We live in Dublin and I’m currently on maternity leave and taking some respite from my job running around the country as a fish vet. More about that again. I am and have always been a pretty serious recreational athlete who thrives on exercise and the buzz and gerenal sense of well being I get from it. Everything from running to triathlon to adventure racing, but the current obsession is track cycling. I wanted to write something for the last year about a subject dear to my heart - I love exercise ! I do and have always done loads of it. I love competition and would consider myself a committed recreational athlete – and know there are many women out there just like me. Women who compete for fun, but are serious about doing well and reaching their full potential for personal reward and fun.
Due to my circumstances I have become interested in is how to fuse this personality with pregnancy and motherhood, which I have strived to do this over the last year. Word got out that I trained all the way through my pregnancy and since the birth of Tori I have received many emails from pregnant women desperate for advice or reassurance. Most of these are like me, with a passion for sport, and represent all levels of ability. Many were told to stop exercising or cut down significantly on it because they were pregnant. They want to know what I did, how much I trained, ask me questions like did I stay on the bike all the way through, what I did in the gym etc. There is a serious lack of good information and advice out there for pregnant women who want to exercise. Note I specify “good”. There is endless not so useful information, and many willing to give advice. From hearsay and opinions of friends and family – which can sometimes be bizarre, to guarded conventional advice from doctors, physios, personal trainers and the likes, all probably afraid they will get sued if something were to go wrong with the pregnancy or during the post-partum period. Where there is advice it is nearly always depressingly over conservative, especially for women used to high levels of physical activity. The same “one shoe fits all” guidelines are supplied to all those who ask. I very quickly realised the best strategy for me when deciding what to do was not to ask, and to go on a journey and find out what was best for myself and my baby, both during pregnancy and for that time post-birth. . My 'shoes' wouldn’t fit or suit all either but I took my own path based on my own feeling and research I did, enabling me to make informed decisions about what to do. Despite my concerns pre baby I have found it is most definitely possible to maintain good fitness, and therefore sanity, during pregnancy and post-birth. Fingers crossed for the weekend with my new support team to cheer me on!