A midwife’s insight
For many couples even getting to this stage has required a lot of hard work and time, for others this has happened far too easily. Regardless, you’ve now reached a huge milestone and from here they just keep on coming!
Disclaimer: I am a Registered Midwife and I work at Wellington Hospital. However, I am not YOUR midwife, therefore, whilst I am happy to provide general pregnancy advice and guidance, if you have questions about your health and your pregnancy you must consult with your Midwife or Doctor.
What happens in the first trimester
The first trimester is from when you fall pregnant (conceive) to 12 weeks (3months). In this time your body is going through a lot, hormones change quite rapidly which can lead to many of those glorious early pregnancy symptoms:
- feeling very tired
- morning sickness (which I’m sorry to say can hit at any time of the day)
- Needing to pee A LOT etc.
In these 12 weeks, your baby goes from being a couple cells to a wee munchkin with arms and legs and a big ol’ head.
After you’ve peed on the stick and seen those two pink lines, your GP is your next point of call. They will help do your first blood tests that are required and support you until you find your Lead Maternity Carer (LMC).
Your LMC will either be a Midwife if you are going public or if you wish to go private you will have an Obstetrician who will be supported by a team of midwives. In Wellington that is Wellington Obstetrics.
If you are going public for your pregnancy, you and your baby will be cared for by a Midwife. Midwives are health professionals who care for women from when they fall pregnant through until your baby is 4-6 weeks old.
Finding a Midwife
You can find a Midwife using findyourmidwife.co.nz. Here you can search the midwives in your area and read blurbs about each one. Picking a midwife is a very individualised process but the two top things I would consider are:
- Do I find her easy to talk to? You will be discussing a lot of very personal intimate information. Therefore, picking someone you gel with and talk to openly is hugely important, as otherwise it could be a long 9 months!
- Where does she offer for births? In Wellington the options for birth are Home, a Primary Birthing Unit – Lower Hutt (Te Awakairangi Birthing Centre), the Keneperu Maternity Unit and the Paraparaumu Maternity Unit.) or Wellington Regional Hospital. NB: Midwives vary in where they go to for births.
Currently in Wellington there is a shortage of Midwives, therefore a lot of midwives “book out” very early. If you are unable to find an LMC midwife you can be looked after by the Community Midwifery Team (CMT) at Wellington Hospital, you can find out more about them here.
You will see your midwife within this first 12 weeks to go over your health history and learn how the Midwife practices. Here you will discuss a lot of important information such as:
- Antenatal Screening
- Blood tests and ultrasound scans
- Food safety
- What is normal and what isn’t in pregnancy
- Supplements you should take
- What to do if you’re worried and who to contact (and how)
- Talking to your Midwife about your training
At this first visit, it is a good idea to outline the training you are planning on doing through your pregnancy. Your midwife will be able to guide you based off your health and medical history and whether anything is likely to impact on your ability to train.
Some helpful resources
Find your midwife – Where you find your midwife! Also worth asking around your friend group as to who they used and liked and you can always use the KP Facebook group for some suggestions.
Smart Start – A government website that covers maternity leave, what to expect at each stage of pregnancy, food safety and much more, whilst helping you access government services.
SKIP – Strategies with Kids and information for Parents.
Health Navigator Website – Pregnancy
Pregnancy is a time where the approach to training begins to shift but it’s not forever! We are preparing ourselves as best as we can for our postpartum chapter.
Pregnancy is temporary, postpartum is the rest of your life. We never want an athlete to feel like she can’t do what she loves doing because training is just as much for the mental health as it is for the physical health and every athlete is different – every athlete starts from a different baseline and has different experiences through pregnancy, birth and beyond.
We can be strategic in our training in order to get out of it what makes us feel good whilst also preserving our core and pelvic floor health as best as we can. It is also worth noting that sometimes we can make the best decisions with our training and still have issues recovering postpartum just like we can make the best birthing plans and it not work out as planned – so we just do the best we can with the things we have control over!
How are you feeling?
During Trimester One (up to the end of week 12 of pregnancy) an athlete may experience significant fatigue, nausea and sickness.
This is the beginning. There is no shame in taking time away from a typical gym routine to rest and acclimate to these current symptoms and feelings. This is also a good time for athletes to form a base understanding of different breath and movement strategies to support core and pelvic floor health.
General preferred modifications
As long as energy permits, routine can typically stay consistent. It’s not a time to try and progress or challenge but mostly maintain what feels comfortable without pushing boundaries. If you’ve spent the day vomiting in the toilets then allow yourself to take it easy! Keep hydrated and go easy on yourself on days that you’re not feeling 100%.
If you are already experiencing symptoms such as leakage during impact movements (eg, double unders, box jumps) we suggest these are removed or decreased to a manageable (symptom free) volume as the pressure system is already not working optimally.
Consider reducing or discontinuing
High risk movements and activities. For example (but not limited to): rope climbs, box jumps in a taxing workout, burpees without control, snowboarding, contact sports, competitions.
We discontinue these high risk movements as to eliminate the risk of impact of from a fall. The last thing we want is for something to happen to you or baby from hurting yourself in the gym.
The competition floor – if you are pregnant and have competitions coming up it’s worth reassessing as to whether now was an appropriate time to be competing as it can be hard to move with intention on the competition floor. Maybe you can set your sights on the same competition later on in your postpartum journey?
Core specific movements eg, static plank holds, sit ups etc. Although in this early phase it’s not about the “risk” but there is going to be limited benefit in core specific movements now until you are well into your postpartum rebuild as no women is building core strength in pregnancy! So movements such as plank holds, dish holds, toes to bar, v-ups, sit ups etc can begin to be subbed out with other movements.
Who do I need to tell?
It is up to you when you feel comfortable to tell others about your pregnancy. There is no right or wrong answer but it can help you get more support with your training if your coaching team know. If you feel comfortable telling your Coach then great, if you don’t then that’s ok too!
Up the Duff – I LOVE this book. I think of it as like the hardcopy wikipedia for all things pregnancy. Kaz Cooke gives you the up-to-date lowdown on pregnancy, birth and coping when you first get home. No bossy-boots rules, just lots of cartoons and the soundest, sanest, wittiest advice you’ll ever get. A great book to buy for yourself of buy for friends when you hear they are pregnant.
Brianna Battles – Brianna provides a number of free resources that are simple and clear for pregnancy and postpartum training.