Doing Sports While Pregnant
I found out in January that I was pregnant. At the time, I was in Japan with my boyfriend looking forward to experiencing a bountiful ski season much like the ones we enjoyed in my early twenties in Banff or Whistler.
A season that involves drinking (a lot) of Pabst, working in a resort for peanuts, sharing a shack of a house with a dozen people (not all clean) and eating toast and ramen. All this to be able to ski every day. The dream!
At that time in Japan, my ski season was therefore all about drinking a lot of plum wine (a Japanese specialty), working in an inn run by a friendly Australian who was a little lost, making pizza in a remote ski resort, and sharing a room with Japanese stink bugs. All this, to be able to ski powder every day. The dream!
As I mentioned at the start of this story, I found out I was pregnant in January. So I was living the Japanese dream and, aside from the alcohol (goodbye plum wine), I didn’t really change my daily life. So my daughter ran down Mount Yoichi several times, did very long touring trips, slept in a van at -20 for a month, surfed in Lombok (we made a little detour in Indonesia before our return), rode a mountain bike and climbed several peaks in Quebec before even coming into the world!
I continued all these great adventures because I felt the need to. On the other hand, I adapted my outings and reviewed my attitude towards sport. So I share with you my sweetest suggestions if, like me, your future mother’s heart would not hold out without being outdoors.
1. Pride and Performance, I Left That at Home
Now is not the time to wow the spectators, nor to break records. Yes, it can be discouraging to be passed or come last, but seriously… We don’t care. After all, we carry another human being with us and aside from being heavy, they are energy-intensive. It is our safety and that of the child that comes first. The cliffs and the new obstacles are for another time.
2. I Listened to Myself
When I told people around me that I still played sports (especially when I was talking about mountain biking), I sometimes got big eyes or derogatory comments. To reassure me, I kept telling myself it was ignorance or fear. Yet even my doctor encouraged me to play sports. In short, I didn’t let other people’s fears affect me.
3. I Always Had a Snack on Hand (and Another in the Car)
This is probably the easiest and the best advice in this list. I regretted my first outings so much. When you are pregnant, you eat and drink when you are hungry or thirsty. Meal times no longer exist.
4. I Stayed in Familiar Terrain
I did not set out to discover new mountain biking trails. I chose my spots wisely, either the ones I knew best or the ones I knew were safe. I haven’t started a new sport. I have been snowboarding, surfing and mountain biking for several years. Even though these sports are more extreme than others, I am in full control of my skills. During the summer I was invited to go rock climbing. I accepted the invitation even though I’m not a rock climber. But it was on a hammock cheering on my friends where I spent my evenings. I’ll practice my climbing skills another time, probably with my daughter!
5. I Never Had a Defined Goal
If I’m going for a hike, I prefer to warn my friends that I might not be going to the top. And when people ask me how long I’m going to exercise, I say I’m going to exercise until my body has had enough.
As a Bonus: Here are Some Women Who Inspired Me
- The documentary Run Mama Run tells the story of pregnant Sarah Brown who trains for the Olympic Trials
- Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka and Tsvetana Pironkova: three moms qualified for the Grand Slam
- Professional surfer Kelia Moniz on Instagram
These suggestions are not binding on anyone other than me. I am not a health specialist, I am only a future mother who needs to move. This is why I am telling you only from my own experience, and that I have only used the “I” in this text.
See you outside!
Romy Quenenville Girard