23 Weeks: Pumping (And I Don’t Mean My Breasts)


How has exercise changed since becoming pregnant?

1) I stopped running.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with running while pregnant. I’m in awe of the women who are still doing half marathons or speedy distances. The main reason I stopped running was that in the first trimester, my body just felt fragile. It felt wrong to me to get out of breath and pound the pavement that much. Everything down there just felt more tender, especially since you use your core and lower abs a lot while running. And while I felt like exercising, I just didn’t really feel like running. It was also winter, so of course the cold was a major deterrent. I did go on several runs in the first tri, but they weren’t great ones. In fact, just before I found out I was pregnant I had an awful run that had me stopping every mile for cramps in my sides. I suspected my body was a’changin’. I ran at about 20 weeks too on a beautiful spring day and it went fine, but since I hadn’t ran in so long it wasn’t a great one. Psychological or physiological? I think I’m just out of running shape now, so I doubt I’ll run again. So I just don’t think running is in the cards for me. Luckily I’ve been active in many other ways!

2) I took up walking. Lots of walking.

95% of the reasons why I run can be satisfied with walking. Walking (especially on the hills here) is good weight bearing low intensity cardio while enjoying the outdoors. In fact, I kind of like walking more now. It’s great because most of the time (it’s not summer yet..) it doesn’t require a second shower because I don’t get too sweaty, and I have been able to do it in my street clothes. I do miss the high of running (especially when anyone is talking about a race or I see a runner out on a beautiful morning) but for now, I like walking more. Thankfully I have the time to put in the miles. Podcasts, magazines and moms on the phone are a plus! Since I walk a lot around town anyways, some days I have covered 7,8,9 miles in a day when I add my exercise walk with social or commute walks!

3) I swapped out yoga for prenatal yoga.

I hadn’t done too much regular yoga, so this was more of an addition than a swap. I didn’t start prenatal until I was about 14 weeks, but it was about this time when I could no longer lie flat on my stomach in a class and figured regular power yoga might be a bit too bendy for my growing torso. Love prenatal yoga! Yay for squats and pelvic circles.

4) Once a week cycle class.

I really enjoy my Wednesday cycle class and figured I could easily modify it to suit however I was feeling that day. I have taken my intensity down just a weeeee bit and opt out of the jumps at times, but for the most part this is my one high intensity, sweaty workout of the week. I’d go a second time but I just don’t love any other class as much as Amy’s and I hate that it’s always held in a dark, dark room.

5) And there’s Body Pump.

I’m very happy that I’ve continued to go to Pump throughout pregnancy so far! I really enjoy the class and have a group of friends I look forward to seeing on Mondays and Fridays. I want to keep myself strong for labor and the baby care beyond. When I couldn’t imagine something high intensity like a run, Pump still sounded appealing.

A few Pump changes:

-I dropped my weights down a hair after becoming pregnant. Like with running, I just didn’t want to feel that edge of fatigue. And feeling more fragile meant I didn’t want to be picking up the heaviest weights I possibly could. So I stepped down just a baby weight on everything and continued on. Still get tons of burn!

-Around 20 weeks I started to incline my bench. No idea how much this might impact the whole vena cava compression, but it is a bit easier to get on and off of. I often prop my leg up in a “figure four: while I’m on my back, as it seems to take some of the pressure of lying flat and lets just my lower body tip to the side just a bit, hopefully reducing the pressure. My upper body is still square though.

-I’ve modified the abs track since about 7 weeks when I had that horrible cramping. I was worried I had irritated my lower abs, so I stopped doing abs. Once the second tri started, I felt stronger and less fragile and I added back planks. During the abs track I try to do some leg lifts, 3 planks (front, both sides) and then some stretching while everyone else is still crunching. A kegel or two if I can remember!

-I still opt for the higher intensity options – like if there’s an optional hop, I still do it. Most of the time.

-I’ve added a nice 1 minute camper’s pose to my stretching. Can’t hurt right? (Oh yes it can!)

6) I’ve cut out the elliptical. And vacuuming!

My prenatal yoga teacher is big on keeping the pelvis aligned square to the front throughout pregnancy. Certain movements with reaches or twists pull the pelvis to one side or the other. She has three things she strongly recommends we not do:

-the elliptical (more often than not, the motion pulls hips forward and back, misaligning the pelvis.)

-vacuuming (she tells us to get our partners to do this – or hire an intern!)

-gardening (unless we are VERY careful to keep the hips forward. Reaching side to side is forbidden. Weeding right in front of your body while squatting is OK)

7) I’ve added in some home workouts.

Since I’m running less, walking a lot, and no longer doing cardio equipment like the elliptical (see above) or Stairmaster (too intense), I started to seek out prenatal DVDs. I first bought Summer Sanders’ DVD and then did a review of Expecting More (which I like a lot more). I also have a Knocked Up Fitness one to try out and review! And some YogaDownload prenatal yoga saved, but I haven’t tried those yet either.

Weekly Workouts

Mon: Pump Challenge

Tues: Walk + prenatal yoga

Wed: Cycle

Thurs: DVD/walk/inevitable rest day/swim?

Fri: Body Pump

Sat: Bakery/walk/rest/DVD

Sun: Walk/hike/DVD/swim?

What’s to come?

I would REALLY like to start swimming again, especially now that it’s warm!! I have almost scheduled it in a handful of times, but I don’t like going to the gym on Sundays and my Thursdays keep getting walks instead!! Maybe this week will be the week!

Previous 23 week posts



4 weeks

5 weeks

6 weeks

7 weeks

8 weeks

9 weeks

10 weeks

11 weeks

12 weeks

13 weeks

14 weeks

15 weeks

16 weeks

17 weeks

18 weeks

19 weeks

20 weeks

21 weeks

22 weeks

47 thoughts on “23 Weeks: Pumping (And I Don’t Mean My Breasts)”

  1. What have you heard, or what does your doc say about your heart rate while working out?! I’m expecting my second (I’m 10 weeks!) and I’m still working out. The problem is I’ve really intensified my workouts since I had my first child….now it seems like my heart rate is way too high even though I don’t feel like I’m “working” myself!!! Some docs say it has nothing to do with heart rate, but more the “talk” test-if you can talk normally then you’re fine!!!

      1. Good to hear…I think the talk test is the best wy to regulate your workout. I just got back from the gym and saw a woman 8 months pregnant doing a spin class…if she can do that then I shouldn’t be too worried about my “intensive” workout! Lol!

  2. I didn’t like running when pregnant either. I ran for about half of my pregnancy and then didn’t like the way it felt. I always walked a ton more than before too! Strength training is SO important during pregnancy and I love when I see other women continuing to keep up with it. It helps so much with feeling great during pregnancy, having an easier labor/delivery and recovery!!! 🙂

  3. I’m so lazy about exercising now. I do make sure to get up from my desk throughout the day, but it’s not enough. I end up spending all day Saturday on my feet walking around while shopping until they and my back hurt. It’s not like I don’t have the time for it- I even bought a DVD to use at home. I miss hip-hop classes, but they’re too high impact for me now.

  4. Not vacuuming seems a bit much- I’m sure there have been millions of healthy babies born that have tilted around a bit during house cleaning. But, then again, if you can get someone else to do it I guess that might be nice. I think I’d rather use my “I can’t because I’m pregnant” free pass on laundry or bathrooms…

    1. It seems more than a bit much – seems down right crazy to me. Even before vacuuming, women have been sweeping and doing all sorts of motions like that since the beginning of time. If there really was something to be gained during childbirth by not vacuuming, gardening, etc I’m sure we would have discovered it ages ago. Common sense seems to be lost on this yoga instructor.

      1. I agree with you, as I have a very anthropological view of the world for most thing. I think you guys are taking her advice a little too literally! I vacuum my house, but more mindfully. It’s just a reminder for us to be more mindful of those side to side movements. Since there are lots of other kinds of exercise, I’ve chosen things other than the elliptical but I do vacuum my house from time to time – just more straight than I used to. And we really don’t know how women’s activities over the years have affected labor. There could indeed be a negative correlation between sideways movements (like weeding) and difficulty in labor – it would make an interesting study. But I think you’d probably have to do a lot of the activity to really change anything.

        1. I was surprised by those three, too. You wrote that she strongly recommended not doing the following three things, and then specifically said she recommended getting your husband or someone else to vacuum. That, to me, seems like she flat out doesn’t want you to do it, not that she wants you to modify it, which is interesting. I agree with others that if anything it’s a good “get out of vacuuming free” pass 🙂

          1. I should have worded it differently. I mean, she is serious when she advises against them, but I think she knows we’re all realistic women.

  5. I was an avid runner before getting pregnant, and then once I became pregnant I just physically couldn’t do it! I ran a few times in weeks 4 and 5, but by week 6 I would get so winded it was virtually impossible to run. I was super bummed, as I always imagined I’d be able to at least run slowly and for short distances in the first trimester. I also get a little winded just walking too … it’s frustrating!

  6. Weird! My doctor highly recommended doing the elliptical while pregnant. It really helped me keep up my endurance (esp. in the arms!). I kept running, but used walk breaks as needed. Sounds like you are doing plenty!

  7. Yeah, I think not vacuuming seems a bit excessive too. I’ve done all three of those things while pregnant and can’t see myself going out of my way to really avoid them. This might be TMI, but I’m wondering what the prenatal yoga instructor thinks about having sex while pregnant? Because it seems like if vacuuming, gardening, and the eliptical should be avoided, what about sex? Just wondering what your thoughts are.

  8. Thanks for sharing about the elliptical. I’ve been using that more and more the past couple of months (I’m 32 weeks tomorrow) since it actually seemed lower impact than walking on our treadmill. Sometimes it felt like my belly just felt heavy or uncomfortable after 20 min or so of walking on a very slight incline, but my heart rate wouldn’t get up as much. I think I’ll have to switch back to walking outside or on the treadmill for the rest of my pregnancy after reading your instructor’s recommendation!

    1. Please no offense to Kath’s yoga instructor, but this is not medical advice and I cleared it with my doctor to use all cardio machines (at a lower intensity) while pregnant. One thing about yoga is that there are beliefs that your body should align in a certain way, for instance, when you’re on your menstrual cycle that you shouldn’t do certain poses cause that can disrupt “things” (sorry, I took yoga for a year but I’m not familiar with the details of it). There are many things that will cause your hips to pull from side-to-side. Frankly, my doctor would probably look at me like I grew a third head if I asked if it was bad to vacuum while pregnant.
      Again, no offense to Kath or her instructor…

      1. I agree – she doesn’t say this with a tone of “THOU SHALL NOT VACUUM” it’s just more of a general “this is better than that recommendation”

  9. In the first trimester, my body just felt fragile, too. I stopped running and replaced that with walking and yoga, the best I could. I was reallllllly sick and couldn’t muster up much many days, but it was walking and light yoga for me when I could.

  10. Wow, good for you for keeping up with weights- I slacked off so much with those when I was pregnant! Very interesting about not vacuuming- I never thought of that being an issue while pregnant. I stopped running somewhere around 30 weeks pregnant and started walking and I really enjoyed the break.

  11. I pretty much stopped running when I found out I was pregnant too. It just didn’t feel right, and the first tri made me soooo tired. I miss it like crazy though, can’t wait to get back to it (hopefully) in the fall!

    Body Pump has been fantastic. I kept lifting my pre-preggo weight until about 24 weeks when I strained a muscle in my hip and stomach (dumb move, I know); now I’ve dropped the weight a bit and do the lunge track with no weight at all, focusing more on the range of motion and loosening my hips instead. I’ve found inclining the bench really helps me too. I know it’s been great for my physically, but the mental benefits of Body Pump have been the biggest thing for me in the last couple months. I’m gaining weight like crazy and feel generally uncomfortable a lot of the time, but when I walk into Pump at 28 weeks pregnant and still out-lift most people in the class, I’m not ashamed to admit, I feel pretty proud of myself 🙂

  12. Good for you for keeping up with walking/yoga/pump classes!! You look really great and so healthy. Reading this post this morning got me really motivated to go outside to exercise after work today. I’m 22 weeks pregnant and am just having a tough time staying motivated to exercise regularly.

  13. Not long ago, you mentioned that you finished all of the available pregtastic podcasts but had started listening to new mom podcasts. I was trying to find the name of the new podcast but am failing miserably. Can you lead me in the right direction?

  14. Kath, I am a long time kerf reader and now a berf reader too! My husband and I are getting to the “seriously thinking about a baby” stage and let me tell you, reading your blog tells me that you can ABSOLUTELY live a healthy life while pregnant.

    I’ve seen so many women completely let themselves go when pregnant and I know that is not at all what I want…I do have that fear though (being that I used to be 135 pounds heavier than I am now) and it’s encouraging, like I said, to see that the healthy lifestyle you’ve maintained for YEARS is continuing on throughout your pregnancy.

    My husband and I are happy for you and matt!

  15. I find the vacuuming thing so interesting…I still vacuumed each week during my pregnancy, never really noticed anything, but since having my little one in September I have had pain in my left hip quite frequently, especially while I am running. I keep thinking I should visit a chiropractor or something to get realigned, never knew those types of activities had an effect.

  16. I wish I was doing body pump instead of pumping my boobs! I pump an extra 4ish ounces a day to prevent mastitis and my baby refuses a bottle so i have like 500 oz in my freezer! I guess both are great calorie burners though :).

        1. Lindsay–this program is all done from mom to mom–no outside companies or rules. There are ways to flash pasteurize breastmilk on your stove top though if that’s a concern.

          1. no, I have no concern about being screened, its just the milk banks that make you beforehand. I am TOO paranoid when it comes to breastfeeing.. Absolutely no alcohol, caffeine, not even tylenol, so I would feel great about being a donor. I am just tired of defrosting milk, trying to get my little one to drink it, then having to throw it out when she wont since you cant refreeze it. Would rather someone else get to actually use it! I looked at this site for a long time and I think I am going to do it, thanks SO much!

  17. I gave up running when I was pregnant with my first baby and did so this time around. It was easier to run with the first pregnancy I made it to my second trimester, but quit the first trimester with this pregnancy. Too hard. Plus I’ve been sick the entire time! 🙁 You’re still very active which is awesome –> jealous. Been a bum here = not good but will get back when baby is born.

  18. Walking is seriously the BEST. Even when I was running during pregnancy, I relished my lunchtime walks because they made me feel so GOOD. Running go to be a struggle and uncomfortable after a while. I mean, I still did it — but during the summer, especially since you live in the south . . . I can tell ya, running in the heat isn’t only uncomfortable, but causes lots of worry. It sounds like you’re doing a great mix of stuff that is making you feel good. And that’s all that matters. You’re going to be so happy you kept up activity. You’ll bounce back like whoa 🙂

  19. Thanks for including me in this post, made my day:) Walking really does feel so great while pregnant and just being outside in general helps me feel so much better. That is great that you have found Amy’s class and I totally agree with you about how awesome spin is when you are pregnant. You inspire me to get back into pump…I haven’t been for so long and barely know how to lift up a weight anymore. Hope you are having a great night and feeling that little boy of yours kicking around:)

  20. The key here is to get the ‘partner’ to believe that you should also not vacuum when breastfeeding, when raising a toddler, when taking care of a preschooler, when your child is in elementary school…

  21. When I left the hospital after giving birth I was specifically told not to vacuum. I wonder if it has anything to do with the pelvis alignment?

  22. I love that no vaccuming rule! There are several chores that my hubby had to do during my pregnancies and now he has just keeps doing them, they have become his job.

    I wanted to recommend a few more prenatal videos that I liked. I tried the Summer Sanders and many others but my favorites were these:



    I feel like a got a good workout without feeling over worked.

  23. Wow thanks Kath, this is exactly what I was interested in knowing and just coincidentally we have very similar experiences and workouts. This is my 2nd pregnancy and I was not active at all in my 1st 2 years ago, however this time I am keeping up with my activity levels from pre pregnancy and I’m pleased to say I have felt really good, until this week (22 weeks). I am starting to really feel pregnant but I don’t want to stop. Tonight I reduced my weights as yes you are right, you still get the burn. I do 2 x spin classes a week and walk when it’s not too hot (I live in the Middle East it’s quite here right now!) Good work for keeping so active throughout your pregnancy and interesting on the elliptical – I’ll have to stop that now! Good luck for a safe and swift delivery honey xxx

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