Fit Pregnancy Interview with Melanie Wagner
Melanie working out at Fitness Revolution CT while pregnant!
I took a hiatus from posting Fit Pregnancy interviews for a while because I've been super busy running my gym in Vernon CT, called Fitness Revolution Vernon. This gym has become my life, and a life I love very, very much.
What I love most about my job is that I get to help women and men of all ages become healthier, stronger and feel better about themselves. We have so much fun in the process too, and learn new techniques and moves each month. It's something myself and my members (almost 200+ now!) absolutely thrive for.
Another thing is that I get to inspire young women to stay active during their pregnancies and then help them stay strong until they deliver. In fact, one of my members, Melanie Wagner, just gave birth to her son 6 weeks ago, and worked out with me her entire pregnancy, and even 1 week after she was due! Her story is below. I also have 4 more pregnant women in my class right now all around the 20 week mark that are absolutely kicking butt in class and loving it. I will include their stories as well after they have their babies.
Today we're going to interview Melanie. I asked Melanie to introduce herself, and this is what she had to say:
I’ve taken bootcamp class with you since 2010 and have been a runner (distance) since the beginning of college 2001. In high school, I was a competitive swimmer and continued to swim until recently (shoulder injury). I also golf (really athletic, I know).
When I first met Melanie, I knew she was a hard worker (and a bit neurotic like me). She always arrived super early for class, and then when class was in session, she always pushed to the max. Her and I met about nutrition after we had been in bootcamp for awhile when her and her husband were trying to get pregnant and struggling. We found out that she had gluten intolerance, which was contributing to her infertility. After she cut out gluten, her and her husband got pregnant, and the rest was history. Enjoy her story below and if you have any questions, email me to let me know (I disabled comments because spammers are terrible..).
On to the interview!
Melanie, this interview is for you to share your fit pregnancy experience with other women. Unfortunately so many women are scared to exercise while pregnant for fear it is harmful for their unborn babies. How do you feel about this now that you’ve had your own fit pregnancy?
I know now firsthand that exercise was the best thing I could do for myself and my baby while pregnant. I’m not going to preach and say it’s for everyone (health/medical reasons), but I will say that it made my pregnancy, delivery and recovery so much better. It also helped my mental health as pregnancy can be stressful and exercise is such a release for me.
How hard were you exercising before you became pregnant? What were you doing?
I should start this answer by saying that it took us quite a while to get pregnant. Because of this, I spent the first year of us trying to conceive blaming myself and my exercise/eating/lifestyle habits for our infertility. This led to me taking months off here and there to see if it made a difference and I would become pregnant. Once I went to a specialist (and met you) I realized that this was not the case I started working out like I had been before. I took bootcamp class 3 times a week and ran 2-4 times a week at least 3-5 miles. I actually became pregnant the month I worked out the hardest (ran almost every day and still did bootcamp) and went on a cruise (and ate and drank EVERYTHING). Go figure.
Melanie after the Hartford Marathon, pre-baby
When you found out you were pregnant, did you modify your workout routine? How & Why?
The only thing I did differently was I made sure I had water when I went running, I ran inside when it was hot (it was May when we found out), and I would take bootcamp class in the morning or on a different day if it was above 90 degrees. I get overheated easily and did not want to risk my baby’s life by getting too hot or dehydrated.
When you first found out you were pregnant what was your primary concern with respect to your exercise routine?
I was afraid that I would stop or lose motivation as I got bigger. I knew that what I was doing was safe because others (you) had done it before and had healthy, happy babies.
Overall, during your pregnancy, describe what did you do for exercise?
I didn’t change a thing when I became pregnant (per advice of you, Cassandra). I took bootcamp 3 times a week and ran 2-4 times a week at least 3-5 miles. I continued to race in road races up until I was 32 weeks pregnant.
Mel kicking butt in bootcamp with her hubby!
How did other people around you react to your fit pregnancy? Was it positive or negative?
Most people were very positive and would say things like, “You’re my motivation” or “Good for you.” I would get a few questioning looks from my neighbors, but most were very nice.
What was the most supportive thing someone told you about your fit pregnancy? The most unsupportive?
Supportive: The most supportive thing would have to be when people would come up to me and share their stories of exercise during pregnancy and tell me that delivery and recovery would be a breeze because of how I was working out. It gave me a lot of encouragement because both of those aspects of pregnancy really terrified me. My mother had all c-sections and I thought I would too (not that c-sections are terrible; they just were not the way I wanted to deliver).
Unsupportive: I had several coworkers tell me to be careful and ask me if I was sure I “needed” to work out. Insinuating that my son’s health was in jeopardy and I was being selfish. I made sure I avoided that kind of talk.
How was your first trimester, with respect to exercise?
I was really lucky in my first trimester and I didn’t get the dreaded fatigue. I did get a lot of nausea and exercise would often help with that because it would usually settle my stomach. It didn’t help the heartburn, but that’s why they make pepcid. I was on fertility medications and was told to take the first few weeks easy by my doctor. After we heard his heartbeat at 6 ½ weeks I was cleared to exercise at my previous level. I ran in one 5k road race and continued with bootcamp.
I felt great during my second trimester. I gained back all the weight I lost during the first trimester due to nausea, but still didn’t really “pop” until third trimester. I ran in three 5k road races and continued with bootcamp.
I finally “popped” in the beginning of my third trimester and gained all of my weight during this time. Exercise changed quickly for me during this time because my muscles and ligaments decided to really loosen up. I continued bootcamp, but most of my core exercises had to be planks of some kind and my running pace really slowed down. I ran one 5k and one 5 mile race during this time. I did bootcamp the day before my delivery and was on the treadmill the day of my delivery.
Melanie 40 weeks pregnant
How did you know what you were doing for exercise during your pregnancy was ok/safe? Did you ever doubt your decisions? Were you worried during your pregnancy that you were exercising too hard?
My body just knew what I could and couldn’t do. It naturally slowed down my running pace at the end of my pregnancy and I just couldn’t do some things at bootcamp that I once could. I never worried that I was going too hard because my baby loved when I exercised. He would often kick and dance after workouts probably because of all of the endorphins released. Ironically, I exercised during pregnancy so I wouldn’t have doubt. I was afraid if I didn’t work out and something went wrong with my pregnancy, delivery, recovery or with my son’s health then I would always doubt my decision. I was very satisfied with my decision to exercise during pregnancy.
Melanie doing goblet squats in bootcamp with me at mid-30 weeks
During your pregnancy, did you have any complications such as hypertension or extreme water retention? Please describe why/why not?
I was really lucky and had absolutely no issues (beside the initial infertility).
If you could do things differently for your fit pregnancy, what would that be?
Nothing. I really enjoyed every minute. I can’t believe it’s already over.
How much total weight did you gain during your first pregnancy?
20 lbs all in the third trimester.
Mel doing leg lowering from box in class
Did you get any stretch marks? If you didn’t, why do you think this happened? If you did, do you think they could have been prevented? Do you think creams or oils prevent them?
No I didn’t and I attribute this to my small bump size. My stomach was always measuring a week behind, but my son was positioned right next to my spine. I have stretch marks on my legs from growing in adolescence so I knew it was a possibility. I used organic lotion, but not to prevent stretch marks. I used it because my third trimester was in the winter and the stretching skin was really itchy.
How was your labor and delivery? -- Natural or Assisted? – Long or short? Briefly describe your birth story.
My labor and delivery was rather fast. I went in a 12:30 a.m. at 2 cm and progressed to 10 cm naturally by 4:30 a.m. At 10 cm my son’s head was stuck which caused swelling in the muscles in my pelvis, so my OB gave me an ultimatum. My ultimatum was to relax with medication and try to turn his head or continue to labor naturally and possibly swell more and have a c-section. I went with an epidural at 5 a.m. I started pushing around 10:15 a.m. and my son was born at 11:46 a.m.
What was the weight/height of baby? APGAR scores (health at birth)?
He was born at 7 lbs 9.5 oz and 20 inches long. His APGARs were 8/9. He came out with eyes wide open, kicking and screaming.
How healthy is your baby now?
He is very strong and very healthy. He rolled over from back to belly in his basinet the first night in the hospital. He holds his head up and loves his tummy time. He has some reflux issues, but I also had reflux pretty bad as an infant.
How much of your weight gain did you lose after having your baby? How long did it take?
I lost all 20 lbs by 4 weeks post partum. I had an extra 5 lbs on me when I found out I was pregnant. I’m currently working on that weight now at 5 ½ weeks post partum.
How do you feel about your body now?
After everything I had been through with infertility I am very proud of my body. Infertility makes you completely doubt your body’s ability to function properly, and I think having a healthy pregnancy has given me some confidence back. Immediately after delivery of my son I said to my husband, “I can’t believe I just did that!”
Melanie 1 week post-baby! HOTTIE!
What advice would you give other women who want to have a fit pregnancy?
If you can physically do, then do it. It was so worth it for me. It gave me confidence, relaxed me, and helped my body perform its “natural” functions to the best of its ability.
Thank you Melanie! YOU ROCK!!! :)