We’re officially counting down single digit weeks (hopefully) until delivery, and this week we spent more time getting things ready for baby. Fortunately, it wasn’t an exceptionally busy week for us at home. I’ve also started doing some research to help me prepare my body for labor and delivery, and I was happy to see that a lot of the pregnancy safe core exercises I’ve been using as substitute movements seem like they will come in handy!
I also realized this week that my body does need me to start reducing my overall mileage at this point in pregnancy. Instead of four 6 mile runs, I alternated between 6 and 4 mile runs during my weekly runs. I ran my last 10 mile long run this weekend, and I’m planning on settling for 6-8 mile long runs for the rest of my pregnancy. It’s not easy to cut back, but my body is definitely feeling heavier and more fatigued, and I know it’s a sign that it’s just time for me reduce.
I had my last monthly prenatal appointment on Monday, and will be moving over to bi-monthly appointments until I hit 36 weeks. It’s that time of pregnancy where fitting all of my appointments in my calendar turns into a game of tetris. The rest of the week was a pretty standard week of training, running, and napping. My mid-back has been having a hard time when I have to sit for more than 3- minutes at a time, so I finally booked a massage on Saturday afternoon. It was so relaxing and well worth the $100.
After my long run and massage, I spent the rest of my Saturday putting contact paper into our new (to us) dresser. When I was finished, I finally got all of our baby clothes washed and put away and ready to go. It feels really nice to have some things checked off the before baby to do list. I’m sure it doesn’t sound like a very exciting weekend, but it was definitely satisfying.
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Pregnancy Safe Core Exercises
- Plank Variations – I can’t tell you how many plank variations I’ve done at this point. I’ve planked on my hands, my forearms, on the side (which is probably one of my favorite variations), and against a box. I’ve also incorporated a plank that starts out on the forearms, and then you go to your hands one at a time. Planks are probably one of the few “regular” core exercises that are safe for diastites recti, and they’re great for engaging your back, arms, and chest muscles as well.
- Cat/Cow – A fairly traditional yoga-type movement, the cat/cow involves starting on all fours. With an exhale, you engage your core to pull your back upwards (like an angry cat). Then with your inhale, you arch your back to drop your belly towards the floor. It’s a gentle movement that helps you learn to pair your breath with engaging your core, and is a really nice stretch for your back. Trust me when I say you will appreciate any and all back stretching in the final weeks of pregnancy.
- Bird Dog – Another movement that starts on all fours, with bird dogs, you lift and straighten opposite arms and legs at the same time (or lift one at a time). The movement engages your core by forcing you to maintain balance with few limbs supporting you, and also incorporates your back and glute muscles.
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- Hip Thrusters – One thing that runners tend to understand (in my opinion) more fully than weight lifters and crossfitters is the fact that your core is not limited to your ab muscles. Anything that supports your trunk, so your hips, glutes, and back) also count as your core, as all of these muscles work to stabilize the same your ab muscles do. One of my favorite pregnancy friendly core exercises to utilize in CrossFit is dumbbell hip thrusters, with my back supported by a bench and the dumbbell resting on my thighs. You can also do the body weight movement where you lay your back and raise your hips by pressing your feet into the floor with bent knees. Either variation is perfect for engaging your glutes, and giving your quads just a little stretch.
- Side Crunch – Exactly what our moms did in the 80’s to try to keep a “slim waistline.” The side crunch will work your obliques and hips, without stressing the front muscles that separate during pregnancy. But now we know the purpose of the movement is to strengthen your hips (which comes in handy during labor and delivery), rather than do anything with the waistline.
- Breathing Exercises – The best place to start with pregnancy safe core exercises to do some research on breathing techniques that help you learn to engage your inner core muscles and pelvic floor. Ideally, you can work with a pelvic PT, but if access is an issue there are a million YouTube options, such as MegSquats or Pregnancy and Postpartum TV. These breathing exercises allow you to continue to work the deep muscles that will be used throughout pregnancy (and certainly during delivery) without exacerbating diastases.
This Weeks Workouts
Total Miles: 30 Miles
Total Workouts: 4
How the Run Felt
Three of my runs this week were on the treadmill. Once because of my husbands schedule, and twice because I just couldn’t bring myself to get dressed to go outside. Obviously running on the treadmill is less work physically, and my body really needed a little less “hard” this week for sure. By the time I ran by four miler on Friday, I was ready to be outside, but quickly reminded how much more impact pavement involves. My calves were very happy I was only going four!
Saturday’s run started off feeling ok. The weather was great (for late July), with low humidity and lots of clouds. But despite the weather, my legs and body in general just felt very heavy. It could be the pregnancy weight, the not fantastic sleep quality, or both, but I finally accepted that double digits runs are officially off the table. The run wasn’t terrible, but it was a mental struggle. We made it 30 weeks, and that’s good enough!
How the WODs Felt
We had another de-load week at the box, and I felt pretty good for the most part. I was quickly humbled by how taxing 200 feet worth of walking lunges were. My quads were screaming by the time I was done, but it wasn’t the most exhausting workout I’ve done. I felt really good doing Friday’s “Helen” workout, and was really happy that I got through the KB swings unbroken all three rounds. I feel like I’m still holding on to a good amount of functional strength, which makes me really happy at this point in pregnancy.
What I’ve Been Listening
I finally finished Camp Hell, which ended with the death of the psychiatrist that started the “treatment facility.” While there was some closure in his death, the short prison sentence and lack of consequences for the other staff at the camp is absolutely infuriating. It’s definitely an eye opener for parents. For the rest of my long run this week, Bad Bad Thing kept me so interested. It’s such a great deep dive into the psyche of unhealthy relationships, lack of coping skills, and the possible consequences of both.
What Went Well
Having more time to take care of some baby prep this week was really nice.
What Went Shitty
Sleep continues to be somewhat elusive, even with the pillow.
Plans to Improve Next Week
Next week will be a cutback week from running, so I’m hoping to see a little more energy in the box.