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Training for Baby: Belly poppin'

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...)

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Kathy Hanrahan with a NASA astronaut
Kathy Hanrahan

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 WRAL.com'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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