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Training for Baby: Belly poppin'

Posted May 1, 2012
Updated May 2, 2012

I am officially 20 weeks pregnant and, to my shock, I don’t have a huge belly bump yet. I just look like I had a burrito for lunch. (mmm, burritos…)

Since this is my first baby, I had no idea when I’d get my bump. I just assumed I’d have it by three or four months in. I’ve heard it is different for every woman. Some women have said they started popping at three months and others not until seven months with their first baby.

We actually went to visit a day care recently and the managers asked us how old our child was. I had to tell them he is still cooking in there!

When did you “pop?”

Baby bumps aside, I am sure you are wondering how my efforts to continue exercising while pregnant have been going.

The first two and a half months were great. I was able to keep up my regular routine (cardio and weight lifting classes). I just had to cut back a little bit to keep my heart rate below 180 – which my doctor said was OK because I had been working out regularly. (I finally got one of the doctors at the practice to agree to this, because one of the other doctors there was saying 140 should be my maximum heart rate. My heart rate is 140 just walking into the gym! LOL).

Then, midway through the third month, I felt terrible. Just weak, like I was going to pass out all the time. I would go to classes and spend half the time standing around because I couldn’t get my heart rate down.

My restless leg syndrome was also flaring up a lot and keeping me up almost every night. So lack of rest wasn’t helping.

My doctors found that I was anemic and put me on iron supplements.

I have suffered from vasovagal syncope in the past and my doctors said that it often gets worse with pregnancy. Vasovagal is triggered mainly by dehydration. Basically, my body just feels like it is going to collapse. I get light-headed. All due to my blood pressure dropping. I recover by sitting down and drinking some water. For years, I hadn’t had any problems from it, but I wasn’t drinking enough water while pregnant and that was leaving me dehydrated.

These factors had me sidelined for much of the third month, while I got my body back to where it needed to be.

Now, the doctors have me on lock down. All the doctors at the practice have told me I have to keep my heart rate below 155 while working out during the second trimester. So, I opted to ditch the group classes and just walk the treadmill.

Before I had to stop the group classes, I saw women who were seven or eight months pregnant jumping in the air during body combat (like a kickboxing class) at my gym. I wanted to be able to do that, but I don’t want to go against my doctors' advice. It is my first baby, so I am playing it as safe as possible.

I’ve been walking at least three days a week at the gym. Sometimes, I get a change of scenery like the Nature Research Center, which I walked many times while covering the construction and opening.

I am determined to stay active, but some days I just need to sit down and take a break.

This pregnancy has really taught me to listen to my body.

Speaking of listening to my body…

I have started feeling baby boy move around! In the past week and a half, he started kicking me or maybe doing Zumba. My husband was finally able to put his hand on my little belly and feel Small Fry kicking. He kicked for my husband when I said the word “chicken.” Apparently, he is a big fan of the stuff! (see cravings below)

Pregnancy craving of the moment: Sweet tea - I barely touched the stuff before, but now I want to drink an entire gallon of it – and chicken wings! I never ate chicken wings before this, so I guess the little guy is a big fan of it!

Kathy is editor of's Out & About section. Learn more about Kathy on her website. Last year, here on Go Ask Mom, Kathy chronicled her efforts to lose weight before she and her husband started a family. Now, due with her first baby this fall, she's writing about her pregnancy. Find her here on Wednesdays twice a month on Go Ask Mom.


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  • jpgmarks May 4, 2012

    This is not meant to start a big debate or anything, but...

    Prenatal yoga is a vastly different ballgame than "regular" yoga. A good prenatal class will not be "hot," or strenuous, or involve anything that would cause strain or harm to mom or baby. In fact, it will actually HELP you gently strengthen the muscles that are most taxed during pregnancy and birth.

    I am not saying that women should not listen to their doctors' advice, but please know that you have choices in your prenatal care. If your doctors will not discuss breastfeeding with you, if they seem like they are more concerned about covering their liability than engaging in an open dialogue about YOUR and YOUR BABY's health, then are they the right provider for you? Again, I do not want to start a flame war or anything like that, but too often women don't speak up for themselves. I wonder what would happen if you asked for a second opinion?

  • pipolia25 May 2, 2012

    First child- Gained 40 lbs and began to show at 4.5 months.
    Second Child- Gained 40lbs and began to show at 5 months.

    I have a pooch leftover from Child 1 and it got even bigger after Child 2. I work out six days a week and I can still not get rid of my pooch. I HATE my pooch!

  • snowl May 2, 2012

    Kathy, Doctor's 25 years ago did not discuss things other than mother's blood pressure, weight gain, belly measurements, and baby heart beat....I was in and out of the office in a flash. I think doctors today could be hesitant to say yes/no to anything that might eventually put them in a negative spot light etc. And like you said, "This pregnancy has really taught me to listen to my body." I agree 100%

  • kimmyb0519 May 2, 2012

    Khanrahan- You can contact the Infant Risk Center about your RLS meds and they can tell you everything under the sun you want to know about taking them in general, while pregnant, and especially while breastfeeding. They are a GREAT resource, and best of all FREE!!! I call them before I take any meds, prescribed or over the counter. Their number is 1-806-352-2519. Research based info with no bias. Just the facts. And a real person answers the phone! Best of Luck.

  • Khanrahan May 2, 2012

    I agree lwt! My docs have been hesitant to give me any advice at all sometimes about things like highlighting my hair or breastfeeding while taking my RLS meds. (About the hair my doc told me that "You can ask 100 docs and 50 will tell you it's ok while 50 will say it's not." I had to drag it out of her what she thought. (she is ok with it) The wouldn't answer me on the breastfeeding stuff and referred me to my pediatrician (which I don't have yet). I had to go back to my fetal medicine specialist for the facts. But they don't want me in that prenatal yoga. I pull muscles all the time just sneezing, this couldn't be any worse! LOL

  • shall6 May 2, 2012

    And for what it's worth ... Healthy Moms has Aqua Moms too :)


  • lwt May 2, 2012

    Kathy I am really surprised about what your Doctors said about Prenatal yoga!!! They obviously have never seen a true prenatal class! Its too bad the studio I go to recently had to remove their class from the schedule because I would love for you (and your Drs) to see what its really about.

    A pregnant lady probably would pull more muscles trying to roll over in bed then in a prenatal yoga class! Any yogi will tell you that prenatal classes are for everyone, but not to start until your second trimester if you had not been doing it previously to getting pregnant.

    Since you were already in great shape before getting pregnant, and exercised through the first 3 month, you would do great! You would just have to be careful of that blood pressure of yours.

    Water Aerobics sounds like it would be fun to do, especially once you start getting more of a belly. I bet it helps take lots of pressure off of your entire body by being in the water!

  • Khanrahan May 2, 2012

    jpgmarks, I really wanted to do prenatal yoga, but my docs said no bc I hadn't been doing yoga regularly prior to pregnancy. I was like "seriously, it is prenatal yoga for pregnant ladies!" But they said no bc they claimed i'd pull every muscle in my body. I'm approved for water aerobics though, so maybe I can do that!

  • pinkuh May 2, 2012

    I am fat, so I didn't actually show till I was just about to pop. I gained all of 10 pounds during my pregnancy specifically becuase I was morbidly obese and I didn't need to really gain anything over that.

    My sister in law on the other hand... didn't look pregnant till she was about 6-7 months in and she is a STICK. and I mean that in the nicest of ways (she is like 5 foot nothing and I could probably toss her like a javelin) Those last couple months she suddenly ballooned up and looked like she had swallowed a bowling ball XD. If this is your first kid and you are in good shape it will probably take a while for you to show becuase you only really start showing once your muscles start relaxing. Specifically the connective tissue between your abs will get loose, and relax, then your baby bump will be seen XD

  • lilypony May 2, 2012

    First kid I only looked a little chubby until at least 6 months. Second kid I had what looked like a big fat gut at about 2 months. It didn't even look remotely cute until a few months later. And by that time I'd gained so much weight that I felt like a whale. First kid I gained 10 lbs, second kid I gained 70. And being 5'2 thin and in good shape... well, that was a really difficult thing to cope with!