Ahhh, this post is one that I always knew I would write but had no idea what kind of words would fill it, mainly because my time working out at Orangetheory while pregnant felt somewhat like an experiment. I didn’t do much intentional exercise during my first two pregnancies, so I was curious how fitness would impact me during my third pregnancy as well as postpartum.
I started working out 3-4x/week at Orangetheory in April 2018, so when I found out I was pregnant a few months later in November, it was only natural to continue doing what I was doing. I continued going 3-4x/week until I was 38 weeks pregnant, when my mind and body agreed that it was time to kick my feet up until delivery.
Working Out While Pregnant: My Orangetheory Experience
If you’re interested, I’d love to share a great big summary of my thoughts on my experience incorporating Orangetheory Fitness into my life throughout my third pregnancy.
Discussions with the head coach and my physician
I adore our head coach Amber and felt more than comfortable sharing our news with her at the seven-week mark. As a fitness instructor, she has coached many women through pregnancy, so she was very encouraging that sticking with my current routine would be a healthy idea. She did encourage me to share with my OBGYN about my fitness routine and yield her advice more than anyone else’s.
So at my first appointment, I told my doctor about my Orangetheory membership, and thankfully she was familiar with how the program works. She encouraged me to keep it up but to try to avoid getting my heart rate in the red zone unnecessarily. She said that the orange zone was usually okay, but more than anything just to listen to my body and not overdo it as far as my heart rate goes.
I’ve openly shared here on the blog that I suffered from a bizarre, frustrating month of prenatal depression (my doctor says that I described a classic case of it) from weeks 8-12. I considered canceling my OTF membership many times during this month because I was filled with so much self-doubt that I’d never be able to have a fit pregnancy. I hated hitting my alarm off every morning, but I continued putting one foot in front of the other (literally) and going to my workouts.
I’ve described it to friends as a “damned if I do, damned if I don’t situation”: Fitness did not help to lift or alleviate my feelings of depression in the slightest (endorphins weren’t touching whatever imbalance was going on in my brain during those weeks of growing Jillian), but my mindset was that if I was going to feel off/down, I might as well try to stay physically fit in the meantime until it hopefully lifted. I am so glad I continued to go.
Also, I generally don’t feel too barfy during my first trimester, but I do get really bad headaches coupled with fatigue that feels like I have concrete in my veins. I found that even if I felt physically yucky on the way to the gym, that hour always relieved me of those pregnancy symptoms. Within five minutes of working out, I always felt so much better!
They say this is the “cheery” trimester, and I would have to agree! I felt really great during that time period. I found that I was still able to do everything at the gym, including core exercises.
My clothing was the biggest issue. This is usually the time period where pregnant women wonder if they look pregnant or more like they’re just gaining weight around their mid section, and that’s where I was at for a while. My regular workout clothes were still fitting, but slowly getting tighter and more unflattering for my growing bump (err, also growing hips, etc haha).
I eventually splurged on this pair of Zella maternity live-in leggings and wore them to every. single. workout. Every one of them! I washed them every day. I also wore this sports bra and rotated between two Old Navy maternity activewear tanks. This was my uniform and I felt very, very comfortable clothing-wise all the way until week 38!
By the third trimester, I was more determined than ever to keep up my fitness routine. I felt encouraged/grateful/SHOCKED that I had made it this far and was mentally determined to keep going. I continued lifting weights in the gym, but frequently asked for modification suggestions. Rowing was becoming too uncomfortable, so I would usually hop on the bike or strider if available. If not, I would do an extra block on the treadmill. Honestly, my motto at this point was “any movement is better than nothing”.
I also kept running. My paces slowly decreased, but I tried to do the best I could. Running on the treadmill actually felt really good. It may sound bizarre, but oftentimes I would forget I was pregnant. I would just do my own thing, run at a pace that was challenging but not overly, and rack up those splat points.
Who knows if fitness had anything to do with Jillian’s rapid delivery, but two quick pushes and she was out!
I was up walking around the hospital and my neighborhood much faster than I did with the other girls. I 100% could feel that my body was stronger post-delivery than it was with Hadley and Sadie.
My recovery in general was pretty difficult for the first 2.5 weeks or so. I don’t want to get into all the gory, personal details, but things haven’t been a walk in the park by any means. Jillian has been amazing and is such a sweet pea, but I think my body has made it very clear that putting itself back together for a third time comes with some aches and pains. I don’t think fitness could have helped any of these issues.
Having the support system of the other class attendees and coaches during the pregnancy was such an added bonus. Working out with the same crew every morning allows us to become cheerleaders for each other, and everyone was so kind, encouraging, complimentary, and accommodating toward me once my bump really started to show.
Also, our particular gym threw all of the expecting moms a baby shower! This really solidified what a sweet addition this gym has been to my life.
My little fitness experiment is complete, and my overall opinion is that making time for routine, heart-pumping exercise during this pregnancy was so worth it mentally just as much as physically. I still gained more weight than I wanted, still have a chunk of that to lose, but am also somehow back in my pre-pregnancy clothes. I can only attribute this to Orangetheory because otherwise this makes no sense. When I compare this pregnancy to my previous two, I have no idea which positive differences resulted from exercise, but I know that in general this was by far my easiest pregnancy. For the first few days, it was also by far my easiest recovery too.
My advice to those who hope to work out during pregnancy would be to find a fitness regimen or gym that you enjoy going to and invest in a few pieces of fitness apparel that make you feel completely comfortable and confident. If you can enjoy the type of fitness you’re doing with people you enjoy being around while also keeping yourself and your baby healthy, than you’re looking at win after win after win!
Were any elements of my experience things that you can relate to? What type of fitness did you enjoy during pregnancy? What benefits did you experience from a more fit pregnancy?
More: One year at Orangetheory (and why I’ve stuck with it longer than any other fitness regimen)
Hi! I’m Erica, and I absolutely adore sharing my life on this website with you! I come here almost daily to blab about all of the things related to being a regular wife and mother in today’s ever-evolving society. I share about our new home, what’s on our kitchen table, what we’re hanging in our closets, where we’re traveling to next, my crazy 5 a.m. work outs, how I make time for girlfriends, our faith, and much more. We always have a lot of balls in the air and somewhat thrive on the chaos. I believe in the power of story-telling as a form of inspiration and entertainment, so I’m here to do both! I was born and raised in north Alabama and recently re-planted roots here again after my husband transitioned out of the Army (he is now in the Reserve and it’s going so well!) I’m a super proud mom to two little girls (ages 5 and 2) who seem to be the stars of the show around here (for good reason – they’re pretty great!) I’m so glad you found me and are here reading! I hope we can get to know each other here on the blog as well as Facebook and/or Instagram. xoxo