A few months ago when social media all abuzz with sustainable swaps, #plasticfreejuly and going more #zerowaste, I was inspired to look at our plastic consumption to see if we could do any better with our recycling habits, which I actually thought were pretty good at the time. Conveniently, plastic-free July seemed to collide with an extreme urge to nest I was experiencing that month, and after Matt informed me our local Bottle Depot was no longer accepting soft plastic, I went on a eco-rampage at our house.
With just 2.5 weeks (ish) to go until baby boy is earthside and now that I’m feeling a genuine sense of excitement and curiosity instead of fear about what my body is about to go through, I’ve started to look more into what to expect AFTER baby is here.
One of the benefits of being late to the child-bearing game (aside from all the hand-me-downs!) is the great wisdom other mamas in my circle of family, friends and social connections have to share about their experiences, and one thing I’ve heard a lot about recently is the fourth trimester.
The fourth trimester is essentially the first three months after you baby is born, where you are still healing and recovering and baby is adjusting to life outside the womb. In almost all other cultures, the first 40-60 days after a baby is born is known as a “sitting-in” period or “sacred window”, where the new mother is either cared for by her female relatives at home or at her mother’s house, and the focus is on the new mother feeding and bonding with her baby and resting as much as possible so she can heal while family and friends take care of housework and preparing meals. Sounds amazing, right?
With only 6 weeks left until my due date, I’ve started to think more about to birth experience and what, if anything, I should be doing now to prepare for labour and delivery. Since about week 32 I’ve been reading articles about labour and birth, listening to podcasts, watching YouTube videos of actual births, and read Ina May Gaskin’s Guild to Childbirth. So far nothing about birth is freaking me out or making me feel like I can’t do it; I find the more informed I am, the better I feel about what my body is going to go through.
I think I’m sitting in the middle of how most women feel about birth – some have detailed birth plans and want the experience to be as natural and calm as possible, others just want to get the baby out and have no issues taking all the pain interventions offered. My feeling about it is I want to go as long as possible without intervention (I seem to have a high pain tolerance), but obviously if the baby is in distress or my health is in danger, I’ll be telling them to cut me open and get him out asap.
Back in 2013 when Debbie and I were super fit and fast, we started mapping some of the best trails to run on Southern Vancouver Island in a series we called “7 Trails to Run Before You Die, Vancouver Island Edition“. Although we’ve been hiking more than running lately (I haven’t run since September 2018 for reasons I’m sure you are aware of), we still map trails and take photos of our adventures.
Yesterday we did a short hike at Devonian Regional Park in Metchosin, located about a 40-minute drive from Victoria. Debbie, being a Metchosinite, has been here many times before but for some reason I’ve never been (well, at least that I can remember) to this little gem of a park.
There are a few trails you can take in the park, but we took the main one down to Taylor Beach. It’s not a very big park, so any route you go I’m sure you’d end up at the beach.
Back when we announced we were expecting a baby boy this September, the first thing most moms said to me (after congratulations, of course) was “Oh no, you’re going to be so uncomfortable in the summer”.
I mean, you’re going to be uncomfortable by your third trimester anyway — but since your basal body temperature is running higher and your heart is beating faster as your body works hard to grow a tiny human, you’re much warmer than normal. And also sweatier. Which when combined with the necessary extra maternal fat you gain when pregnant, means uncomfortable chafing pretty much everywhere.
Knowing I wanted to try to continue exercising for as long as possible, I started to read up on pregnancy exercise tips and the best products to try to help make sweating it out in the summer a little more tolerable. Here’s what I discovered — let me know if any of you pregnant or new moms have anything to add!
Since we returned from our New Zealand honeymoon in February, I’ve been trying to do at least two full-body workouts per week, plus some form of prenatal yoga at least once a week. My body definitely feels less achy when I maintain this routine, so even though sometimes I feel so exhausted I’d rather just crash on the couch, I try to do at least 15 minutes of something a few times a week.
It’s well known there are so many benefits to exercising throughout pregnancy, and if you were quite active before getting pregnant you can still continue your workout regime with some modifications to keep your body and baby safe. Since I cut out all exercise aside from yoga and walking before getting pregnant, my prenatal workout routine (shared below) is rather light compared to what it used to be, and that’s okay.
I’ve noticed as my belly gets bigger I need to modify things a bit more (lunges aren’t feeling so great now and I’m being careful with how I engage my core as I’m noticing some ab separation already), but otherwise I’m hoping to keep this up right until delivery.
Prenatal Full Body Workout
A few tips/things to keep in mind:
Make sure you are cleared by your doctor before doing any prenatal exercise.
Use a wider stance (feet hip-width or slightly farther apart, toes slightly pointed outward) than before you were pregnant during standing exercises to help you stay balanced.
Use a chair or other prop for balance if needed.
Ensure you maintain proper form (knees not tracking over toes when bending, keep your core engaged for a nice straight back) – if you can’t, don’t do they exercise.
Obviously avoid any exercises on your stomach, crunches, and extreme twists.
I can usually do this routine in 15-20 minutes, as I kind of power through without breaks and only use 5-8 lb dumbbells so it acts as my cardio routine as well. I also usually do an extend yoga stretch at the end, making sure to hold long side-stretch poses now that baby’s feet are constantly up in my ribs (ouch).
Let me know if you try the above workout or if you have any other favourite prenatal workouts to suggest!
I don’t even want to think about how much I’ve spent just to be somewhat comfortable during this pregnancy, especially now that I’m in my third trimester.
It seems like every few weeks I’m back on Amazon or the Thyme Maternity website looking for deals because I’ve outgrown yet another piece of clothing, or am dealing with yet another new pregnancy discomfort, such as itchy skin or chafing.
With about 10 weeks to go until baby is here, I think I finally have everything I need to get through the summer: lots of flowy dresses, a swim suit, pregnancy-friendly sunscreen, three new pair of sandals in a half size bigger in preparation for swollen feet, maternity tank tops, and a rose gold silicone ring so I can take off my wedding rings before they get stuck.
Since I stalked several blogs and Instagram feeds along with asking my mommy friends what pregnancy must-haves I should get, I thought I would share some of my mostly made-in-Canada pregnancy favs that have been helping to keep me comfortable since the second trimester.
After having an extremely anxiety-ridden first trimester, I have to say the second trimester really is as good as most women say it is.
While I still have a week or two to go until I’m officially in the third trimester, I thought I should check in here because I said I would. It’s not that I have been too busy to write, I just honestly haven’t felt like it.
When we got back from New Zealand in February I started a new role at work as a Workplace Health Advisor (I’m working on a mental health and early invention/return to work program among other things), so I think most of the energy I devoted to writing about health and wellness on my blog has been diverted to my day job, which is a great thing. The extra pay has also meant I haven’t had to take writing or fitness side jobs anymore, so I have more free time at home to do whatever I want to do before baby comes.
If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen this post from a few days ago:
Yes, we’re expecting! And it’s been part of the reason why I’ve been fairly quiet on here and on social media.
After struggling with infertility for several years until I discovered the root cause in September of last year, I was readying myself for another long struggle of actually trying to get pregnant. First of all, couples only have a 20-25% chance of conceiving each month; about 1 in 6 couples in Canada struggle with infertility; and miscarriages happen to about 1 in 4 women who do get pregnant. Not fantastic odds, so I was doing everything I could to hopefully swing those odds into our favour.