Training When Pregnant With Adrenal Insufficiency

…is not easy, but so worth it!! Without training, my mood would most likely have been even worse than what it was this spring. I had the chance to experience that I’m capable of something. Getting endorphins from exercise helped with my depression as well. AI wise it’s still weird that physical stress doesn’t affect me as badly as mental kind. Of course it’s easy to just go to the gym, put some good music on and focus on the movement. I still forget almost everything if I don’t put an alarm on my phone and use calendar, remainders and do-it notes. Focusing on complex things was dead poor as well. Only now I feel I’m getting my brains back and am really happy and grateful for even a couple of clearer and more focused weeks during this pregnancy.

I’m also really grateful for the help my husband has given me by driving me to the gym (of course he trains there too), and for friends who have sometimes come to train with me while I’m at my mother’s in Espoo or otherwise traveling.

Resting enough and not having to work has helped to lower my cortisone dose from the really high amounts in the first trimester when everything was a mess in my life, but I still need a bit more than what I used to take when not pregnant. I take Prednisolone 5 + 3.75 mg every day, and if I have something really taxing to do such as a course that lasts for 6-8 hours I need even more. For workouts, I have now taken 10 mgs hydrocortisone for an an hour lasting lifting session. Endurance training I can normally do without extra.

It’s weird that for the first time, summer heat hasn’t bothered me. I can stand being in the sun at midday, and am loving that I haven’t needed to updose with cortisone and stay indoors. Normally I can’t tolerate sunlight and heat almost at all. So the start of this summer with lots of warmth has also helped to uplift my moods ❀ .

I want to share some of my workouts for others to get an idea what you can do when pregnant. The most important thing is to listen to your body. If something feels off, causes pain or discomfort, or if you are just having a day when you are tired, trust your body! Quit any uncomfortable exercise, and rest adequately. You have all the time in the world later on (depending on your child and help you are getting for childcare, of course) to get back into harder training. But taking care of your body and making sure you are keeping yours and your baby’s health at first place during pregnancy is number one. I will write about some exercise guidelines in this post and then share some of my workouts later on.

Latest research has already buffed some myths regarding training when pregnant. Mothers who are used to exercising at moderate to hard intensities can continue to do so as long as they feel okay. And for mothers who haven’t been exercising, NOW is the best time to start! You will lower the risk for gestational diabetes and musculosceletal pains if you exercise when pregnant. You will also most likely deliver a healthier baby, and recover from the delivery sooner. Just begin with really low intensity and make sure to rest enough, and don’t progress over moderate intensity training.

Other myths are that you can’t lie on your back after a certain week. Well, if you feel fine, you can lie and sleep on your back until the end of pregnancy. The risk of the fetus and placenta to pressure your vena cava, the biggest vein to bring blood from the lower extremities to your heart, is not so big as once thought. If you feel nauseous, off in any way, headache, tingling or other off sensations in your legs, then you should avoid lying on your back and use a small incline or side lying positions. The blood flow to fetus is usually good enough if you are performing an exercise on your back and then rise up to sitting position to rest.

Also, if you have been doing high intensity interval training = HIIT, you can continue during pregnancy as long as you feel fine. But if you haven’t, it is not recommendable to start.

A great resource for training during and after pregnancy is Girls Gone Strong and their articles! I’m currently studying to become a Pre- & Postnatal Coach in their Coaching & Training Women Academy ❀ .

Here are some exercises I’ve liked to do during this pregnancy, the pictures are all from second trimester workouts:

Belt squat is a great quad exercise when pregnant and if regular squats begin to feel uncomfortable, as it’s easier for your back

Bench pressing is still okay when pregnant!
Incline pressing is a good alternative for regular bench
Both vertical (up- and downwards) and horizontal rows are a staple in pregnancy training
During pregnancy, different rows are really important as your breasts increase in size – without training your upper back muscles, it can affect your posture negatively and cause back pain.

Half-kneeling side lift is a great core exercise suitable for all trimesters in pregnancy πŸ™‚ :

I’ll also write more about nutrition during pregnancy later on, but I just wanted to add that it has been a big test for me to really think why I’m choosing healthy foods and have a healthy and flexible attitude towards eating. I want to provide the best building blocks for my baby.Β Even if I’m not able to help having many medications during pregnancy, one thing I can affect is the foods I eat. Eating healthily and enough will not only affect my child but also my possible grandchildren and so on, through epigenetics. You can read a lot about epigenetics online, the main point is that you can affect how the genes your baby (and his/her offspring) has are expressed by how you act during your pregnancy – how much stress you have, what you eat etc. I also want to embrace good eating habits because I will be an example how to eat to my baby boy Leo when he grows up ❀ .

Getting a variety of good quality meals with veggies, starchy carbs and protein as well as healthy fats will provide the energy to train and nutrients for the baby to grow πŸ™‚ ❀

Besides lifting weights 2-4 times per week, I have been doing cardio, mostly walking although it feels a bit uncomfortable now and has been so after about week 16. I started to have light contractions after longer than 30-60 minute walks depending on intensity. Rowing was out of the question also after about weeks 14-16 when my belly started to grow. The best I’ve felt is doing endurance training sessions on crosstrainer indoors, or water running. I haven’t been doing any HIIT training, just walking on basic endurance levels of heartbeat and on crosstrainer. Sometimes I use indoor cycling (usually at my mom’s who only has a bike). I do both basic endurance and some light speed endurance sessions 1-3 times per week if I have the time and feel good. I like the bike, but it has started to cause both tail bone and pelvic pains so the crosstrainer at home is my most precious friend right now when it comes to endurance training πŸ™‚ .

Having a great time at FAF Running Trainer course with my personal trainer friend Eeva ❀

Last weekend I attended a two-day FAF Running Trainer course to learn more about technique analysis and drills, running economy and running training programming with a personal trainer friend of mine. The course was fantastic – I got a huge amount of new knowledge and am thrilled I have a couple of running clients I can start to work my new skills with right away! I also got the chance to get analysis of my own running technique and how to improve. I was a bit surprised but in a nice way, as my technique got praised and the only thing to really focus on improving was to raise the cadence of my running and use shorter stride length. Running with bare feet and focusing on drills and cadence got my running form already into a great shape. We’ll see if I one day decide to start running with my baby after giving birth πŸ™‚ ❀ .

Running technique at slow motion after two days of technique drills and without running shoes, aka “look, a pink elephant is running” !! πŸ˜€ :

I was already pretty exhausted from having a short weekend holiday with my mother at Tampere – it’s funny how we adrenal insufficient people need a vacation to recover from a vacation! πŸ˜€ And now the really intensive Running Trainer course wiped me out completely. I will now take a break from writing and training too hard and will sleep a lot, and hopefully am in the shape to get back into writing later in June πŸ™‚ .

I wish everyone great workouts, tasty meals and sunny summer days!! ❀ ❀



2 thoughts on “Training When Pregnant With Adrenal Insufficiency

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s