Pregnant and Keeping Fit – Is it even Possible?

The reason why I’ve not blogged recently is because, for the last 9 months, I’ve been pregnant.

Paula Radcliffe Pregnant and Running - courtesy of
Paula Radcliffe, Pregnant and Running – courtesy of

Pregnancy and running are an unhappy combination. For starters, the advice about whether or not to run during pregnancy is at best mixed. Doctors are happy to give general statements about ‘keeping fit’, whilst others frown seriously at the prospect of you bouncing your unborn, upside-down baby around.

The idea of being pregnant, and getting ever bigger and ever slower, was not one that ever appealed to me. But, one thing was for sure, I wanted to keep fit. Everyone said that pregnancy, labour, and birth would all be eased along if the mama-to-be kept active. But in terms of what to do, how much, and when, no one would be specific on such details.

Fortunately, a friend introduced me to a recent new mother, Susie Mitchell. Susie is one of Ireland’s top cyclists. Even more astounding is that, a mere five months after giving birth, she won a Masters World Championship Track Cycling title. Such was her maternity experience is that she is currently busy publishing a book on her experiences, “From Pregnancy to Podium”. I met her for the first time when I was four months gone. And she gave me the best advice that a pregnant sports lover could get…. “Listen to your body”.

Susie Mitchell winning a UCI World Masters Track Cycling Title 5 months after giving birth. Courtesy of
Susie Mitchell winning a UCI World Masters Track Cycling Title 5 months after giving birth. Courtesy of

For years, I’ve listened to my body. When I’m injured, I rest. When I’m tired, I’ll do a different type of session. So, why stop listening whilst pregnant, even if my body was playing a slightly different tune?

So, in my first trimester, I continued running. And then in my second trimester, with the bump starting to appear, I kept on running, albeit at a slower and slower speed every week. By the time I reached week 28 and my third trimester, I knew my days were numbered. Until, one day during week 30, I had the scare of my life. I was running as normal, heading out for a slow hour long jog around the block. After 30 minutes, I started to run down a slight incline, only to develop the worst stitch of my life. I was reduced to walking, but the stitch wouldn’t go away. I had left the house without a mobile, and seriously thought I would never ever get home again.

When I did reach home, I broke down in tears, mainly from shock as opposed to pain. And then I knew that for the next 10 weeks, my running days would have to be curtailed. I heard my body telling me that I had had a good stint for 30 weeks, and now it was time to temporarily call it a day.

I’ve listened to my body for the last 9 months, whilst it changed subtly with every single day. And now that my cool baby boy has popped out, I will listen to my body again as I try to regain my fitness whilst learning how to be a brand new mum.

11 thoughts on “Pregnant and Keeping Fit – Is it even Possible?

  1. Aaaaaaaaaaaagh Moire, you could have asked me. I’d’ve given you the same professional advice. My personal advice would’ve been a tad different. Somewhere along the lines of “not on your bloody Nellie”. Mind you I did have my head down a toilet bowl 1-3 times a day till about 22 weeks. I did no form of formal exercise till I was on mat leave at 37 weeks and had the energy to go for a walk everyday which I loved!!!!!

    good on you for keeping the running etc going and then slowing down when you needed to.

    Oh and we bought a Valco Baby jogging stroller which we loved. Not that I EVER ran with it… but did plenty of walking!!!!

    you take care, Love Niamh

  2. I am not surprised to hear you kept up the running Moire – no better woman! I had a great doctor and a great gynaecologist who both actively encouraged me to keep up running (much to my mother’s horror!) I had a bike accident when I was six months pregnant and a week before we went cross country skiing – what did the doctor say? “That’s a pity now with the cast on your hand that you can’t ski or ice skate but at least you can keep hill walking in the snow”! Our one and only expensive baby purchase was a “Bob” off road running buggy which we shipped from the States and to be honest Moire it was worth evey penny. I got so fit running with it once Jack was about 2 months old and he absolutely loved it, falling asleep in record time every time I went running with it. I passed it on to Martina O’Kearney Flynn who shared it with Niamh O’Ceallaig and I am always delighted to see a baby in it at a hill race! Many happy running days with your gorgeous new son.x

  3. Congratulations Moire! I read your blog after starting your book at a hostel in the Mournes last year. It was so compelling that I bought it as soon as I left the hostel. I’m not a hardcore sportsperson by any means but I love the mountains and I love your blog. I have sadly abandoned hiking since having twin boys 4 1/2 years ago. We brought them rock climbing in Kerry last week and they loved it so now is the time to slowly edge towards the mountains again (they get tired walking far on their wee short 4 year old legs). Boys are great by the way, as you will have already realised. Good luck with the parenting and I look forward to your next blog.

    1. Thanks Ciara – great to hear you’re back out in the mountains with the little ones! Hoping to get my new offspring out there too once he’s game 🙂

  4. Congratulations! This is a great post, and answers some questions that were bothering me. “Listen to your body” is the best advice.

    1. Hi Danielle, I had a lovely 8.5 lb boy. We named him Aran, after the wild, beautiful and rugged Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland. He is doing wonderfully well and growing bigger and stronger every day. Hoping that he’ll share my love of Ireland and of its mountains one day 🙂

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