April 2011

I had my first “appointment” with my regular medical health provider yesterday (transferred out of the fertility clinic). I put “appointment” in quotes because apparently the way Kaiser does it is they schedule me for a phone appointment first before they would allow me to see an ob-gyn. I received the phone call exactly when it was scheduled, snuck out of the courtroom during our trial and into judge’s chambers, and had my half-hour appointment. It was basically information intake. I guess it’s a good thing to not waste face-to-face appointment time giving entire family histories of women issues, family birth defect histories, lifestyle habits, etc. The bummer was that I couldn’t get an in-person appointment until a week after the phone appointment, and the phone appointment couldn’t be scheduled until 2 weeks away from when I called, so I was delayed 3 weeks and was concerned that I’d be into the 2nd trimester and therefore unable to do some of the first trimester birth defect screenings. But it looks like I slid in just in time. At the end of the phone appointment, the nurse I was speaking with ordered a bunch of screenings and lab tests and told me to just check into any Kaiser with an gyno department anytime I’m able, ASAP, so that the new OB I’d selected (at random over the phone) would have the results to discuss with me at my in-person appointment next week. So we went yesterday after work.

I did a urine test, and like 6 vials’ worth of blood tests. One of the vials was for a blood glucose test, to rule out gestational diabetes. I was told to go on a 1-hour fast before going into the lab, then I was given a cold lemon-lime glucose beverage to drink. The phlebotomist warned me, “I don’t think you’ll like this, everyone says it’s nasty.” It tasted exactly like Sprite, but uncarbonated, and I told her so, shrugging. “Keep drinking, at the end is when people tell me they feel it. You have to finish drinking this in 5 minutes.” It was fine all the way through. I could drink it all day. “You’re the first one,” she said in surprise. “Everyone else says it’s disgusting.” Maybe it’s cuz I don’t drink soda, so my standards for taste are lower. *shrug* I then returned in one hour for my blood draws.

I got an email notifying me of a general blood result within an hour. White blood cells, platelets, and details of red blood cells (size, amount of hemoglobin it holds, etc) are all within normal ranges. However, I’m a tad low on red blood cell count and hemoglobin, so of course my hemotocrit (HCT), which is the amount of volume the red blood cells take up in the blood, is lower than normal range. I guess I’m a little anemic right now, which is consistent with how I’m more easily out of breath in physical activity. Mr. W and I started a bike ride on Saturday with an uphill climb and I thought I was gonna hyperventillate. My prenatal-specializing personal trainer at the ultra nice gym warned me as much, that a large amount of my blood is being used to nourish the developing placenta right now so I’ll feel fatigued more easily, and that by the 2nd trimester, my body would add 3-4 pounds of blood and catch me up, giving me a “pregnancy high” and resulting “pregnancy glow.” I’ll see what the doctor says, but right now I’m not particularly concerned.

I also got the blood glucose results this morning. They’re looking for a number below 130 mg/dL, and mine was 113. Yay, I don’t have gestational diabetes!

I’m sure more results will be trickling in over the next few days, the scariest one being a preliminary screening for certain markers of some birth defects.

I still haven’t thrown up, although I’ve noted that acid reflux/indigestion can send me into dry heaves. I just have to be careful about ingesting sugars (I’m not eating candy, but refined white carbs like Saltines turn into sugars, and those are bad in my tummy) and acid (an orange and Cutie binge sounds healthy, but my body hated me for it). The crazy empty-feeling dizzying hunger spells have gone away. I’m not even hungry in the mornings. The meat aversion is subsiding somewhat, although greasy fatty things still send me on a mental gag. I also had a sprout/salad aversion that came on the same time as the meat aversion, and I was just told by the nurse yesterday that I need to stay away from sprouts, like alfalfa. Whoa. My body knows its stuff. As for weight gain, I initially went from a pre-pregnant 121.6 to 122.4, so I thought I’d gained 0.8 pounds in the 2nd month. However, now at 10 weeks, my weight is 122.0. What’s weird is that I feel pressure in my lower abdomen, like things are expanding and stretching, but my size 2 and 4 pants fit comfortably as they always have. And yet I LOOK bigger and jigglier to myself in the mirror, despite it not showing up in measurements or on the scale. Pregnancy body changes are weird.

My social networking profile’s status message last night was:

Cindy does NOT understand how the weekend can be over already. Where did it go? This is like how back in 1992 or so, they had never isolated the “naked beauty” (or “naked bottom”) quark. Not that particle physics (bosons & quantum electrodynamics) quite rise to the mystery of disappearing weekends…

I thought it’d be funny cuz, who compares a weekend to particle physics? It’s so arbitrary. (Unless you work for NASA, I guess.) BUT, I also thought that at least a few of my science-minded friends would get a kick out of the analogy of “a weekend you know exists but that you somehow can’t quantify : a quark that all theory points to existing but that still hasn’t been officially isolated and quantified.” But the only comment this status message drew was from my friend Dardy, with whom I had an entire preceding convo about posting this status message before I’d even posted it.

BUT… “Cindy thinks some ice cream is in order now.” 19-comment-long interactive string of conversation with various people.
“Cindy had non-fat yogurt, which then entitles her to full-fat string cheese, right?” 15-comment conversation string, various people, 3 “likes.”

I guess I made an “analogy fail.” =P

A coworker riding up the elevator with me the other day asked, “So what are you guys doing for Easter?” I drew a blank cuz, people “do stuff” for Easter? Easter is this Sunday, so I expect to be doing what I do every Sunday — visit my parents*. I guess it’s a Chinese thing, cuz Mr. W said his entire childhood and for the childhood of his kids, he’s done “Easter stuff,” i.e. baskets with toys, candies and treats for the kids, egg hunts, etc. I have never had a family-sponsored Easter event, although in grade school one year, my class took a walking field trip to a park a few blocks away, where the teacher and her assistant had hidden a bunch of easter eggs for us. That was a treat. Mr. W claims to be sick of all the Easter stuff he’s been a part of his entire life, so I guess I have to consider what parts of Asian and American I want to incorporate into raising my hybrid kid. He’d be hybrid anyway by proxy living here, even if he were full Chinese. Mr. W stands pretty firmly on getting the kid into organized sports from a young age, which is largely a “white” thing from what I’ve seen (most Asian kids are at violin or piano lessons, or after-school advanced tutoring like Kumon, when the other kids are at sports practice after school). I don’t care for Mr. W’s idea as much. Team sports didn’t treat me well as a kid; there was a lot of peer pressure, mean kids’ egos, and I don’t care for how overly involved parents get into what’s supposed to be coordination- and esteem-building sports. Plus, from hearing my coworkers complain, it takes up A LOT of a parent’s time, and I’ll still be working full-time. I also think about “popular” jock kids I’ve known. I now suspect that they’re popular because they’ve been playing sports with other kids since they could walk, so of course in high school they’re in the “in-crowd;” everyone already knows each other. This then opens them up to keg parties and stupid popular kid trouble-making things (sex & drugs, *shudder*) when they’re teens. I REALLY don’t like that. Maybe Riley** wants to be a concert pianist instead, and cure cancer on the side. Who cares if his half-sister was cheerleading captain and half-brother played baseball, right?

* Speaking of my Asian parents and Good Friday, this morning my mom forwarded me an email joke about a talking parrot from a whorehouse. I’m pretty sure she’s unaware of the sanctity of this weekend for Catholics and Christians. I remember begging, BEGGING her to dye eggs as a kid cuz I just wanted the experience and those egg-dyeing commercials that come on between She-Ra and The Transformers make it look SO fun and magical. I have to this day NEVER had the experience of dying Easter eggs. It’s probably going to be a big disappointment if I ever do — likely messy and not magical at all.

** Speaking of Riley, next Tuesday is a county-wide event: Take Your Son/Daughter to Work day. The courthouse sponsors a tour and a snack, and the kid gets to see what we do all day and how the legal system is run. I think it has some value, since a courthouse is part of our government and many people at some point have to have contact with courts, if not on a personal legal matter, then on jury duty. It’s our civic duty. Plus, there’s something to be said about visiting lock-up and scaring the kids straight. Obviously, I’d never participated in Take Your Son/Daughter to Work day before, because they don’t allow cats, and because my mom never invited me along. I wrote her an email some years ago, when this event was advertised, “Hey mom, does your department have this program? How come you’ve never taken me to your work?” Her response was something terse, to the effect of, “Chinese parents don’t do this because children should be in SCHOOL on a weekday!” I guess I’ll be participating in Take Your Son/Daughter to Work day this year. But then, I’ve been doing a private taking my son to work for the past 7 weeks. I don’t think leaving him at home at this point is a good idea.

I went into the judge’s chambers a moment ago to fill my water bottle. He was sitting at his desk, busy opening a package of nuts. As I leaned over the water dispenser, I heard the judge say, “Hello, kiddo.” I said hello, and as I stood to leave, he said, “You came in like the fog over Chicago — on little cat feet. I didn’t even hear you.” Ah, English major judges… <3

I (and Pilates) didn’t kill the kid! This is a video from my Wednesday morning appointment. The doctor is taking a measurement of the baby (and my uterine cavity, and each ovary, but that’s not on the video. You’re welcome.). Mr. W shot the video on his phone, and if you can look past the beginning when his hands are shaking, you can make out the baby’s rapid heartbeat in the middle of his chest. It looks like a flashing.

This marks my last appointment with the fertility clinic (which staff has been SO GREAT). I donated the 2 vials of Follistim I didn’t use so that it could save a future IVF patient $300. At 8 weeks, I’ve been told I may be transferred to my regular OB now. I made the appointments with my regular medical provider for 2 weeks away.

This week, I also had a visit with a personal trainer at the ultra nice gym, who specializes in prenatal exercise. He knew a lot and explained medically, biologically the changes that my body would be going through soon, and what that meant as far as my posture and agility changes, how that kinesiology can be supported and eased with what exercise. I’m meeting with him for three training sessions soon. Apparently, a pregnant woman can exercise from the beginning all the way to the day she delivers, if she does the right things. I learned why the doctor wanted me to drop the weights so significantly. That hormone Relaxin, that softens all the cartilage/tendons/ligaments so your body can stretch and change for pregnancy and prepare labor? It affects all the joints’ facia, too, which means if I’m careless doing heavy freeweights and not watching my range of motion, the lack of support with softened joints can cause my limbs to hyperextend, even popping out a joint (YEOWCH). So yes, nothing that’s jerky, twisty, fighting gravity too much. Machine weights are a good alternative. He also advised me to keep my exercise heart rate below 140-145. That was a little difficult, as I’m out of breath more easily now and my resting heart rate is 5 bpm faster than it was pre-pregnancy. But keeping the heart rate lower, he explained, is key to preventing overheating the baby during exercise. I guess I’m sticking to easy cardio, such as the elliptical trainer, from now on.

Mr. W has been receiving a newsletter from whattoexpect.com every few days (*nudging Flip Flop Girl*) with advice that tracks exactly where I am in this pregnancy. He’s been calling me to his emails to read them, altho I’d hoped he’d read them himself and fill me in on the pertinent stuff. He does look at the occasional newsletter if the headline interests him, but mostly, they’re saved for me to delve into. A newsletter I read just a moment ago talked about fatigue I’m likely going through now, how normal that is given all the extra stuff the body is doing, and how to combat this fatigue. I haven’t been fatigued; in fact, I still had insomnia the past few nights. I had no issue walking a brisk 3 miles at lunchtime today, and despite the slightly more labored breathing and raised heartbeats I’d already described, working out this week hasn’t knocked me out. In fact, my morning sickness is now barely noticeable. I read on to see their fatigue cures. Don’t reach for the caffeinated frappuccinos, candy bars, or energy drinks, the article warns. They cause a crash and are very unhealthy for both mom and baby. Instead, bring up nutrition by eating these proteins (e.g. cheese, poultry, tofu and soy products, legumes, quinoa, nuts/seeds), these complex carbs (e.g. fresh fruits, dried fruits, fresh veggies, whole-grain breads/crackers/cereals, baked potatoes), and these iron-rich foods (e.g. spinach, dried fruit, soy products). These are things I’m eating now, anyway! I bring a bag of wholesome carbs and nuts/trail mix, 3 varieties of fruit, and a stick of string cheese or yogurt to work with me and graze throughout the day. I had a craving for a baked potato last weekend, and Mr. W indulged me by taking me to Claim Jumper and ordering a rack of baby back ribs (for him; I still have my meat aversion) and selecting the baked potato as his side (given to me, of course). A similar article from the same newsletter teaches moms-to-be to combat cravings by substituting unhealthy cravings (such as for candy bars, things that give you little nutrition but a big crash afterwards) with similar healthier alternatives, which I already do, too.

I might just be one of those lucky people for whom pregnancy is manageable in the first trimester, when a lot of people suffer from the crazy hormonal fluxes. I am certainly appreciative of not having to experience morning sickness for another 6-8 weeks until I reach the second trimester. But couldn’t it be possible that my body is having an easier time because it doesn’t have to try every trick in the book to get me to eat the nutrition it and the growing baby needs? I keep comparing the pregnancy experiences of a particular acquaintance — miserable, cranky, and huge as early as 3-4 months — with those of my friends who are nutrition- and exercise-savvy. The latter friends had all enjoyed their pregnancies and despite having had down-days, too, had overall uneventful and unproblematic pregancies and deliveries. I hope to join their ranks. But if I don’t, you guys will know.

I hadn’t had morning sickness in quite a few days, and it was making me concerned. Andrae came by to visit on Saturday as he was in town for some karate practice, and we introduced him to The Counter. (He was blown away by the burger joint.) That late lunch ended up being my first meal, and despite sleeping through breakfast, I didn’t feel sick. I carbo-loaded at lunch with a veggie burger, parmesan fries (SO amazing) and a peanut butter shake, and it got gaggy after I’d eaten it. But not morning-sickness gaggy. I had a baked potato with butter and mayo (a childhood favorite, the only time I’d eat mayo) for dinner. Sunday, we got up and hit the road for the Renaissance Faire, thinking we’d stop for purse-sized snacks on the way, but didn’t. I didn’t eat until late lunch time again, when I shared an incredible “cottage meat pie” with Mr. W (pieces of steak and veggies) and had a spanikopita at another booth (meh, greasy). Hubby had a steak gyro. For dinner I steamed some pork, leek and black pepper dumplings, organic broccoli from Maggie’s garden, and had a slice of cheese toast.

So it looks like much of the meat aversion is gone AND I’m not sick? Uh-oh. I started thinking back. My first Pilates class after I was cleared to exercise did focus pretty intensely on core and ab stuff. Did I accidentally kill the kid last Wednesday in Pilates? I didn’t cramp or spot, though. My morning sickness, a response to the hormone hCG, shouldn’t be going away until the beginning of my 2nd trimester, which is still 7 or so weeks away!

I started responding to people’s inquires of “How’re you feeling?” with explanations of how abnormally and disconcertingly fine I felt. They all pretty much told me not to worry, they’re sure Riley is fine. My court reporter told me she ran a 10K 4 months pregnant and was fine, and that if the pregnancy is healthy, a little exercise that my body’s already accustomed to doing isn’t going to be a problem. Rebecca and I were exchanging an email string discussing some business, and she asked how I was feeling. I wrote to her the same thing. She laughed, called me silly, and said she still has a feeling of fullness when she thinks of me so she’s sure I’m still pregnant, and that my Wednesday Pilates can not kill a child.

So what happens when one complains about a good thing too much? “Oh, you wanna feel sick? Here ya go.” Right in the middle of my gymming yesterday, after a set of crunches, the nauseating feeling came back. It could have been triggered by the supine and rocking position, since pregnancy causes the muscle between the stomach and esophagus to relax, making puking a more common response to gravitational shifts (among other things). But still, the feeling came and didn’t go until I’d fallen asleep. Late night, it became an acid reflux sensation.

Well, I feel fine today so far. If the pregnancy nausea lessened this dramatically, maybe I still will be lucky with just 3 weeks of morning sickness through my pregnancy. By the way, there are some studies that link severe morning sickness with having a girl. Something about a conflict or reaction of hormones between mother and child.

Last Friday, my courtroom was “dark” so I called in sick. I was dealing with nausea and couldn’t imagine having to float into a high-stress courtroom I wasn’t familiar with. The plan was to sleep in, but at 6am, Mr. W woke me up with an odd request. “Can you put Neosporin on my head? Part the hair line and try not to get any of the greasy stuff on my hair.” It turned out, when he was in the kitchen taking his plethora of pills, he’d dropped a pill on the floor. After bending to pick it up, he straighted quickly and managed to bang the top of his head into the sharp corner of the granite countertop. He said he left a chunk of scalp, blood and hair on the corner. Ewwww! I was afraid to see skull, and as I gingerly parted his hair, I told him he may need stitches. Luckily, I just saw some nearly congealed (ew) red stuff in a streak, and I applied Neosporin with a Q-tip. When he got home that night, he said he was sitting down at his desk when two coworkers came by to visit, and in looking down at him, they exclaimed about the top of his head. He explained the pill episode.

Yesterday, we tried to shred some items but the shredder was clogged with an envelope that had *almost* made it all the way through. The top of the envelope was just below the feed, visible but unreachable. Since the clogged paper wouldn’t budge, I couldn’t push any new paper down the feed to trigger the shred action. Taking the shredder off the basket and flipping it over, it’s obvious the shredded parts had fallen off the envelope so there was nothing to grasp to pull the remaining bit out of the teeth. Reversing the wheels got the shredding teeth to spin, but the stuck envelope wasn’t long enough to catch and be pushed through the mechanism. The portion of envelope was lodged pretty solidly in there. Mr. W decided to take over. He tried to use his laminated Blockbuster membership card (cuz who needs that anymore?) to push into the shredder feed and force the mechanism and envelope to shred, but the envelope wouldn’t allow the card to go in. He put it on reverse and saw it spinning uselessly. While it was going, he stuck his finger into the slot to try to reach the stuck envelope, causing me to yell, “DON’T STICK YOUR FINGER IN THERE!!” What was he thinking?! He then took the top of the shredder and went to the kitchen counter, trying to dislodge the envelope from the bottom. No go. Then he picked up a pruning knife. “You’re gonna use a KNIFE?!” He ignored me and started stab-pulling at the envelope from the top of the slot. He did this in quick frustrated movements, not with any sort of finesse, and I cringed, picturing the knife getting stuck and then with a hard pull, dislodging and flying into his face. A few seconds later, I watched the knife point, with the force of his pull, go straight into his other hand. He cursed, rinsed his hand in the sink, grabbed a napkin, then went back to the shredder with the knife and repeated his motions. I had to walk out and hide in the living room. Soon I heard more cussing and a “I did it AGAIN! Shit!” Great. My husband was stabbing himself to death in the kitchen, and I would have to explain to the paramedics later that he was fighting a shredder, not a prowler. There was more banging around in there, I think at one point I heard him go into the hall closet for tools, and the one time I peeked, he seemed to be stabbing with a screwdriver. I retreated. Soon, I heard the sound of mechanical spinning. Could it be…?
“Okay, it works now, but my hands look like I’ve been in a knife fight with someone.” It felt like a bittersweet victory, but I did shred something later just so his efforts wouldn’t have been for nothing.

I told him his coworkers are gonna think I’m abusive and kicking his ass at home. (And apparently I’m a really good fighter, too, cuz there’s not a scratch on me. Must be the past jujitsu training.) He threatened to TELL them all his injuries came from me. That made me kind of glad that I’d already posted on the social networking site, while I had been hiding out in the living room, about his caution-to-the-wind fight with the shredder. One of his coworkers had already acknowledged that post. He could tell them whatever he wants, the truth is already out. Ha!
…or MAYBE, I’m just putting “my” truth out there first to set the groundwork for my actual abuse. Hmm. The world may never know.

What do you guys think of the name Lyra (lye-rah)? To me it has connotations of a lyre, that little Greek harp that you see angels playing on clouds (like that really happens, ha!), and of the word “lyrical,” like musical, poetic, graceful.

The other day Daughter said she’d been brainstorming girl names. I’d wanted Isabella since, like, elementary school, but thanks to the smashing success of the “Twilight” series, my Isabella will be one of 5 Bellas in every class growing up. Plus, my cousin Diana and her hubby Doug named their adorable little girl Elizabeth, and are calling her Elle for short. My Chinese-speaking relatives would have a hard time distinguishing “Elizabeth” from “Isabella,” and “Elle” and “Bell” would be too close, too. I don’t want to be accused of copying. Anyway, Daughter suggested Lilah. At first I immediately thought of the evil villainess Lila (Lilah?) from the WB series “Angel,” and didn’t like it. But we discussed it some more and I thought maybe changing the spelling to Lylah would make it prettier. Cuz you can do the fancy script “L” and trail it into the following long “y.” It’s potentially a pretty name. We ran it by Mr. W. He immediately said he didn’t like it. Why? “That’s that girl in ‘Angel.’ She’s a bitch!”

So I was sitting there just now, and suddenly remembered a very pretty girl I’d met once or twice in high school named Lyra. She was nice, funny and smart, too. AND I’d always liked her name.

Maybe I’ll have a Riley and a Lyra, which is cool in conjunction, too, cuz it’s almost like just switching the consonant sounds around.

Monday was so beautiful and warm that Ann decided to snatch me up after work to explore a Laguna Beach rooftop bar for drinks and appetizers. The Rooftop Lounge sits atop the classic hotel La Casa del Camino, mere feet from the beach with a gorgeous ocean view. Unfortunately, by the time we got there, the place was completely packed due to nice weather and their awesome happy hour. So we went downstairs to the indoor restaurant bar, K’ya Bistro Bar. We were seated promptly and our waiter looked like an off-duty actor (think younger version of Stephen Moyer). He was one of those guys who pulls off jokes with a total straight face so you’re left guessing a little, and yet was perfectly nice and accommodating.
The menu was the most shocking thing of all. Premium ingredients and quality seafood, salad, pasta, meat small dishes (altho they turned out to be way bigger than tapa-sized), averaging $8 each. I think I saw 2 or 3 items over $12. Crazy! Even their drinks were inexpensive (around $5), unbelievable given their primo waterfront real estate. Ann and I each got a wild berry mojito (virgin for me, waiter’s suggestion as I was apparently being “penalized” for being pregnant), and she ordered a goat cheese, fennel & orange salad ($5) and some wild broiled scallops atop spinach, arugula, fingerling potatoes ($12). I had a lobster truffle risotto ($10) that had plenty of chunks of lobster and visible black truffle shavings that was sooo savory. For dessert we had berries & cream with chocolate liqueur on the side (she dipped, I skipped). Ann had purchased a discounted voucher for 2 mojitos and 2 appetizers, and our waiter was nice enough to apply it to our most expensive orders (risotto and scallops), and made sure I could sub the virgin mojito. We knew we had to come back.

On the drastic opposite side of the spectrum, here’s what’s going on at work. A robbery trial began yesterday (not in my courtroom), and they were set to do jury selection. The only witness in the trial didn’t show up. Turned out, on his way home from work the evening before, the witness was gunned down and killed. So the court ended up doing a GSR (gunshot residue) test on the defendant’s hands. The defendant was apparently out on bail. Kinda makes you wonder if you would agree to be witness on a case if you saw something bad go down. =P

I know women who didn’t exercise during their pregnancy because they don’t normally exercise, period. Then there are women who exercised through their pregnancies; these second category of women had an easier time during their pregnancies and labor. Plus, the first category of women that I know bitched through their pregnancies and the second category seemed well-adjusted, excited, happy. When the doctor put me on a no-exercise restriction from before my egg retrieval (late February) through the time they saw a normal heartbeat on ultrasound (last week), nearly 5 weeks had passed and it felt like 4 months. I didn’t gain any weight, maintaining steady at about 121 lbs, but I felt like my muscles were atrophying, I was starting to feel crabby and sluggish, and I was going to fall off the workout wagon and have a hard time getting back on again. I WANTED to be exercise-minded, and here’s why:

Get On Up: 33 Reasons to Exercise Now
February/March 2011 issue of FitPregnancy magazine, a gift from the hubby. I’ve italicized the ones most convincing to me.

1.) You’re likely to gain less weight. Research shows you might put on 7 pounds less than pregnant women who don’t work out, while still staying within the healthy weight-gain range.
2.) Labor and delivery may be easier. No guarantees, of course, but strong abs and a fit cardiovascular system can give you more oomph and stamina for the pushing stage. One study found that prenatal water aerobics regulars were 58% less likely to request pain medication during labor than non-exercisers.
3.) You lower your gestational diabetes risk by as much as 27%. High blood sugar during pregnancy puts you at extremely high risk for developing type II diabetes in the decade after delivering and raises the odds of preterm delivery or having an overweight baby. If you do develop it — and many fit women do because genetics and age play a significant role — exercise may help prevent or delay your need for insulin or other medications.
4.) You get that “prenatal-spin-class high.” Active moms-to-be report better moods than their sedentary peers, both immediately following a workout and in general throughout their pregnancies.
5.) You’re less likely to cry, “Oh, my aching back.” Some 2/3s of pregnant women experience back pain, but water workouts, yoga and pelvic tilts can offer relief. Exercise during the second half of pregnancy seems to be especially helpful.
6.) You’re less likely to get constipated. Pregnant women’s intestinal tracts often get backed up due to high progesterone levels and a growing uterus, but exercise, along with a high-fiber diet, keeps your digestive system humming.
7.) You have more energy. On days when lifting your remote control seems like a tall order, even a 10-minute walk can revive you.
8.) Odds are, you’ll deliver a svelter baby. Babies born with excess fat are significantly more likely to become overweight kindergarteners, and overweight newborns of moms with gestational diabetes are more prone to develop diabetes later in life.
9.) You can enjoy the greatest flexibility of your life. Relaxin, a pregnancy hormone that loosens your pelvic joints in preparation for delivery, also relaxes the rest of your joints. With careful stretches, like those done in prenatal yoga workouts, you can capitalize on this window of opportunity.
10.) You’re more likely to avoid a forceps delivery, C-section or other intervention. Regular exercisers are 75% less likely to need a forceps delivery, 55% less likely to have an episiotomy and up to 4 times less likely to have a Cesarean section, research has found.
11.) You’re likely to be fitter in middle age. In a study that followed women for 20 years after delivery, those who’d exercised throughout pregnancy could run two miles 2.5 minutes faster than those who’d taken a workout break while pregnant. The continuous exercisers were also working out a lot more.
12.) You’ll get positive attention. Everyone smiles when they see a pregnant woman on a power walk. No one is more popular at the gym than the pregnant woman on the biceps machine!
13.) You feel less like a beached whale and more like a hot mama. Women who exercise throughout pregnancy have a better body image than those who sit out the 9 months.
14.) Your labor may be shorter. A landmark study found that among well-conditioned women who delivered vaginally, those who had continued training throughout their pregnancy experienced active labor for 4 hours and 24 minutes compared with 6 hours and 22 minutes for those who’d quit training early on. Two hours less of hard labor is nothing to sneer at!
15.) You learn to chill out. With its emphasis on breathing, meditation and joyful movement, prenatal yoga helps stressed-out moms-to-be stay calm. Plus, a regular prenatal yoga practice can teach you to relax rather than tense up when you feel discomfort, a helpful skill during labor.
16.) If you work out in water, you enjoy a wonderful sense of weightlessness. For some women, swimming or water aerobics may provide their only relief from painful foot and ankle swelling.
17.) You’ll likely experience less leg swelling. Your body retains more fluid during pregnancy, and your growing uterus puts pressure on your veins, impairing the return of blood to your heart. Exercise can limit swelling by improving blood flow.
18.) You may be less prone to morning sickness. Though nausea stops many women from exercising, many moms-to-be report that they feel less queasy after a workout or that the exercise takes their minds off the nausea for a short time.
19.) You may boost your child’s athletic potential. One study found that 20-year-olds who were exposed to exercise in utero performed better at sports than same-age peers whose mothers did not exercise during pregnancy.
20.) You’ll bounce back faster during delivery. Compared with new moms who were inactive during pregnancy, those who exercised are more likely to socialize and enjoy hobbies and entertainment post-baby. They just seem to cope better with the demands of new motherhood.
21.) You’re likely to be healthier and leaner when your kids head off to college. Twenty years later, fit women who’d exercised throughout their pregnancy had gained 7.5 pounds, compared with 22 pounds for women who had taken a break when pregnant and resumed exercising afterward. The continuous exercisers also had lower cholesterol levels and resting heart rates.
22.) The sense of accomplishment and confidence spills over to the rest of your life. Finishing a prenatal power walk makes you feel like you can conquer the world!
23.) Your child may have a healthier heart. The developing babies of prenatal exercisers have more efficient hearts than those of non-exercisers, and this higher cardio fitness level seems to last into the childhood years.
24.) If you smoke, exercise may help you kick the habit. In a small study, pregnant smokers reported that exercise gave them confidence to quit, decreased their cigarette cravings, boosted their energy levels and “helped them feel more like a non-smoker.”
25.) You might sleep better. Some pregnant women who work out say they fall asleep faster, slumber more soundly and snooze longer than inactive moms-to-be.
26.) You’ll meet other expectant moms in a prenatal exercise class. Get their phone numbers; you may be meeting up for playdates or babysitting co-ops soon!
27.) You may be at lower risk for the #1 cause of premature birth. That’s preeclampsia, a complication that involves high blood pressure and excess protein in the urine. About 5%-8% of pregnant women develop it, and the numbers are growing.
28.) You’re more likely to avoid prenatal depression. This is especially true if you exercise outdoors because bright light has antidepressant effects. Some 12%-20% of pregnant women experience depression, which is linked to poor sleep and marital problems after delivery.
29.) You feel more in control. When your body is changing in all kinds of wacky ways and your entire life is about to be transformed in huge, unknown ways, a regular exercise routine offers consistency and the knowledge that you’re doing something great for both yourself and your baby.
30.) You look better. Exercise increases blood flow to your skin, enhancing that pregnancy glow. Plus, when you’re calmer and fitter, it shows.
31.) Your children may grow up to be smarter. Some research indicates that kids of moms who work out during pregnancy have better memories, in addition to higher scores on intelligence and language tests.
32.) You bust out of your exercise rut. Pregnancy often forces you to try something new — to swim when you used to run, to try Wii Fit Ski instead of snowboarding, to give Pilates a whirl.
33.) You keep your immune system humming. Moderate exercise such as walking lowers your risk of catching a cold by as much as half. Researchers believe the data applies to exercising moms-to-be as well.

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