Monday, September 30, 2013

Yoga Love and the Miracle of Hot Yoga while Pregnant (or not pregnant)

I absolutely love the studio I've gone to for years. They treat me like family every time I'm there and I am constantly learning more and more about my practice. Being knocked up has given me the opportunity to learn even more about the practice, and how continuing can be very beneficial for baby and for pregnancy symptoms. Skip to the below post if you'd rather read this than read my Knocked Up Updates. ;)

Week: 10!    Official due date: April 29th! I was a bit farther along than we initially thought. 

Weight Gain: 2 lbs (At 125lbs, my goal weight gain is 20 lbs.. So, around 140-145.)

Minka, making sure her presence is known ;)
Sleep: Getting harder. I was an 80's kid before SIDS was linked to tummy sleeping, so not being able to sleep on my tum tum is pretty lame, and some nights I wake up still sleeping on my belly. And I'm a really light sleeper so I suspect my days of sound sleep are basically gone. Although, we have resolved the dog issue.

Miss Anything?  HOT BATHS. I take a much hotter bath than most, practically scathing, much like a hot tub.. So I really miss just soaking in a hot bath (to my standards). I just like being warm... Hot baths, hot yoga, steam rooms... Yeah, you guys know.

Symptoms: More mood swings, brain fog, constant fatigue, and my belly hurts a lot... Sometimes its the round ligament at the bottom of my belly and sometimes its higher, which I've read is probably my organs & internal tissues getting soft... not a lot of places for a baby to go in a woman my size. :) Sometimes the pains are worrisome, but I've been told not to.

My smells are on overdrive lately too! I smelled gasoline in our home and threw up everywhere! Funny thing was I could never figure out where the smell was coming from! Bad breath has made me throw up, the smell of the parking garage being cleaned at work... grease anywhere (like fast food type grease). 

Mostly it's a lot of barfing. For all the women who never had this, you have NO CLUE how lucky you are. It's impossible to predict when it will come for me. The other day it was in a meeting. On Saturday, it was DURING breakfast. Surprisingly, the prenatal vitamins don't seem to affect the nausea.

Women have suggested to me everything under the sun, and I've tried absolutely everything... Unisom, crackers at night, crackers during the night, crackers as soon as I wake up, ginger root supplements, ginger chews, ginger ale, ginger tea, tons of water, many small meals (which I do anyway), pregnancy teas, Preggie Pops (which do seem to help if I'm far from food, and am feeling the nausea come... although, I can't seem to find WHY these help. The ingredients are all sugars and essential oils. Tasty tho!), extra B6 during the day.. And still throwing up 6-7 times a day. I have no desire to be on any medication for this (Hello! Thalidomide was a disaster!), and am hoping I'm just hitting my peak of nausea & sickness.

Mood: Depends on my hunger or level of tiredness. :) Mamas, you know what I mean. The mood swings are CRAZY! I feel pretty bad for the hubs.. I really REALLY need to do something nice for him. He really is amazing.

Cravings: Fruit.. Except Bananas.. I am ENDLESSLY hungry. I have to deny myself a lot, but not like prep. I'm just denying things that sound instantly good but we know are completely empty - soda, ice cream... I've tried to turn to some FiberOne Bars just to keep my fiber up and avoid the dreaded pregnancy constipation yet still satisfy some sweet craving. Have been craving home food as the weather has gotten colder as well.. I made the BEST chicken pot pie last night!

Diet: Not that I'm complaining or anything, but this is so counter-intuitive for a bikini athlete/bodybuilder. Craving and eating loads of fruits lately. I binged on an entire carton of strawberries the other night. Mmmm! :) But honestly most of my diet is dictated by how I'm feeling... If the nausea is high, I'm tempted to only eat carbs, my breakfasts have pretty much only been bagels or cereal... Eggs, sausage, bacon.. all sound awful! But then also have to be careful about indigestion. I learned that on Cheez-It's a week or two ago. So, fruits have been my best option.

The saddest thing happened though this week, my taste buds changed... and coffee tastes awful. :( WAHHHHHH!!! Everyday my brain tells me I want coffee, but I have dumped an entire coffee every day this week. So, will probably just be making a switch to tea. (WOAH. Pregnancy really IS comparable to prep! haha)

Still working out: Baby and I have been doing hot yoga and cardio a couple times a week depending on where my nausea is at, but will discuss my love for hot yoga at the end of this post. My sickness has also dictated this, if I feel really sick... I don't work out.

Also, this isn't saying that I have loads of energy, it's mostly the opposite. I've been good about packing fruits and things to raise my blood sugar when I get too sleepy. But this is also a challenge when trying to keep up on my workouts. The fatigue is truly physical, but the battle is mental. It's easiest to compare this feeling to prep-depletion: Just get to the gym. I always feel better once I'm done!

The Sacred Pregnancy Obedience Rules: Okay, I quit Seafood.. And as far as the catbox, I just started wearing  a mask. Probably will eat clam chowder at some point. ;) I'm an excellent pill taker though, so the vitamins aren't an issue.

Goals for the next week or two:
We finally started our nesting projects! We did clean out and paint our master bedroom this weekend, so the next project is still one of my original goals:
1. Clean out the effing back room! It is a cluttery mess.

Onto My Real Post.... The Miracle of Hot Yoga (while or while not pregnant): 
With pregnancy comes loads of unsolicited advice. If you're a patient person, this might not bug you... but I, however, am not. I also used to be a GIANT people pleaser, so I now take any advice with a large grain of salt. A rock of salt, if you will. When I'm cranky and uncomfortable, I really want to tell some people to shove it.

"Do you really think you should be doing that given your condition?!" (Yeah, I heard that for real, last week)

I smiled as pleasantly as I could, although I'm sure she could see the irritation behind the smile, and informed her that I felt good and was perfectly healthy to keep up my exercise routine. I love how people think when you're pregnant, that you WANT to be squatting a large barbell or doing an hour of cardio (Okay, I do want to be squatting a large barbell, just not right now). On the contrary, in this first trimester, I don't feel awesome. But I ALWAYS feel awesome when I'm done!

My primary concern is growing a healthy baby. My secondary concern is keeping myself healthy and strong for a natural delivery. I've read from different sources that yoga is very helpful in keeping your abs & legs strong for delivery, and had even followed blogs in years past where women kept up their hot yoga practice throughout their pregnancies. All of them delivered completely natural, and had perfectly healthy babies. The power and grace these women exuded convinced me long ago of my intention to continue my hot yoga practice throughout any pregnancy I would have in the future.

And I have already been getting dirty looks of distress regarding continuing hot yoga into my pregnancy. However, you can find the Pregnancy Modifications to Bikram Yoga here, developed by Bikram's "wife". (I put wife in quotations because everyone knows Bikram is a giant man whore. He has two major rape lawsuits going on currently, which is why I don't necessarily feel the need to go to a designated "Bikram Yoga" studio. Did you know he charges studios $15K a YEAR to use his name?! Ludicrous. - Side note: I had to look up how to properly spell Ludicrous... Damn you Ludacris. LOL!)  I also found a posture by posture look at the alterations on This site is fabulous, it tells you at what stage in your pregnancy to begin altering what posture, and is way more comprehensive than Rajashree's guide.

Courtesy of Bikram Yoga Richardson - This woman looks so powerful in her postures!
Anyway, I was seriously doing yoga from weeks 1-6, obviously not aware I was knocked up, and felt perfectly fine! So, here I am, 10 weeks along and going to hot yoga fully aware I am with child... and suddenly I'm just supposed to quit??  If you're already accustomed to the heat, it actually feels amazing (and I suspect it really will as we head into the cold months). I walked into the hot room really just wanting to take a nap in there it felt so so good! As the first breathing exercise starts, Pranayama breathing, it is a challenge but once the second set has been completed, my energy level has picked up. Deep breathing and flushing my body with freshly oxygenated blood... Ahhh.

Yes, saunas & hot tubs are contraindicated for pregnancy. However, if you look into the science of hot yoga, if you are consistently practicing in the hot room, your body becomes accustomed to not raising its internal temperature in order to make it through an entire class. Which is why you see yoginis never getting sick throughout a class. But some women bring a thermometer and test themselves just to be sure (which I'll probably do). Bonus: The studio I go to has a class called "Beats" which is the same Bikram style series, but to low lights, music and minimal words. Perfect for a yogini to just do yoga and meditate into the practice. I love to talk to my baby during this and invite growth and love into our body.

Since I've had the soreness in my belly, which I guess is the stretching of the round ligament in your lower belly, and totally normal for a first pregnancy, I focus on the postures that stretch the belly. Half Moon feels wonderful, especially the backbend which I've been able to do at about 75%, once I feel the stretch, I don't push it further.

The only postures that are uncomfortable at this point are the backbends that push your belly into the floor like Floor Bow or Full Locust, but I got the chance to learn most of the alterations for when I get too big to do do the tight forward bends, which I suspect will be soon. I intend to give up the spine strengthening series in the next couple of weeks, and add in some Vinyasa/Flow postures. However, CAMEL... Give me this! I feel like the most powerful woman in the universe coming out of this backbend, and once I get to the ground, my body feels like it's melting into the earth. Camel is meant to flush and pump your cerebrospinal fluid (which is why many newcomers get dizzy and sick in camel, it can have those effects if you're not used to it), and I can only imagine that baby is reaping those benefits too.

My approach to practice has had to change, however.. I typically went into yoga as an athlete ready for the long haul, deep into every posture, pushing 100%, but now, slow and steady wins the race. I listen to my body, when I feel sick or dizzy I sit down until my heart rate has lowered completely. I leave yoga on cloud 9, my body feels good and surging with energy. And in fact, my pregnancy symptoms are not as intense the next day. I don't feel AS fatigued, or AS sick, nor as crazy with mood swings! It also relieves my body of any edema (holding water)!

After yoga (and my gym workouts), I give myself plenty - I snack on strawberries and chug coconut water on my way home. And sometimes a protein shake, depending on where I'm at nausea-wise. Sometimes the protein exacerbates it.

I just want to say this, that getting knocked up has really reinforced my desire to be who I am, and not  change my preferences and routines just because others wouldn't do it themselves, or because their pregnancy experience was bad. It is very easy to absorb the stresses and worries that others have, but my stress and worry is eased with the passing days. But I feel that their worries, are really none of my business. Just like my body, is none of theirs. Absorbing their stress, will not help me or baby. So, thanks... but no thanks. :)

How is everyone else doing these days??? Say Hi when you can!! Love you all!! :)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Baby Bang on the Way!

Turns out that the next stage I will be stepping on won't be a bikini stage, it will be the parenting stage!!

I am due probably somewhere around the end of April/beginning of May. Okay, admittedly, last time I had my cycle, it started on a random day that wasn't planned, and I forgot to chart it. :) This baby was a surprise, clearly, but a completely welcome and wanted and wonderful one!

In my last blog I posted:
{It's not about how many times you get knocked down, it's about how many times you get knocked down and continue to get up.}
Turns out I just got knocked up instead. Hahahahaha! Sorry, married and pregnant humor. Might not be totally appropriate, but I think the term knocked up is hilarious. Way better than preggo.

Luckily, I have so many sisters that they have collectively been through this 6 times, and by the time I give birth, 7 times. I get to inherit tons of books, maternity clothes, bits of wisdom, and the experience of being pregnant as the same time as my older sister! 

And as with any of life's surprises, the plan must change. We learn to be flexible to fit in our goals, but my goals also have to change! My health is no longer about me, it's about growing a healthy baby! Mr. Bang, of course, wants a son... I just want healthy.

My mother-in-law's reaction. ;) I should have gotten MY mom's! I can't believe I didn't!
So... Of course my next project is going to be documenting my goal of staying healthy and active during my ENTIRE pregnancy. I am elated to be pregnant, and in love, and ready to focus on being a healthy mom.

In monitoring my last couple of weeks, here's what I've got going on: :)

Squishy and growing.
Week: 6-7. For most, this would seem like too early to share the news.. But I know I am perfectly healthy and have a very strong sense that I will carry my little one to term.

Weight Gain: None yet, feel squishy though.

Sleep: Not bad, aside from my dogs who are going crazy about the howling coyotes at night. They whine outside our bedroom, but we are trying to be diligent about not giving in! If they go out one night, they'll want to go out every night. I've also been good about doing some yoga before bed, which helps me get some good, deep sleep.

Miss Anything? Wine. A bit. I will admit that it was the FIRST thing I wanted when I read the results of the test! It was like, "Oh man. I can't even process this without a nice red right now." Haha, I had NO idea what to do with myself!

Symptoms: I am feeling it, definitely. I want to be really honest about this, and you all know that I am pretty honest about my experiences... It feels like intensified PMS right now. Pressure on my uterus (Bye, male followers... Sorry...), my boobs are crazy tender. I have suddenly been crying at baby ANYTHING. Holy crap, and hello maternal instinct. Nice to meet you. Also some nausea, but not bad some days.

Mood: Elated. I can only compare my mood to the moment when my husband proposed, or when he made me his wife. It's incredible. 90% of my worry was that my husband would be scared, and he hasn't been for a moment. I also had a meltdown about not being sure I was ready. For a very long time, we were unsure and undecided about children. We were both concerned with our goals, and I didn't want to have one until I was sure. Turns out, when it was a surprise, it was perfect. After I got over my initial fears, which lasted a whole 10 minutes, I was over the moon. A lot of women have difficulties with fertility, and I'm thankful that I wasn't one of them. Should it have turned out that I wanted a baby on my own terms, and it was hard to get there, I don't know that I would have had the emotional fortitude to bear through it.

Cravings: Spicy food... Pepperoncicis have been my favorite snack. Definitely chocolate, but also a lot of fruit & cottage cheese. Mineral & sparkling waters have also become a regular habit.. sooo good with some coconut pineapple Dasani drops. But I will tell you, the hunger is insatiable. It's like prep amplified by 10.

Diet: Have mostly kept my diet the same, but have allowed myself to become a little bit more liberal with fruits, healthy fats.. avocado, fruit, cottage cheese, and yogurts where those weren't really in my regular diet. Allowing myself coconut water everyday, a healthy carb at night every night. I still keep with our protein crepes every night. :) They taste even more amazing right now!

Still working out! I didn't workout at all last week, I was battling some nausea but it's subsided the last few days so I plan to still do yoga a few times a week, and cardio with light weight workouts a few times a week. I feel good right now, and feel like working out will help me get through some of the pregnancy symptoms.. My logic is, if I can sweat some of the water weight out I won't feel so squishy? Perhaps.

Pregnancy Obedience: Okay, there is a LOT of information out there that tells you what and what not to eat. Mostly what not to eat... And it genuinely feels like everything right now. Seafood, deli meats, eggs, pineapple, milk, unpasteurized cheese like feta and goat cheese, medicines, ibuprofen... So, I'm taking it in stride and using my best judgement. I had seafood buffet on Friday, which was amazing, but I listened to myself and stopped when it didn't taste right. The clams had some residual shell.. not ideal if you have some texture issues. I also had some canned tuna the other night. Whatevs. It was delicious and got some good nutrition from it. Isn't seafood high in iron? Baby does need more of that! I am on the prenatal vitamins, so that's one point for me!

Personal Goals this Week (or two): 
1. Continue concentrating on my meal plan. I seriously get hungry an hour after I eat an entire plate of pasta or burger & fries. Being as small as I am, my RMR as a pregnant woman is only 1600 calories, so I'm giving myself more around 2000 calories being active. And what I really want to do is give myself plenty of nutrition, instead of reaching for any random craving. We all know that we can control what we give ourselves.
2. Focus on lots of water. Again, the hunger is nutso, trying to get in more water to make sure its not just dehydration before I reach for my next meal 2 hours too early.. :)
3. Start cleaning out the office. Our home is two bedrooms right now, in which we currently use it as an office. Aaaand storage. We also have a utility room, which is packed full of stuff. I really need to organize, go to the dump, and take some stuff to the GoodWill in the back room... Specifically so II can really get some stuff out of the office, and organized into the backroom before I'm too uncomfortable to do stuff like that. We do have some plans to remodel the house this winter, so that will help once that is done.

We won't find out the sex of the baby until probably Thanksgiving or Christmas, but we definitely want to know. Our first sonogram is on Thursday, September 19th, so that should be enlightening.

Welcome to my fit-pregnancy journal! I completely understand if the subject matter isn't for everyone, but eventually I hope for this to become my journal back to fitbody post-baby! :)