is more malleable and can accommodate magnificence of the human head at birth.

A lot of the postures that we teach students to modify in the pregnancy series I haven’t had to modify (except to accommodate my belly) at all until now.  It seems like in a week, my whole pelvis has changed.  I went from comfortable doing Toe Stand on Friday to “what am I thinking?” on Sunday.  I can see why they say to avoid excess pressure to the perineum and symphysis pubis.  It feels like my symphysis is going to crack open if I put too much pressure on it.  Now I know why they encourage you to do Kegels from the beginning.

I can really feel the effects of the softening in my ligaments.  In straddle splits, there is a point where my muscles are no longer stretching and I can feel I am just pulling on my ligaments.  It actually feels like my ilium are spreading away from my sacrum when I fold too far forward in it.  When I pushed it too far, I felt like I’d been riding a horse too long for the rest of the day.  I’ve noticed, too, when I do Forearmstand, that I have INCREDIBLE stretching across my abdomen that just doesn’t feel right.  I just don’t feel in control.  I am sure some of that has to do with the lengthening of my rectus abdominus…it just doesn’t contract like it used to…

It really is inappropriate for any pregnant woman to do Toe Stand and deep straddle splits during pregnancy. It may feel okay in the beginning, but contributes to instability in the ligaments that stabilize your entire body and can lead to long-term problems with the sacroiliac joints. I have always been very strong and was very pig-headed about dialing back my practice. Although it feels never-ending at times, pregnancy is a tiny period of your life. You’ll get back to all of your favorite poses before you know it.

Other than that, I am really just in the grow-the-baby stage.  She’s gaining weight and getting bigger, kicking up a storm.  She loves hot chocolate.  Some times it looks like an alien is rolling over under my skin.  I wish I could see what she’s doing in there.

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Pregnancy Blog: 26 Weeks

Cruising Altitude

Things are pretty uneventful lately.  I feel good, the yoga feels good, I have plenty of energy and a good appetite.  Things are right on track.  She’s a good size and developing well.  She has gotten incredibly active.  I used to feel her just at night or very quiet times during the day.  Now I feel her kicking and rolling all day long, especially during class and after backbends.  She used to be quiet the whole time I was teaching, now she’s kicking me while I’m talking.  The one part of class that completely mellows her is Kapalbhati.  I don’t know if its the motion or the rhythmic squeezing, but I don’t hear a peep from her for about an hour after we’re done.  Even when I am just demonstrating or joining the group while I’m teaching.

Her favorite place to plant a kick is right in my liver.  I am happy, though, that she’s on that side because if she were reversed, I’d be seeing my lunch again as she jabbed me in my stomach.

Pregnancy Blog: 21 Weeks

Its a Girl!
Twenty-one weeks pregnant and we got a routine ultrasound done this week.  I can’t even begin to explain how incredible that experience was.  I’ve seen pictures of other people’s ultrasounds, but they are always grainy and hard to see.  The real- time experience is so much better.  We could see her move and even see the wrinkles in the skin on the soles of her feet. She was sitting cross-legged at the beginning, with her hands above her head.  We watched her rubbing her face and even pulling on one thumb.  She was kicking and moving and stretching out her legs.  Then, I kid you not, she took one leg and pulled it up to her face and sat there like she was doing head-to-knee pose.  She had one hand wrapped around the back of her thigh and the other rubbing her head.  It’s hard to believe that my own hips were that flexible once.  The lab technician said I was lucky that I couldn’t feel all of her movements or I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night.

To date, I’ve only gained five pounds.  The baby’s measurements were great on the ultrasound.  She’s gaining weight, there’s plenty of amniotic fluid, my fundus is at 21 centimeters (right on track) so there’s nothing to worry about.  I’ve really done well supplementing the calories I burn while taking class.  What I hadn’t thought about is replacing the calories I burn while teaching.  In addition to a pregnant woman’s metabolism, I’m also trying to stay cool, walk around and yak for 90 minutes at a time one or two times a day.  I don’t have any numbers on amount of calories burned teaching, but I’d be willing to guess it’s around 200.

Pregnancy Blog: 19 Weeks

Mount Major
I hiked Mount Major this weekend and I was surprised at how hard it was.  I had a hard time catching my breath and had to stop about 10 times to rest.  Mt. Major is a hike that I would rip off in 40 minutes or less without needing a break except maybe to slug a little water just a few months ago.

At about eight weeks, I hiked Mount Monadnock and thought I was going to die.  I was shocked at feeling so out of control of my physical fitness.  I quickly I lost my breath and had to stop and rest over and over again.  I felt light headed and breathless within five minutes of hiking.

I had expected, at eight weeks, to feel all of those things. It makes physiological sense.  In the first trimester, it is normal for a pregnant woman to get lightheaded easily because blood pressure can be low as the body is trying to make up an additional two liters of blood to supply the growing uterine muscle, additional blood vessels and the baby.  I had guessed that this far into my second trimester that things would be a lot easier.

My midwife says that it is completely normal.  Even though my body has completed the needed two extra liters of blood and my blood pressure is back up to normal, there is still an increased demand for oxygen from the fetus and seven liters (instead of five) of blood to oxygenate.  It all makes sense, but I was not expecting it.

Pregnancy Blog: 16 Weeks

Someone told me this week that they were glad to hear I was pregnant because they thought I had just been eating too much ice cream.  More students have figured it out or are passing the news on. I feel like I get more energy every single day.  It feels so good not to feel bad that I am ecstatic.  I’ve felt a little rolling and pressure in my abdomen, but no concrete kicks yet.  I do, however, have regular Braxton-Hicks contractions.  I notice after I lie down from a backbend that my uterus gets firm and bulges up.  It was surprising at first, but my midwife says it’s a normal reaction to exercise and activity and it all serves to make my uterine muscle stronger for childbirth.

The pregnancy modifications feel really good.  The only thing I miss in the release in my upper back that you get from Rabbit and Head-to-Knee.  The Cat/Cow in place of Rabbit is a fair substitute, but in no way as deep a stretch.

I am surprised, but already my belly is in the way in Spine Twisting.  Even with my lower leg extended, I can still feel too much compression in my lower abdomen.  I have had to start twisting in the opposite direction (open).  Most of the twist happens in my mid-back and upper back.

Pregnancy Blog: End of First Trimester

13 Weeks
I can see the light, I swear.  I woke up this morning and didn’t have a headache for the first time in weeks.  I’ve been having these headaches that I can feel even when I am sleeping.  I have a little more energy and am not completely repulsed when I think about spinach. I have to pass on the best morning sickness trick I learned.  One woman recommended to me to try eating a half a granola bar or other power-packed snack the last time you get up to pee in the middle of the night.  It was definitely a lifesaver.  I was still nauseated in the morning, but not so bad that I couldn’t eat.

Class is feeling better.  I am now making it to 3-4 classes per week.  I’ve got a little paunch coming, but most people have no idea.  This week I’ll start doing the pregnancy modifications, so the cat will be out of the bag.  Several students (other moms) have already guessed because of my rapidly expanding bust!  The earliest, most-observant guesser had me pegged at 7 weeks.  Pretty good detective work.

The baby is growing as expected.  Heart rate is still strong at 160 bpm.  Seriously, this first trimester felt like 9 months in itself.  I am glad to be able to share the news and joyfully anticipating getting a big belly!

Pregnancy Blog: 9 Weeks

9 Weeks Pregnant
Holy nausea!  I’ve never had a queasy stomach or an easy gag reflex.  Now, just being alive makes me want to barf.  I was in the grocery store the other day and had to avert my eyes as I walked by the vegetable section.  I could feel the purple cabbage staring at me.

As for the yoga, I am down to practicing 2-3 times a week (from 5-7 classes/week).  I am just too tired.  The postures feel good, but I am exhausted.  It’s always a battle between go-to-class and take-a-nap.  I’ve taken to walking the other days of the week.  I must admit that I always feel better after I exercise.   I’m starting to think I may feel better if I get back to a daily practice.  Even just getting outside and starting to walk helps to ease the nausea.  The days that I’ve tried just staying home and taking a nap, I feel like garbage by 5 pm.  Plus, the pregnancy is still under wraps.  I had to sit out of a couple of postures in class the other day and everyone was asking what was wrong and was I sick.

Now I know first-hand why we don’t recommend starting a Bikram practice in the first trimester.  It’s too much to add on to all of the physical and hormonal changes.  A woman who wrote one of my pregnancy books calls morning sickness Progesterone Poisoning.  I think anyone who started at this time in the pregnancy would be scared away, not because of the yoga, but because your body feels horrible at this stage.

The best part of class are the backbends.  My stomach is in knots all day from the nausea, and getting to stretch my abdomen and release all of that tension feels great.  I could sleep in Savasana at the end for about a half an hour.

The one posture I have been enjoying the most is Standing Head-to-Knee.  I am gobbling up as much of it as I can get because I know that in a few weeks I won’t be able to do it again for a long time.

It’s been a big learning experience to have to sit down or even leave the room after this long practicing.  It’s given me a good reminder of what it feels like to be new to the practice.  There are times that I feel tired and think, I can’t hold Awkward the whole time.  Then I think, I have the muscle strength to do this and I realize how mental so much of this class can be.

We heard the heartbeat this week for the first time.  What an awesome experience!  Now I really don’t care who finds out I am pregnant.  I know there’s a baby in there that’s alive and kicking.  It was 170 beats per minute.  It should slow to 110 bpm by the birth.